Guest Post: To You I bestow

Many blog readers already know that I produce a music show for my local community radio station
ICR FM
which is broadcast every Sunday between 8 and 9 pm. I enjoy picking music for the show and introducing listeners to the music that I like, but it can get a bit boring because the show is pre-recorded.
When I move house I hope to get lots of new equipment which will hopefully enable me to broadcast my show online from home. I haven’t worked out the exact format of the show yet, but my love of music by Irish artists is making me consider an Irish alternative music show. Who knows how this will end up, but that’s not the main point of this post.

The main point is to give you an insight into a blog which has inspired my appreciation for Irish artists even more. I guest posted on Peter Nagle’s blog
2 U I Bestow
just over a year ago, and he kindly returned the favour when I asked him to write a bit about his blog last week. Thanks Peter!

I’m Peter and I write the 2 U I Bestow Irish music blog and a folk column for the collaborative blog
fourforty4.
For my day job I teach Maths in a special school but in the evenings and the weekends I’m constantly listening to music, discovering great music or going to gigs and festivals. The 2 U I Bestow blog has enabled me to run a sessions gig in an intimate venue in Slane called
Boyles
and we imaginatively called the night ‘Live at Boyles’. Around half of my online traffic still comes from the US, with a sizable amount from the UK and the rest from Ireland. I’d say that there are over two hundred views from Ireland per day which I’m delighted with as the blog is just a hobby and there’s no revenue from it. I’m going to talk about the origin of the blog and where I see it in years to come.

The main inspiration for me to become a blogger was when I discovered
Mp3hugger.com
around five years ago now. The writing was and is still crisp and to the point with an opportunity to listen to new music before going off to buy an album or to see the band live. As mp3hugger only satisfied the indie/alternative side of me I went looking for blogs that were writing about Irish artists, or singer-songwriters or even good blogs writing about artists I adore like Ben Harper and Jack Johnson. So when there’s a spot in the market you have to go for it. I began a blog in February 2008 called Mixtape4Melfi. I was thinking along the lines of a website which provides good music to escape from the mundane day to day life. Yeah I didn’t think it through enough. Anyway while writing the Mixtape4Melfi blog I realised that I was writing about Irish artists that no one else covered such as Finglas born but Pittsburgh based Mark Dignam or Galway’s Peadar King. I therefore began planning an Irish artist only blog which went live in November 2008. I wanted a name for the blog that was the name of a popular Irish song. It came to me that I remembered reading that the Romeo & Juliet soundtrack has sold millions worldwide and it contains that Mundy song To You I Bestow.

There have been times in the past where I wondered if I was of any help to the bands I write passionately about. My ‘best of … ‘ lists rarely include albums that end up on the Choice Awards lists or are revered by other established bloggers. It’s taken some time to build an Irish readership because the blog is my own thoughts suited to my own tastes and it’s not a tool used by PR companies, record labels or concert promoters. I therefore have free reign to write about those artist I value and to ignore the music I do not value. Over time I hope those artists I write about gain the recognition and attention they deserve. I’m particularly delighted for artist such as Lisa O’Neill and Henrietta Game who are building a sizable fan base years after I first wrote a few words about them.

I aim to continue writing until I lose passion for the blog. I’d love to see the establishment of a Nationwide Irish music only radio station because we have so many wonderful musicians and bands. Ireland unfortunately is too small to keep a band gainfully employed full time. They need to look beyond Ireland to the UK, Europe and beyond in the way Villagers, Julie Feeney and James Vincent McMorrow have been touring and promoting recently. For this reason I hope all of my readers from the US and the UK keep returning to the blog to discover new Irish music.

Thanks Jen for asking me to write a guest post for you. I hope your new radio show goes well and that you continue to find new Irish music from 2 U I Bestow.

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