Thanks to Ray Murphy and Jim Martin of Dublin 5, who recently celebrated their 10th anniversary as a band, and took time to sit down and chat with us about their experiences as performing artists, based in Annapolis.
What brought you to this point? How did you come here?
Ray: I was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland; lived there until I was probably 18; moved to England for a while and back to Ireland; Belgium…came to the U.S. and stayed here for 6 months, and back home again... and finally moved to the U.S. when I was 21 or 22…. not as a musician originally but I became a musician, performing, oddly enough, not Irish music - that was not something that I played, not even in Ireland. I learned it over here and… I (eventually) came to play Irish music because they would pay me to play Irish music.
What would you recommend to visitors who come here?
Ray: Generally, I would say “see Annapolis.” Walk around, have a good time, eat in the places, drink in the bars, meet the people, have fun.
But then, get slightly outside of it too. Go to the beach, go over the bridge. Every time I bring a visitor here from Ireland, we drive over the (Chesapeake Bay) bridge with no destination in mind.
But then, come back to Annapolis. And if music is your thing, there’s more than enough around town to keep everybody satisfied. One of the better music scenes in the U.S. is here.
Jim: Sure! National acts at Rams Head (On Stage) …
Ray: Some of the local acts are better than the national acts… there’re phenomenal musicians around town. It’s quite humbling…
What do you take from music? What does it give you?
Jim: Peace. As a father, and of course, we’ve got jobs as well, music for me is a release, after we get home (after work), with the stresses of life and all. Ray and I call it the greatest hobby ever.
Ray: And it is.
Jim: The 6 of us get along pretty well. It’s nice to have that camaraderie of family, outside of the workplace and our family.
What would you consider to be the perfect gig? Where would you be? Who would you be with?
Ray: Hardest, hardest question ever… I think that a lot of the gigs we play would already be considered “perfect,” not in terms of musicianship, or settings, but… as far as playing with other musicians, we frequently request other bands and musicians to come up on the stage with us, so we’ve shared the stage with many of our peers.
I’ve sat down in my mom’s kitchen with my sisters and played, and that’s where I have goose pimples - and we’ve played for 20,000 or 30,000 people and that’s been wonderful too. It’s almost impossible to say.
Jim: And practices too, where things are working so well.
In the future, what do you hope to be known for? What do you hope to be remembered for?
Ray: We rehearse our band to perform. We’re not a recording band, although we have recordings, of course. But when we rehearse, and learn new songs, a lot of it is based upon what it will sound like in a performance - because we like to make people happy.
The take-away for Dublin 5, I’ve always said, is certainly the music, but more the people that we’ve met along the way. We have weddings, and marriages, of people who come to see us play. The legacy of the band is the people that we’ve met, who have met each other, an extraordinary group of people. I’ve met people who I hope to know for the rest of my life, whether we continue to play or not.
Some of the nicest things that happen from time to time are the messages that I get from Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, or Japan, and somebody will say, “I heard a song on the radio and it made me think of you.” It’s amazing to think that there are people around the world who listen to our CDs. We’ve had Navy flyers who have used our CDs while on missions while overseas in Afghanistan… it’s in their lives and something to be prideful of.
And for an Irish band, playing Irish music, somehow being accepted into a community that isn’t necessarily an Irish community… it’s amazing to be accepted.
For information about scheduling an event at Blackwall Hitch, (400 6th St, Annapolis), please call: (410) 263-3454. More Information: TheBlackwallHitch.com
Recorded by Naptownmusic at Blackwall Hitch Annapolis (in Eastport); Annapolis, MD.