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Episode Three

Artists
The Hit

Duke Special

I never thought this day would come, is an album for sleepwalkers, skeletons and gravediggers, for those who have fallen so far down they can taste the soil between their teeth. A more immediate and visceral collection than the previous multi platinum selling Songs From The Deep Forest, the new album's many moments of beauty and hope are juxtaposed with a dark, brooding edge- the trademark twist of the Duke. Recorded between Wapping, London; Champaign, Illinois and Culleybackey, Northern Ireland, I Never Thought This Day Would Come was produced by long-time collaborator Paul Pilot and mixed by Nick Terry, best known for his work with the Klaxons and The Libertines.

In a deliberate attempt to push outwards, Duke Special undertook many writing collaborations for this album including sessions with Daniel Benjamin - drummer with German punk band Jumbo Jet, Paul Pilot, Phil Wilkinson and Bernard Butler. The wind, brass and percussion of the RTE Symphony Orchestra, under the stewardship of the inimitable David Brophy, add a swirling carnival flavour to the proceedings.

Since the release of Songs From The Deep Forest, Duke Special has toured sold out shows across Ireland, the UK and Europe. From headlining a packed-to-the-rafters Shepherds Bush Empire in London to stage diving at Electric Picnic, hosting five sell out nights back-to-back at Belfast?s Empire Music Hall to appearing as a special guest performer at the Cannes Film Festival, Duke Special has come further than he ever imagined he might. Crowded House invited him along on their first tour in ten years, he gave a little known Welsh singer called Duffy her first ever shows, guested for the legendary Ray Davies in London and performed at The Irish Film Boards Oscar Wilde event in LA. Duke Special's immense creative talents have seen him writing the theme tune for Sesame Tree - the Northern Ireland edition of Sesame Street - where he also got to sing with The Muppets in the final episode. He has hosted a night at the Belfast Film Festival where he performed as a puppet of himself. He recently created a night of song and theatre in the Spiegeltent for the Dublin Fringe Festival and performed his songs accompanied by a 60 piece strong RTE Symphony Orchestra at a sold out show in Dublin?s National Concert Hall. The Duke also learned to swordfight for an upcoming on stage showdown with his long time nemesis, Neil Hannon.

In keeping with the dynamic and musically ambitious style of the Duke, the single is to be recorded live at London's infamous Metropolis Studio's as part of their 60th Anniversary celebrations of the 70 format. A truly one-off experience, the process has been obsolete for over thirty years and this will be the first recording in this way since Thelma Houston's I've Got the Music in Me. Duke Special and band have been invited to lay down four tracks including a version of the first ever 45rpm 70 vinyl disc Texarkarna Baby by country and western singer Eddie Arnold, which was issued by RCA in the USA on March 31st 1949. Chuck Berry's, You Can't Catch Me and new Duke Special track Monsters In The Dust will also be recorded in front of a select live audience.

The Hit

Johnny Logan

Born 1954 in Melbourne, Australia, Johnny Logan moved to Ireland with his family aged three. Barely twelve years old, Sean Patrick Michael Sherrard Johnny Logans birth name - accompanied his father, the famous tenor Patrick O'Hagan, on tours in Australia and New Zealand. There he and his father found themselves killing time by singing together in the dressing rooms of the great concert halls. This period had a tremendous influence on Johnny Logan, encouraging him to become a musician as well. By the time he was thirteen he had learned to play the guitar and had started writing songs. The rest is music history.

 

Songwriters

 

The Hit

Songwriter: Alan Earls (30)
Song: Prayin'
Location: Greystones

Alan has just recently gotten married to his girlfriend Alison. They cut their honeymoon short so Alan could participate on The Hit. He works in Dell but is trying his best to make a career in music as it's his one true passion. This song is about his father. Alan went to his Dad's first anniversary mass last December and remembered the priest saying 'Brian Earls we're praying for you.' He went home that night and wrote Prayin'. His tattoo is in honor of his father and is also a declaration of love to Alison.

 

The Hit

Songwriter: Joshua Golding (23)
Song: You Love Me Anyway
Location: Dublin

Joshua lives at home in Donaghmede with his parent and siblings. He lost his job at HMV when it closed down and has been unemployed ever since.

He runs a singer songwriter evening in Dublin once a month. It's called The Fruit Tree Sessions.

This song is mostly about loving someone in spite of their slight self obsessions. For Joshua, having the song released would be confirmation that he has a talent for songwriting.

 

The Hit

Songwriter: Louise Killeen (37)
Song: Who's to Say It Is
Location: Offaly

Louise is the bar manager of the family run bar in Shannonbridge. Her dream is to be a singer songwriter.

She started playing music when she was around 7 years of age and started songwriting when she was seventeen. The community in Shannonbridge is so supportive of her career they rent a minibus to her gigs and travel the country to see her perform.

This is a love song about a relationship that is in trouble, with one person believing the relationship can be saved.

 

The Hit

Songwriter: Lorcan Hughes (44)
Song: Lorcan Hughes (44)
Location: Laois - originally from Dublin

Lorcan is a musician but has been doing comedy for the last 5 years. He writes comical songs and parodies with his friend Emmett. His ambition is to write fulltime for other artists.

He started writing aged 18 when he bought a guitar. He didn't try and learn covers; he just wanted to hear his own songs.

Lorcan wrote this song 20 years ago. His wife encouraged him to enter it as it is one of her favourites.

 

The Hit

Songwriter: Aaron Hackett (16)
Song: 1969
Location: Limerick

Aaron has just finished transition year. He has been singing for as long as he can remember and is a self taught guitar player. He began songwriting when he was 12 years old.

Aaron loves vintage things; clothes, movies, and music. This is reflected in 1969 - this song is about teenage love in the 1960s in the USA - hanging out in diners, playing pool, sneaking out after hours and being 'bad kids in the dark'.

 

The Hit

Songwriter: Jamie Wilson (41),
Song: Rain
Location: Donegal

Jamie lives in Donegal with his wife Rachel and his two daughters Mia and Katie. Jamie loves fatherhood and is a stay at home Dad.

The song is inspired by the thought of a past love and the yearning for rain to return so that they would be as one.

 

 

 

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