‘Bendigo, Bendigo/Diggin’ high, diggin’ low/There’s gold there on the streets you know/If you go, go, go to Bendigo.’
Yes, siree! Irish country music golden boy, Derek Ryan is set to strike it rich with a 24 carat class cut – a terrific new track inspired by Irish emigrants dreams of finding fortune in an old Australian mining town.
The irresistibly toe tapping fiddle and banjo laden new single is a tantalising teaser from the multi-chart topping Garyhill, Carlow star’s sixth album, One Good Night.
The idea for Bendigo – with its catchy chorus and spine tingling story twist – came to Derek during a highly successful first time tour Down Under last autumn.
The seven-date Australian east coast trek included a memorable date in the mining town which saw more than 40,000 emigrant explorers unearthing a life changing 777 tonnes of gold from 1851 until the final mine closed down in 1954.
When Derek visited the old gold rush town in the state of Victoria, he felt like he was stepping back in time or onto the set of an old Hollywood cowboy movie.
And the man who has penned a super successful series of country hits including God’s Plan and the Irish-Australia emigrant inspired Welcome Home (The Gathering) revealed that he couldn’t get Bendigo out of his mind.
Said Derek: “I just couldn’t get the name of the town out of my head. I don’t know exactly why that was. Maybe it was because the word itself sounded so musical and catchy.
“I could really feel the history of Bendigo as most of the main street buildings and bars were still intact in that old frontier gold rush town style. It actually looked like the set from an old Hollywood cowboy movie. But it wasn’t make believe. It was real life.
“It really was a case of me thinking ‘I have to write a song about it’. I came up with the hook for Bendigo when I was there. I sang it into my iPhone that night and I knew that I had to keep working on this.”
When Derek got home to Carlow, he hooked up with long time creative collaborator, Eoin Glackin and came up with the ‘happy go lucky’ song of gold digging dreams with a moral final twist.
Explained Derek: “On one level it is a happy up-tempo song about gold and the excitement of pursuing that. In the song, two friends go to Bendigo. They find gold. But one gets greedy. He wants all of the money. So he leaves his friend in the mine and no-one hears tell of him again.
“We wanted to capture the good and bad of the gold rush and people’s desire to get rich, where a friend could turn on a friend in such a way.”
Bendigo is soon bound to be a highlight of Derek and his band’s live shows which continue to regularly pack out dance halls and theatres throughout Ireland, the UK and further afield.
And with an Australia only compilation album, Let Me Introduce Myself recently released, Derek is aiming to be back on top Down Under within the next year.
“When our drummer, Barry was playing in the US, he did a show in a cave. So I thought how cool would it be to do a gig in a goldmine like Bendigo”, laughed Derek.
But for now, it’s all systems go in Ireland for the autumn launch of Derek’s fantastic new 15-track album One Good Night (out Sept 4) – Hope to see you all there!