The music of Stockton's Wing has evolved into an
exciting blend of traditional and contemporary Irish music and
song, performed with power and precision by some of the finest
musicians in Ireland. Back in 1977, in Ennis, Co. Clare, the five
member group including all-Ireland champions, Paul Roche, Maurice
Lennon, Kieran Hanrahan and Tommy Hayes with Tony Callinan won
the traditional section of a Guinness sponsored talent competition
in Limerick (the rock section was won by a little known group
from Mount Temple School, called U2). As a result of this competition
they secured a recording contract with Tara Records and released
their debut album, Stockton's Wing.
Singer/songwriter, Mike Hanrahan, replaced Tony
Callinan in 1979 and in the spring of 1980 they released their
second album on Tara "Take a Chance." The album featured some
original music and marked the arrival of a progressive force into
the world of Irish music. Following the success of the album,
they toured extensively, creating a storm of enthusiasm at major
Folk Festivals across Europe.
At Ballisodare Folk Festival in the west of Ireland,
they met with Australian, Steve Cooney, who joined forces shortly
afterwards, playing bass guitar and didgeridoo. In 1982, the Band
released their third album "Light in the Western Sky" - a highly
polished album which represented a significant shift in their
musical direction, focusing more on the band's creative original
material. The album featured two hit singles "Beautiful Affair"
and "Walk Away." It also featured a haunting composition "The
Golden Stud" a combination of Aboriginal and Irish music.
Percussionist, Tommy Hayes, left the band in 1983
and was replaced by Fran Breen on drums and Peter Keenan on keyboards.
After listening to the band, a critic for the New York Times wrote
"they were eclectic, electric, passionate, personal, innovative
and powerful." In 1985, a live album "Stockton's Wing Live - Take
One" was recorded in Galway and Dublin capturing that 'eclectic,
electric' sound and enjoyed major success This album will be re-released
on CD in the coming months on the Tara Music label.
Tours of America, Canada, Europe and Australia kept
the band away from the recording studios until the autumn of 1986
when they recorded their fifth album "Full Flight." The album
contained no less than four hit singles - "Why Wait Until Tomorrow",
"Avondale", "New Clare Revival" and "So Many Miles." The group's
sixth album, produced by Steve Cooney, received critical acclaim
in America where the group headlined many major music festivals.
In the summer of 1988 they shared the stage with
Michael Jackson in Cork. The following year they made a guest
appearance with Sammy Davis Jnr. in Dublin as part of his world
tour with Frank Sinatra and Liza Minnelli. In 1990 Stockton's
Wing went on location to take part in the Noel Pearson/Jim Sheridan
film production of the John B. Keane play "The Field" which featured
Oscar nominee Richard Harris and John Hurt.
In 1991 Kieran Hanrahan was replaced by Davey McNevin
on banjo and mandolin. Drums and bass guitar were dropped from
the lineup, shifting the musical emphasis to an acoustic based
sound. With the release by Tara Records of a compilation of the
best of the Band's earlier work called The Stockton's Wing Collection,
they renewed their contract with Tara and together with producer
Bill Whelan, recorded their seventh album The Crooked Rose in
January 1992. The album of original music highlights the excitement,
drive and virtuosity of each individual musician and creates the
sound that will keep Stockton's Wing to the forefront of contemporary
and traditional Irish music.
In July, 1994, Stockton's introduced to the lineup
the award-winning young singer/songwriter from Omagh, Co. Tyrone
- Eamon McElholm. He replaces Mike Hanrahan who retired from the
Band to follow a solo career. Eamon is a recipient of the revered
PRS/John Lennon Songwriters Award and reinforces the band's reputation
for musical excellence with his live performances and songwriting
skills. 1995 saw the release of the Letting Go album which featured
Eamon's songwriting talents.
In November 2003 Stockton's Wing held a reunion
concert in their home town of Ennis, Co. Clare. Founding members,
Kieran Hanrahan, Paul Roche, Maurice Lennon and Tommy Hayes, were
joined by long-time band member Mike Hanrahan. The concert was
a hugh sucess with over 1200 people packed into the West County
Hotel. In the words of the band's producer PJ Curtis "what
an extraordinary, amazing, mind-blowing concert the Wing delivered
last night. I'm still spinning from it. It was TRIUMPHANT!..no
other word for it....such an incredible turn-out....and the music
and the vibe (Ronnie too...who was pure magic as usual) made it
a NIGHT TO REMEMBER!!! It rates as one of the top gigs of the
decade for me..."
After a number of well received concerts in
2013 The group have already confirmed shows at the prestigous
Celtic Connections in Glasgow and Dublin's Temple Bar Tradfest
for early 2014 - with the promise of more to come.