Grammy-nominated Hurricane Highway have had a year of extreme highs and deep lows.
Two-times-Grammy nominated Irish duo Hurricane Highway, from Westport, Mayo, have had their fair share of ups and downs – other than Covid-19 – in the past year.
Dublin-born Kevin, and his partner in Hurricane Highway, Mayo-born Ed Holland, spoke to the IW about the highs and lows of the past twelve months.
Ed’s musical roots are rock music. Kev’s are folk and blues. Fate brought them together six years ago.
Kev had recently lost his wife Irene.
Ed takes up the story: “I was on a night out in a pub where Kev was playing. I was asked if I would get up and sing a song which I did. I looked around and thought I will have to sing for the audience there, so I decided to go for The Fureys’ Sweet Sixteen.
“What I didn’t know was that it had been Irene’s favourite song and that Kev had been unable to sing or play it since she had passed.
“Anyway, at the end of the night we got chatting and hit if off straight away.
“We both had preconceived ideas of each other’s music but found we both had a mutual love of country music. We found our soundvery easily mixing both our influences. So, that was it, Hurricane Highway was formed.
“We have worked extremely hard over the last six years taking our time with the songs we release. Our first release Your Man received critical acclaim and very quickly became a radio hit with our debut album Exposed going straight to Number One in the iTunes chart.
“We work with the best writers in Nashville to produce the best sound we can. The payoff is the reception that our latest song Plain Beautiful received.
“The highlight of our career must be the Grammy nominations we received last year. I took the phone call and thought it was someone messing about.
“Suddenly the group was in the mix with the likes of Keith Urban and Lady Antebellum.
“It just changed everything for us and took us to another level. We had just released the Lionel Richie song Dancing on the Ceiling and celebrating when Kev received devastating news.”
Kevin was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
Kevin continues: “Last September I’d been passing blood and had a colonoscopy. Within two weeks I was in hospital where they removed a large tumour from my bowel, my bowel was almost completely blocked.
“I have been incredibly lucky that I have now been given the all clear and I am due to have my reversal operation in the coming weeks. The operation was originally planned for April but Covid- 19 meant it had to be delayed.
“Things have advanced so much in medicine and the treatment of cancer in the past few years. A lot of people are afraid when the hear the Big C word and think that it is a death sentence, but it doesn’t have to be.
“Typically, men will put things off when they start to have symptoms thinking it will be ok. NEVER put it off, don’t be afraid to have a chat with your GP. If my experience can help just one person well, I’m more than happy to share it.
We have been working behind the scenes and have had phenomenal reaction to Plain Beautiful.
“We are really excited about our next single, Heart Condition, both these songs are taken from our next album.
“Our experience of lockdown has been like many others. My girlfriend Ciara who is Australian went to New Zealand to attend her grandmother’s funeral when lockdown hit so she has been there ever since.
“As it stands, she is unable to get a flight back to Ireland before October.
“So many others are in much worse situations than us though and we are so thankful to have Facetime, it’s been a Godsend enabling us to keep in touch.
“My sister is a nurse and is a key worker, so we are very aware of what she faces each day and we are extremely proud of the job she does.
“We both live in Westport, so it has been wonderful and therapeutic to have the sea so close by. Kev lives just outside it in Old Head beside our wonderful friend Matt Molloy who catches up with Kev most days.
“We are incredibly lucky to have had such a positive outcome for Kev and like he said the most important thing is to seek some help or advice straight away if you feel or notice something isn’t right. It could save your life.”