Biography

archiveBeginnings

Irish guitarist, composer, singer/songwriter, dulcimer player, Austin Durack began writing and performing with acoustic guitar around 1970.  He won a prize in The American Song Contest in 1974 and made his first of seven national TV appearances with the group Jabberwocky in 1976.  He met and learned from two well known U.S. Appalachian dulcimer players Jerry Rockwell and Lois Hornbostel in 1980, and started writing and recording music for the instrument.  His first album of songs and dulcimer tunes, 'The Soldier', came out in 1981.  Austin started touring Ireland, Germany, and The Netherlands, with guitar and dulcimer and issued his first single 'How Many Times' in 1985.  This was followed by his second album, 'Heroes' (WEA), in 1987.  His song 'A Beautiful Flight' from the album was an airplay hit and he sang it solo on 'The Late Late Show' (Irish TV show).  In 1989 his album 'High Road To Glory' (Larrikin Records) was released in Australia and New Zealand.

Instrumental

In the early 90's Austin turned to guitar instrumental composition and performance.  1993 was the start of a prolific phase and his early compositions were issued on the album 'What's Another Continent?' in 1996.  Around this time Austin turned his attention to the Spanish guitar and his 'Dreams and Soft Guitars' album (2002) reflected this development.  The album brought him critical success and national airplay as a guitar instrumentalist.  It was mainly instrumental and included three songs with Spanish and South American themes.  Austin's 2008 album 'A Guitar Journey', featuring jazz bassist Peter Hanagan, brought him further airplay success and launched a series of appearances at Jazz festivals (Cork, Doonbeg, and others), concerts (3 in the University of Limerick), and other live work.  By then he had started to write and arrange pieces in a jazz vein, incorporating jazz guitar.  His 2012 album 'Drops of Jazz' featuring Limerick vocalist Judy O'Connor was roundly welcomed by radio presenters and critics alike.  In 2014, Austin returned to the acoustic guitar and a more folk styled approach with 'Fingerpicker', which featured Ireland's most acclaimed fiddle player Martin Hayes, who performed live with Paul Simon in 2015.

Archives

Down through the years Austin's obsession with the art of composition has resulted in a vast accumulation of unreleased songs and instrumentals (including many with the Appalacian dulcimer).  In September 2016, he discovered recordings of multiple tunes in various styles (many untitled) and songs that he'd forgotten that he'd written.  Thankfully, a lot of these recordings are of high quality and will be released over the coming months on Bandcamp.

Other Activities

A number of Irish artists have covered Austin's songs and he has recorded with some of Ireland's finest musicians, including Riverdance musicians Máirtín O'Connor (accordion), Declan Masterson (low whistle) and Tommy Hayes (percussion).  Blues guitarists Steve Constantino (New Jersey USA) and Maurice Dickson (Lisburn NI) duetted with him on record as did clarinet player Paul Roe (National Symphony Orchestra/ Concorde).  As a community musician, who graduated from the University of Limerick in 2002, he has helped many groups, mainly in disadvantaged areas, to write their own songs.  In 2005 he won the European Language Label, presented to him by the Irish Minister for Education, Mary Hanafin, for teaching Spanish through original song.  In recent years he has made two albums with his poet brother Mike Durack, combining poetry and music.  More information about their collaboration can be found on 'The Secret Chord' page on Facebook.  The duo also perform at live poetry readings throughout the country.

 

 

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