Dirty Dozen: Megan O’Neill

‘Stories To Tell’ showcases six original songs that were recorded at British Grove Studios in London and produced by long-time Mark Knopfler collaborator, Guy Fletcher (Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler, Roxy Music). Megan & The Common Threads weave a unique tapestry of country, blues, folk and Americana. The band has emerged from the solo project of Kildare-born songwriter and front woman, Megan O’Neill, and includes co-writers Dan Clark and Tom Smith (electric & acoustic guitars), Kesh Kanabar (bass), Alessandro Tibaldi (drums) and Mairéad Furlong’s on fiddle.
Can you tell us about yourself? Where you’re from and what you’ve been up to over the past few years?
So, I suppose I’ll begin with my name! I’m Megan O’Neill, Irish singer-songwriter originally from Co. Kildare and front-woman / founder of Megan & The Common Threads.  I moved here to London three years ago after spending 2012-2013 in Nashville where I moved initially to learn the ins and outs of the music industry and to grow and develop as a songwriter and artist.

The past few years in London for me have been incredible. I was originally touring / releasing music under Megan O’Neill (with Dan Clark & Tom Smith by my side) and just over a year ago, we decided to expand our live sound by bringing in a drummer, bassist and fiddle player. That was when we decided to change the name to ‘Megan & The Common Threads’.

The past three years have seen us gigging all across the UK and Ireland, touring with CC Smugglers and W21 Music (2016), radio appearances on BBC London, BBC Ulster & Today FM Ian Dempsey show (Ireland) and live appearances at C2C Festival at O2 London (2015 and 2016), a headline slot at Weyfest (2016) and Time Out’s Rising Stars of Country show (to name a few!).

In late 2016, I had a major release collaboration with Top 10 UK Chart Act The Shires on Decca Records (Universal Music).  Now we are about to release a brand new record titled ‘Stories to Tell’ and we can’t wait to share this music with the world!

How would you describe your music?
A fusion of Americana, Country, Folk and Irish Traditional music. I like to tell stories through my song writing which the band then bring to life.

Can you tell us a little bit about your influences?
I have so many! I can’t honestly say that I am a fan of one particular genre of music only. I listen to a bit of everything (aside from heavy metal!) depending on my mood.

My influences come from my culture (Irish trad music), my mother who encouraged me to learn piano and sing when I was young (she’s a musician) and my favourite artists and songwriters, some of which are: Ryan Adams, Brandi Carlile, Eva Cassidy, Mary Black, Amos Lee and The Tallest Man on Earth.

What are you currently promoting?
Our new record which is coming out on the 24th February 2017! And our launch night which is 3rd March 2017 at the Sound Lounge in Tooting.

Have you got a particular song you’ve done that you’re particularly proud of, one that might define you?
I would like to think that this new record tells stories from my life over the past year or two and therefore all 6 tracks are somewhat defining. I think ‘London City Ghosts’ and ‘Walls’ in particular tell pretty powerful stories which are quite personal to me.

What are you currently listening to?
Brandi Carlile – The Firewatcher’s Daughter (album). On repeat!

And your favourite album of all time, the one you couldn’t do without?
I really couldn’t say! There are so many.

What are your hopes for your future career?
To write music that tells a story, that touches people and that inspires people to chase after what they want out of life. To continue to be able to play and write music with people that I love spending time with, admire and respect. To do what I love to do for a living and know that I’m getting out of bed for something meaningful and worthwhile every day!

If money were no object what would be your dream project?
Ooohhh… To do a record with Ryan Adams and Brandi Carlile (I’d settle for either but both would be epic!).

What’s the best thing about being a musician?
Getting to play and write music with people that I love, admire and respect.

And the worst?
Never making enough money!!

Author: Rudie Hayes

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show - The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session - playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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