Kevin McCormack is an Irish singer songwriter currently making a name for himself in the Pacific Northwest of the USA.
He is known for his passionate singing and high energy upbeat shows as well as his storytelling and tongue in cheek banter with his audience.
First heard Irish music on childhood holidays
He first became interested in Irish music when he was a child and his dad would play The Dubliners in the car when they were heading to Wexford for their summer holidays. When he was growing up he enjoyed other kinds of music but remained passionate about Irish music.
His influences include Bob Dylan, The Dubliners, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, Christy Moore, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and The Dublin City Ramblers.
He told Irish Music Forever: “Growing up I was a drummer in indie rock bands, but my passion was always singing and the old Irish folk songs, and it wasn’t until I got to America that I got to really submerge myself in this.”
Duo with Jacqui Sandor
He plays in a folk duo with fiddle player, Jacqui Sandor. They perform a mixture of original material and old classics such as Black Velvet Band and Whiskey in the Jar. They also perform fiddle tunes and covers of songs made famous by legends like Woody Guthrie and Willie Nelson.
The driving force behind his performances is his voice. He sings in a Dublin ballad style. He said: “The sound of what I do relies heavily on vocals and the delivery of the song.”
Like many performers, he is attracted to Irish folk songs not just for the music, but also the stories in the lyrics. He said: “The reason I sing these songs is because the lyrics are a story; a funny story or a sad story or a story about injustice. The songs all have something to say.”
An Emigrant’s Letter
He believes that different performers all look at the songs in their own way and all bring something unique to them. He said: “The way you present a song to an audience is unique from singer to singer.
“I am trying to stand out from everyone else by doing this ancient and beautiful tradition of Irish music, in the folk tradition it was originally brought out of. Relying on the song, and what it has to say and showing that to the people that are listening to you.”
His debut album is called An Emigrant’s Letter, released in June 2012, and as the title suggests it is based loosely around emigration. It contains original material and some traditional Irish classics.
McCormack lives in Seattle and often performs up to six times a week. He tours regularly and performs at folk festivals. Check his website http://www.kevinmccormackmusic.com for more details of his upcoming gigs.