Johnny McEvoy, one of the most popular faces on the Irish music scene over the past 50 years is looking forward to a busy 2015.
Having just enjoyed a quiet and relaxing Christmas with his daughter Alice and three grandchildren at home in Greystones, the County Offaly native is gearing up for an 18-date tour of Ireland which kicks off on January 28th. And half a century after his professional music career sparked into life, Johnny still loves performing, and proving to his fans, and himself, that he can still do it after all of these years.
“2013 was a tough year for me as I lost my wife, Odette, and I spent most of 2014 getting my life back together,” he says. “I recorded an album called ‘Basement Sessions’ in July which is doing very well, and I started touring again, it felt good to be back on the scene.
“The new tour kicks off at the end of January and will see me performing in theatres and hotels from Derry to Portlaoise right up to the end of March. After that it’s back into the studio to begin working on a new album.”
Johnny turns 70 in April of this year. Last year, saw the 50th anniversary of his first TV appearance on RTE when he took part on the Ballad Session show alongside Ronnie Drew, when he was fronting the Ronnie Drew Group, and prior to the birth of “The Dubliners”. Bobby and Peg Clancy were also on the bill. Johnny performed The Bould O’Donoghue that evening and knew straight away what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.
“I’ll never forget how nervous I was before the TV show,” he recalls, “and I still get nervous today. I got a great feeling from that first appearance and I thought afterwards that I was able to do it as well as anybody else and that was it – I knew music would be my life. My mother was always a great support.
“There were a lot of TV shows after that. In 1970 I did a series of twelve shows featuring Johnny McEvoy at the Cliff Castle, and there was a series for UTV called Sounds of McEvoy which ran for four years from 1974 to 1977.
“In the late 1980s I did another six-show series for RTE, which were re-run on TG4 recently and I was also lucky enough to have a Late Late Show special. I was part of a two-piece act called Ramblers Two in the mid-1960s but it was when I released “Mursheen Durkin” that my solo career really took off.