Mark Dignam 3QS095
Mark Dignam joins Bill for his shot at 3 Questions and a Song on episode 94!
- How did you get from Dublin, Ireland to Pittsburgh, PA?
- Having been in the scene in Ireland and Pittsburgh, how would you compare the two?
- If you’re standing at the crossroads, waiting for the Devil to show up, what are you there to sell your soul for?
- There is a Delorean with its door open and a flux capitor in the back, where are you going in time, and what band would you hang out with?
- When you were at your first St. Patrick’s day celebration in the US, did you think to yourself, wow this is what they think of us?
- If you could write a song with any songwriter in the history of the world, who would you want to write with?
- Tell me about your song, “Angels of Mercy”
- How do you find yourself pulling new inspiration for new lyrical patterns? asked by Drown the Deep on episode 94
- Bill talks about Music from the 412 and Drusky Entertainment’s ticket give aways.
- What is the best pizza that you’ve had because you’re a musician?
- You have to have an embarrassing moment that you can tell me about.
- Who is your Dave Grohl?
- What non-traditional venue would you like to play at?
- What’s up next?
- Where can the listeners find you online?
About Mark Dignam
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, US by way of Dublin, Ireland
Genre: Contemporary Folk
Mark Dignam was born in Dublin, Ireland, and raised for the most part, in Finglas, a working class suburb known for its rough and tumble character, soccer players, and some fine singers and musicians. His mother, Maureen, sang around the house a lot, and the neighborhood itself, was soaked in music; Irish Traditional, Pop, Rock, Punk, Ska and Reggae tunes seemed to be everwhere. In the late 1980s Mark and his fellow northside friend Glen Hansard, began busking on Grafton Street in the city center, meeting up with Mic Christopher, Kila, Miriam Ingram, Leslie Keye, et al, to establish a street performing phenomenon. It was a racous mix of covers and originals which garnered a staunchly loyal, weekly following over three to four summers. The group became a storied part of Dublins’s music history, and from the vantage point of their pavement stage, they were not unused to seeing members of The Waterboys, Van Morrison, or Sinead O’Connor in the audience. The police were also frequent visitors (not the band!). Meanwhile through the early to mid 90s Mark became a popular member of Dublin’s influential songwriter scene, most notably Dave Murphy’s legendary sessions in historic venues around Grafton Street: The Bailey, McDaids and the International Bar. After Mark’s first trip to the U.S in 1991, he began to hone his highly lyrical Folk-Rock sound, releasing Poetry and Songs from the Wheel in 1995. Ireland’s Hotpresss Magazine voted the record one of it’s top ten debut albums of that year, and hailed Mark as a powerful voice on the singer/songwriter scene. He toured extensively in western Europe and the U.S, along with opening for Glen Hansard, The Swell Season, David Gray, Billy Bragg, Joan Armatrading, Richard Thompson and Richie Havens, to name-drop but a few. The debut was followed by 1997s In a Time of Overstatement, And One for All in 2004, Box Heart Man, recorded with Detroit label Timesbeach Records in 2005 and “Rebuild” recorded with a live studio audience at Pittsuburgh’s Treelady studios in 2014. Mark currently lives around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the United States with his two, much adored teenage children, and is working with producer/engineer Steve Seel, on a new album, titled An American Tune. The album will reflect on his experiences as an immigrant (and now naturalized U.S citizen) and mix elements of both Irish and U.S musical cultures.
About the song, Angels of Mercy
At, what seemed like the height of the pandemic in May 2019, my Mother’s health was ailing back in Dublin, and I was stuck in the U.S, unable to make the trip home to see her through her last days. It was an incredibly painful experience. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. My brother had set up a technological solution by which I could make video calls, and at least see her, even if her ability to communicate had almost completely disapeared. During one of the last calls, a male nurse entered the picture, and I was taken by the genuine care he showed toward my Mother. It was a very touching moment for me, and I feel I’ll never forget it. I firmly believe that through the multitude of such situations, those who have cared so well for the sick and the dying through this horrendous time, have not remotely received their due. The banners calling them Heroes, to my mind, are just not enough. It troubled me through the heaviest of my time of grief, and even today, while the grief is still present, but not as loud throughout my body, I still feel more should be done. So, I did what I do, and I wrote a song in an attempt to stand in their shoes. I will be donating 50% of funds generated from the sale of this single to a global charity for nurses. I feel this song goes some way toward capturing what it must have been like in those ER and ICU rooms all around the world, having wave after relentless wave of afflicted humanity descend upon exhausted and terrified medical staff. The verses in the narrators voice, express the timeless reality, with the pre-chorus (Tide starts to rise…) painting the advancing flood for the beleaguered foot soldiers in scrubs. The chorus (Angels of Mercy) prays, in my own way, that they can get some respite. Those people fought a war for us. They are, indeed, heroes, angels in the truest sense of that most overused of terms, and this is my own personal acknowledment that they deserve, at the very, very least, global ticker-tape parades… and rest.