- 12 Jun 20
Barry Murphy, bassist and vocalist for Hermitage Green, details the memories that inspired the band's latest single and talks about the band's upcoming drive-in gigs across Limerick, Cork and Kilkenny.
‘Lake Winnipesaukee’ is Hermitage Green’s ode to nostalgia and the profound, refreshing impact of nature on the soul. It’s full of life and comforting energy, both lyrically and sonically as bassist/vocalist Barry Murphy croons about precious memories over a backdrop of warm guitar and piano.
“The song has to do with a nostalgic feeling, when things were simpler and times were easier – or so it seems when you look back on being a kid,” he explains.
It’s the kind of song that anyone can relate to, remembering their own childhood and the moments that they hold precious, but the lake itself has a special importance to Murphy. Located in New Hampshire, Lake Winnipesaukee is a sprawling beast of nature, dotted with islands and a pristine sense of wilderness. He’d first visited it as a child and was astounded by the whimsical sense of beauty, an untouched piece of nature that hasn’t yet been rivaled.
“It was a long time ago, but even my memories were vivid. It was the most beautiful surroundings I’d ever experienced at that point, and probably still to date. I have perfect memories of taking a little boat and row across the lake to go buy sweets, then come back and just spend the whole day swimming,” Murphy reminisces.
Though the memories have always lingered in Murphy’s mind, the real impetus for the song was when he brought his fellow bandmates to the lake while they were touring in the US two years ago. It was a special time – both sharing something he loved deeply with those he cared about and finally getting to relive the nostalgia and bond with his family.
“It was so strange going back and spending time there,” he reflects. “That time certainly gave me a new perspective on life, which is pretty a profound thing to say for a couple of days, but it really did. The song was written more like a poem, and then when I played it with the band it just came out like that.”
Everyone he travelled with seemed to get something individual and profound out of the experience, but he reflects on one moment with his uncle, who has lived on the lake for decades, that influenced both the song and his friends. They swam out to a small group of stones in the vast river and Murphy’s uncle tasked the men with a daunting task – dive as deep as you can and bring up a stone from the bottom.
“It was pretty deep and we all took turns, and that’s in the lyrics. It’s kind of like, if you dig deep and work on yourself, whoever dives deep and reaches the bottom, if you’re willing to do that and make yourself a better person, you’ll be a better man.”
‘Lake Winnipesaukee’ will be featured on Hermitage Green’s upcoming album, due later this year. They’d hoped to release it earlier and get on the road to start playing to fans, but then the entire music industry’s plans were put to a halt due to the coronavirus outbreak. It gave them a much-needed break from touring, but innovation from their booking agent gave them a new kind of entertainment to look forward to in the age of social distancing – drive-in concerts.
“We were all ears, because we just want to get out and play. We were a bit concerned that people might still get nervous about the idea, but the organizers really made a huge effort to cover all bases to make sure that they were as safe as possible,” he explained. “The response has been unbelievable, we’ve sold out the first one. People just want to get out and do something. Especially since they’re all ages, families can get out and do something.”
It’s obviously a new sort of beast to tackle, with the general support from an interactive audience gone as fans sit in their cars. Murphy knows an adjustment will have to be made, but he’s really just excited to get out there.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have an unbelievable following and support of the years. Our gigs are so special and I feel so special toward interacting with fans, whatever that might be with the drive-in gigs. My brother has this ability to turn his brain off and just go on autopilot, so he sometimes will get down into the crowd. And I’m like, ‘Man, do not start walking across the bonnets of cars,’” he laughs.
The return of live music during a time that threatened to squash out the whole industry offers a new beacon of hope.
“I think it’s just going to be such a novelty for people, I would love to go to one. I’m hoping most people are the same, just beeping cars and getting involved. People are so starved from rock music now that it’s going to be emotional for us to get back on stage.”
‘Lake Winnipesaukee’ is out today.
Hermitage Green play The Greenpark Site in Limerick on July 25, Cork Showgrounds on August 1 and Gowran Racecourse in Kilkenny on August 12. Tickets and information are available here.
- Lifestyle & Sports
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