2016 may have been the biggest year yet for The Paul McKenna Band – celebrating their 10th year together as well as releasing their fourth studio album Paths That Wind to immense critical acclaim and touring festival circuits and sold out shows worldwide. Now the Scottish folk act is taking some well-deserved time off to immerse themselves in their side projects and it seems there is no slowing down for front-man Paul McKenna who has been showing a different side to his music, performing it purely solo.
“The band had been together for 10 years as of last year and I think we all just wanted to have a little bit more space to try and do other things. But we definitely still wanted to keep the band going in some capacity so I’m doing some solo stuff and some more writing in the case of other members,” McKenna says.
“It’s a little bit different, it’s definitely lonelier. When you’re driving six hours by yourself it’s definitely not as enjoyable as when you are surrounded by four other guys all having a laugh, so it’s a bit tough in that sense. But the musical side of things is a lot more free. I have a lot more opportunities that I can now do, but have never been able to with a band. I have definitely missed them when I’ve been on the road on my own.”
After already having a stacked year playing shows everywhere from Europe to America, Glasgow’s McKenna will be briefly returning to Australia to perform a one-off show as the headliner at this years National Celtic Festival; which comes as no surprise after the legions of fans that adored his set at 2015’s Woodford Folk Festival.
With a line-up comprised of many Scottish folk acts that McKenna has previously established camaraderie with, he is extremely eager to head over and check out the Celtic Festival to which he’s heard many positive reviews about.
“I know quite a few of the other acts, just from my travels. When you’ve been playing in a particular genre of music for over 10 years you get to know a lot of other acts that are on the road, so I am looking forward to catching up with them in the downtime between playing,” he says.
“But in general I’m really excited! It’s a festival that I have heard a lot about and have been keen to come over for a few years now and I am really looking forward to it. I’ve heard nothing but excellent things about the Celtic Festival so I cannot wait to see how it is!”
When & Where: National Celtic Festival, Portarlington – June 9 – 12
Written by Alex Callan