Derek McGowan strikes rich vein with ‘Rusty Goldmine’

Going Out

Ciara Moynihan

Singer-songwriter and guitarist Derek McGowan is launching his second album, ‘Rusty Goldmines’, in Matt Molloy’s tomorrow evening (Wednesday), November 13. The album is the Dublin-born blues/rock musician’s second – his first, ‘Rainlight’, was released, back in 2015.
Living in Westport since 1984, Derek has been a constant presence in the local music scene for many years, first as a member of the lively rock and blues band the Piston Slappers with Josie Joyce and Dave Fallon, and latterly with another trio, HATS, alongside Gerry Creen and David Dee Moore.
Like his debut ‘Rainlight’, ‘Rusty Goldmines’  features McGowan’s self-penned work – a rich musical vein, sure to yield melodious gold.
While ‘Rainlight’ had a blues and rock feel, Derek wanted to start ‘something a little different’ with his new album. “I wanted to capture some of the styles of music that I’ve played over the years and to incorporate some of my mother’s sayings, like ‘Looking both ways to Sunday’, which is now a song on the album,” he tells The Mayo News, adding: “I explore blues, folk, country and a little funk. A mixed bag that seems to make sense.”
For themes, Derek mines his own experiences, saying the album presents ‘a kind of snapshot commentary on moments in my life’.
‘Rusty Goldmines’ was recorded in McGowan’s own home studio, which allows him more freedom to set his own pace, which helps the creative process. “One nice thing about recording in my little studio is that you spend time with the musicians a little differently to time spent in a commercial studio. More tea,” he says.
Many of the artists who appeared on ‘Rainlight’ are back again for ‘Rusty Goldmines’. Joanne Keegan brings her magnificent vocals to the album, while David Dee Moore plays bass and does backing vocals. “Pat Early plays some amazing fiddle, Tim Rogers brings his bluegrass mandolin to it, Mervyn Sayers plays his sax and does backing vocals, and Rebecca McRedmond sings backing vocals,” McGowan explains. “My old friend Geoff Conroy from The Piston Slappers plays bass on four tracks and Ray Brennan plays a tasty Strat on ‘Red Car’.”
While McGowan says he is ‘fascinated’ with the whole process of recording, and he has spent a lot of time recording his own and other people’s music, the stage is his first love. “I think I’m probably a live player at heart. There is something very special when the band just clicks and you enter a wonderful space of spontaneity. I’ve been blessed in my life to have shared this with many like-minded people,” he says.
Looking to the future, McGowan has his eye on more musical milestones that he hopes to achieve down the tracks. “I have recorded a lot of music over the years, some of which I would like to release,” he reveals. “There is also a project we’ve started with HATS that’s on the burner, and there is a blues album I dream of recording with Josie Joyce on drums.”
Watch this space.

For more about Derek McGowan and to hear a sample of his songs, visit ‘Rusty Goldmines’ will be launched in Matt Molloy’s on Wednesday, November 13, at 8pm. Admission free.