Darren Nash, one half of band MurrayNash, speaks to Fiona O’Brien about the band’s self-written song which has won a prestigious international award
Popular London country music duo MurrayNash are celebrating after their self-penned song was announced as a winner for a music award.
The pair, who consist of Darren Nash from Drogheda, and London-born Paul Murray, are well known for their fusion of pop and Irish classics when performing together, are really starting to impress with their own original material. Their Dream Inside has won Best International Song at the American Tracks Music Awards which is a music contest made to select the best motivated and creative artists from all over the world.
“We have a new album that is just getting the finishing touches at the moment and it is due out in the next couple of months,” Darren says.
“Dream Inside is from that and Paul sent it off to a few people who noticed straight away, which is great because it hasn’t even been released yet.
“The judges liked it so much we are invited to play in LA at their event next year. That’s really exciting, especially when we heard how much they like our sound.”
Although it has the folksy / pop sound that the pair are well known for, as well as an Irish reel at the end, the subject matter is quite far removed from the ballads the pair usual find themselves sing about.
“It is actually all about lying next to somebody who is in a really deep sleep and you can’t wake them up. Paul thought of it when he said his wife Antonia was talking about his snoring!
“So it is about not being able to wake them up, and lying there wandering what they are dreaming about. It gets a bit weirder then and turns into a dream within a dream.
“The sound sticks to our Celtic roots, especially with the reel at the end with pipes, flutes and fiddles.”
It is not the first time that the pair’s songwriting prowess has been noted. Paul, whose family come from Monaghan and Armagh, is known for The Tractor Song and his work on 1980s hit Sunday Child. And in Christmas 2015 they surprised all their fans when they released their extremely personal song about their mothers’ battles with cancer.
“Our song, Christmas Starts at Home was written for my mother who had been given the all-clear from breast cancer, and also in memory of Paul’s mum who lost her life to it.”
When a songwriting competition came up in the run up to Christmas it made both think about how important their family was year-round and not just the festive season. The song was well-received by their fans, who had not heard any of their original music before, and it struck a chord with the judges, who picked them out of 30,000 entries to fast track them into the semi-finals. The song raised many eyebrows within the TV and radio industry landing them many opportunities including a live performance on Irish TV and BBC Oxfordshire. But the pair are no strangers to songwriting, with both with their own studios at home where they help produce other artists materials too.
“We first met each other about five years ago by chance when we played together at a charity gig for cancer. We hit it off and kept in touch and started writing and performing together once we seen we had quite similar interests.
“The process is really 50/50. I’ll do a bit of lyrics and a tune, record a bit and send it to Paul, and if he’s on the same wavelength as me he’ll start working on it and we’ve just gone from there really.
“We are really looking forward to people hearing our songs in their own right as they are used to us playing covers at our gigs.
“But we have started playing a couple of songs from the album now and they are going really well. People are starting to sing along and when we tell them it’s our song they’re always like ‘no way, I don’t believe you!’”
Darren has been making his living in London for the past six years, but is no stranger to being away from his hometown of Louth for work, having done ‘eight crazy seasons’ in Ayia Napa. And to show that it is not as far as the band’s artistic talents go, there is also an International Film Festival in the pipeline too.
“We have a song that Paul wrote years ago called Love So Cold which is about a break up. The video tells the story behind the song and was animated by Paul himself and now the video in its own right has got attention too, so we will see what happens there.”
And on top of the band’s artistic commitments, they are constantly busy, not less for giving their time charitably too. They performed on the country stage at this year’s London Irish Vintage Rally in Tir Chonaill Park, Greenford, but also alternate to perform at the tea dances each week for BIAS.
“We don’t really think of it that way,” he says. “It’s not so much about giving back, we enjoy it. It doesn’t seem like a job, and they are some of the best audiences, it’s just our regular routine now.”
• The pair have now just finished their first album Had A Bad Day which will be released soon. To keep up to date visit www.murraynash.com for more information.