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Saturday, 13 July 2013

Dennis McCalmont

Third and last, but by no means least in Ralph's Irish Trilogy is singer/songwriter Dennis McCalmont.  Music has been stirring in the veins of Mayoman (I'm more of a Salad Cream fan) Dennis McCalmont since he was a lad, but it began to course faster as soon as he heard Paul Kossoff's fiery guitar solo on Free's 'All Right Now'.

From the first wooo hoo hoo's 'Speeding Train' has Summer Song written all over it.  Evocative of lazy, hazy sunshine (and beer) soaked beach holidays.  It's one of the tracks that features regularly on Ralph's favourite radio station Radio KC


As Dennis himself puts it - “That raw sound and emotion blasting out of an old radio had a great impact on me even as a child.  I was immediately struck by the music bug, and for years I sang in school choirs.  In my teens I played drums in a band, until I learned a few guitar chords and became the singer/guitarist in the band!”

'MIssing Person' takes you back to the laid back US jazz/funk infused hits so popular in Studio 54 in New York, with its choppy guitar riffs and smooth vocal.  Dennis has a real feel for the funk!

Since then Dennis has been pouring his seemingly limitless creative energies into his music, writing songs, playing his trusty Canadian S&P 12- string guitar, singing, recording singles and albums, doing solo gigs and performing with his band.  To a broad range of original songs that cross musical boundaries from mainstream rock into funk, soul, folk, country and blues, he applies his sturdy and sensitive vocals to attract an ever-increasing number of fans both in Ireland and abroad.

'Wishes' hits a soulful groove, solid rhythm section and bass reminiscent of The Doobies - has to be said, (forgive the Smashy and Nicey link) it's funktastic and would make the ideal summer single release!

The tightness of his band comes from 10 years of loyal friendship and musical explorations with seasoned musical campaigners Michael Buckton (electric guitar), Craig Donaldson (bass) and Donald Hoban (drums).  You can hear their confident musicality on compositions such as 'Speeding Train', 'Wishes' and 'Missing Person'.  Those recordings  feature on the soul/funksters’ new album '#SoulRecall', which has been mastered by Ciaran Byrne, whose impressive studio CV includes Sinead O’Connor, U2, Van Morrison and Metallica.

Apart from regular live solo and band appearances around his native part of Ireland, McCalmont has also dipped into his bottomless pit of energy to work as a facilitator with several youth-orientated organisations, his engaging approach to music giving him an instant link with the participating youths.

He has co-written songs for a local musical production On A Wing And A Prayer at The Royal Theatre in Castlebar, raising much needed funding for 'Hospice', and he even penned a number about the Titanic tragedy, before Bob Dylan did likewise on his 2012 album Tempest.