Our own guitar master Bill Shanley is back for this year’s festival. As well as anchoring the legendary Shanleys session on Sunday 19th, he will also feature in Guitartown programme 3 – a selection of performances recorded in Shanleys.
Raised in the West Cork haven of Clonakilty in the renowned Shanley’s Music Bar, Bill was surrounded by pro musicians from a very young age. Bill’s father, Moss Shanley, a great piano player and entertainer immersed in the music of the 40’s and 50’s, encouraged Bill to sit in on gigs from an early age and was a great mentor to him in his formative years.
Noel Redding, of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, gave Bill his first guitar lessons and was a big part of Bill’s musical education, introducing him to early Rock and Roll and more. From his first guitar lessons with Noel at the age of nine they played hundreds of gigs together in Shanley’s Bar, joined on regular occasions by Mitch Mitchell, Tom Mc Guinness and Eric Bell.
Noel and Bill’s playing partnership culminated in a concert, together with Randy California, in the famous Olympic Theatre in Paris in 1990 to mark the 20th anniversary of Hendrix’s death, the same venue that the JME did their first ever gig in 1966.
In 1990, straight out of school, Bill moved to Dublin and established himself as a highly sought after guitarist both in the studio and live. Accompanying Eleanor McEvoy during the heady days of recording “A Woman’s Heart”, on the strength of which Eleanor and her band signed to Geffen Records in 1993, and becoming a key member of Mary Black’s band in 1995, remaining so today as musical director, and recording the Full Tide, Stories from the Steeples, Speaking with the Angels, Shine and more recently Mary Black sings Jimmy Mac albums.
Midnight Mission is Shanley’s most recent album and comprises original recordings inspired by the excitement and melodies of early electric guitar music, drawing on Bill’s world class guitar playing and ability to write great, timeless melodies. It features special guests Ray Davies and Paul Brady.
Session & Touring Guitarist, Producer…
Dublin based, Bill is one of Ireland’s top session and touring guitar players and producers. Bill has established himself internationally too, through touring and contributing to albums with Ray Davies, Paul Brady, Mary Black, Roy Harper, Gilbert O Sullivan, Alexandra Burke, Sinead O’Connor, Judy Collins to name a few.
Being an accompanist has always been of key interest to Bill, enjoying the great scope and limitless backdrop you can create as a player for the artist you’re working with. This skill was commented on in the Financial Times review of a Ray Davies show a the Royal Albert Hall –“Is there a finer sideman around? It’s unlikely…”