Little Secret EP Launch
Organised by Guardian Angel Records and taking place in Studio 2 on Parr
Street in Liverpool, the evening’s entertainment promised to make
this a good night. Studio 2 is a converted recording studio, the acoustics
are brilliant and the ambient light of candles and wall lamps give it
an intimate feel. It has a pricey but well stocked bar, drinks ranging
from about £3 upwards. This is a place where many famous artists
have recorded including: Coldplay, Badly Drawn Boy, John Mayer and Diana
The night started at 8pm with two supporting acts, both solo acoustic
artists. First Simon Lomax eased the audience in with some accomplished
light ballads, followed by a more intense fingerpicking performance by
Ronan Boyle. Both were an excellent start to the proceedings.
After a short pause to allow his band to prepare, Dave O'Grady was welcomed
to the stage by an enthusiastic reception from the audience. Those who
have already heard his EP may have been surprised to see Dave onstage
with a full band (indeed, I was surprised to learn that this was Dave's
first time performing live with his own band), but the extra musical textures
didn't distract from the stripped down nature of the song-writing and
actually gave some of the harder kicking songs a slightly rockier edge.
Dave kicked off his set with Bones, the first
track on his EP, which gradually built up to a stomping climax as each
band member joined in. The musicians joining Dave on stage comprised of
Tom Cowley (drums), Mike Gay (electric guitar), Mike Smith (keyboards,
saxophone), John Bird (bass) and Stephanie Kennedy (backing vocals). There
were also guest performances from Sandi Thom on backing vocals and mouth
organ. As said by Dave himself on the night, they were all “unbelievably
and unfairly talented musicians”.
Highlights of the gig for me were The Weight
by The Band (a personal favourite and the only cover of the evening) and
the title track of the EP Dirty Little Secret,
in which Dave and his guitar were accompanied solely by piano. This added
to both the lyrical and intense nature of the song, creating a tender
and vulnerable moment in the evening.
Dave's music is a mixture of gritty American blues (with echoes of Johnny
Cash's narrative style) and strikingly honest ballads. Combine this with
great musicianship and contemporary twists on old themes (such as the
seemingly anti-war opener Bones) and Dave's
Dirty Little Secret becomes an interesting
and rewarding listening experience both at home and live.
Speaking to a visibly ecstatic Dave after his set, he cited The Black
Crows, Credence Clearwater Revival, Foy Vance and The Band as his main
musical influences. When asked about what made him pick up a guitar in
the first place, he paused, and with a wry smile said “If I hadn't
have had music as an emotional outlet, I probably would have killed someone
The night was thoroughly enjoyable and Dave himself is an engaging and
humble performer, closing his set with a genuine offer to shake the hand
of every person in attendance. A Dirty Little Secret? Not for long.
You can buy Dave's music on iTunes worldwide and find out more about
him and upcoming gigs at .