BY SEÁN P. FEENY
MID last week the world of social networking was being flooded by a ‘new’ song supporting Donegal in their current bid to bring Sam back to the Hills.
Jimmy’s Winning Matches is dedicated to Jim McGuinness and his Donegal Senior team and was written by none other than Kilcar’s own Rory Gallagher and within four days received a whopping 60,000 hits.
The former Revs frontman, who lives in Lanzarote these days, is of course a great songwriter and his solo singles with his band Rory and the Island have all hit the Top 20 Irish iTunes charts.
One of those songs, Jimmy’s Selling Watches from his new album Auntie Depressant & Uncle Hope, was the melodic inspiration behind the new lyrics.
Rory said: “I was speaking to my parents after the quarter final and my mum jokingly said ‘you’re going to have to change the name of that song to Jimmy’s Winning Matches’.
“It was just one of those times when the lyrics suddenly flooded in and five minutes after coming off the phone to my mum the first lines came to me ‘he comes from Glenties man, he’s winning plenty man, he’s got more medals than an Olympian from China man’,” he laughed.
The inspiration behind the original song was a Senegalese native Jimmy, a flamboyant character on the island of Lanzarote, with a great talent of remembering place names.
“Jimmy is just a great character and would get up on stage with me at Charlie’s the odd time and when we were going down to the beach to film the video I gave him a call.”
After just one take the now infamous video was filmed by Rory’s pal Mark Bennett, who has worked on some of Rory’s other great music videos, on Playa Chica.
“Jimmy ends up going through all the place names in Donegal, Dublin, Cork and Mayo he knows, which is frightening, but I can’t say much about his timing on the bongos,” Rory laughed.
As soon as the video was posted on youtube.com and shared on facebook, Rory received an e-mail from 19-year-old Donegal star and fellow Kilcar man, Patrick McBrearty.
Rory said: “Patrick congratulated me on the song and told me that if they beat Cork the boys would all sing it on the bus on the way home.
“I told him that Jimmy actually wants to come over to Donegal and sing the song with the county team,” he laughed.
Coming from Kilcar, a town that eats, sleeps and breathes Gaelic football – apart from some basketball in the off season – and so Rory is a Gaelic fan through and through, but he admitted there was a reason why he stuck to the guitar and drums and didn’t pursue a football career.
“I was a brutal player, that’s why I stuck to music. I once got on for 20 minutes during an U12 match and scored a point with my head and Micheal ‘The Chief’ Gillespie took me off for using soccer tactics,” he laughed.
It’s a busy time in Lanzarote for Rory so he hasn’t been able to make it to any games yet and he’ll be watching the semi final at the Craic and Ceol in Puerto del Carmen with two other Donegal natives who are resident on the island, the Browns from Buncrana.
“The three of us will actually be surrounded by about 50 ex pats from Cork for the semi final, so that’ll be fun, but if the lads make the final I’ll definitely try and get over.”
Rory said he is going to have to stop writing sport songs, having previously received national acclaim with his song for the Boys In Green with Sharon Shannon to the melody of Galway Girl, and some people beginning to think he does these full-time.
“Somebody actually got in contact with me the other day and asked me if I would write a song for Katie Taylor’s homecoming,” he laughed.
The Kilcar man released his latest album, Auntie Depressant & Uncle Hope, a month ago and despite not having a ‘huge’ budget to promote it, he has been receiving a lot of airplay and to his delight secured a distribution deal with retail giants HMV.
“It was great to get the distribution deal with HMV as my album is being picked up in England and Scotland and I am not even touring around there.
“I think a lot of it is due to all the online attention I have thankfully been getting through my songs and videos. Back in the day with the Revs that would have never happened. Ten years ago you still had to tour in these places to sell albums there.
“I’m really pleased with how the album’s been doing so far. A lot of the regional BBC stations have picked it up and I will be heading to places like Cheshire, Lancashire and Manchester to do gigs soon so it’s really gathering a lot of momentum.”
Rory’s last six singles have charted in the top 20, despite him only performing three times in Ireland over the past year, and so when he comes on national tour in November, no doubt many people will look forward to seeing him live on home ground.
The views on Rory’s video to Jimmy’s Winning Matches will most likely have neared the 20,000 mark on youtube.com by Monday morning as people share the link online – and by the time August 26 comes around, everybody will be singing the catchy song about the ‘Glenties Man’.
Rory and the Island’s music is available on iTunes and to keep posted join him at www.facebook.com/roryandtheisland or go to roryandtheisland.com