Limerick's Don Mescall looks within for first album in 11 years

Donal O'Regan


Donal O'Regan

Limerick's Don Mescall looks within for first album in 11 years

Don Mescall can’t wait for Dolan’s on Friday, September 1. Below, with Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and Geri Halliwell

DON Mescall’s songs have been covered on over 10 million records worldwide yet, remarkably, he only has one album to his name.

Until now.

The Lighthouse Keeper is due for release in October. You is the new single and the Ahane man is commencing a short Irish tour at the Rose of Tralee festival on August 16, and, of course, is playing Dolan’s - on Friday, September 1.

It’s been 11 years since his debut album Innocent Run in 2006. Don’s songs have been recorded by everyone from Geri Halliwell to the Backstreet Boys to Ronan Keating.

His musical gems have been sung by so many but he has kept plenty of jewels in his drawer for The Lighthouse Keeper.

The album’s title track was inspired by a childhood memory of a hurling match in Caherconlish that he recalls for all the wrong reasons.

“It is a song I wrote about my daughter Eve. I have a sister down in Youghal and I took Eve to visit the lighthouse. She was six or seven and at end of the tour the really lovely guide gave her a spare bulb. I still have it, I am the keeper of the bulb.

“I was in New York one day and I was looking at the photos of Eve at the lighthouse on my laptop. It struck me that she was pretty much the same age as I was when I lost my dad. I was with my father when he died at a hurling match in Caherconlish.

“In a bizarre moment it struck me that I was really young when I lost my dad even though you go through your life and you never forget that moment. I was looking at a photograph of my daughter, she is my baby and I was thinking I was only a baby when my dad died,” said Don.

The passing of Tom Mescall from a heart attack resulted in Don “losing direction” which is exactly what a lighthouse gives.

“The lighthouse in the photo of my daughter reminded me that’s what I lost. I remembered all the feelings and it was terrible, so horrible.

“My mother and father were so in love, she was so devastated but she is a really strong woman, an incredible lady,” said Don, who is looking forward to playing a homecoming gig and coming home to his mum Babs and family.

“She raised us all and there is 11 of us - I’ve eight sisters and two brothers. She is 93 but is as fresh as a daisy. She has a wonderful sense of humour and laughs a lot - I think that is what has kept her young. She emails me all the time, imagine that at 93 and she has been doing that for years,” said Don. His daughter Eve, now 18, will be joining him as tour manager and he is looking forward to the Dolan’s show.

“They are all special but I have had some absolute amazing nights there and I like Mick as a person. I wouldn’t get that anywhere else, there is always a great atmosphere, the homecoming gig is always the special one,” said Don.

Eleven years is a long time for somebody as prolific and creative as him to go between albums but there is a good reason.

“I made one album - Innocent Run - and to be perfectly honest I didn’t really enjoy the process. I didn’t feel the songs were very representative of who I was at the time but I went along with it. I was younger, I was naive and you just go with the flow.

“I love the creative process, I love writing songs, I love co-writing. The music industry is quite a hard industry, it is quite unforgiving, it is a cruel industry in a lot of ways and I don’t particularly like that. When the album came out I didn’t really want to be the artist. I didn’t enjoy it, I didn’t love it as some people would love it. I really pulled back and decided I would much prefer to be a songwriter,” said Don.

It happened quite naturally as five or six songs were covered by big artists.

“All of a sudden I had a publishing deal and people wanted to record my songs. I fell back into writing songs and enjoying it. The majority of those songs were for other people. When a song came along I particularly thought was more for me I didn’t really have to make that decision funnily enough because the songs for me are more on the personal side.

“They are more my point of view and what I’m feeling on the world. It was natural they fell into a drawer and they become the songs I would sing. When I moved into my new studio I thought to myself maybe it is time I made a record,” said Don.

And his fans can’t wait to hear it.

See for more details on tour dates including the night in Dolan’s on September 1 and Harvest Country Music Festival August 26 and 27 (Westport and Enniskillen on same bill as Nathan Carter) The Irish Post Country Music Awards on August 30 - Armagh City Hotel