A BELOVED local band will grace the Koroit Irish Festival stage this weekend.
Old Melbourne Road will make their return to the festival and bring with them new material from their latest album proper.
Instigated during the COVID pandemic, the band's new album is a mix of old favourites and five new original songs.
Old Melbourne Road have been an institution in regional Victoria and Melbourne for over five years now, with their unique blend of Irish Australian folk rock continuing to attract their loyal and devoted followers as well as engaging with a whole new tribe of devotees.
The seven-piece band is a tight-knit affair, led by lead singer John Murphy who is joined by his sons Pat and Lachlan Murphy, brother David Murphy, cousin Paul Britt, Stephen Russell and Brendan Spratling. The original songs were written by Lachlan and Stephen, with the production completed in-house by Pat.
They have been regulars at both Koroit and Port fairy for over five years and have garnered a strong following in the south-west.
The pandemic that so devasted the live music industry had at least one upside with the unexpected lockdown creating a great environment for both lyric and music innovation.
Lead singer John Murphy said the album is a culmination of the past twelve months of enforced isolation with both creativity in the writing of some new songs as well as the development and evolution of some of the older and popular ones.
"We have played just a couple of the new songs at our recent gigs and then the whole album at Ballarat and we have been blown away with the reaction," he said.
"So a hopefully a good omen and our friends at Koroit are looking forward to four gigs over three days - should be epic!
"The band is really evolving. We've even started on our next album and we think our next album, the majority will be original songs so that's really exciting."
One of the more unusual highlights of the album is a poem read by John Murphy - Send Flowers - which commemorates the historic Dunnstown Tug of War Team - Champions 1962.
It is an iconic piece of Australiana poetry that blends into the musical landscape of the band.
Other highlights include the five new original songs, some of which touch on Australian rural settings and pub scenes and one on the history of Ireland.
The current crowd favourite is 'Quick and Clean' which throws down some challenges in relationships.
Since the easing of restrictions, the band have had the opportunity to hone up their performance at gigs in Port fairy and more recently at Donnegans Farm in Gordon.
They will be playing at Mickey Bourke's Hotel at 9pm on Friday, 12.30pm - 1.15pm on the Koroit Village Green on Saturday, and then later again at Mickey Bourke's on Saturday from 9pm onwards.
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