About James Blennerhassett

 

A double bass
A double bass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How long have you been playing?

I have been playing Bass since the age of 12, my father played double bass and my mother plays violin and piano.
What was the first concert you ever went to?
Handel’s Messiah in Sligo, I think I was 9 or 10. Unbelievable, I had never heard so many people singing together before.
What gear do you use?
I play a German double bass c1850. I also play Sandberg 5 string basses  and a Chapman NS Stick.
I use PJB by Phil Jones Pure Sound Bass amplification,it’s the best I’ve ever used especially for upright Bass.
I exclusively use Elixir Bass Strings.
Who was your biggest musical influence growing up?
Ron Carter, Stanley Clarke, Lee Sklar, James Jamerson, Carol Kaye, Chris Squire, Mike Rutherford.
Are you in a band? Have you been in bands?
I toured for many years with great artists such as; Mary Black , Green on Red, Paul Brady, Brian Kennedy, Andy White, Maura O’Connell, Frances Black, Kieran Goss and Gilbert O’Sullivan.
I am mainly a session player and have played on too many albums to list here.
I try to play in 2 shows every year to keep up the sight reading chops and because I enjoy it.
I used to play with the Conquerors doing mainly theatre shows, the annual Irish all star cruise and corporate events/weddings but left after several productive years to play Bass guitar and Double Bass with a rising young Scottish country singer called Lisa Mc Hugh with Ray Mc Loughlin on Piano, Colm Mc Lean on guitar and Robbie Casserly on drums. Hot band!
I decided in January’13 to concentrate on writing for the Chapman NS Stick and to play freelance again and so left the Lisa Mc Hugh band.
I have recently been doing live concerts with Frances Black and a young singer / songwriter called Louise Killeen, and have been touring as a member of the great Daniel O’Donnell’s new band.
I am currently playing with a very talented singer / songwriter Derek Ryan.
What’s the biggest audience you ever performed to? What’s the smallest?

Zero to Hero!

The bass (or F) clef is used for most orchestr...
The bass (or F) clef is used for most orchestral double bass music. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You’re stuck on a desert island and only get to bring one album with you. What do you pick?
Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem. I first heard it performed in Southwark cathedral, London. Probably the most moving live concert I have ever been lucky enough to experience.

14 thoughts on “About James Blennerhassett

  1. Hi there James,
    Thank you for taking the time to stop by and check out my little corner of the blogosphere and the follow, your support is greatly appreciated. I used to play the Bass myself, perhaps reading your posts may inspire me to start playing again. Looking forward to seeing more from you 🙂

    Have a great Weekend,

    Eddie

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  2. I’ve just heard the tune “The Heron”, and it’s thoroughly caprured me. Does the sheet music exist for this? Is it available for sharing?

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    1. Hi Frank,
      Thank you. That’s an old one indeed. I can’t remember if I had a score for that one, I was living in a different country then but probably not as the musicians I had on that track were traditional Irish players.
      I could probably mock up a score after Xmas if you like. Remind me mid January and a happy Xmas to you.
      Cheers
      James

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    2. Frank,
      I was also enchanted with The Heron and learned it by ear. I am working on writing it down and would be happy to sen you copy when finished!
      Slainte’
      Susie McRae

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Hi Frank, unfortunately I lost the only copy of the score when I moved house some years ago but if I can find some time I will redo it. Check out the music in my upcoming podcast which starts end of March and please subscribe and share if you like it. Cheers James B

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  3. Hello James, my name is Brian O’toole bass player based in Dublin. Just this evening I played your old blue Spector CRFM bass owned by Mick (don’t know his second name). Lovely guy. Neck profile wasn’t for me. Wondering why you sold it? Were you the original owner? I have an 88/89 Ns2a kinda rare has its own story. Regards, Brian.

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  4. Hi James,
    I was also enchanted with your tune The Heron as I play Celtic music on keyboard, a lot of O’Carolan as well as Scottish and Irish folk and dance tunes. When I couldn’t find any sheet music, I just listened over and over and learned it by ear. I can usually do that if it’s not too complicated. THANK YOU for such a lovely tune!

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    1. Hi Susie, thank you for your lovely comments. Unfortunately there’s no sheet music for that tune, it was a long time ago and I lost the score when I moved house and it was a handwritten one. If I get time I’ll do it again but right now I’m in the middle of a podcast series which I hope you might subscribe to when it launches at the end of March. Some very interesting music in there. Cheers, James B

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      1. James,
        Thanks so much for your reply. My brother Peter does a bit of composing and sent me a Manuscript notebook for writing down tunes I play by ear so I am giving it a try with The Heron, it will be my FIRST! May I send it to you for editing or approving when finished? I am fairly sure I have the notes right but I’m a bit rusty on tempo, which notes should the whole or dotted, etc. It really is a wonderful tune, fits right in with my O’Carolan pieces! I will definitely check out your Podcast. Thanks again.
        Slainte’ Susie

        Liked by 1 person

      2. James,
        I have a transcription of your tune The Heron, nicely printed by my brother Peter B. Irvine. How is the best way to send it to you?
        Thanks,
        Susie

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      3. Hi Susan, that’s great thanks. You could scan and email me a PDF copy of it to doghausatrobinhill@gmail.com if that suits and I can print it out here, or post it to me c/o Avril Blennerhassett at Ardmachree, larkhill Rd. Sligo of that’s easier. I appreciate the trouble you have taken, thank you and look forward to hearing your thoughts on my podcast too.
        Cheers
        James

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