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21 Jan, Monday
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Get to Know: Matt McGinn

Perhaps Northern Ireland’s smiliest artist, an evening in the company of Matt McGinn would do your heart good. Friendly and funny, he exudes warmth from the stage.

That doesn’t mean though, that he doesn’t deal with the serious stuff when it comes to his music. The End of the Common Man, Matt’s latest release and third studio album, contains 10 tracks with themes as diverse as unrequited love, heartbreak, crime, politics and murder for starters.

Besides his own recordings, Matt is also an esteemed songwriter and producer and can often be seen working alongside fellow artists including Gareth Dunlop and Brigid O’Neill. Get to Know Matt McGinn.

matt mcginn album launch - belnash clayton hotel

Name: Matt McGinn

Where you’re from: Hilltown, County Down

Describe your style in 5 words or fewer: Constantly giving off to music

Digital music, CDs or vinyl: All have their place with me at the minute.  I couldn’t do without any of them

Biggest musical influence: John Martyn, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Ethan Johns, Sinead Frame, Gavin Quigley, Cricky Markey, Lennon & McCartney, Brother & Sisters, Parents, Uncles, Aunts etc., John McCart, Paul Brady, Hendrix

What you’re listening to right now: The brand new album from Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker. It’s fabulous. The Kiss of Light from Anthony Toner and Frank Ormsby also

Favourite venue: The Elmwood Hall, Belfast

Favourite local band/artist of the moment: Really looking forward to the next album by Ciara O’Neill

Last gig you attended: The Orphan Brigade, Carnlough

Best gig you have ever attended: Bon Iver, 3 Arena, Dublin and The Highwaymen, King’s Hall, Belfast

Favourite album of all time: Solid Air, John Martyn

Musician you’d love to collaborate with: Buddy Miller and Donal Lunny

Last thing you do before going on-stage: Jump up and down in a strange way

You have £10 left in the world, what do you by?: A decent Côtes du Rhône and a block of brie

Matt’s Lessons of War project launches in the Black Box at 2pm on Sunday the 15th of April. For details of merch and upcoming live dates, see 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!