FINISHING TOUCHES AS MONAGHAN PREPARES FOR HARVEST TIME BLUES

1 September 2011 One Comment by The Northern Standard

As Diarmuid McCleary is pictured by Rory Geary putting the finishing touches to his ‘Graffiti Arts’ project in anticipation of the Harvest Time Blues Festival this weekend, it’s worth looking at the words by the late Rory Gallagher — which are edged in the piece — who says, “Blues is the most demanding form of music because it goes deeper, it goes beyond technique. Because it’s spiritual , it drains the artist”.
These words bring us to the crossroads of the music were the legendary bluesman, Robert Leroy Johnson (1911–1938), made his infamous pact with the Devil in return for the fame and the talent he craved for….little did he know the impact he and his music — the blues — would have on the world today.
The connection to Monaghan’s Harvest Time Blues Festival and the history and development of this music is like a chapter out of one of Dan Brown’s novels. On Monday, the blues world mourned the passing of 96-year-old David “Honey Boy” Edwards, who performed in the Hillgrove Hotel at the Monaghan festival in 1995, and who was the last bluesman to have performed with Robert Johnson all those years ago.
Otis Taylor, who will be playing in Monaghan during this weekend’s festival, has himself performed with Honey Boy many times and is now considered one of the torchbearers of what Georgie Fame called “America’s finest art form”.
Otis toured for four years with that other internationally renowned Irish guitarist, Gary Moore, who performed at the Monaghan Harvest Time in 2001, and to whom this year’s festival is dedicated. The Belfast legend had in turn been inspired by the great Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green, who himself had played in Monaghan in 1996. Moore’s love of the blues, and Otis as its keeper, brings the current and upcoming generation of musicians to Monaghan for this year’s festival, where a very special guest will be Jack Moore, Gary’s son, who plays at the Market House.
As Diarmuid, representing a new generation of local artistic talent puts the finishing touches to his latest work at the rear of Seamie McKenna’s well-known music venue at Dublin Street, he does so in full appreciation of the ever-evolving thread of blues history involving Monaghan, and of the great names that weave in and out of that thread.

One Comment »

  • sorcha said:

    Looks like excellent work Diarmuid!
    Do you do houses?