The release of a debut album is a massive moment in the development of any band, EPs and singles are fine for a period, but eventually people start to wonder when you’re going to take the next step and release an LP to show what your band is all about. However, the release of Save Your Soul in February 2016 by Limerick five-piece, Hermitage Green was especially notable, as it was a long journey from jamming in the back room of a bar in Limerick to featuring in the official Irish charts..

The band initially came together in 2010 as a group of friends, brothers, Dan (vocals, harmonica, and guitar) and Barry Murphy (bass and vocals), Darragh Graham (percussion, backing vocals, and banjo), Darragh Griffin (piano, guitar, and backing vocals), and Felix Jones (percussion), and later Dermot Sheedy (percussion), who enjoyed playing music in the back room of The Curragower Bar & Restaurant in Limerick, and despite the obvious talent among the five participants, a record deal and album seemed a long way away. However, a collection of videos of the band performing covers uploaded on YouTube in 2011 would eventually lead to hype developing around the group, which would be enhanced by the rave reviews of live shows that they would play around Cork, Limerick, and Kerry.

The hype continued to grow, and the band would eventually go on to release their debut EP, The Gathering, in late 2012 which would be a selection of four songs including their debut single, Golden Rule. The EP would be well received by Irish music fans, and would get the band an invite to perform the single live on an episode of the Saturday Night Show in December 2012.

The next big step for the band would the release of a live album in 2013, recorded in Whelan’s in Dublin.

In recent years, things have started to move very quickly for Hermitage Green with a publishing deal with Sony Music Ireland in 2015 being quickly followed by the release of the single, Quicksand, in September of the same year. This song would result in the band becoming a regular on radio for the first time. Not long after, in February 2016, the band would reveal the eagerly awaited debut studio LP, Save Your Soul.

It is impossible to talk about Hermitage Green without discussing the link with Munster Rugby. Bassist and vocalist, Barry Murphy, was well on his way to establishing himself as a regular for the Irish rugby team before injury caused him to call time on his career in May 2011, allowing him time to focus on Hermitage Green. Another one of the early members of the band was Munster player, Felix Jones, who was a prominent member of the band, playing percussion while himself injured. His eventual return to rugby would open the door for Sheedy to enter the frame. This connection with Munster Rugby would lead to Barry Murphy dedicating a song during the band’s sold out show in the Olympia Theatre in November 2016 to the memory of Munster head coach, Anthony Foley, who had passed recently.

Hermitage Green are one of those admirable bands who have gotten to where they are off the back of genuine talent and special live performances. They are currently in the process of recording their second album, and all signs suggest that they are almost ready to publish it to the world. It promises to be another triumph for a band who seem to just be enjoying the ride.

MK