Singer/songwriter Con Murphy will headline his first show in Mayo in the TF Royal Hotel and Theatre on Saturday, May 21. PHOTO: GER DUFFY PHOTOGRAPHY

Debut album and Castlebar show for Con Murphy

SINGER/SONGWRITER Con Murphy will be performing his first headline show in Mayo at the Ruby Room in the TF Royal Hotel and Theatre, Castlebar, next month to launch the release of his debut album.

Con, a native of Ballinrobe and now residing in Aghamore, will be releasing his ten-track album, Otherworld, on May 6, with a number of songs having gained air time on Lyric FM, RTÉ Radio One and Midwest Radio, and have been slightly reworked and remastered to fit with the album, which is a collection of songs closely associated with Con's work.

With a modern and original sound, you can hear influences of The Frames, Bell X1, Leonard Cohen, The Cure and more threaded throughout. This album takes you through the byroads of Ireland, to the eastern fjords of Iceland, and offers an escape into the Otherworld.

A singer-songwriter by night, Con spends his days facilitating music sessions in the Mayo Mental Health Services at the Castlebar Training Centre. The project he designed and created himself, The Uke and Me, is now a permanent fixture in the delivery of creative arts/recreational intervention programmes in the Mayo Mental Health Services.

"I'm very much inspired by the work I do and the stories of people," said Con. "I'm a bit of a storyteller and I like to tell stories. It's a coming of age for me as an artist."

That he can use his passion for music in his work is a source of pride for Con.

"Somebody came to me recently at a deli counter and said 'You were saving us with the ukeleles and your music. It made such an impact on my life' and now he works as a peer support worker.

"It's so organic. There's something in the arts and creativity that can trigger emotions in us. Lyrics and music can cut through. I've always been pulled back into music from work."

Like many others, Con was on a sabbatical from performing due to the Covid pandemic. But after reaching out through a funding campaign, he received a phenomenal response. The album is produced by Dave Skelton and mastered by Aidan Foley, who worked with everyone from Mundy to U2. One of the tracks, 'Condemned the Lyricist', features cellist Vyvienne Long, who has worked with Damien Rice and Ed Sheeran.

"It's almost harder to get back in (to performing on stage)," admitted Con. "I was at the Folk Society Show in the TF recently and everyone was saying about the stress and nervousness about going back on stage and it's something I've been working on.

"There's still a little lack of trust that there's going to be momentum and we'll keep these shows going. The album has given it back to me and the energy that people have come with. They want to see live music and I'm motivated now to do a show around the album because there's a lot of stories that reflect on it. We're in a deep reflective time because of Covid and I think the album reflects that.

"I got a lot of my first opportunities to play in Castlebar. It's the first headline show in Mayo and I'm excited to showcase it. If I want to be spiritual about it, it feels like a calling."

Otherworld will be released on Friday, May 6, on all digital platforms and shops. The title track is out today (Friday).

Tickets for Con's show in the TF on Saturday, May 21, are now available on Ticketmaster.