- 25 Sep 20
Making Sand is out now.
You grew up in a bilingual family on the Aran Islands – how has that influenced your music?
Singing and writing in both English and Irish feels natural to me. My grammar and spelling in Irish isn’t the best, but I speak it fluently. My dad toured as Barry Ronan, and he wrote and sang in English and Irish as well. From a songwriter’s point of view, that’s what I’m interested in first and foremost – writing and singing songs in both languages.
There’s a lot of trad where I’m from, but contemporary music and folk would have been more my thing. When going to open mics over the last few years, and writing songs, I always gravitated towards a folk style, and also country. I listened to the Eagles a lot growing up, and Fleetwood Mac.
There’s a younger generation connecting with music in the Irish language once again – do you think there will always be an audience for that?
I definitely do. For Irish people, and even people outside of Ireland with Irish heritage, the language is something that’s ours. They don’t have it anywhere else. So there’s pride in that. Music is one of the great ways to celebrate that and practise the language.
What was it like working with John Reynolds on your new album, Making Sand?
We started off doing the one song, ‘Minnie’, and we were going to see how it went from there. But being in the studio in London, and meeting some of the people over there, it felt like I was closer to things – and that inspired me. It broadened my view of the music industry in one sense, but it also made me look at things differently when I came back home. It put my music, and what I was doing on the island, in perspective.
Knowing that he’s one of the top producers in the world – and he’s worked with people who have influenced me – was also pretty cool! It gave me a bit of confidence that I might have lacked in my music. He’s worked on all these classic Sinéad O’Connor songs. Hearing some of the stories about those recording sessions and her career was so interesting. I also got to use Damien Dempsey’s guitar a good bit over there, instead of bringing my own one over on Ryanair!
• Making Sand is out on September 25. Padraig Jack plays Joe Watty’s, Cill Rónán (September 30); Asgard Theatre, Arklow, (3); and Róisín Dubh, Galway (9). He also tours with Damien Dempsey in November.