Well I'm back from my sabbatical and ready and raring to go!
I've enjoyed a great break - during which time my son Conall was born.
I totally recharged my batteries with a fishing trip to the Canary Islands last week and caught a couple of fish too, which was a bonus!
But it's back home and back to business now.
We have our new album Bootleg Union ready to roll this summer and we've got some news too...
Mr John Sweeney is back!
We're delighted to say John will be joining us for the recording of this album. He's a very popular character in the band and we can't wait to share a few laughs with him again. Unfortunately, his return is just for this album as John is a busy guy, but we've spoke about it and we can't wait to get stuck into rehearsals.
Another returning, former Union man, is Andy Moran - Declan's brother.
Andy played bass on most of Wilderness Machine and is a fantastic bassist and a great guy! We're very lucky to have him come back in for these sessions!
The family connections don't end there either. Padraic Lane, whose brother Ciaran played on three Wilderness Machine tracks and toured that album with us, is joining us on Mandolin for the sessions.
It really feels like a reunion for all of us. Myself, John, Andy and Padraic played in our old band, The Bob Cherries, together and it's almost like family back together again. I really am looking forward to this album. And with Johnny back in the drummer's chair again I couldn't be happier with the line up that will start recording on July 1st.
The recording of this album will be totally different to the Eagle Fort Rumble process which - aside from Someone You Dream Of - was totally a "track by track" album and very little fun in hindsight. This will be a band in a room recording live takes - the way it used to be (meant to be).
Kenny won't be in on the live sessions, but will join me in post production to lay down his parts, and that leads me to our last piece of news...
Stevie Deasy called me a few days ago to tell me that his time with the band is at an end.
Time is against Stevie at the moment as he's moving on to a new career and he wasn't able to give the full commitment, he had always given before, to the band.
I can say, genuinely, that Stevie will be sorely missed from The Union!
A true gent and a real professional!
I remember when he first joined the band, with two weeks notice, before a nationwide Irish tour and he played an absolute blinder! Never a putting a foot wrong once!
His presence around the band will be missed. His driving on the other hand... :) haha!
All the best Stevie! Onwards and Upwards mate!
So it's onto the next chapter of The Union.
Bootleg Union will be a great experience and a little bit of us getting back to our roots. And I can't wait!