On his return he was taught the Piano Accordion by Donegal man Joe Coll who lived in Corby, Northants. He later progressed to Joe Colls Accordion Band who incidentally also included the now world famous Piano Accordionist Karen Tweed. They went on to appear on the Welsh TV programme Bilidowcar. And later he was to win Medals at the Scartaglen Fleadh Cheoil in County Kerry.
At 13 years of age Joe started playing music 4 nights a week on his own, every Friday and Sunday night at the Jolly Crispin and every Thursday and Saturday at the old local Irish Centre on St George Street in Northampton. Danny Keohane the then owner of the Jolly Crispin Pub in Northampton gave Joe his first break. By the age of 15 he had his own 5 piece band on the road and he has been on the road ever since.
For someone so young to be taken seriously is always difficult and he has never forgotten that one kind gesture given to him by Danny which gave him the opening he needed to get started in the music business when no one else would help. So naturally, he tries to pass on that gesture by giving the young a chance when no one else would give them the light of day. A recent example of this is Conor Cotter who performs with Donnybrook Fair, he was allowed to join at the tender age of 12. He has since grown and developed into an extraordinarily gifted young musician who is now good enough to grace any stage in the land.
At the age of 21 Joe was scooped up by the Misty Showband and spent the next 4 years playing professionally. Constantly touring the dancehalls of the UK, Ireland and the United States of America, which also included appearing 3 times on the main stage at the major Annual London Irish Festival in Roundwood Park where the crowds were upward of 100,000 people in attendance.
20 years ago Joe felt he needed a change of his musical direction and decided to form a band which incorporated the Irish Folk influences he was reared on when he was young, but with a little bit of a twist to make it more appealing to Non Irish audiences.
"Irish music with a bit of a kick up the arse" he called it .......
Donnybrook Fair was BORN!!