- 02 Jul 18
The award-winning playwright and once-upon-a-time lead singer with The Roach Band is back with his old red guitar and a batch of new songs...
Billy Roche is back! The well-known, award-winning playwright, musician and author from Wexford has a new album ready to rock – and he is going back on the road to promote it.
While he is better known as the writer of major Irish theatrical works like Tumbling Down, The Wexford Triology, and The Cavalcaders, Roche first came to prominence as the frontman with The Roach Band, with ‘The Shamrock Shuffle’ among their standout tracks.
The new album is called Dead Man’s Shoes and the tour has been dubbed The Red Guitar Tour.
The singer-songwriter has teamed up with his old bandmate, Mike Odlum (bass/piano/keyboards/vocals), and Pete McCamley (drums/percussion/flute/mouthorgan/glockenspiel etc) for both the album and tour.
Returning to his musical roots with his own distinctive brand of psychedelic folk, Billy (who brought us such classics as “The Shamrock Shuffle” and “Italy”) has been inspired by his old Red Guitar.
“It all began many moons ago, when I sold my Red Guitar and bought my current Yamaha guitar,” Roche explains. "The so-called Red Guitar had come with me on many adventures from the concert halls and colleges of Ireland to the folk clubs of London, to the Roach Band. All the Roach Band songs were written on the Red Guitar – so it goes without saying that I was sorry to see the back of her.
“But times were hard and two guitars was a luxury I could ill afford. Anyway, life came and went and the bones of 35 years later, the young musician Mathew O’Brien of Corner Boy informed me that he had my old baby and wondered if I’d like her back. In essence we were reunited.
“Songs spilled out of me when I had her in my arms again and these are the songs that feature on the new album Dead Man's Shoes – my own brand of psychedelic folk (or folk-a-delic as Pip Firman has dubbed it).
“Joining me on the album and the endless Red Guitar Tour are the wonderful multi-instrumentalist Mike Odlum (The Roach Band) and the amazing actor/musician Pete McCamley,” Billy adds.
It sounds like a show not to be missed. But don’t take our word for it: you can catch Billy and The Red Guitar Tour in Dublin’s Smock Alley on Sunday, July 15, with the show kicking off at 8pm.