- 10 Dec 20
Some of Ireland's brightest talents are joining forces in the unusual setting of Iarnród Éireann stations to raise money for homelessness causes this week.
Covid-19 hasn't stopped Irish artists from partnering with the Focus Ireland and Iarnród Éireann for a fourth year to raise vital funds on the charity's Facebook and YouTube pages. Previously, choirs and bucket collectors were on hand in nationwide stations for the charity, rather than recording artists.
Hot Press speaks to Ollie Cole ahead of his gig tonight - Thursday, December 10 - at 8pm in Pearse Station alongside Erica Cody, Damien Dempsey and the State Lights. Tuesday night saw Mundy, Brian Kennedy, Eleanor McEvoy, Mary Coughlan and the Riptide Movement perform at Heuston Station before Mick Flannery, Emma Langford, the Emer O'Flaherty Quartet and Jack O'Rourke played rousing sets at Cork's Kent Station last night.
Oliver Cole initially came to prominence as the singer, songwriter and main guitarist with three-piece Turn, who were signed to Infectious Records in London – home to Muse, Ash and Garbage. Included among the highlights of his career with Turn were sold-out gigs at Vicar Street, a standout performance at the Oxegen in 2005, three Irish Top 10 albums, and a Choice Music Prize nomination.
Cole left the band in 2006, and began work on his first solo album, We Albatri, which was recorded in Germany. Upon its release, Hot Press described the project as "heartfelt, honest, tuneful and true. The release of his acclaimed project Year Of The Bird followed in 2015 and Oliver's third album - Father, Brother, Son - was released on October 30.
Focus Ireland has been at the forefront of Ireland's homelessness services for years, what does the charity mean to you?
Focus Ireland do incredible work to help provide homes for those who need them most. Homelessness is a huge problem in this country and I have huge admiration for people who dedicate their time and energy into helping those who need it most.
Do you think that this year is even more crucial for these services, given the pandemic and tough economic times?
Absolutely, Homelessness deaths have risen by 35% this year. That is a shocking and sad statistic. People's incomes have been greatly affected by the pandemic and we will be witnessing the fallout from this for years to come. Right now more people need more support than ever and I fear it will be like this for years to come.
Can you tell us about your involvement in Iarnróid Éireann's 'Stations Sessions' gigs?
I was delighted to be asked to perform at the station sessions. In these strange times, people can feel so alone and these unique performances offer them a window of escapism. Music can literally transport you to a new place momentarily and that is really needed right now.
What artist are you most excited to see perform at the Station Sessions gigs?
Damien Dempsey - Damien is such a rare and unique talent. I always enjoy watching him perform. He conjures a certain magic.
What are your hopes for Ireland's live music industry in 2021 and touring in general?
I would really love to see live events being able to take place again. Hopefully in 2021 we will begin to see some things return to normal. It’s obviously so important for the musicians and crew to be able to get back to work but it’s also so important that people can begin to enjoy their life’s and live events again.
How will you be spending Christmas this year, given the unusual circumstances?
I will spend Christmas with just my own immediate family this year. I have two small children who are very excited and I’m happy for it to be just us this year. I’m determined to make it as special as possible for all of us and to keep us all as safe. It will be difficult not to visit my elderly dad and my brothers and sisters this year but that’s just the way it is.