Classically trained, Mearns is well-known as a consummate guitarist and inspired singer-songwriter, whose work with his ex-band, Airspace, won many plaudits from those in the know. A new solo album of Mearns’ own music is forthcoming.
Rice is a musician and Irish poet of distinction. With book cover recommendations from Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney, his published poetry has found its way into the collections of London’s Tate Gallery and The Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Rice’s chapbook of poems – Hickory Haiku – was recently published by Finishing Line Press, and a new full collection – Hickory Station – is under consideration by publishers. www.adrianrice.com
Alyn and Adrian both hail from the Troubled streets of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Mearns has lived in the States since his late teens, but Rice only settled in Hickory (NC) in 2005, having come to Lenoir-Rhyne College as Visiting Writer-in-Residence. Both men have been happily ‘captured’ by lovely American brides. The men met in a local Hickory bookstore and quickly formed a strong bond based on their shared Northern Irish heritage and ‘Belfast-speak’.
They co-wrote a serious and heartfelt tribute song for one of Ireland’s national soccer legends, the late, great, George Best. The song, entitled ‘The Conjuror’ – composed largely in their local haunt, The Olde Hickory Tap Room – reached No. 1 in the Belfast music charts.
As their friendship grew, the two men discovered their shared love of Irish traditional music. Back in Belfast, Adrian had played in an Irish band in his college and post-college years; while Alyn had written and produced a successful Irish CD, entitled ‘The Tree’.
So it was only a matter of time before the idea of an Irish duo would surface: thus – The Belfast Boys.
In performance, the boys work hard to deliver a serious traditional Irish set of jigs, reels, polkas and songs. As their new CD title would suggest, Songs For Crying Out Loud is an emotional first album, full of passionate songs that caress the ear and touch the heart. There are truly stunning new versions of folk favorites like ‘Danny Boy’ and ‘The Mountains of Mourne’, alongside less well-known songs such as the hauntingly beautiful ‘The Blue Hills of Antrim’, and original material like the enchanting ‘Shimna’. Throughout Songs For Crying Out Loud, Mearns displays the full range of his wonderful vocal skills, and the marriage of mandolin and guitar is simply magical