by Danielle Holian

How and when did you get into music?

My Mum, Louetta, was a Piano teacher and my brothers and Sisters all had a taste for music in my family. It turned out to be what we all wanted to be involved in in our teens and in later years. In the early days, we all sang with our mom at Church, so that’s where the love of music all began. My Dad, William, liked to sing too but he was not a musician like Mom.

Who or what are your influences?

My Mum, initially, but there were many others too. My cousin Johnny Taylor was doing great on the Soul circuit so I was always looking up to him. I guess I just loved the Soul and Disco sounds and we all explored with that sound. Everyone I knew when I was young was into playing music. Especially of the Funk, Soul and Disco variety.

Why did you choose Soul and Dance as your genre of music?

Well like I said, it was what we liked most and the same went for our friends. My older brothers, William Jnr (Dee Dee) and Charles (R.I.P), were great Guitar players and singers and they drew us into that genre more and more too.

How has being from Louisville, Kentucky influenced your music?

Again, Johnny was nearby and like most youngsters in Kentucky, and in most States in America in that time, we were all being more adventurous. Exploring different sounds and being motivated by the groovy bands that we heard on the Radio. It was about getting people’s feet and bodies moving and the Soul and Disco music that was being developed appealed to me most. Although there is lots of Bluegrass Music in Kentucky too, we quickly turned to the New age stuff we were hearing, much to the bemusement of our parents, I might add.

How have you found Ireland’s reaction to your music?

I’m loving every minute of it! Irish people know how to party. Very much like ourselves and the kids I grew up with, there’s a great diversity of music in Ireland and Irish folk know their music. No problem. I like some of the Irish Bands too and I’m lucky to have worked here with some of the best like Don Baker, Seamie O’Dowd, Keith McDonald and many more. I performed with Tommy Fleming too a few years back at the Royal Theatre in Castlebar. I’ve supported a few Bands there too down the years and it’s always been a great experience. I tell my brothers back home that they should come here sometime and see how great you guys are/.

You have been compared to James Brown, do you agree with this statement?

Ya, I know. I laugh sometimes when people say that. I do take it as a compliment though too. James was a very unique Soul singer. Probably the best the world will ever see. He invented many things with soul music and of course some of his songs are legendary. I perform quite a few of his songs and it’s great to be able to do them. I guess the reason a lot of folk here liken me to him is the Hair thing. We look a little similar too I suppose. Only wish I had his money though. Ha Ha!

You have toured, performed and recorded with great names like Aerosmith, Joan Jett and James Taylor. How was the experience? And have you any good stories?

It was fantastic. It kind of all started to happen after my brother, Bird, and I formed our own band called “Little Slide Left” and started to do some other stuff with some other friends of ours down in Kentucky. We were still playing with our family Band too “Taylor Made”, but that was slowly coming to an end with family members getting married and settling down. We met Alex Taylor, the brother of the legendary James Taylor one night at a gig. He liked our voices and he suggested we come back to Massachusetts with him as he was forming a Band with James Montgomery up there. So we did. Bird and I moved up to Cape Cod and thought we’d give this thing a go. This was the beginning of the “East Coast Funkbusters”. We had great success with this band and through it got noticed by a lot of other great established Singers and bands who eventually invited us to record or tour with them. I worked with James Taylor, Doctor John, Donna Summer, Journey, Aerosmith, guys out of the band “Boston” and a load more. It was incredible fun and such a great privilege too. Later on, I worked with the Blues Brothers who had that great movie. They were actually mostly made up of a Band called “Booker T & The MG’s” with Dan Akyroyd and John Belushi (R.I.P) out front doing all the crazy moves. They were fun days indeed. I was very lucky as I got to know and network with a lot of good people in the Music industry. Guys like Steve Cropper, Donald “Duck” Dunne (R.I.P), Peter Wolfe of the J.Geils Band and many more.

How has your music evolved over the years?

Little has changed really. The Irish audiences have loved the set I do so I’ve been very lucky. My friend, Liam Brennan, whom I’ve worked now for the past ten years, introduced me to some great English Soul and Disco Bands like “The Real Thing”. I’ve already recorded their hit single “You to me are everything”, a few years ago and I’m planning to record another of theirs in the very near future. I never heard of this band before and really thought they were American but they’re not. They were from Manchester.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Winning the “Best of Boston” Award in the early 90’s was special for Bird and I. Especially when you consider the calibre of other great Bands that had won it before and since then. And doing the Jameson Cult Film Tour with Liam in Prague, Vienna, France and Dublin was very memorable too. Appearing at “Oxegen” with the Rubber Bandits was great fun …. And many other memorable Festivals and events here in Ireland… But, personally, the highlight for me was meeting my Irish born Wife, Fidelma, in Boston in the 80’s and us getting married. I never dreamed I would be in Ireland now. Four Kids and no regrets at all.

Where can someone view your music?

I usually have CD’s at my gigs but also on;

And there’s a bunch of videos on YOUTUBE.