One of the north west’s best known musicians has quit his job to tour with one of his greatest musical influences.
Paddy Nash - a pivotal figure on the local music scene since first coming to attention in the Screaming Binlids, Whole Tribe Sings and in recent years the Happy Enchiladas - takes to the road next week to join English folkster Billy Bragg on his Irish tour.
The Creggan native says being asked to tour with Bragg is among the high points of his musical career to date.
But Paddy, who for the past ten years has worked in video stores in Derry and Limavady, says it has also forced his hand to take the plunge and go full time with his music.
“I asked for a week of unpaid leave but got a very short one word answer - no. It was disappointing to hear but I was left with no choice but to resign. I talked it over with my partner Diane and realised I don’t want to be an old man looking back and thinking what if. It’s full time with the music now. Where once it was a hobby, it now has to be a business.
“I’m literally singing for my supper from here on in but I can’t wait to get going.”
Paddy says he’s “slightly daunted, but very excited” to be going on tour with a man he cites as a major influence on his own work as a song writer.
Kicking off in Kilkenny on October 19 and drawing to a close in Dublin later this month, the tour is the latest development in a burgeoning friendship between Paddy and Bragg. Earlier this year, Paddy took to the Glastonbury’s Left Field stage after an invite from the English folk rocker, and followed up that appearance with a show at the Tolpuddle Martyrs festival.
While the Enchiladas bandleader will be performing as a solo artist, he and the Enchiladas are currently putting the final touches to their second album - and finalising plans to hit the road en masse come next year.
“There’s a much wider band sound to this album, it’s more like our live sound,” he says, ”It sounds like the way I always wanted the Enchiladas to sound.”
More information - including details of how fans can have Paddy play a personal gig in their own homes - is available online at www.paddynash.co.uk