The summer of 85 saw the boys sat on a TWA flight to Houston with a healthy set of gigs booked and pocket full of contacts for new venues, importantly beyond the Texan heartland of 84.
By now ‘New Country’ was in full swing in U.K. , with the likes of Steve Earle hitting the UK, NME magazine, the bible of cool music, expanding its support of the genre with another Freddie tape “The Tape with No Name”. Here Steve Earle, Nancy Griffiths, Lyle Lovett and John Prine were given new audiences and there were some great new songs to add to the set.
The USA tour began in Houston but quickly spread across Texas with regular shows in Austin and Fort Worth. A Fort Worth show heralded glowing reviews in the local paper. With a lot of hustling on the phone, the team landed gig offers in California and New York. Venues in San Francisco had said ‘drop in when you get to the city’ – and sure enough this was enough to land them some midweek gigs. This quickly turned into shows across town and a chance to play the still legendary Irish music venue The Plough and Stars. On some days they played an unplugged early evening show for the after-work crowd plus a main show at 9.
The tour finished with a couple of sell-out shows at The Cork Lounge on Long Island.
With offers of management and the chance to turn professional in the US, it was tempting to stay. But graduate jobs beckoned and the boys headed home to start their careers.
“To expand out to California was exciting and quickly we were busy across San Francisco and beyond”
“We were excited to headline The Plough and Stars in San Francisco as we knew this was an iconic live venue”
“By now we were mixing Irish folk songs with lots of Americana be it from Gram Parsons, Willie Nelson, Joe Ely etc. The mix went down really well”
“We got offers to be managed and stay, already making good money. Jobs were lined up back home and we took the call to head back…”