The idea for the On The Right TRAX (OTRT) column first came to me when I started working in TRAX record store in Tullamore back towards the end of 2012. How, I wondered to myself at the time, could I combine two of my greatest passions in life; music and writing? The answer, of course, was simple: write about music!
The editor of the Tullamore Tribune, Ger Scully, was well used to receiving various bits and pieces from me about different things on a fairly regular basis, so we already knew each other. When I put the idea of a weekly music column to him, he came on board straight away. And in fairness to Ger, it could never have begun, nor continued for as long as it has, without his support.
TRAX, thankfully, were also delighted to be linked with the column right from the get-go, and working there gave me first access to every major new release every single week. For a music lover, heaven! At this time, I was also already active in supporting, promoting, and working with several different Irish artists (something which would formally become my As Written PR company years later – check out the As Written page on this site for more info on that), mostly on the country music scene. So working in TRAX and writing the column not only made sense in every way for all concerned, it also created the possibility of making even greater connections within the music business for me.
The very first OTRT column was published in December of 2012, and it was a feature on a woman who has gone on to become one of the most successful and inspiring artists of her time – and of all time, for that matter – singer/songwriter Taylor Swift. Over the years between then and now it’s been my pleasure and privilege to chat to some of the very biggest names in Irish and international music, entertainment, fashion, and more.
Included among them have been; Imelda May (possibly my ALL-TIME favourite interview ever, SUCH a COOL person!), Chris Shiflett (of the Foo Fighters), Oti Mabuse (of Strictly Come Dancing), popstar Kiesza, Louis Walsh, Clare Bowen (from the TV show ‘Nashville’), Una Healy, Twinnie, Nathan Carter, Mike Denver, Cliona Hagan, Lisa McHugh, Margo, Philomena Begley, Charlie Landsborough, Samia Longchambon (‘Maria’ in Coronation Street) Grainne Gallanagh (Miss Universe Ireland 2018), Rachel Allen (another of my favourites, a really wonderful and genuine person), Jennifer Byrne (Rose of Tralee 2017), Geraldine O’ Grady (Rose of Tralee 1999), Pat Cunnane (part of the Obama administration for six years), Frances Black (a huge heart, so, so nice), Lorraine Keane (a legend, and an inspiration in all she does), Kathryn Thomas, Jimmy MacCarthy, Johnny Duhan, George Furey of The Fureys, tenor Anthony Kearns, Matthew Gilsenan of The Celtic Tenors, George Murphy, Brendan Bowyer, the late George Hamilton IV, Tommy Tiernan, Neil Delamere, Des Bishop, Katherine Lynch, the late Brendan Grace, Jason Byrne, Andrew Maxwell, Chasing Abbey, Simon Casey, Hannah Kathleen, Ryan Andrews, and American country stars Mo Pitney and Eric Paslay, to name only a few!
But OTRT is not just about already established national and international stars. We also do our best to shine a light on talent that’s much closer to home too. So I’ve also tried to turn that spotlight towards artists like singer/songwriters Dubh Lee, Eoin Martin, and Briana (all from Tullamore), rising stars of the Irish country music scene such as Alex Roe and Larissa Tormey, as well as folk band The Wrafter Family, and more besides. And part of the plan for the future is to also focus on individuals whose talents lend themselves to improving peoples’ enjoyment of life…from make-up artists, to photographers, to who knows what else!
Every single one of those interviews and chats mentioned above are a special memory in their own right. And hopefully, there are many more like them still to come! My dream interviews, by the way, would be Barack Obama, Garth Brooks, Gary Barlow, and Hillary Clinton. So if anybody out there can hook me up…let’s talk!