Featured on: Independent.ie
A ROCKER who survived lockdown by singing to tens of thousands of fans online is swapping the screen for the
stage with a live tour and new album.
Former The Revs singer and bassist Rory Gallagher revealed he became an Amazon delivery driver as Covid decimated the entertainment sector.
But his new career lasted just a day before he dusted off his acoustic guitar and took to social media, entertaining an army of fans starved of live music every weekend.
Now the ‘Jimmy’s Winning Matches’ hitmaker, 43, is back on the road with a tour and new album ‘Centre Falls Apart’, the first released on the Voices of the Sea label on March 11.
“I noticed a lot of musicians on Facebook doing live gigs, so I tried it and made more in two hours than I would driving the van for the whole week. The Amazon job lasted a day,” said the singer/songwriter from Kilcar in Donegal.
“So online gigs provided our income, we moved over to Scotland and that was paying the rent, it kept us going for the whole year and I began to enjoy it, it was so much more intimate and quiet and I think it made me a better artist.
“On Facebook, we would have 700 watching live every week but sometimes there would be 40,000-50,000 views after a few days.”
Covid-19 hit the father-of-two particularly hard – he and Scottish wife Cara had to hand back the keys to a new music venue, The Wildcat, which they planned to open in Edinburgh just as lockdown struck.
But every weekend since, he has played Facebook Live gigs to a huge audience and also reached No 1 in the Irish iTunes charts with ‘When the Lights go Down’ in November 2020.
Gallagher, who performs under the project name Rory and the Island, didn’t stop there – breaking records by performing a mammoth eight-hour Facebook Live gig in August 2020, earning him worldwide plaudits.
His first post-lockdown gig was in The Dublin Castle in Camden, London, last August; now he has more than dozen lined up across Ireland and the UK.
“The first gig back was magic, I had forgotten the feeling; it feels like surfing when there’s a big crowd singing the lyrics back to you, it becomes a wave effect in the room, you’re actually getting carried by them.”
‘Centre Falls Apart’ was largely born from the struggles of lockdown and the resilience people needed to counteract it – but there are lighter numbers, including ‘Donna Don’t Take My Summer’.
His recording and stage name, Rory and the Island, is a reference to his move to Lanzarote after indie group The Revs, which
achieved two top five albums in Ireland, disbanded.