HIGHWAY MAKING HEADWAY Ed Holland and Kevin Collins of Hurricane Highway. Pic: Keith Heneghan/Phocus
Kevin Collins and Ed Holland of Hurricane Highway on being an odd couple, hard work and the road ahead
If you want living proof that opposites attract, look no further than Hurricane Highway’s Kevin Collins and Ed Holland.
The pair might have teamed up to form one of Ireland’s most exciting American Country Rock Bands, but speaking to The Mayo News last week, they revealed that they come from completely dissimilar musical stock.
“When people meet from different backgrounds in music, or in life, sometimes when they come together and start playing music, a bit of magic happens, you know?” Kevin said.
It all began just under four years ago after a chance meeting in a bar in the town of Westport.
The lads claim they knew of each other but didn’t actually know each other on a personal level. It soon changed though: they clicked almost immediately, and from that moment on the roller coaster story that is Hurricane Highway began.
It was only after recording their first song together that they realised they needed a name.
As a result of days spent in the ring sparring over a band name, Ed was kind enough to let this reporter know that he was in fact ‘the hurricane’ and Kevin was of course ‘the highway’ — “and don’t you forget it!” he exclaimed.
“What we learned about the name, though, was that presenters and DJs love running it off their tongue, ‘Hurricane Highway’. A lot of people have said that it is a great name and it kind of tells you a little bit about the music within itself, which is a nice thing,” he added.
Both Ed and Kevin have had previous experiences in the world of music, but they’ve been vastly different.
“I come from a rock background, rock singing in a covers band. I was a member of Whitewater. We released three of our own songs over the years, but it was mostly covers that we did,” Ed explained.
“We toured around most of the main pubs and clubs around the country to get some experience. That went on right up until the last few months or a year, until Hurricane Highway really began to take off.”
Kevin’s background, on the other hand, is more in ballads and blues.
“I worked with a lot of well-known artists over the years as a back-up musician. I don’t blow my own trumpet on it really, but I’ve been a musician all my life and I’ve had some fantastic times touring the world also,” he said.
“I suppose this has been like a new lease for me, because I didn’t really know what to expect when we first began.”
Over the last couple of years, the band has taken off, and they’ve been touring and performing all around the country and further afield.
“It’s refreshing in a way what we are doing. With the music business you do get great experiences and you do get to travel a lot and meet a lot of people, and that is a great reward,” said Ed.
“As we say it’s about the journey, not the destination. If you lose track of that you’re not really enjoying it.”
In recent times the band has come together very well. Currently it has seven members, two girls and five men.
“We’ve a serious band with us now, there’s some serious singers in there. As someone once said to me before, when you’re the weakest member in the band yourself, that’s when you have a strong band, and that is so very true,” Ed added.
On the back of performing in their hometown at the Westport Harvest Festival last summer, Hurricane Highway are due to make a rousing return on December 23 when they take the stage at the Westport Town Hall Theatre.
It’s clear they both relish the opportunity of performing on their home turf, and that the memories of previous gigs there will stick with them forever.
“We’re delighted to be back in the Westport Town Hall Theatre again, as we had a sell-out their last year, and we’re hoping to do the same this year,” Kevin explained.
“We’re so lucky to have Westport House down there as well. We did the Harvest Festival there in the summer, and please God they’ll have another one next year,” Ed added.
Although the band has is now at full tilt and success is imminent, both Kevin and Ed remain grounded.
Before our interview ended, the dynamic duo left this reporter with a quote for all aspiring musicians.
“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” An inspiring thought from two inspiring gentlemen.
Hurricane Highway will perform in the Town Hall Theatre Westport on Saturday, December 23, at 8pm.
For tickets, €22/20 each, call the venue on 098 28459 or visit www.westporttheatre.com.