- 02 Jul 20
Cormac Neeson shares his reflections on Rory Gallagher's legacy, as part of our special 25th anniversary tribute to the legendary Irish guitarist.
Initially rising to prominence as the lead singer of Irish rock band The Answer, Cormac Neeson he released his stunning debut solo album, White Feather, last year.
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My parents were always massive Rory Gallagher fans. My mum still proudly shouts from the rooftops that she was at that famous Ulster Hall gig in ‘74. A lot of the music that shapes what I do today I’ve stolen from my parents’ record collection, and there was always a fine depth of choice when it came to picking out some Rory Gallagher records.
Personally, I would still view Rory as a role model, for what he achieved and for what he did with electric blues guitar. He spearheaded the power trio movement. It still doesn’t sound dated, because there’s minimal production – it literally is just a guitar, a bass-player and a drummer, going for it for all they’re worth.
He’s one of the central figures in my musical development. If I ever need a good shake along the way – whether I’m out on the road with The Answer, or trying to find magic out of nowhere in the studio – all I need to do is watch one of those live videos of Rory. It could be the Irish Tour ‘74, some of the Rockpalast stuff, or any footage of him I can find on YouTube. It’s just so inspiring to see an Irish musician approach his performance with so much genuine passion. It’s hard to find that kind of abandon on stage now: he just closed his eyes and lost himself. I was watching footage of him playing ‘Sugar Mama’, and I don’t know how the members of his band held on – probably for dear life! He would just go off on a tangent, and let the emotion of the music carry his fingers. That’s so refreshing to watch, and it still inspires musicians like me to get up onstage and try to capture even just a little bit of that energy.
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The special Rory Gallagher 25th Anniversary Issue of Hot Press is out now – featuring reflections on Rory's legacy from President Michael D. Higgins, Imelda May, Johnny Marr, Mumford & Sons, Mick Fleetwood, Steve Van Zandt, Slash and many more. Pick up your copy in shops now, or order online below: