TRADING HIS BIKE FOR A GuitaR
It’s Belfast, Northern Ireland in the 90s and Dave McKendry is learning, sometimes the hard way, what it’s like to grow up in a politically unstable and violent corner of the world. With shootings, beatings and bombings being a regular part of his childhood, he funneled fear and frustration into music, fronting rock bands early on in his youth. “I was angry. Everyone was angry. So I picked up a microphone and started shouting,” jokes McKendry.
And while much has changed, the singer remains. This despite the fact he once tried to give it all up; gifting his instruments to his friends and turning his back on home to travel around Europe by bicycle. It wasn’t long, however, before McKendry chanced upon a dusty old guitar somewhere in Spain and realised music was far from through with him. Trading his bike for a guitar of his own, he wandered from place to place as a street musician, “collecting memories, thoughts, ups and downs. Or ‘living’.” as he puts it. ‘Living’ which has become a deep well his music drinks from.
A songwriter focused intensely upon communication, Dave McKendry gives priority and utmost care to his lyrics, explaining, “Lyrics are especially important to me. I tell stories when I write songs and I want them to be understood - it’s all about the connection between the listener and the story - so if I want my music to speak for itself, I have to cut everything which isn’t helping. It can hurt sometimes, but it always gets you to a better place.” As someone who packed his life onto a bicycle, Dave knows a thing or two about cutting things which don’t help. And certainly the “better place” for his fans was him chancing upon that old Spanish guitar. But chance wasn’t done with him yet.
While busking on the streets of Vienna, love at first sight turned a two day stop in the city into an indefinite one. And so it was that in 2018 Dave McKendry recorded his first album with producer Jimmy Krammer; a collection of sketches recorded live, raw and alone on guitar and vocals, just as he had performed them on the streets which lead him to the city. Looking back toward his home Dave called the record ‘Islander’. Looking to the future however he had planted a seed for what was to come.
The song ‘Islander’ (released May 27th 2022) will be the debut single of Dave’s first studio album ‘HumanBeingKind’, recorded with producer Martin Kromar and released through Vienna Label echopilot music - where recently artists such as Josh (Cordula Grün) and Ina Regen successfully started their careers - not fifty meters from where Dave first played on the street that fateful day he chose to stay in Vienna.
As can happen in life, the love which bound McKendry to the city faded, but the love of the city itself grows to this day. Countless hours spent playing on its streets and stages have made Vienna - and Europe - his home. Countless hours which have made it easy, time after time, to establish the connection to his audience which is so dear to him. Alone or with his band, with disarming honesty and a couple of secrets, Dave McKendry sweeps his listeners off upon a journey before releasing them gently, gently back onto their own.