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Musician Profiles

Musician Profiles

In all, eleven musicians (twelve including Kim) were directly involved in the Kim Newport Band over the five and a half years she toured Ireland. Below is a little history on each individual.

Kim Newport

 

Kim had never really intended to be a "singer," having obtained a degree in dance from the University of California. Kim's performing career took off after she became part of the famous Young Americans performing arts group which toured the United States doing upbeat entertainment extravaganzas. She learned piano in her early years and translated this to stints on the keyboards when she wasn't out in front with the band. Kim met Gerry when they were part of a resident band at a Southern California night spot called "Mr. Mike's" in Newport Beach. After graduating from UC Irvine, she joined Gerry in Sligo and while traveling the country by night with the band, by day she ran her own Sligo School of Dance, featuring ballet, jazz and modern dance classes for students from 5 to 50. Today, she and Gerry once again live in Sligo where Kim has released her newest single, Girls Night Out. Sadly, in 20906, Kim and Gerry lost their 16 year old son, Grant in a car accident in South Carolina. There other son, Gerald, just graduated from USC.      
  

Gerry Gallagher

Gerry's roots are in County Mayo as his parents moved to the States shortly after his birth. He came to Sligo in 1970 when his parents returned to their homeland and he attended Summerhill College. His first bands were part of the local Sligo scene, and they focused on pop and rock music, including Sandy's Kelly's first band, Easy Listenin'. Gerry got a taste of the Irish showband scene during a year long stint with Magic and the Magic Band (formed from the remains of Murphy and the Swallows) based in Galway in 1974-75. After leaving Magic, he came back to Sligo and played with Dick Lynott, Joe Foley and future band mate James Blennerhassett in local pub/dance groups. In 1976 he returned to the U.S. and met  Kim. After they were married, he persuaded her that Ireland could use her singing talents. Gerry plays lead guitar and keyboards, as well as having written and produced the majority of Kim's records. While Gerry worked at Fitzgerald's Music Centre, he was also a DJ on the legendary pirate station Radio City, where he hosted a live lunch time show as well as a night time "classic rock" show in the station's early days. Today, he and Kim live in Sligo. He continues to own and operate a 32 track digital recording studio as well as lecturing at IT SLigo.
 

Dick Lynott
Dick Lynott

Dick Lynott is a native of Sligo who has been drumming in local and regional rock and pub bands for as long as he can remember. He first met Gerry Gallagher in 1974 when he joined Gerry and soon-to-be national celebrity, Sandy Duskey when she first came to Sligo from Wales. "Sandy Duskey and Easy Listening" played cabaret across the Northwest of Ireland. After she joined the Fairways, the boys carried on as Easy Listening and eventually as Sundown. Dick has also played with the Fairways and Sean Gallagher and the Quarrymen. After leaving the KNB, Dick fronted his own group, Staganua which also featured ex-Duskey Sister's keyboardist David Moriarty. A major fan of the late Phil Lynott, Dick is married with two children and lives in Sligo. Dick plays regularly in Spain these days and spends a lot of time of the Costa Del Sol!

Joe Foley

Joe Foley has been providing solid bass lines for Sligo pub groups since the early 1970's. He joined Gerry and Dick in the local group, Sundown, which played in the Sligo area from 1975-76. He again teamed up with Dick and Gerry to form the nucleus of the first Kim Newport Band. Joe sang several numbers with the band, specializing in country tunes.  He continues to play in local groups in the area, including the Heartbeats, and is working and living in Sligo town. He also appeared
with the band on the TV Show SBB Ina Shui. Throughout the 1990's and 2000's he
played with his band The Showband Boys, who played pubs, weddings and
functions across the Northwest. In October, 2015 his close friend and bandmate
Noel Stewart passed away and Joe joined local group New Edition.

Seamie McGowan

Seamie was the missing component that helped turn Kim Newport and California from a good local pub group into a full sounding pop band. His lead guitar sound, along with Gerry's, allowed the band to take on numbers from the likes of Thin Lizzy, Status Quo, and AC/DC without missing a beat. He provided harmonies and took the lead vocal on an occasional number. Seamie, with Gerry and Kim, was the only member of the band to stay from the beginning until the last gig. After Kim's return to the USA, Seamie went on to national prominence as the lead guitarist for Sligo's premier rock band of the 1980's, Those Nervous Animals. Seamie is married with two children and lives in Strandhill, Co. Sligo and still plays regularly with a local band. In 2002, Seamie joined an Irish folk group, Shelly River Band, which did some touring in the United States. Today, Seamie is one of the most popular
Musicians around Sligo and plays regularly with a variety of lineups.
 

James Blennerhassett

James has definitely been the band's most accomplished member. He replaced Joe Foley on bass and had played previously with Gerry in "Easy Listening." A classically trained musician from a very musical family, James has continued to develop his musical prowess and since leaving the band, has gone on to great heights first with his band, The Hennigan Blooze Band, which he formed with Sligo guitar phenom, Francie Lenehan, and more recently as one of the top double bass session musicians in Ireland. He has toured with Francis Black, playing on all her albums since 1992 and has also worked with the Chieftains, and the Rolling Stones. James released his own solo album of new age Irish music called Celtic Dawn in 1998 . Click here for a sample of music from Celtic Dawn. After several years of touring with artists like Mary Black, James joined legendary showband, The Conquerors, whom he was for about 5 years. He lives in Kildare and in 2017 joined Daniel O'Donnell's touring band.

Seanie Ryan

Seanie joined the band from his home town of Thurles and moved to Sligo. He was the first "non-Sligo" musician and brought a new sound to the group. His powerful drumming style had previously been one of the mainstays of the Kenny Ryder Band. Together with James, they formed one of the tightest rhythm sections in Ireland. In fact, Seanie was so good, he was snatched up by one of Ireland's top pop groups, Tweed before the end of after only six months with the band in mid 1981. Seanie moved to California in mid 1984 and met and married his wife. They now live in Houston Texas after a stint in Tulsa, Oklahoma where Seanie still keeps the beat for several bands including a country band and a jazz ensemble. Seanie was a member of Kettle of Fish, but since their break up, has been playing with resident band in Houston.  

Paul Hamilton

Paul Hamilton joined the band, replacing Seanie Ryan who had been offered the drumming job with Tweed. Originally from County Donegal, Paul was recommended to the band by Ted Ponsonby of The Rascals. Ted was also the lead guitarist with Section One, the band Feedback played relief to back in 1972. Small world! Before the Kim Newport Band, Paul had been playing in local bands and pub groups around his hometown. After leaving the band, we lost track of Paul and we're not sure what he's up to today.

Brian Mullin

Brian came to the band from Omagh and was definitely one of the "finds" of the band. Prior to playing with the Kim, Brian had never played in public before, although he had been playing incessantly at home and learned his craft well. Once Brian got used to the feeling of being on stage, he grew to become the backbone of the band, providing solid, driving bass lines. Together with Michael Gallagher, (see below) Brian stayed with the band until the end playing at their last gig in September, 1983. After leaving the band, Brian continued to play with several Northern based pop groups and continues to play today in England. 

Michael Gallagher

Michael Gallagher, Gerry's brother, had been living in Ireland for a short time early in the band's career, although he only played drums part time and didn't even have his own kit. He had just returned to the United States when the band was suddenly in need of a drummer following Paul Hamilton's unexpected departure. Gerry called, and Michael agreed to give it a try. Like Brian Mullin, Michael learned his craft on stage and together they became the driving force behind the band's sound. From December, 1981 until the band split in 1983, Michael provided the back beat the band needed to compete on the Irish dance scene. After Kim returned to the States, Michael stayed in Sligo and played with local groups including a stint with the Jazz Ladds. He eventually returned to the United States. He lives in Parker, Arizona with his wife and three children.  
 

Fran Curry

Early in 1982, Gerry realized the band needed keyboards if they were to compete with the top pop groups of the day. He heard about Fran Curry from Tipperary and on February 6, 1982, the band played the prestigious Seapoint Ballroom in Galway. Fran traveled to the gig and after several hours of practice, it was obvious he was the right man for the job. Although he played with the band that night, the next day Gerry received a call from Fran saying he had been offered a job with The Bards, a folk group who had a number one hit with Lanigan's Ball. After hearing how the band sounded with keyboards, Gerry immediately purchased a Fender Rhodes and from then on, keyboards were shared by Kim and Gerry. Fran still plays today and is Station Manager of TippFM.
  

Colm Feeney

No profile of the Kim Newport Band could be complete without mentioning Colm Feeney. For much of the band's five years, Colm played a wide variety of roles including Road Manager, Sound Engineer, and part time musician. Although never "officially" a member of the band, Colm appeared on several television shows standing in on drums and guitar during the taping of two different SBB shows. Colm also often joined the band onstage, lending a hand vocally as well. After the band left Ireland, Colm continued in the music business, organizing a series of Traditional Music Festivals in his home town of Drumcliffe. Colm now owns a construction company in Sligo.
 
Special
Musicians
Special mention:  Several other musicians played with the band, although they were not part of the band. Others also helped us along in special ways! We wanted to especially thank:

Francie Lenehan
Francie Lenehan, one of the top guitarists to ever strap on an "axe," provided Gerry with a lot of inspiration. As a member of the "Pink Band," he was the first Irish guitarist Gerry heard while at Summerhill. Francie's career is one of variety and excellence from stints with Twink's Band, the Cotton Mill Boys, and the Henegan Blooze Band with James Blennerhassett, to his own group, Southern Comfort, with brother John and Billy Kelly. He played acoustic lead on the band's record, Too Many Heartaches and remains one of Gerry's closest friends in Sligo. 

Billy Kelly
Billy Kelly, formerly of Sligo and the band Southern Comfort (with Francie and John Lenehan), and now of New York. Billy stepped in to play drums on short notice with the band on a couple of occasions. He also played with American Pie before relocating to the States.

Sandy Kelly
Sandy and Michael Kelly: Although not well known, for a three week period in 1978, Kim, Gerry, Seamie and Dick joined forces with Sandy, Michael, and her sister, Barbara to appear as the Duskey Sisters Band. Sandy remains one of Ireland's most popular country singers and tours regularly with George Hamilton IV following the success of her Patsy Cline Story across the UK. Gerry was also in Sandy's first band in Ireland in the early 1970's, Sandy Duskey & Easy Listenin'.

Cornelius Ward
Magic (Cornelius Ward): After the departure of the original Magic (Kevin Walsh), the band brought in Cornelius Ward, an 18 year old from Donegal as the new lead singer. When Gerry was looking for a male singer to sing duet for his entry in the National Song Contest, he contacted Johnny Carroll to see if the "new" Magic would be interested. The duet was recorded in Greenfields Studios on October 12, 1981.

Henry McGlade (left)
Henry McGlade: Originally from Sligo, Henry McGlade met Gerry in 1974 and played bass in the band, Aquarius, with him. He also got Gerry his first pro gig with The Fitzgerald Ceili Band. Although Henry relocated to Castlebar in the mid 1970's, he continued to have an impact on the Kim Newport Band. He wrote about them in his newspaper column in The Connaught Telegraph, booked them for gigs, and helped build their reputation in Mayo. For that, the band is eternally grateful!

Noel Gorman
Noel "Flukey" Gorman, another drummer who helped us out on a few occasions when we were stuck. Flukey is a legend on the Sligo music scene and has played with everybody who ever strapped on a guitar, accordion, or saxophone in, and around, Sligo. Flukey still lives and plays in Sligo with various bands, including most recently, The famous Jazz Ladds on percussion. 

 


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odified: March 20, 2017