FAR OUT Faraway Martin has brought his music all around the world, ocean to ocean. Pic: Felix Sproll
MUSIC, it’s in the blood when it comes to Martin Farragher, or Faraway Martin as he’s known. His grandfather was into music, his father, and his brother. Since the age of 12, the Ballinrobe man has been teaching himself the guitar, honing his songwriting skills later, and now he feels the time is right.
A music teacher in Qatar, the 27 year old has busked everywhere from Italy to South Africa and Nashville to Sydney – the stage name makes sense.
With his debut single ‘Intoxicated’ newly released, Farragher explains the build up to the release, from the first moment he held a guitar, to seeing his work hit iTunes and Spotify.
“My brother Christy put a guitar in my hand and taught me ‘Come as You Are’ by Nirvana and then I learnt that and kept going from there. I was about 12 or 13, and then I discovered rock’n’roll.”
Hooked on music, he played in various bands throughout school, including Cold Fusion and Forgotten Alibi. “Deep teenagers that are hurting, with their middle class life,” he quips.
Admittedly loving the attention a performer gets on stage, the musician says that playing with Ballinrobe band Quality Street gave him ‘the hunger’.
Fresh out of college, and with woodwork teaching jobs in short supply, he hit for the sand dunes of Doha, Qatar. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Martin took a job teaching music. Though passionate about the subject, he admits he was in over his head.
“I ended up getting into a really good school, teaching music. However, I’m a woodwork teacher so I was reading ‘Music Teaching for Dummies’ for two weeks to get myself prepped!”
Gigging in Doha, he quickly became a regular on the circuit and made some important contacts.
“I got in with a label over there – a Qatari lady who was really into music built a record label. I recorded four songs with them, and she sat me down and said I wasn’t good enough, but they wanted to use my songs … I said ‘no’. I walked out of there and nearly cried,” he reveals, but adds that to this day the label owner still gets him gigs.
True to name, the singer-songwriter would hit for far-flung destinations each summer during school holidays and take his trusty guitar along with him.
“I’ve busked all over Italy, all over Europe, and busked in Australia with my brother … I went to America, set up a base in Nashville and recorded a couple of songs. I’ve been sitting on them the last year-and-a-half waiting for the right time to release them, and I feel now is the right time.”
Asked what has been a major music influence on him, Martin doesn’t hesitate – ‘Damien Rice’.
“Musically, when I first heard Cannonball – I remember it was before the days of broadband – I listened to it and wrote down every word of the song, in pencil, on one of those Aisling copies … That song, I just loved it, and I learnt it on the guitar.”
In a ‘pinch me’ moment, and creating some of his own luck, Farragher travelled to a Rice gig while busking in Europe and blagged his way backstage. “I went to see Damien Rice years later, and I ended up sneaking in backstage and meeting him in Italy. I hitchhiked down there and I was there really early. I had the guitar on my back, and they heard the Irish accent and assumed I was with him.”
In a dream come true, Farragher was invited by Rice to play alongside him in front of 500 people.
Focused, with a hard-work ethic, the Ballinrobe musician realises success won’t happen overnight, but, through putting himself out there and setting goals, he has achieved a lot in 2018.
Supporting Hermitage Green for the Ballinrobe Festival was a major achievement, and this Friday, he will support the Limerick band once again – this time, in his adopted home in Doha.
With the release of ‘Intoxicated’ last week, the singer-songwriter has realised another dream.
“A life goal of mine was to put a song on iTunes and Spotify and that happened this week. Getting random texts from people I haven’t spoke to in years saying they downloaded it, it’s great to think it’s out there.”
A song about excess, regret and promising to never drink again, Martin believes the subject is one many people will identify with.
“I suppose I was depressed after drink one morning and I wrote a few things down, and then that became a regular occurrence and I had a song built up before I knew it. One day the flow was working, and I picked up the guitar and I wrote it [the tune] in ten minutes.”
Martin plans on moving home in the not-too-distant future to concentrate on music and is already busy developing his hometown as a music venue to attract top artists. He’s already secured award-winning double-platinum selling artist Mick Flannery for a Christmas gig – Live at The Library in Ballinrobe.
His mother, Mary, is a librarian, and with her help and the support of Mayo County Council, the town’s library will come alive with music this December 8.
“I plan on moving home and giving this a real go … If it works, brilliant, if it doesn’t I can always say I tried. If I didn’t try and I looked back when I’m 50, I wouldn’t be happy.”
‘Intoxicated’ can be downloaded from iTunes and Spotify. For more information, find Faraway Martin on social media.