Grafton Street has a certain charm about it that you just can’t beat, and one thing that really adds to it is the abundance of musicians that are busking outside of shops and restaurants every day. They’re the soundtrack to your early morning dash to catch the bus on Dawson Street, to the Saturday afternoon strolls around the shops and to those late night walks home from the pub.
Nestled amongst the shops, pubs and never-ending new hotels is an ode to a very famous musician. A man we all treasured, a national icon and simply, a pure legend- Phil Lynott.
The Thin Lizzy frontman may not be with us, but his legacy has been kept alive through the music of Thin Lizzy. To mark 50 years of the Irish rock band, Hudson Taylor honoured the band’s special milestone with an unplugged performance at the Phil Lynott statue on Harry Street.
“It’s an absolute honour. This is like the Irish version of doing a Beatles song,” Alfie says about the tribute.
Speaking about the influence Irish music has had on them, Harry shared, “Getting into busking we would have learned more Irish music so Damien Rice, U2, Glen Hansard, Thin Lizzy.
“To hear that these bands and artists were busking too gave us the push to get onto the street and play music ourselves.”
The early days of busking were full of nerves and embarrassment for the brothers, who were only teens at the time, cringing as their school friends passed them and their electric piano, but it shaped them into the incredible musicians they are today.
“We went out with the guitar and started to do a bit better. It then became a weekend thing. It gave us a freedom of meeting people in town and meeting other musicians.”
Stressing that busking will forever be in their blood, the Back For You singers said;
“We’re not totally detached from busking because we still busk every day in our life. The shows we play, whether we headline or not, that is kind of busking.
“At a festival, people don’t know you a lot of the time. People are there to see Florence and the Machine or the big name at the top of the line up, so that’s your chance to win people over,” Harry explained.
One place where they’ll certainly win plenty of new fans is Whelan's. The brothers have been playing in the Wexford Street venue for eight years and have five nights of gigs lined-up this December.
Alfie couldn’t help but gush about their legendary shows, “It’s really special. We’ve been calling it our Christmas party. We’ve been playing in Whelan's for eight years, since we started as a band. It’s an amazing venue. The gigs are like a big sing-along. I actually get goosebumps thinking about it.”
At one of their 2018 gigs, the brothers sang an unplugged version of I Love You And You Don’t Even Know with fellow musicians Tadhg and Oisin Walsh-Peelo, who they met when busking.
The performance was simple, but one I’ll never forget. They managed to capture the attention of everyone in the room and a powerful silence filled Whelan's, a rarity for the famous music venue.
Alfie commented, “We love doing that. You’re not plugged in and it’s so different to the other type of set where you’re plugged in and you’re in your own world and you’re playing, because you’re actually in the audience when you’re doing that."
“That’s our homage to busking,” Harry adds.
Hudson Taylor have gigs lined up all across the country and new music is pending. Their next album, which features plenty of tunes about family, home and their love lives, will be released in 2020.
There are a lot of nods to home and Dublin on the upcoming album, proving that the Emerald Isle will always mean the world to the lads, no matter where their success takes them, whether that’s Bear Creek or Dame Street.
An Post have released two new limited-edition stamps available to mark 50 years of Thin Lizzy. Hudson Taylor are calling on the nation’s buskers and musicians to make their own personal tribute to the band by recording a street performance of their most loved Thin Lizzy track and sharing it on social media, tagging An Post and using #ThinLizzyStamp.
The two national rate €1 stamps are available at all post offices nationwide and at irishstamps.ie.