A TALENTED Donegal guitar player is looking forward to showing off his new Rory Gallagher Signature Stratocaster when his band takes to the stage in Cork this weekend.
Kevin Herron of up-and-coming indie-rock trio Rowan won the guitar – worth €5,300 – in a competition which coincided with the release of the Hot Press Rory Gallagher 25th Anniversary Special Issue.
To mark the 25th anniversary of Rory’s sad death in 1995, Fender donated a Rory Gallagher Signature Stratocaster to Hot Press as a prize. Fans and budding guitar wizards alike were in with a chance of getting their hands on this much sought after guitar – but there could only be one winner!
Last week the young Portnoo man was presented with the stunning prize at a ceremony in Cork’s Rory Gallagher Music Library.
“I was shocked to learn that I had won to be honest and I’m delighted,” he said.
Each entrant offered up their own pitch, explaining why they felt they deserved to win the guitar, before those short-listed had to put together a two-minute video.
“My mum (Carmel) was born a few years after Rory Gallagher in the same hospital in Ballyshannon and I was always aware of that growing up.
“I wrote about that connection and also told them (judges) that, like Rory, I also went down to Cork and said that the band (Rowan) were recording down there and had just signed a record deal,” he explained.
That pitch was good enough to get him down to the last fifty.
“I then had to submit a video, no longer than two minutes, of me playing the guitar. I would put lots of guitar videos on Instagram so I took three which I thought showed me off best, put them together, and sent them off. The next thing I knew I had won,” he said.
“It’s funny. The guitar I would normally play would be a Fender Stratocaster so it’s a good fit. This new one though is hand built by the master builders at the Fender factory in California. It’s a real high calibre guitar.
“That said, I believe that a guitar is meant to be played so I’ll try to gig with it as much as possible. I’ll put it to good use,” he added.
With Rowan taking to the stage at Cork’s Cyprus Avenue next Friday, October 1, the Portnoo man won’t have too long to wait before showing off his new guitar.
“Growing up I was into bands likes Guns N’ Roses and their lead guitar player Slash. Whenever I read about those guitar players they often quoted Rory Gallagher as being a big influence. It’s pretty cool that he was an Irish guitar player,” he said.
In July, Rowan released their second EP, Everybody Talks – their first release on their new Los Angeles-based label, Beverly Martel.
They’re currently working on material for a new album which is due out early next year.
“We’ll have a few singles out before Christmas and we hope to have a few gigs around that. It’s starting to pick up. We’ve a headline gig in Cyprus Avenue on October 1 but there’s not too many dates in the diary for next year yet although, to be fair, people aren’t booking too far in advance just yet,” he said.
After finishing his B.A Honours degree in Music and History in University College Cork, Kevin subsequently undertook a Masters in Music Performance.
He is currently doing a Masters in European Public Affairs and Law in UCD.
“We’ll see how things pan out with the band but I suppose it (Masters) always gives me an extra string to my bow,” he said.
Niall Stokes, Hot Press, said he was glad to say that the judges decision was unanimous.
“The judges hoped that the guitar would end up with a very special player – and that’s the way things have panned out.
“We were familiar with the band Rowan – a really talented and, as it happens, Cork-based band about whom Hot Press has written on numerous occasions as we kept abreast of their burgeoning rock ’n’ roll adventures. But what the band’s guitar player Kevin Herron stepped forward and delivered his entry, there was a consensus that he was – or rather he is – a wonderfully talented guitar player.
“And so it is a real honour to be able to present Kevin Herron with what is one of the most sought after guitars in the world – a Rory Gallagher Signature Fender Stratocaster. Listening to his wonderfully subtle, gorgeously melodic playing – and seeing too that he can let it rip brilliantly when the mood warrants it – we know that this guitar is in more than capable hands,” he said.
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