Shawn Cuddy tells Fiona O’Brien about his plans for 2017, even though he’s not one for New Year’s Resolutions
Shawn Cuddy has been on the road with his band for 27 years, having first put them together in 1990 after playing on his own since he was 18.
The Co. Laois man, the eldest of 11 children, did play in a family band before he went out on his own, and he is grateful for the timing of his rising in country music.
“I’m so glad that we started at that time in the early 1990s because we got to enjoy that big showband scene for a good while when we were travelling in the UK,” he says. “It’s so different now and I’m proud that I got to play a part and perform in the Galtymore before it closed.”
Cuddy, like many of his country counterparts, notes the vast difference between the music scene now compared to a quarter of a century ago.
“Now it is very difficult to find clubs to play in when you come over to the UK. I’m actually travelling to London this week to have meetings with BBC over a new single we want to put out in March and see what we can do to promote it.”
Shawn and his band have a few new songs recorded before they go on the road again, and he hopes that he can make an impact on what he calls an ever-changing dancing scene. “The last time we went over and did the regional BBC radio shows I spent a fortune and got very little feedback from it.
“We would be playing shows and you’d speak to the crowd afterwards and they would not have heard us on the radio at all. It’s very difficult to get your music out there, and airplay is so vital, but perhaps our fans and the people that like to go out on the dancing scene just aren’t listening to those radio stations.
“Apart from perhaps Henry’s show on BBC Bristol, but the aim really is to try and get a few BBC Radio 2 plays. That’s what everyone listens to and to get that is worth about a thousand plays on other stations.
“But in this game is all about the pounds and the shillings and the pence so hopefully we can make something work. It is very expensive to book these venues in the UK so you have to do the behind-the-scenes preparation work to make sure that it is feasible.”
Cuddy is taking a break from gigging as he discusses his next promotional tour, but was performing over Christmas.
“It’s all changed now really. I’m nearly glad to see the back of Christmas because people seem to have lost the meaning of it, it’s all just a big whoo-ha. I never play a concert on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but we do go out on Boxing Night, and a few more nights then running into the New Year.
“It’s very different now and a few other artists have said that to me too. I remember when there would be a massive festive mood about the place. You could nearly start singing Christmas songs in November, if not as soon as December hits, and keep singing them until nearly the second week of January.
“That’s all changed now on the dancing scene. People are not as interested anymore, at your ordinary dances around Christmas they don’t seem to care.
“We would play maybe eight or nine Christmas songs in a night years ago, and now maybe only three or four as there’s not as much of a reaction to it.
“Maybe now you only get it if you are doing a works Christmas party, but sure hasn’t everything changed over the years? A lot of people stay at home now and have their parties indoors with family instead.”
And what has Shawn set his sights on for 2017?
“I’m not really one for New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t drink or smoke, and every year I say I will exercise more but that falls by the wayside a week or two in! I say as long as you’re enjoying yourself and not doing anything to excess then you’ll be fine. We had a bit of a furniture re-jig too as we were waiting for a new sofa for Christmas but it arrived now this week so it’s all colour coordinated now for the New Year, and that’s about it.”
Shawn says there’s nothing he would change if he got to do it all over again. “I’ve generally enjoyed the whole experience of playing. I’ve made a good living out of it and enjoyed working with the people I collaborated with and met along the way.
“I’ve had a great time on the whole. Of course everyone has highs and lows like in any job, but I wouldn’t change a thing… well maybe a bit of luck I could have had some success with records that other acts have had!” he jokes.
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