The Traveller – Wishing Well

Hello, my name is Jillian Godsil (heyho) and I am the owner of this blog. I also produce and present The Wishing Well on DublinSouthFM, a twice monthly visit into the head and hearts of really interesting and passionate people. In a departure from the ordinary, I visited my guest, singer songwriter Don Mescall in his converted studios in a old decommissioned church in Cavan.

I will share a link to the show – scheduled for March 12 here.

Here is the start of Don’s bio – it’s extensive and the rest is provided at the end of this article.

As a songwriter, Don Mescall’s songs have featured on albums with sales of over 22 million worldwide and have received in excess of 18 million hits on You Tube. His songs have been recorded by artists including US Country superstars Rascal Flatts, Brett Eldridge , Lonestar, Neal McCoy, Backstreet Boys, Geri Halliwell, Sharon Corr, Ronan Keating, Celtic Thunder, American idol’s Clay Aiken and American idol Theo Thams (Phantom of the Opera star, Ramin Karimloo), Aslan, Frances Black, Brian Kennedy , Christy Dignam ,French Canadian recording artist Garou, Shane Filan & Nicky Byrne (Westlife), Boyzone, triple platinum French artist Marina Kaye, the legendary Richie Havens (Woodstock) , Cliff Richard , Lulu, Eleanor Shanley , Grant & Forsyth, The High Kings ,and many many more.

Don Mescall’s Showreel 

And here is my story of my road trip to magical Cavan:

I set off on an adventure, a mini road trip from the depths of Wicklow up to the depths of Cavan. My trusty Golf pottered along, whether on the motorway or the side roads, at a steady clip. I left plenty of time and had said I would arrive at Quivvy Church at 2pm, and I was only 15 minutes late. My host, Don Mescall, messaged me on the way saying he had bought some artisan soup (well he didn’t say it was artisan, but it was) which I thought very kind. I had deliberately set the appointment time for 2pm so as to avoid inflicting hospitality claims. 

I arrived at 215pm and parked up, got out of the car and stretched. It had been three hours driving in total. Quivvy church, in sandstone bricks, was beautiful. I stepped up to the main door and rang the bell. I listened – I could hear music and singing – but no one descended the dark stair where I stood perplexed and still.

I rang three more times without reply and so emboldened I began an inquisition of the outside of the church, taking in an ironic and slightly puzzling inscription to the left of the door – In the Kingdom of the Blind, the one-eyed are Kings. Added after the church was decommissioned Don assures me and may be replaced in time. I liked it but it was strange.

I circled the church and found the back door, also locked and also impervious to visitors. I scratched my head. I continued my perambulation and when I heard more singing, I rapped my knuckles on the stained glass but carefully, afraid to be too rough and perhaps break them.

This time I was heard and the front door opened and my host greeted me. Inside the church was even more fabulous than on the outside. All the stone was exposed without render. It was warm – Don had turned the heating on that morning – and there was a small wood stove also lit. The furniture in the church was eclectic and suitable. It also housed two racing motorbikes, refurbished and gleaming. I used the word phenomenal more than once. I used it so much I began apologising but everywhere I turned, something new and phenomenal caught my eye.

Don found this church just before lockdown. His habit is to wake up every night at 345am and he will often go online. Previously he had been looking at French chateaux but they were too expensive. Then he turned his attention to islands off the Irish coast, and there are a lot. Finally, he looked at decommissioned churches and Quivvy caught his eye. Just four walls and a roof but something sang to him. 

He messaged the estate agent who did not believe he was serious at first – he had dealt with many tyre-kickers. A flight booked and he arrived in Cavan. Quivvy was on an island, reached by a bridge, and part of an old estate. More boxes ticked. As an old estate church there was no graveyard, an absence I only noted after I had left.

It was also only walls and roof. Don left a plectrum in a window because he knew this was going to be his, not his home perhaps but he was to become custodian of the building.

Lockdown was coming, so he took a leap of faith, exiting his lease on a riverside building in London, and shipping everything, including his recording studios to Cavan. For the first summer, he swam in the lake or took showers outside, using a single plug socket and a George Foreman Grill to cook. He does not mind the cold.

In fact, lockdown was good timing for Quivvy and Don. Local craftsmen were idle and unable to travel to work, so they came to work on the church instead. Now restored with his recording studio and bedrooms, the local craftspeople have become his friends. It is just as well, as this spot of the world is very rural. The edge of the world almost.

So, after the grand tour, we had our lunch. I was still saying phenomenal to almost every new thing I saw – and heard. Don pulled the main mic from the recording booth into the reception room and we began our interview. 

The format for Wishing Well is three themes and three songs. I asked Don about his music and the making of it. I will include a bio at the end to showcase all the famous artists he has worked with but in this shadow of the church we spoke about composition. He likens it to time travel – when he sings a song he can find a way back to when he wrote it. A special gift.

He chose Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now as his first song and for his second he chose one of his own –Stormy Weather Friend. He decided to play it live, bringing forth one of his favourite guitars – they are many on the walls. As he tuned the guitar, I asked him if he knew the words to his own song. Don looked at me quizzically – This is what I do, he said. 

And he did. For an audience of one. In the restored sandstone church, accessed only by a bridge in the depths of Cavan.

As the interview moved to the end, he told another story of an early musical hero, the legendary Woodstock American singer called Richie Havens. Not only did he sing with Havens, he also recorded one of his songs. But when they first spoke, all Don could say was Wishing Well, Wishing Well after one of his more popular songs. I did not know this until the very end of our interview. I was astonished at the coincidence. And it made sense why I had been invited to the depths of Cavan to record my radio interview. 

As I said goodbye, I took one last look over the lake, before retracing my steps over the bridge and back on my long journey home.

Tell them I came, and no one answered,   

   That I kept my word,’ he said.

Never the least stir made the listeners,   

   Though every word he spake

Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house   

   From the one man left awake:

Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,   

   And the sound of iron on stone,

And how the silence surged softly backward,   

   When the plunging hoofs were gone.

Don Mescal’s bio continued:

Besides his songwriting and producing, performing live is a huge part of Don’s career. He regularly tours in Ireland, United Kingdom, Europe and the USA and has previously been awarded the prestigious “songwriter of the year “at the IPCMA’S 2017 which followed a Lifetime achievement award “Irish World awards “London and followed by the “International Songwriter of the year “Hot country tv awards 2018.

Don is published by Notting Hill Music publishing, and splits his time between his own studio in a 1800’s converted Church on the banks of Quivvy Lake co Cavan and NHM In Nashville /LA

2018: Dons own solo album “Lighthouse Keeper” reached Number #1 position on the “Official Irish independent Album charts “

2019: Don produces “live long R&R “with contributions from Paul McCartney, Gary Brooker ( Procol Harum) Nick Mason (pink Floyd), Albert Lee ( George Harrison band ) etc etc

Don’s co-write with Geri Halliwell “Angels in Chains” written about George Michael reaches number #1 in 3 countries also hits the Number #1 spot with two consecutive songs with the artist Nathan Carter

Don and band Headline on main stage Trafalgar SQ “St Patricks Day “ to a 70k audience

2020: award winning Canadian Country artist “Laurie LeBlanc” records 6 of Dons songs on his new album including 2 top 10 singles

2021: American Country Artist Brett Eldridge records Don’s song “Sunday Drive “as the title track on his new album also titled “Sunday Drive” with video plays on different platforms at 1.4 million (warner bros)

Sharon Corr includes 2 tracks written with Don on her new album “The scorpion and the fool” (Warner bros)

2022:Don has just produced and written the new Christy Dignam legacy album “The man who stayed alive “which debuted at number #2 (official Irish album charts) Oct 2021

Feb 2022 : Don was the recipient of a B.I.T.A “Lifetime artistic excellence award “ in Dublin

 

Posted in Celebrity.

Journalist, Broadcaster, Writer, Speaker, Law Changer, Dreamer

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