Megan O'Neill

• IRISH BORN SINGER SONGWRITER •

We want YOUR stories.

*Guest Post - Dan Clark, Common Threads Guitar and Vocals

As Benicio del Toro says in The Usual Suspects, “Oh, was that the one about the, er…hooker with dysentery?”

No. Not that one. Let me clarify.

It’s all because of a 17th century Irish songwriter called Turlough O'Carolan. He was a blind harpist, which I suppose made him a kind of baroque era Stevie Wonder.

Where are you going with this, mutters an uncaring world.

Apparently O'Carolan would travel Ireland without any money, and each night, wherever he happened to end up, he’d head to the local inn, buttonhole the innkeeper and the regulars and say: “give me a meal and a bed for the night, and I’ll write and sing a song about you”.

I must admit my first reaction to this was “good luck with that”, but apparently people actually did.

Imagine that: people made a living as songwriters not just without the internet, TV or radio, but without the need for CDs, vinyl or wax cylinders.

When you’re trying to make a living in these days of free streaming and illegal downloads, you tend to seize upon any demonstration of the value of music and art, so this resonated with me for a bit.

You may know we’re crowd funding the release of our debut record, which we’re doing in Mark Knopfler’s studio with his co-producer Guy Fletcher….not least as we haven’t stopping banging on and on and on about it for days now.

So this got me thinking. We want to reward contributors to our campaign…how better than with arguably the only thing we’ve shown any aptitude for: songwriting.

I ring Megan.

“Megan”, I exclaim breathlessly down the phone, “I’ve had an idea for a reward for our Pledge Music campaign. We could write a song about people who contribute!”

“Good luck with that”, replies Megan reasonably, and puts the phone down.

At our next writing session, I persevere.

“Other people’s stories inspired a few of our songs, so why not ask to hear our fans’ stories?”

“How would that work?”

“People could get us to write a song about their partner…it could be quite a touching present. How many people get to say ‘darling, they’re playing our tune’ and mean a song that’s actually about them?”

“You’re mad.”

“That’s what they said to Van Gogh.”

“Yes, because he was mad. And you’re not Van Gogh.”

Megan is convinced nobody will be interested but at least agrees it would be a nice thing to do, albeit something that should be appropriately valued.

We reach a compromise: to reflect that writing an original, lovingly crafted artistic work is a substantial undertaking that we don’t take on lightly, we’ll offer it as reward for a contribution roughly equal to the price of an article of quality jewellery.

In exchange we’ll present the recorded work on a personalised CD, printed with the recipient’s name. The inlay sleeve artwork can include a photograph and a message for them.

“Jewellery loses its lustre, but a melody lasts forever”, I remark dreamily.

“Well, we’ll see if people agree”, Megan replies.

So what do you reckon? Would you be interested in sharing stories you’d like immortalised in song?

If your partner, child or grandchild commissioned an original piece of art about their feelings for you, would you find it a totally unique, personal and deeply touching gift? Or would you tell them that on the whole, next time you’d just prefer a necklace?

Let us know! Comment on www.facebook.com/MeganOneillMusic or Tweet Megan on 

www.twitter.com/meganoneill and let us know if you agree with Megan or me on this one…

Buckle & Boots Festival - June 2016

*GUEST POST - DAN CLARK - COMMON THREADS LEAD GUITAR & VOCALS*

The tour bus winds through stunning Northern English countryside.

Keshav, bass player, Common Thread, staunch Glaswegian and lifelong city dweller, does not care for country life. My shabby transcription of his trademark Weegie brogue includes apologies to All Of Scotland, and Irvine Welsh.

"Why lev in the countryside?! It's fucken borin'. People say ye’ll enjoy the view, don’ gimme that. How long ken ye enjoy a view fir? Ah'll tell ye. Two minutes!"

He jabs the air with two indignant fingers.

Ale, our unflappable Italian drummer, a man whose every remark is the verbal incarnation of an unruffled shrug, nonetheless quietly persists in appreciating the outstanding natural beauty.

It’s nice, all the fields…there’s green, then yellow…

Kesh interrupts.

Ye want green then yellow? Get on the fucken District Line, then get on the Circle Line!

Our rhythm section’s Scottish yin and Italian yang somehow balances into equilibrium.

We’re en route to the delightfully named Buckle And Boots Festival, a country music hoe-down near Manchester which is exactly what it sounds like. The main stage we grace later is in a huge barn, Stetsons are worn without irony and there is line dancing.

The set is warmly received though, and it’s nice to see both an initially sparse crowd growing to capacity as people flock to hear us, and a lot of people we’ve never met loudly singing our lyrics. People seem to actually know our songs!

Afterwards as we pack the gear into the tour bus ready for traditional après-festival activities (getting steaming drunk), Kesh promises (threatens) to mix me a “Scottish Cocktail”.

I am intrigued as to which exotic Highland specialities will be delicately blended to subtly tickle my sophisticated gastronomic sensibilities.

Get that down ye.

He hands me a plastic pint pot filled with a dubious warm luminous orange fizz. It looks like something that’s come out of an ill farmyard animal. I sniff at it tentatively.

Errr…what’s in it?

Irn Bru and whisky.

I can report this delicacy leaves a bit to be desired on the flavour front, and possibly contributed both to the long gaps in my memory of the remaining evening, and to the thundering force 12 hurricane of my hangover the next morning.

Things I cannot remember but which I’m assured happened subsequently:

1.     The headline set by Ward Thomas, who’ve just signed to Sony

2.     Tom receiving practical instruction in line dancing by an octogenarian rockin’ grandma who took on guru status in the eyes of her fellow line dancers

3.     Ale dancing in a massive Stetson whilst holding an umbrella like a walking stick, leading Mairéad to pronounce him a “hillbilly Charlie Chaplin”

Anyway, onwards and upwards.

Next up:

Recording our debut as a band at Mark Knopfler’s British Grove Studios, with Guy Fletcher (Dire Straits, Roxy Music, Mark Knopfler) producing.

We’ve a Pledge Music crowd funding campaign to fund the release and in exchange for your help we’ve a range of exciting, unusual and intriguing rewards.

Get on the out of control caboose with us and be there for the whole rattling journey… you can be part of it from the start!

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

(and to see me fail to do a job as a TV presenter)

Blame the Whisky...

*GUEST POST - DAN CLARK - COMMON THREADS LEAD GUITAR & VOCALS*

After discussing potential producers for our first record with Megan, I have a rare night in and am listening to music, accompanied and enhanced by the odd slug of bourbon.

I put on Tracker, a recent record by Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler. It's co-produced by Guy Fletcher, also from Dire Straits, his longterm keyboard player, multi-instrumentalist and collaborator.

As ever, as the whisky works its way foggily into my head, it forms into increasingly ridiculous ideas.

Wouldn’t it be great if Guy Fletcher produced our record.

I have another thoughtful sip.

The room around me fades and I’m leaning casually against the mixing desk of a massive recording studio, having made a stunning debut record with the band, chatting amiably with the occupant of the producer’s chair.

“Was it fun making Brothers In Arms, Guy? Isn’t it like the 10th biggest British album ever?”

“Listen Dan, it was fun alright, but this Common Threads record you’ve just made is the best thing I’ve ever done. Universal Music just called to offer you a 50 million dollar record deal – oh, and Paul McCartney wondered if you fancy reforming The Beatles with him? By the way, both the girls in First Aid Kit were after your phone number.”

Meanwhile, in the real world, I look down at my whisky glass. It is empty.

We are now somewhere between the second and third whiskies, where the first ridiculous idea, wouldn’t it be great if Guy Fletcher produced us, becomes the second, even more ridiculous idea: I’ll ask him.

A laptop is fired up. There’s a furious flurry of inebriated typing. Tap. An email flutters into the ether. I pour a third whisky and resume listening. I walk around a bit. I listen to more music. I lie down.

It is morning. I am sober. I have a thundering headache. I must stop drinking whisky.

I suddenly sit bolt upright in bed.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph what have I done. Last night. I didn’t actually send an – oh dear Lord. I think I did.

I blearily scrabble around for my phone. It nearly jumps out of my hand when I see an email notification…from Guy Fletcher.

I am mortified.

I’ve emailed a man arrogantly demanding to know if he, Grammy-winning co-producer of one of Billboard’s top albums of 2015, will produce the first ever record by an obscure rabble of unsigned chancers.

You can’t just pick out a favourite from your record collection and assume whoever’s credited on the sleeve is not only available but also has the slightest inclination to work with any random loon that contacts them out of the blue. “Hello, Stevie Wonder? Listen, you don’t know me but we need some harmonica on this tune and I was wondering  - what are you doing Thursday?”

Fully expecting Guy’s mail to read “Don’t be so bloody ridiculous and never contact me again”, I am already mentally composing a grovelingly apologetic reply as it loads.

Once it does, my hungover eyes settle on one extraordinary phrase: “I would be glad to produce the band”.

What?

Evidently I’m still asleep. I never woke up in the first place. I pinch myself. I read it again.

There it is again: “I would be glad to produce the band”.

I slap myself fully in the face, hard. I read it again.

Guy Fletcher wants to produce us. Us!

So it came to pass that, a few days later, Guy suggests we meet for a chat at British Grove Studios, the world class facility in West London built and owned by Mark Knopfler, where great records have been made by The Killers, The Last Shadow Puppets, Dave Gilmour, Iggy Azalea and of course Mark and Guy themselves.

Megan and I stare awestruck at everything. Someday, we promise each other, somedaywe will get to record at a place like this. Seeing where so many of my favourite records were made is a thrill - let alone being shown around by one of the greats who made them. If the 16 year old me could see this…

No expense is spared on the studio gear– the best vintage microphones, pre-amps, compressors and tape machines hooked up to state of the art digital technology. Amongst the great sounding musical artefacts is an EMI console used by Paul McCartney to record Band On The Run, and another vintage EMI desk, neither of which are even the main mixing desk.

“The bass sounds really good through this”, says Guy, “so we tend to use it as the world’s biggest bass DI box”.

Like being so spoilt for fine wine that you can afford to stick a 1959 Chateau Lafite Rothschild in the spag bol – insane, but it does make for an exceptionally good bolognaise sauce...

As planned, we sit down to discuss our record. Guy’s website mentions his home studio is near the South Coast, so I raise the logistics of getting the band there.

“Actually”, says Guy, “I think we should record it here”.

Somewhere deep inside my very soul the 16 year old me becomes slightly hysterical. I manfully struggle to keep a straight face.

“Oh…oh, right. Well, I suppose that could work…”

“Wooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahh!!!!” screams the 16 year old me, silently.

I mention getting our equipment here and wonder if the studio has any amps we could use.

“Oh yeah”, Guy replies, “Mark has a few he leaves here. Some of his instruments may be around too if you want to use them.”

The 16 year old me is running about with his arms aloft like he’s scored the winner in the cup final. I am encountering grave difficulty regulating my breathing.

“Oh really? Ah yes, well…jolly good. Er, well that all seems in order. See you in July for the session then Guy. Very nice to meet you. Coming, Meg?”

Back outside in the West London sunshine, the studio door closes behind us. We hold our breath about five seconds until we’re out of sight.

“Did that actually happen?”

“Certainly seems like it.”

“I didn’t want to say this before, but I’ve been trying very hard not to scream. I’ve been holding it in. I’m not sure how long I can keep it up.”

“Me neither.”

“Shall we go a bit nuts now then?”

“Yes. Yes, I think so.”

“FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!“

Roll on July.

Guy Fletcher recording with Mark Knopfler at British Grove Studio

Guy Fletcher recording with Mark Knopfler at British Grove Studio

World's biggest bass DI

World's biggest bass DI

Guy in a certain infamously iconic MTV video from back in the day...

Guy in a certain infamously iconic MTV video from back in the day...

Country-2-Country Festival 2016

WOW! What a crazy week last week was... Rising Stars of Country Music Gig on Tuesday 8th March with Timeout London and W21 Music, followed by a full weekend of country music madness at the 02 London. We are all feeling pretty pooped right now!

Country 2 Country Festival is always a weekend to remember... Incredible musicians, discovering new talent, meeting with friends in the industry and rocking out! My band and I played two full sets this year: Saturday on the Town Square Stage and Sunday at the Brooklyn Bowl. We had such a GREAT TIME!

Thank you so so much to everyone who shared photos and videos, tweeted, messaged us and of course came up to us over the weekend to say hello. Honestly to have people we've never met come up to us and tell us that they are a fan of what we do is the most amazing feeling and it makes everything we do completely worthwhile. As a band we work our butts off and C2C was a great highlight of this year so far.

So THANK YOU all for your support, kind words & hugs! We're so glad you guys enjoyed the show and hope to see you all again soon.

Here are some photos from the week just passed and I just had to share some of the lovely tweets we got too!

Three gigs in one week (plus some celebratory drinks!) = Feeling pretty shattered this week! XX

Happy New Year!

Jeez 2016 really came flying around, right?

New Years Resolution... Be better at writing this blog. Does it matter that I don't really believe in the whole New Years Resolution thing? Oh well.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and festive season. I spent some time at home in Ireland with my family (which is always a treat) & then jetted off to India for three weeks for a bit of an adventure. It was a really great few weeks away from London-City-Madness & now I feel revitalised and ready to tackle the New Year. 

2016 is shaping up to be really exciting! I've gone & got myself a full-band and we're ready to create a little madness in the UK music scene... Starting with our first show on February 11th. Come join us if you can & be among the first people to EVER hear 'Megan & The Common Threads' live!

Cool name right? I hope you guys think so. I wanted to change some things up so that it would be 'Megan & The ...' but it took an age to come up with something everyone liked. I think we're all pretty happy now with 'Megan & The Common Threads' and if you ask me nicely I might even explain to you all why we picked that name! 

Hope to see you all very soon & one of our shows. We have a few lined up:

Looking forward to the year ahead - I hope you all are too!

Meg xx

PS: Some pics below of a studio session we did right before Christmas. Can't wait to share the videos & live recordings from that session with you all soon!

Windmill Lane Sessions (December 2015)

Hey everyone!

Happy December!

Back in October I visited the lovely Windmill Lane Studios and did a sessions with them with a friend of mine - Joe Junker. We sang two little ol' tracks...

One is an original 'Not This Time' & the other is a cover of the Tallest Man on Earth's song 'Love is All'. Please check out the videos here!

Hope you enjoy - XX

I'm a Terrible Blogger (Oops)!

Hey everyone!

So I’ve come to the realisation that I am a really bad blogger. Oops! My last post was FEBRUARY. Crikey… A lot has happened since then. But I’ll condense it right down and fit it all in one post… Deal?!

Deal.

So since February I’ve been having a grand oul’ time between playing at Country2Country Music Festival at the 02 in London, song-writing with some fantastic writers and musicians in Ireland and the UK and flying back out to LA for another stint in the sun in June… It’s been a crazy few months but such a great time.

C2C festival back in March was incredible. It really opened my eyes to the fact that the Country Music scene in the UK is taking off (big time!) and there is a huge audience for it here. It kind of felt like being thrown right back in to the Nashville scene… Cowboy boots, Stetson hats and tassel shirts everywhere! I met the wonderful people of W21 Music that weekend at the O2, as well as loads of other artists, songwriters & musicians. It was definitely a weekend I won’t forget anytime soon. I’m already looking forward to C2C 2016. Who’s on board?

April then came and went (far too fast!). I spent most of my time writing and recording that month and preparing for the big day (May 1st); the release of my Debut EP ‘Coming Home’. It was such an exciting time and the response to the release was phenomenal. May 1st was a very important day for me and for everyone who worked with me on the EP. I would like to send out a HUGE thank you to my fellow co-writers on the EP tracks, my producer Philip Magee, the musicians who worked on the recordings, my incredibly hard-working Managers Brian & Ciaran, my super-talented band-mates Dan & Tom and of course to my family and my friends for being so supportive always. This year has been a pretty crazy one so far and I’m so grateful to you all for the constant support and love (and for those little shoves in the right direction when I need them most…!).

Fast forward another few weeks… It’s already June and I’m flying back out to sunny LA. The weather was so beautiful and OF COURSE I got sun-burnt. I am Irish after all. 

LA this time around was chock-o-blocked with writing sessions, meetings, gigs and a music-video shoot for the title track on my EP ‘Coming Home’. I had so much fun the entire time I was there & met so many wonderful people. Huge shout out to the main-man Jamin Bricker who did a KICK-ASS job on my new music video. It was officially released just yesterday on the interwebs so you can all check it out now here.

Seriously fun times!

So I’m back in London now; working away on new songs, playing some London shows and festivals and planning more work trips this Autumn to Ireland and LA. My band and I just played a great show with the wonderful Laura Oakes for her own EP launch this past month too which was a great time. I was joined on stage for one song (a newbie) by a great friend & very well-known musician which sent the crowd social-media crazy! That friend was the male-half of the incredible country-music duo ‘The Shires’. Ben and I have written a few new songs together which I’m excited for you all to hear soon.

So that’s the craic so far and man, 2015 feels like a bit of a blur… but it’s a pretty beautiful blur and I plan on it staying that way!

Please check out the new video on YouTube and share it with your people & your world if you feel so inclined. Also if you haven’t had a listen to my EP yet please do. It’s available on iTunes NOW… http://apple.co/1IkakvE

I promise to try and become a better blogger in the future.

Keep safe peeps & have a GREAT summer!

Meg - Xx

LA - Day #3 (19th February 2015)

Megan O'Neill - LA Promo Trip Blog
Day 3

 

Stephen Fry, KT Tunstall, Stephen Colbert, JJ Abrams and Carrie Fisher surround me in a reverent circle.

"Oh Dan. How do you write such great songs?" gushes Mr Abrams.

"Well, JJ - actually, as we're such good pals now, may I call you J for short?"

"Oh please. Anything! It's such an honour to meet you."

Tom's distant voice interrupts rudely.

"Dan. Dan? Dan! What are you looking at?"

"What?", I reply absently.

"Are you - daydreaming?"

Reality gradually but brutally reassembles itself.

"Could you step back from the rope please sir?"

 

Tom and I hover shiftily to the side of the Oscar Wilde Awards press call, somewhat more peripheral to proceedings than imagined. Otherwise though, I’m startled to find reality remains no less absurd than reverie.

A thousand flash bulbs burn the retinas as Stephen Fry chats genially to an excitable young journalist in front of several TV cameras.

Behind him, rather bizarrely, our pal and partner in musical crime Megan O'Neill banters equally effortlessly with an RTE TV reporter, who seems just as breathlessly amazed to interview Her Eminence as his press colleague is to collar Britain's National Treasure, Mr Fry.

KT Tunstall, who is on Megan's guest list for the event, gives her own interview to another camera beside them.

What an odd world we inhabit.

Presently Megan joins us, creditably just as struck by the ridiculousness of the situation.

"Well that was fucking weird."

"You're telling me, sister."

 

The event is at Bad Robot, JJ Abrams' production company, and Mr Abrams is inside chatting to a few presumably important people. He recognises Ciaran and Brian and they introduce us.

Until now my relatively low ranking in the food chain has been eloquently emphasised by the quality of handshakes I've received on this trip. Megan, the star, invariably gets the full piano keyboard smile, the "Megan, it's SO great to meet you!", and the Premium Grade Handshake-

Plus lasting several seconds. As the same person reaches Tom, this becomes a mere "Tom? Hi."

By the time they get to "And this is Dan" they are quite openly casting about the room for somebody more important, so I usually get a vaguely recognisable impersonation of a handshake which bears a slightly stronger resemblance to a handful of wilted lettuce.

I'm therefore pleasantly surprised when JJ Abrams gives me a broad smile, warm greeting and very firm handshake, and seems genuinely friendly and engaging. Respect.

 

The evening begins with speeches by Mr Abrams, Stephen Fry and Carrie Fisher. Each charm in their own way but none tug the strings of the heart as keenly as a poem read by the British-Irish poet David Whyte, and the humble, thoughtful words from the portrait artist Colin Davidson in acceptance of his award. Megan is later thrilled when he tweets his appreciation of her performance.

Stephen Colbert picks up a gong for his contribution to Irish culture. I dare Tom to interrupt his acceptance speech by rushing the podium and incoherently haranguing the crowd about how, in his opinion, this award should actually have gone to Beyoncé. Oddly, Tom chickens out.

Speeches over, we assemble downstairs to play. The lights are upon us. The great and the good look on expectantly.

No pressure.

 

We get into it. The O'Neill pipes are in fine form. Her voice soars up into the darkened California sky. The watching throng seem suitably impressed; the set flies by and Gavin James takes over.

A fine new Irish singer songwriter just signed to Capitol, Gavin boasts an extraordinary elastic voice that occasionally leaps up to a spectacular falsetto. He’s already topped the Irish charts but seems just as quietly bemused at the surreal celebrity circles in which we find ourselves.

When Tom and I later run into him outside the rest rooms he recounts an exchange with a man he didn't recognise and whose identity was only subsequently revealed by Gavin's manager as Mark Hamill.

"Turns out I was chatting to Luke Skywalker in the Gents'...".

 

Megan’s excellent and thoughtful management have had food put aside for us; we ravenously rip into it while watching Gavin's set. Having limited myself to a single beer before playing, I get a very stiff drink and try not to touch my face.

Why? Because it's covered in some sort of beauty product. Obviously.

A repressed traumatic memory from earlier today resurfaces and I’m once again watching a nice lady called Janice do Megan's hair and make-up for the event.

O'Neill, with customary grace, humility and generosity of spirit, insists each member of the band receives equal star treatment.

"Do Tom and Dan too!" she cackles, with a slightly malicious glint in her freshly mascara'd eyes.

I feebly protest but Janice helpfully chips in that I'll look pale under the lights otherwise, so narcissism gets the better of me and I meekly submit to this humiliation like the ludicrously vain man I am. She holds me still to rub a mysterious tinted cosmetic cream into my craggy chops.

Megan O’Neill roars with triumphant laughter. I am horrified to realise too late that she’s whipped out a camera phone.

The Great One has waited patiently to get me back for my scurrilous revelations about her showering habits in Day 1 of this blog, and seizes this golden opportunity with indecent enthusiasm.

"This is SO going in the blog!"

She snaps away gleefully. Unable to move, I try to arrange my features into the type of expression Bob Dylan might wear in the circumstances. I fail. Janice grabs some scissors and snips sharply around the top of my sideburns.

O'Neill's mirth rapidly rises in pitch until it hits a note audible only to dogs.

"Oh my god, is she CUTTING YOUR EAR HAIR?"

Megan O’Neill looks at me and laughs and laughs and laughs and laughs and laughs.

I sniff sheepishly. Dignity has left the building.

 

Mercifully, Gavin’s re-introduction of Megan for an encore duet brings me back to the present; we all hop back up and plug in again to do the famous traditional Irish folk song known as With Or Without You by U2.

It goes well considering the rehearsal was just a quick strum through earlier, and there's some lovely O'Neill-James vocal interplay. There are calls for more so we have a swing at Heard It On The Grapevine, and in the absence of any other ideas Gavin closes up with a cheeky version of I Wanna Be Like You from The Jungle Book.

Without further ado we quit while we're ahead; there's a free bar to be ransacked and little time to do it in.

As Ciaran drives us home in our rental car I suddenly realise I never got to explain to JJ Abrams how we write such great songs. To be fair, he never got to ask me either, but I suppose he was busy.

We've had a few drinks. Gazing out the window at the LA lights, I carelessly rest my head on my hand. Then I look at my hand. My fingers bear a faint trace of tinted cosmetic cream.

Behind us the Bad Robot offices recede softly into the night.

LA - Day #2 (18th February 2015)

Another side-splitting blog entry from the expressive Dan Clark...

Day 2...

The Megan O'Neill Band are having lunch. 

In a moment of vanity, knowing we have to play a celebrity party tomorrow and that paunchy guitarists are not known for their international success, I have ordered whet I assumed would be a light and healthy sandwich. Of all the tempting menu options likely to induce instant obesity, the hummus pitta seemed a reasonably safe bet.

Our waitress brings me a paper wrapped package roughly the size of a small dog. "Enjoy your meal".

Welcome to America.

Megan O'Neill demolishes a Cumbrian hillside on a plate that the menu calls a Cobb salad. She is hungry because she got up at 5am and went on a five mile run before breakfast.

Did I mention that Megan O'Neill is - and I mean this as a compliment - mad as a box of frogs?

Another facet of Megan's irrepressible bloody positive cheerfulness is her propensity for wholly unnecessary bouts of self induced strenuous exercise. This year she's entered a marathon. For fun. Fun! 

As both exercise and fun run contrary to everything I stand for, I am wholly disapproving, but if anything this encourages her.

This morning we played the first of two industry showcases and in an hour we play the second. "Industry showcase" sounds grander than it is; in reality this means busking a few acoustic songs in a boardroom to some lucky executives. 

The three of us have at various points played theatre shows to audiences of hundreds, festival shows to audiences of a few thousand, and tv shows to audiences of a few million. None shred the nerves so much as playing to an audience of 2, in a small carpeted room in an office building.

Tom and I do our best impersonations of competent guitar players while trying not to look too hard at our fingers, or pull the face of intensely gormless concentration known as the White Man's Overbite. 

The Voice of An Angel nails it as usual. I make a mental note not to give her the satisfaction of telling her how good she sounds, but our audience do it anyway before I can stop them.

As ever she takes the inevitable compliments with modest good grace and genuine humility, which if you ask me is if anything more annoying than the conceited smug arrogance that any ordinary person with her talent would be forgiven for radiating.

This afternoon we're playing for Disney Music Group, involving a surreal trip to their offices at Walt Disney Studios. We're a bit early so do a group photo in front of a huge building featuring effigies of the seven dwarfs carved into the stone frontage as if they're holding up the roof.

As Tom towers over Megan and I - who are both, shall we say, more diminutive in stature than the general average - I realise too late that posing in front of those particular Disney characters is a gift for impertinent caption writers. 

The best loved dwarfs in the world...and behind them some characters from a Disney cartoon.

Anyway, we play another few songs in their showcase room. Behind us is a piano that they tell us belonged to Richard Sherman, the Disney songwriter behind such critically acclaimed masterpieces as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and It's A Small World After All.

I am not sure how I feel about this. 

Megan O'Neill, of course, thinks this, like everything, is possibly the best thing in the entire history of things.

If Megan O'Neill didn't already exist the Disney organisation would have invented her as a character anyway. It would smile all the bloody time and tell everyone it met to just think positive. It would have its own range of lurid merchandise including animatronic Megan O'Neill dolls that brightly repeat "Just think positive!" every five seconds when you pull a string.

We return to the house where I again manfully attempt to conceal my enjoyment of sitting by the pool sipping a large gin and tonic for fear that it will conclusively prove Megan's positive philosophy correct. 

This is the life though. It's 5.30, so it must

be cocktail hour. The info pack for the hired house says Sinatra lived a couple of streets away. Standing at the kitchen island adding a slice of lemon to my g&t having finished a hard day's musical work (read: being driven around LA stopping occasionally either to strum some songs or have lunch) by 5pm, with only a pleasant evening in our mansion to look forward to, I feel I could get used to his lifestyle.

Tomorrow we play at the Oscar Wilde Awards party at director JJ Abrams' offices surrounded by the great and the good from Hollywood cinema and music including Stephen Fry, Carrie Fisher, KT Tunstall, Stephen Colbert and JJ Abrams himself, who will introduce us to the audience.

Just like any other day really.

A leisurely dinner, more g&t, an hour or so just to flick once through the 1500 channels on the enormous TV, and bed. 

LA - Day #1 (17th February 2015)

Dan Clark's beautiful account of day one in LA... Check it out!

 

What we'll grandly call The Megan O'Neill Band (in reality Megan, Tom and me) lounge in the back of a huge LA cab discussing personal hygiene. 

After our 11 hour flight the prospect of a shower is anticipated with an almost religious hysteria.

Megan O'Neill is a wholesome girl next door with the voice of an angel. She is not an offensive girl. You would have no qualms over introducing your mother to her. You would have no qualms over introducing your grandmother to her. 

Indeed, were you visiting an International School For The Prudish And Easily Offended you could confidently introduce her to the deputy head mistress.

So one point in the chat contains something of a revelation.

"I haven't had a shower since Saturday" exclaims our fearless leader. We do a double take. It's Tuesday. 

Megan O'Neill is not a lady one would ever associate with anything other than scrupulous personal hygiene. I've never gone so far as actually sniffing her like a bloodhound, but I wouldn't hesitate to advise anyone considering doing so that they would find her nothing less than delightfully fragrant. 

Megan O'Neill explains she doesn't need to shower every single day. "It's different for girls", she explains confidently. I am incredulous.

Megan O'Neill smiles enigmatically and carries on looking out of the window at California; a state every bit as sunny as her natural disposition.

The dynamic of The Megan O'Neill Band is essentially a constant yin and yang. In one corner, Megan's insanely irrepressible positivity. I attempt, in vain, to balance this with relentless curmudgeonly cynicism. Somewhere in the middle, like a boxing referee, Tom's essentially well

balanced good nature keeps order.

I say I attempt to balance Megan's juggernaut of perma-optimism in vain, because stopping it is an impossible task. No matter how bleak the situation, she sees the bright side. If a nuclear war broke out tomorrow, Megan O'Neill would see it as a great opportunity to get a tan.

However, as the cab drops us at our accommodation for this trip, even my instinctive grouchiness has a hard time finding any downside. Brian and Ciaran, Megan's incredibly resourceful management, have hired us all a beautiful house with an outdoor pool and grand piano.

Megan O'Neill wastes no time in gleefully pointing out to me that her positive philosophy and world view have demonstrably worked. "Just think positive and it'll happen!" she urges me for the thousandth time, knowing I find this incredibly irritating.

I growl grumpily and resentfully take a pull of my cold beer as we laze by the lovely pool in the gorgeous sunshine. I am determined not to enjoy myself because if I do she'll have won, and will henceforth cite this as material proof that all this goddam positive thinking hippy nonsense actually works.

I am therefore annoyed to find myself enjoying myself immensely. Whatever you do, don't anybody tell her or she'll be insufferable.

Anyway, tomorrow we have showcases to play so we have a quick run through some tunes and turn in early to work on the jet lag.



ABC's Nashville TV Series - Tune in!

Hey everyone!

A very quick little blog post to say a huge THANK YOU for all the incredible support and kind words I've been receiving the past few days since one of the songs I've co-written was selected for ABC’s TV series Nashville.

The song selected (‘Don’t You’) is one that I wrote this year with one of my besties and my band-mate; the frighteningly talented Dan Clark. You can have a listen to the song on YouTube or here on my website's homepage.

'Don't You' will be featured on Nashville Season 3, episode 9 which airs (in the USA) on December 3rd.

Thank you all for the unwavering support and beautiful words of encouragement. Having my song featured on Nashville is definitely a step in the right direction and it’s one of my favourite TV shows too! Woohoo!

Thanks to my Management for being so on-the-ball always, to IMRO for the mention on their website, to the amazing Jamin Bricker (editor on ABC’s Nashville) and to all of you wonderful people in my life for constantly supporting me on this journey.

There will be so many more exciting things happening over the coming months so make sure you stay tuned.

So much love to you all –

Meg xx

Remember September?

Remember September? I don’t! I feel like I blinked and missed the whole month! It’s already winter now and only 10 weeks to Christmas… AAAHHH!!

September was a fantastic month though – which is probably why it flew by. I got to head back over the Atlantic and visit the US again; 4 days in Nashville followed by 5 days in Miami. It was such a brilliant holiday. Writing some new music in Nashville, catching up with old friends, seeing some killer live country-music, dancing in cowboy boots and singing karaoke (of course!).

Miami was a blast too but definitely a different vibe than Music City! Instead of cowboy hats and honky tonk bars we had tattoo parlours, fresh coconuts and cocktail happy hours (not complaining!). We had a great time exploring Miami South Beach and an amazing weekend of wedding celebrations.

Then it was back to London – all too soon – and winter has really started to kick in. Only home three weeks and my tan has definitely faded! But it’s great to be back here rehearsing, writing, recording and preparing for the next few shows.

Pencil it in Londoners… October 24th we’re going to be rocking the Spice of Life in Soho. I can’t wait!

Check out the ‘Live Shows’ page here on my site for more info and tickets. Hope to see y’all soon.

Love – Meg xx

Brownstock Festival and Summer 2014

Hey y’all.

What a brilliant summer it has been! I’ve been having so much fun playing out across London and this past weekend playing the Saloon Stage at Brownstock festival.

Brownstock was my first ever festival to play so that was a real treat for me. The crowd were amazing - lots of hilarious, energetic, dancing-like-mad country music fans ranging from 2 years old to 80 years old! I may have made besties with the two young kids in front of the stage. We even swapped hats for a while!

During the festival we definitely had a few memorable moments. My favourite was when Tom treated our audience to a Dizzie Rascal rendition of ‘Dance Wiv Me’. Dizzie was headlining that night so it was only fair that we paid tribute to him! Tom has promised to get me back somehow for that one though… Oops!

So now guys it’s time to close out the summer. I’m off to Nashville in a few days for some songwriting sessions and to catch up with great friends.  Then on to Miami for a family wedding. I can’t wait. 

Hope everyone’s well.

Love to all,

Meg xx

Ireland Banter - #Grand

Hello everyone!

Well, it's been a while but all with good reason. 

I’ve just returned to London after an incredible weekend at home in Ireland recording and shooting some new photos for upcoming promos. It was so good to get back home to my roots for a few days and see some familiar faces, get creative in the studio and record new material, jot down future plans and snap some new photos. I had an amazing few days. I’m genuinely sad it’s over.

Huge shoutouts to my amazing management team, producer, band and the 4 geniuses who made me look better than my usual self on Monday for my photo-shoot. You are all going on the Christmas card list… That’s for sure! (#grand)

The next few weeks will be very exciting as the results of this past week’s hard work are unleashed. I can’t wait to hear the tracks once they’re mixed and ready to go. I have just seen a sneaky preview from the photo-shoot too. God it’s incredible what a great stylist can do combined with a professional hair and make-up artist. I need to get better at applying the cake-bake I think!

I can’t wait to share all this new material with y’all but you’ll have to patient with me for now I’m afraid. It will be a few weeks before anything goes public. But... if you check out my social media sites you may just find some behind the scenes footage from the weekend!

Please do stay in touch and follow me on twitterfacebook, and here on my website.

Also, there are a few more gigs in the pipeline for July and August. There will be various posters and invites flying around for those shows (as always!) so just keep an eye out.

Hope everyone is doing well. Enjoy the summer sunshine and hope to see y’all soon.

Meg  

xx

Kicking off the Summer

Hey ya’ll.

Time for another update to keep you all from guessing what’s going on.

The past month has been a very exciting one here in London. I’ve been crazy busy planning gigs, video-shoots, photo-shoots and of course rehearsing as much as possible all the while with Dan and Joe. Since March was a quiet month for live shows, we got some time as a band to do some song writing which has been amazing!! Song writing for me is like therapy – food for the soul – so I’m always delighted when I get some time to really focus on that. It makes me feel lighter.

April and May won’t be so quiet though in terms of live shows. We have quite a few gigs in the pipeline (check them out on Facebook and on my ‘Tour’ page here on the website) which I am really excited about. It will be great to kick-off the summer with some exciting live performances, great new country tunes and jam-packed music venues - with YOU in the front row! I’m so excited and I hope you all are too, so please do come join us if you can. 

Aside from the song writing, the upcoming shows, the hours of rehearsal and the future planning; I also have some other news …

Many of you have probably already heard the news through Facebook but for those of you who haven’t… I just recently signed a management deal!

The management company are ‘Milestone Management’ and they are simply fantastic. I am so happy to be working with such a talented, motivated and supportive team and I am excited to see what the coming few months have in store for us. We are already taking effective steps and making incredible plans for the remainder of 2014 so be sure to watch this space.

 Hope everyone is doing great and I'll see you at the next show.

Thanks for reading and following... your support means the world.

xx

It's Spring Time!!!

HI EVERYONE!!!

Today is March 1st, the end of winter... Thank God! But I definitely cannot complain about what this Winter brought for me in terms of my music. Emigrating to London, a new band of incredible musicians and songwriters, my first few gigs in London, finishing the recording of my first EP and making a start on the second, a live performance on BBC Radio and so much more. I feel very fortunate to have had all of those experiences over this past season and I look forward to this Spring and Summer and making more lasting memories.

So this past week I gigged at the Bedford in Balham which is a gorgeous venue. The show was a blast and they offered us a longer slot on May 20th, so mark the date in your diary guys! The gig was broadcast live online and we got some great feedback from our performance. If you want to catch a sneakpeak of the gig you can follow this link (http://www.justin.tv/thebedfordlive/b/506593819) and skip to about 1hour in - that's where you will see us!

So with all that guys, March is going to packed with some writing and recording and April and May are lining up to be jam packed as well. So excited for all the music ahead so stay tuned, it's coming your way! Be sure to check out my facebook and website for all the upcoming news and show details.Thanks again for joining the mailing list and for following me on this exciting path. I hope to see you all again... very soon!

All my love and well wishes,

Meg xx

First Gigs in London!

Hey all!

I hope everyone is well!

This last week was madness. Two gigs in three days but my God they were amazing! So exciting to finally be back gigging again and in London none-the-less.

Tuesday night kicked off the 2014 gigging year for us. Myself, Dan and Joe hosted a private showcase in London so that the first people to hear my new material would be some close family and friends. We played a 45-min set; 8-originals in total and then dragged everybody else in the room up to join in for a bit of a sing-song to close the night off (which lasted a few hours!).

It was an incredible night for me. Finally seeing all the music I've written and worked so hard on for the past two years really come to life. Everyone was excited for me and supportive of the journey I am on, so obviously I was feeling on top of the world.

Thursday night we made our way to Earl's Court Tube Station and hopped off to play at the Troubadour. The Troubadour is a very famous London-venue, so the nerves were high but so was the excitement!! Thankfully, it was another great gig for us and the feedback we received from the audience was just so unbelievable. 

A huge thank you to all of you that came along (to one or both shows!). Your support really means the world to me.

So a few days of rest now and then another gig on February 26th at the Bedford Inn in Balham. I absolutely love the Bedford. It was one of the first places I ever went to to watch live music in London and I remember vividly thinking that night "I'm going to play here one day"... And now I am!! I can't wait.

Thanks again to you all for your support and kind words following the shows on Tuesday and Thursday. Dan, Joe and myself are super excited about what this year is going to bring.

There are so many things happening right now so be sure to watch this space, keep in touch, follow me on numerous social media sites... All that modern day, technology stuff! And of course if you're free on Wednesday 26th Feb, get in touch with your grass-roots and come watch us play some live, stripped back, acoustic, heartfelt music.

I'll be unleashing some photos and videos of the shows over the next few days too so keep an eye out!

Love and hugs to all!

xxx

2014 - Exciting Times Ahead!

Hey all!

I've just arrived back to London after an incredible two weeks at home in Ireland. It was so nice to be home with family and friends - cosy nights and movies by the fire, hiking in the crisp, cold winter air, eating crazy amounts of turkey and brussel sprouts and enjoying great catch-ups with friends I don't ever see enough. It's always good to get home and get back to your roots!

But now it's back to London - back to work, music, bills, banter and a very busy year ahead. I have to say, I'm very excited for what's ahead this year. I think I always get a bit excited around this time of year. January... a time for resolutions, changes, planning, moving and reflecting.

2013 was truly an incredible year for me and I am so blessed and so fortunate to be able to say that.

I travelled a LOT and got to spend loads of time in the US (mainly in Nashville but also in New York, Connecticut, Boston and even Alabama!). I grew closer to those that I love, I got engaged and celebrated my engagement in Mallorca with my family in July! I worked 7 different jobs (everything from a bartender to a nanny to an office assistant). I wrote some killer music with some insanely talented musicians and I made some lifelong friends. I recorded an EP in Ireland and even got half-way through recording a second EP over the Christmas break!

I moved from Ireland - Nashville - Ireland - Nashville - Ireland (very shortly!) - London and then began my UK-based adventure in October. Here, in London, I built new foundations for the coming years. I found a job, a house, a band, a music-team that believe in me, a local coffee shop, a group of new, exciting friends and a gym to help me de-stress in my downtime! 

It has been a busy year but I am so fortunate to be able to say that it was filled with so much love and laughter. I am so grateful for all that 2013 brought to me and I can only hope that 2014 will be half as exciting!!!

It's certainly off to a great start.

Thanks 2013 for giving me so much opportunity and belief in myself and my music! Thanks to my incredible family and friends - you guys are my backbone! Thanks to my Nashville family, to those of you in London who have made the transition moving here a little easier, to my fiancée who is moving his whole life to London in 3 weeks to be with me, to my new band who are so talented and supportive and to whoever up there is looking out for me from above! You're doing one hell of a job!

Here's to 2014!!!!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR Y'ALL!!!

xxxx

December 2013

Hey all!

So it's December... WOAH! How did that happen? It's crazy how fast the time goes!

Just a short blog entry for y'all with some exciting news.

TOMORROW (Wednesday Dec 11th) I will be LIVE on the Alan Simpson Show on BBC Radio 5 with my two wonderful guitarists' Dan and Joe!!!! 

We will be live on air at 3.30pm for a bit of a sing-song and a chat.

You can listen in by following the link below. But never fear... If you miss out on the Live show, you can always listen back (again by following the link below). Tomorrow's episode will be available online for a week or so after the air date. We'll be doing a few originals and talking about what the future holds... Very excited for it!

That's all for today. Hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas shopping. I can't wait to get back to Ireland in just a few short weeks and enjoy some family time, food and festivities.

Lots of love! xx

And LISTEN in if you can! Tomorrow... 3.30pm!!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03k4xkk