Denis O'Gorman Singer Irish/ American Band

PRESS & REVIEWS

 Quincy’s O’Gorman is an original Celtic rocker

By JAY N. MILLER

For The Patriot Ledger

Posted Mar 04, 2010 @ 12:10 PM

There might have been little interest in Irish rockers in the mid-70s. But that didn’t stop Quincy’s Denis O’Gorman. He carved out a niche here playing traditional Celtic music and decades later he’s still plugging away. O’Gorman’s own musical resume is just as impressive with stints as frontman for The Jordanaires, The Invaders and the Happy Wanderers.

O’Gorman is renowned as one of the most versatile Celtic performers. He mixes in his own country-tinged originals and a killer Neil Diamond cover or two. He has shared bills with Johnny Cash, Andy Williams and Buck Owens. If you happen across the old Karl Malden movie “Billy Galvin” on late-night TV, look closely and you’ll see O’Gorman singing one of his songs.

And if you’re a fan of Celtic music, you’ve probably caught one of his shows with The Jolly Tinkers. O’Gorman and Tommy Byrne formed that duo in 1978, and have provided years of rollicking fun and Celtic music ever since.

“All the music I played in Ireland was rock ’n’ roll,” said O’Gorman from his Quincy home. “We’d be doing covers of all the current American hits, like “Land of 1,000 Dances.’ The name of my first group, The Jordanaires, was kind of an Elvis Presley reference, to let people know what we played. But when I came to America there was no market for Irish guys doing rock, so I began doing Irish music to survive.”

Along the way, O’Gorman with his burnished bass/baritone, discovered he loved the music of Neil Diamond. Fans soon learned he had the perfect voice for it, too.

“I began dropping a few Neil Diamond songs into my Irish sets, and people loved it. I also like country music, and began mixing that in, too,” said O’Gorman. “I think there are a lot of similarities between Irish music and country.”

His prominence on the Celtic music scene led to several stints as radio host on a couple of local stations. More recently, he’s been a judge for the Shamrock Idol talent competitions in the area. He’ll grumble when people dub him “the Irish Simon Cowell.”

“I just try to be honest,” he said. “After 40 years in the entertainment business, I think I can tell whether or not you can sing.”

As for this weekend, O’Gorman said fans can expect his typical show.

“Mostly Irish tunes with some Neil Diamond songs, and maybe a country tune or two,” he said.

So, what is it that gives Celtic music its enduring appeal? “I think it is the storytelling aspect,” said O’Gorman. “Irish music can be happy or sad. It touches your soul. Take a song like ‘Danny Boy,’ if you love your parents that tune can eat you up. It is music with words that get into your inner soul.”