- 02 Sep 20
As part of our ongoing celebrations for Van Morrison's 75th birthday, Thanks Brother, ROE and Little Hours share their reflections on Van's music and legacy.
Tipped as one of Hot Press's 'Hot For 2019' Irish acts, Thanks Brother combines the unique talents of Róisín O and John Broe (formerly of Miracle Bell). After penning tracks for the likes of Gavin James and The Coronas, the duo found success with their own gritty pop sound – first heard on their stunning debut single, 'We Are Different', in 2018. Last year, Thanks Brother released their highly anticipated EP 1, produced and mixed by Grammy Award winner Ruadhri Cushnan.
Van’s music was playing in my house from a really early age. His music has always been with me since I can remember. In our house, his music was always played beside Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles and James Taylor – he had a similar impact to those acts. Hearing a legend for the first time always stays with you.
For me his Irishness makes him special. He holds his own with the best in the world of music, but, to me, he’s that extra bit special ‘cos he’s ours! Ireland is hugely proud of him. He’s always someone you name as one of the best to come out of Ireland.
There’s so many Van songs that I know without knowing when I first heard them – and ‘Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?’ is one of those. You hear it for the first time in years, and it hits you like the first time when you were a kid. It was an easy choice for us.
Acclaimed multi-instrumentalist ROE has been making serious waves of late with her unique brand of self-styled 'grump electro pop'. Over lockdown, she performed the Snow Patrol album Final Straw with Gary Lightbody and Rossborough as part of a special live-streamed gig, and released her new EP, Things We Don't Talk About, last week.
A few years ago TOUTS covered ‘Gloria’ at a show, and that was the first time I’d connected to something Van Morrison had written. I was blown away. From then on, I’ve been a fan.
Van Morrison had always been a big name growing up: it was really inspiring to see someone from this little place be so successful, and be the incredible writer that he is. He’s so unique in how, if he wants to write a certain way, he will with no holds barred. And he’s amazing in how he does it – each song has its own personality and story to tell.
To grow up seeing him do so well was confirmation that Irish artists can rise up with the greatest of them, and know that we can produce beautiful art that deserves to be out in the world. I’ve covered ‘Lifetimes’, which is just such a lovely song. I love the lyrics, and the melody in the chorus is really catchy.
It was a lot of fun to learn, because some interesting changes happen in the verses, which make the vocals stand out. It’s one of my favourites.
Little Hours, aka Co. Donegal multi-instrumentalist John Doherty, released his self-titled debut EP in 2014 – featuring 'It's Still Love', which was nominated for the Choice Music Prize Song of the Year. After clocking up support slots for James Bay, Tim Baxter and his Rubyworks labelmates Hudson Taylor, Little Hours released his debut album, Now The Lights Have Changed, last year.
My uncles played in a cover band, and one of my earliest musical memories is of them playing 'Moondance' at a local festival in Donegal. I decided that's what I wanted to do too. I started going through all my parents CDs, and they had a few Van albums which I gave a lot of playtime to.
Originally I started out as a bass player, but when I got older and more into the singer-songwriter side of things, I began to take a lot of inspiration from the way Van writes songs and delivers them. He was one of the reasons I started singing to begin with. His vocal and lyrical style is just so unique, raw and honest. It's something that I take inspiration from all the time.
I feel connected to his music as an Irish person in general – not just as an Irish artist. I’ve a sense of pride in the fact that his songs come from the same island as I do. And if there was ever a sort of World Cup of artists, I'd definitely be glad to be on the same team as him!
See the full line-up for this week's 'Rave On, Van Morrison' performances here.
The Hot Press 'Rave On, Van Morrison' Special Issue is out now. Pick up your copy in shops now – or order online below:
You can find all the 'Rave On, Van Morrison' performances on the Hot Press YouTube channel.