Murray Leith and Jo Laing
THIS month we chat to the legendary Billy McCracken from Wexford, Ireland. Billy is a singer, songwriter, musician and studio producer in one who currently lives in Tenerife. If you’ve caught Billy over lockdown on his Facebook or YouTube live shows, you’ll know he’s a talent not to be missed!
You’ve been on the music scene for several years. Who or what inspired you to make music?
Hi everyone and thank you for your support. Well, the answer to the first question is a very simple one, it was my mother and father, who many years ago had a travelling roadshow going from town to town in Ireland entertaining people all over the country. We would put on a number of different sketches and hold bingos and raffles and show movies on the big screen. People would come from miles and miles to attend the shows as there wasn’t much like it back in the day. I could go on forever about this, but I’ll leave it at that for now.
How would you describe the music that you typically create and perform?
Well, as you know, I write a lot of my own stuff, which I very rarely perform live, but I keep on writing anyway! I love a very wide range of music, anything from Christy Moore to Pink Floyd.
If you could pick anyone, who would you most like to collaborate with?
That’s a hard question to answer as they’re all dead now! But to pick someone alive just now I think it would have to be David Gilmore from Pink Floyd.
If you could turn the clock back, is there anything you would change in your career so far?
Not a thing. I have had the most amazing life with all the ups and downs and everything that goes with it, but I couldn’t think of a single reason to change it.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
My old man always said to me: “The person that never made a mistake never made nothing.”
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business
The simple answer is enormously. You can hear anything you want to today, anywhere anytime, anyplace and with Facebook pages like Glasgow Irish Bands and Gigs and people like that promote these pages they’re just brilliant.
What is your favourite song to perform and why?
That’s a hard one to answer as I have loads of songs I like to sing, but if we were to narrow it down to one song, I would have to say The Old Man. It hits me every time I sing it with the emotions and the understanding of what you had and lost.
You play an amazing mix of music from Old Country, Traditional Irish to Rock. Which famous musicians do you admire?
Well now, again they’re mostly dead and gone, but to answer a few, Prince was an amazing musician, playing more than 36 instruments. Glen Campbell was a very underestimated guitar player, but brilliant with it. John Lord Hammond, the organ player from Deep Purple, was also excellent. He was just the ultimate example of what a keyboard player should be.
What is one message you would give to your fans and followers?
Thank you for everything and especially for all you’ve done over the lockdown. You’ve been like one big family x.
What’s next for you?
I never thought I’d say it, but I can’t wait to get back to work in Paddy O’Kellys!
Glasgow Irish Bands and Gigs would like to thank Billy for his support to us with his live gigs on our platform and hope to catch up, in person soon.
Check in with Glasgow Irish Bands and Gigs Facebook page—www.facebook.com/GlasgowIrishBandsAndGigs—regularly for gig listings, guides, features, exclusive streams, playlists, news and more