PRESENTED BY TOM MILLETT
Gerry Creen has been singing for as long as he can remember. Encouraged by his family and teachers at primary school Gerry performed solo, in choral groups and choirs at every opportunity. In his early teens he began playing mandolin, tenor banjo and guitar to accompany his singing in youth club groups and folk bands, such as... The Gleaners 1968/69.Gerry and Dessie Friel (father of Anna Friel) played in school concerts and coffee houses such as The Hobbit, The Ferryboat and The Boundary Bar, where they rubbed shoulders with musicians and singers such as David McWilliams, Den Warrick, Patsy Melarkey, Gillian McPherson, Sam Bracken and Dave Shannon and a host of traditional musicians all part of the vibrant traditional and contemporary Belfast folk scene. Gerry and Dessie supported The Dubliners and Johnny McEvoy at the Ulster Hall. Folkus 1970/71. Influenced by New-Wave world folk music and in particular bands such as Fairport convention and Pentangle, Rock and Blues guitarist Hugh Fearon was added to an increasingly experimental mix and Gerry and Dessie took their first tentative steps as songwriters. Rumplestiltskin 1971/72. When Dessie left Belfast for college in England, Gerry headed off to The College of Art at the University of Ulster. Gerry and Hugh joined Peter Millar and Sam Bateman to form Rumplestiltskin. Rump was influenced by a very wide range of music including, World folk music, Blues and Rock. From The Cream and Hendrix to Fairport Convention, Crosby/Stills/Nash and The Incredible String Band. Rump was very experimental, using as many as 14 instruments, including, citar and Indian harmonium, during a gig. Peter, Sam and Gerry wrote songs as individuals and occasionally collaborated on original songs. Gerry was increasingly drawn into his career in Art but found some time to make guest appearances with Patsy Melarkey, Colin Higgins, Louis Gordon, Hugh Fearon and Peter McNally. Armed with a growing reputation as a singer/songwriter honed in folk clubs associated with The Ulster Federation of Folk clubs such as The Sunflower, The Walnut, Downpatrick Folk club, The Copper Kettle (Enniskillen) etc. Gerry embarked on a part-time solo career playing the "Folk Circuit" of clubs and festivals around Ireland. In 1976 Gerry was awarded the prize for "Best Vocalist" at the Letterkenny International Folk Festival, and in 1979 his song "A Rose By Any Other Name" won best song at The Bass Ireland Song Festival. Gerry played at The Belfast Festival at Queens, five years in succession, culminating in the launch of his album, "A Rose by any other Name" at The Harp folk club in November 1986. His band on the night included Enda Walsh on piano, Paddy Walsh on keyboards, Dave Early R.I.P. (ex Shade) on drums and percussion, Dee Moore on bass and Trevor Stewart on uillean pipes. The album which was produced by Gerry aided by Shaun Wallace and Enda Walsh, was recorded at Shaun Wallace's Homestead Studios in Randalstown .The album featured the highly respected musicians Shaun Wallace electric guitar, Enda Walsh keyboards, Jane Cassidy vocals, Frank Cassidy bouzouki, Trevor Stewart uillean pipes, Billy Moll concertina and bodhran, Neil Martin whistle, Anthony McQuillan bass and Brendan McGarrity and Colin Bell on drums plus Gerry vocals, acoustic and electric guitars and harmonica. In recent years most of Gerry's time has been dedicated to his career as a teacher and his family life. He did however find time to play occasionally with bands such as Breaking Ice with, Robert Morrison, Denise Kelly-Brown, and Stevie Murtagh, and The Sads with Jack Kennedy, John Leadbetter, Denis Graham, Alex Robinson, Paul Cole and Philip Simpson and some two-piece gigs with John Leadbetter. Gerry's on going solo work recently includes gigs with Dougie Maclean, Paul Casey, Janet Holmes, Colin Henry, John Spillane, Eilidh Patterson, Joe Echo, The Carolina Chocolate Drops. Gerry has played on the same bill as The Dubliners, Planxty, Louden Wainwright, John Martin, Danny Thompson, Ralph McTell, Paul Brady, Tom Paxton, Donovan, Christie Moore, Freddie White, Alan Taylor, Don Everley, Pierre Bensusan, Stefan Grossman, Mary Coughlan, The Strawbs, Lindisfarne, Ossian, The Battlefield Band, Stocktons Wing, Scullion, and many more.http://www.myspace.com/gerrycreen
Tune in again tomorrow!!!