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23 Jan, Wednesday
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Get-To-Know-Declan Murphy

Get to Know: Declan Murphy

Fans of The 4 of Us will know that when you go to see one of their live shows, there could be two members on stage, there might be five – the name never really made sense! One thing you can be sure of though, is that somewhere in their number there will always be at least two Murphy Brothers.

Their latest album Sugar Island was released just over a year ago; a concept album of sorts, with many of the songs recalling their experience of growing up in Newry. It’s a brilliantly subtle, nostalgic look back at 1970s Northern Ireland with humour and warmth, without being a terribly worthy record about “The Troubles”.

The brothers maintain a hectic touring schedule and have become renowned for exciting, high energy shows, combining their early ’90s rock-pop anthems with their newest material and everything in between. Youngest brother, guitar superstar, reluctant singer and all round good bloke is Declan. Get to Know Declan Murphy.

Name: Declan Joseph Murphy

Where you’re from: Dad’s from Mullaghbawn, Co. Armagh. Mum’s from Markethill, Co. Armagh. We’re from Newry, Co. Down

Describe your style in 5 words or fewer: Little behind the beat

Biggest musical influence: Brendan Murphy, Enda Walsh, Peter McKinney and early guitar teacher Donal O’Hanlon

What you’re listening to right now: Otis Redding

Favourite venue: Ulster Hall

Favourite local band/artist of the moment: I’m loving Edelle McMahon’s album: Adventures in Narcissism

Last gig you attended: Ryan Adams, Ulster Hall, Belfast

Best gig you ever attended: Prince, Wembly Arena, Lovesexy Tour, 1988

Gig you wish you could have attended: Bob Marley and the Wailers – Babylon by Bus Tour – 1979

Favourite album of all time: Joni Mitchell – Hejira

Musician you’d love to collaborate with: Ethan Johns

Last thing you do before you go onstage: Ask Brendan if he’s ready

Dream festival line-up: Rolling Stones, James Brown, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Planxty, Public Enemy, Stevie Wonder, Talking Heads, Kate Bush, The Blue Nile, Neil Young, Ian Dury and The Blockheads, Roxy Music, Fela Kuti and The 4 of Us

Most valued possession: My health

You can catch The 4 of Us live during their Northern Irish tour next month. Find details here.

Writer for Gigging NI. My tastes are varied; began listening to the folksy standards of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell and indie favourites like The Cure and The Smiths, all of which permeated my formative years in the 80s. My first gig was Prince in Cork in 1990. The 90’s also included The Trip to Tip in ’91 & ’92, and gigs by Van Morrison, David Byrne, The Verve, Counting Crows, John Prine, Morrissey, Chris Smither and many more. The noughties brought James Taylor, Squeeze, New York Dolls, Neil Young, Arlo Guthrie amongst others; though a highlight was an opportunity to see lifelong hero David Bowie on his final tour, Reality in 2003. This decade I’ve had the chance to see everything from Erasure, Johnny Marr and They Might be Giants to Thirty Seconds to Mars, Aslan, Crosby and Nash, Georgie Fame, Paolo Nutini, John Grant. Latterly there's been a pretty serious obsession with Rufus Wainwright, and the Wainwrights in general to be honest. In the last few years, I’ve also been enjoying a lot more of our home grown talent, with the likes of Duke Special, Brian Kennedy, VerseChorusVerse, The Bonnevilles, Tony Villiers and the Villains, The Hardchargers, and The Four of Us – so I guess you could say no common thread to speak of!