Recently a curious Google enquiry revealed Gerry Creen was back in action, with a new album Hindsight and a re-mixed version of A Rose by Any Other Name. Now in 2010, it can be freshly viewed and listened to and it’s still a killer. Imagine a cross between Paul Brady, Paul Simon, Tommy Flemming, and Seth Lakeman and you have Gerry Creen’s approach lyrical, impassioned, and powerfully articulate. Yet that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Irish Music Magazine
Gerry Creen, Belfast born and bred, is acknowledged as one of Belfast’s finest singer songwriters. Having lived all his life in the city Gerry emerged from the vibrant Belfast folk scene of the 1960s and 70s.
Over the years he’s shared stages and billings with Nanci Griffith, Paul Brady, Ralph McTell, Tom Paxton, Donovan, Loudon Wainwright, the Dubliners John Martyn, Danny Thompson, Lindisfarne, Pierre Bensusan, Stefan Grossman, Mary Coughlan, Alan Taylor, Freddie White, the Battlefield Band, Ossian, Stocktons Wing, Scullion, Eddie Reader, Ian Matthews, The Strawbs, Henry McCullough ...
Gerry has had a prominent place in the most recent Belfast/Nashville Singer/Songwriter Festivals – sharing the stage with Nanci Griffith, Tia Sillers and Mark Selby, Mick Hanley, Dougie Maclean Declan O’Rourke and Benita Hill. His song Lucky Star is part of the festival’s promotional CD Voices of Belfast.
Gerry has recently toured in Ireland with John Gorka, Madison Violet, David Olney and Sergio Webb and the Carolina Chocolate Drops and in Scotland with Allan Taylor and shared billings and stages with Ian Matthews, Eddie Reader, Brian Kennedy, Juliet Turner, Ben Reel, Eilidh Patterson, Joe Echo, Ben Glover, Anthony Toner, John Spillane, Colum Sands, Paul Casey, Janet Holmes and Colin Henry. Recent gigs include Stormont, Edinburgh Folk Club, Stirling Folk Club, The Marquee Club Moniaive, Biggar Folk Club, Leith Folk Club, The Seamus Ennis Centre Dublin, New Music Club Clonmell, Rua Red Theatre Dublin, The Strule Arts Centre Omagh, The Bronte Music Club, The Real Music Club Belfast, The Empire Music Hall Belfast, The Black Box Belfast, The Spirit Store Dundalk and Festival of the Peninsula, Fiddlers Green Festival, Feile An Phobail, Cathedral Quarter Festival, Gig’n The Bann Festival, Open House Festival, Belfast Night of Culture, and The Atlantic Sessions.
At several of its events the David Ervine Foundation invited him to perform his timeless and profoundly moving peace anthem A Rose By Any Other Name which was written in 1977 during the darkest days of the Troubles. “Considered by many as one of Irelands leading Peace Anthems” IRISH NEWS March 4th 2010.
In 2007 he wrote and performed the title track Tuesday’s Child on a double album for the children’s charity of the same name featuring the very best in Irish music – including Mary Black, Brian Kennedy, Duke Special, Foy Vance, Snow Patrol.
Gerry Creen has been singing for as long as he can remember. Encouraged by his family and teachers at primary school Gerry performed solo, in choral groups and choirs at every opportunity. In his early teens he began playing mandolin, tenor banjo and guitar to accompany his singing in youth club groups and folk bands, such as…
The Gleaners 1968/69. Gerry and Dessie Friel (father of Anna Friel) played in school concerts and coffee houses such as The Hobbit, The Ferryboat and The Boundary Bar, where they rubbed shoulders with musicians and singers such as David McWilliams, Den Warrick, Patsy Melarkey, Gillian McPherson, Sam Bracken and Dave Shannon and a host of traditional musicians all part of the vibrant traditional and contemporary Belfast folk scene. Gerry and Dessie supported The Dubliners and Johnny McEvoy at the Ulster Hall.
Folkus 1970/71. Influenced by New-Wave world folk music and in particular bands such as Fairport convention and Pentangle, Rock and Blues guitarist Hugh Fearon was added to an increasingly experimental mix and Gerry and Dessie took their first tentative steps as songwriters. Rumplestiltskin 1971/72. When Dessie left Belfast for college in England, Gerry headed off to The College of Art at the University of Ulster. Gerry and Hugh joined Peter Millar and Sam Bateman to form Rumplestiltskin. Rump was influenced by a very wide range of music including, World folk music, Blues and Rock. From The Cream and Hendrix to Fairport Convention, Crosby/Stills/Nash and The Incredible String Band. Rump was very experimental, using as many as 14 instruments, including, sitar and Indian harmonium, during a gig. Peter, Sam and Gerry wrote songs as individuals and occasionally collaborated on original songs.
Gerry was increasingly drawn into his career in Art but found some time to make guest appearances with Patsy Melarkey, Colin Higgins, Louis Gordon, Hugh Fearon and Peter McNally.
Armed with a growing reputation as a singer/songwriter honed in folk clubs associated with The Ulster Federation of Folk clubs such as The Sunflower, The Walnut, Downpatrick Folk club, The Copper Kettle (Enniskillen) etc. Gerry embarked on a part-time solo career playing the “Folk Circuit” of clubs and festivals around Ireland.
In 1976 Gerry was awarded the prize for “Best Vocalist” at the Letterkenny International Folk Festival, and in 1979 his song “A Rose By Any Other Name” won best song at The Bass Ireland Song Festival. That same year he played the North Coast Folk Festival alongside Tom Paxton, Paul Brady, Loudon Wainright, Christy Moore and The Strawbs. In 1980 he was invited to play at the Boys of Ballisodare Festival in a lineup that included Sonny Terry & Brownie Magee, Donovan, Don Everly and Planxty.
Gerry played at The Belfast Festival at Queens, five years in succession, culminating in the launch of his album, “A Rose by any other Name” at The Harp folk club in November 1986. His band on the night included Enda Walsh on piano, Paddy Walsh keyboards, Dave Early R.I.P. (ex Shade) on drums and percussion, Dee Moore on bass and Trevor Stewart on uillean pipes. The album which was produced by Gerry aided by Shaun Wallace and Enda Walsh, was recorded at Shaun Wallace’s Homestead Studios in Randalstown.
The album featured the highly respected musicians Shaun Wallace electric guitar, Enda Walsh keyboards, Jane Cassidy vocals, Frank Cassidy bouzouki, Trevor Stewart uillean pipes, Billy Moll concertina and bodhran, Neil Martin whistle, Anthony McQuillan bass and Brendan McGarrity and Colin Bell on drums plus Gerry vocals, acoustic and electric guitars and harmonica.
In a number of years much of Gerry’s time was dedicated to his career as a teacher and his family life. He did however find time to play occasionally with bands such as Breaking Ice with, Robert Morrison, Denise Kelly-Brown, and Stevie Murtagh, and The Sads with Jack Kennedy, John Leadbetter, Denis Graham, Alex Robinson, Paul Cole and Philip Simpson and some two-piece gigs with John Leadbetter.
Since 2008 Gerry has been playing mainly solo gigs to promote his recent CD ‘Hindsight’ 2009 and his re-released on CD album from 1986 ‘A Rose By Any Other Name’