I approached Willie Meighan, owner of Rollercoaster Records in Kilkenny, Ireland about putting a specially made installation in the shop window for the up coming Kilkenny Arts Festival (2016).
Willie liked the concept and we measured up an area of the shop window where it would hang – complete with qr code for passers by to access the video.
I asked Willie probably the most unfair question you could ask a man who made his living by being knowledgeable about the music business – What’s your favourite song? Willie replied “I’ll give you full Artistic Licence”
This is actually worse than having a brief. A week or so later, Willie coincidentally posted his top ten favourites on the hugely popular Rollercoaster Records Facebook Page. Number 1 and 2 were “Little Colored Balloons” – John Murry and “We don’t need nobody else” – Whipping Boy.
I listened intently to the two songs. I was already familiar with Whipping Boy but had never heard of John Murry, (Don’t Judge) a US Singer Songwriter.
After three days it was really time to decide and I had my mind made up to choose Whipping Boy. I just wasn’t feeling the recorded version of “Little Colored Balloons”…. And then it happened. I stumbled across a Live performance John did in Cleeres Theatre, Kilkenny 2013 of “Little Colored Balloons” and it completely blew me away.
It’s a completely harrowing song about addiction. With heart on sleeve, John Murry left a piece of himself on the stage that night.
At the start of the video originally recorded by Darragh Byrne, John Murry speaks of his love of returning to perform in Kilkenny. He actually loved it so much that he moved there to live! Cleere’s is an Iconic venue in Kilkenny for Live music and Rollercoaster is more than a Record shop, It’s the musical heartbeat of an Artistic City.
I am so glad I chose this song as Willie passed away from Cancer in November 2017. If Rollercoaster was the heartbeat of Kilkenny Willie was it’s lifeblood. Organising gigs, events and festivals, running the day to day business of a record store successfully in the age of free downloads and helping out a creative in what ever way he could. This is a painting not of Kilkenny in a conventional visual sense, but contains so many local elements it is “Of Kilkenny.”
The handover was for me the icing on the cake as Willie informed me John would also be there in a few minutes to step in for a photo – No star treatment here – Willie had asked John to pop to the Post Office for him! Sure enough on his return, the handover was complete with back slapping all round.
The following video is a little over 9 minutes which includes John’s interview at the start but it’s worth it to hear the passion in his voice, the way he speaks about Kilkenny and Kilkenny people, and for that performance…Oh my. What a performance! What song would you hang on YOUR wall?