Francie Conway lives in Dublin, Ireland. CLUTCH were the first band in Kerry to play original songs, and these were written by Francie Conway. The band was formed by Casba O’Callaghan (Drums), Liam Hartnett (Steel Guitar, Concert Flute) and Francie. Clutch achieved national recognition with a line up consisting of Brendan Williams (Lead Guitar / Vocals), Casba O’Callaghan (Drums), Eamonn Campbell (Bass Guitar) and Francie ( Vocals / Guitar).
Yes it’s true…Alastair Campbell and Francie were once busking partners…Alastair also ended up being Tony Blair’s right hand man!! Other busking partners were Sam Seale, Brian Mc Ginley, Mossie Stack and ‘The King of the Buskers’ Don Partridge.
Francie signed a major recording contract with RCA Records, London after a chance encounter in Spain with Chris White from the bands The Zombies & Argent. As an A&R man, Chris was also instrumental in discovering the band Dire Straits. The band assembled by Chris and RCA Records included:
Russ Ballard (Argent) – Guitar, Piano, Vocals , Russ’s songs have been recorded by Kiss, Rainbow, America, Santana etc. , Tim Renwick (Pink Floyd/ Mike and The Mechanics) – Lead Guitar ,John Verity (Argent) – Guitar, Vocals, Jim Rodford (Argent) – Bass Guitar and Bob Henrit ( Argent, The Kinks) – Drums. Francie, years later recorded the Chris White classic song ‘Hold Your Head Up’.
1984 Francie had a hit with the song “To The Edge Of Time” produced by John Woolloff and Chris White. The band were one of the highlights of the Paleo Festival, Nyon, Switzerland. Also from the same album the song “One Night in Amsterdam” became a hit. This song was mixed by David Richards in Mountain Studio (Queen Studio), Montreux.
When the album “Wake Up” was released, many of its songs were recorded by various artists. “Striking It Rich” was a title track for Stevie Wright (The Easy Beats) Australia, who had a hit with “Friday On My Mind”, the Young brothers from this band went on to form AC/DC. Dolores Keane picked “Walking On Seashells” for her hit album “Lion In A Cage” which was produced by Bill Whelan, composer of Riverdance. When The Fureys recorded ”Somewhere In Heaven”, Francie went on to join the band for a world tour and continued to perform with Finbar Furey for many years.
Francie has also produced,”Women’s Aid”, “Spirit Of Ireland” and the highly acclaimed (Q Magazine UK) Draiocht album,”The Druid and The Dreamer”, as well as building a reputation for live gigs.
In 1996 Guinness commissioned Francie to make a compilation album to use for the promotion of Guinness in Scandinavia, Benelux and Asia. The ”Worth the Wait” compilation album also included songs from the early London recordings. As part of the Guinness promotion Francie toured extensively, solo and with The Works.
For personal reasons Francie went ‘under the radar’ for a few years, returning to the recording scene with “The Green Album”, the album included “A Drop of Irish Rain” featuring Ronnie Drew (The Dubliners) – Vocals, Finbar Furey (The Fureys) – Low Whistle, Siard De Jong (The Works) – Violin, Peter Lundgren ( The Works) – Drums. “Welcome To America” was the follow up album and was produced by Mathew White…yes, Chris White’s son. The legendary Jan Akkerman (Focus) – Guitar, was a guest on the album. The video for the song “Welcome to America” was filmed in New York City by film maker Chuck Fishbein (U2, Foo Fighters, Paul McCartney)
The 15th of February, 2007 Francie organized a big charity concert in the Helix theater, Dublin. This was to raise money towards the on going battle for the victims of the Stardust disaster 26 years previous, where a fire broke out at a disco and 48 people died and 214 were injured. The concert was a great success with a fantastic selection of Irish artists contributing and it raised a lot of money. Amongst the performers were Mary Black, Pete St John, Don Baker, Finbar Furey, The full cast of RTE’s Fair City, Mark Gilligan and Mick Hup came especially from Holland and many, many more.
Francie is the song writing coach and one of the founder members of The Rock School, Ballyfermot, Dublin who has encouraged quite a few of Ireland’s most respected musicians, including Damien Dempsey.
Christmas 2009 Francie produced the song “Outbreak Of Peace” which was included in a special Christmas Peace Card. This card was sent with a personal message from Francie to world leaders. The Peace Card was sent out again Christmas 2011.
“Troubadour Club” is a platform and network to connect songwriters, musicians, performers and audiences, founded by Francie in Dublin September 2011. Many Troubadour Club showcase gigs have taken place, the most notable being The National Concert Hall, Dublin, September 2012 and the first Troubadour Club album was released 2012, featuring Tralee artists with guests.
“River to Sea” was formed by Louis O’Carroll, Pat Dempsey and Francie in March 2010. The first album was launched 2011, featuring Louis O’Carroll singing a collection of Irish songs with a Kerry connection, arranged and produced by Francie. After the release of the album sell out concerts in The National Concert, Hall, Dublin, The Clasac Theatre, Dublin and St John’s Theatre, Listowel, Co Kerry followed.
River to Sea continued its productions in 2013 with the release of a Caroline Hosey CD, Caroline built a reputation via Troubadour Club and the CD includes a duet with Francie.
“Munster Forever” was released shortly after. This is a song that pays tribute to the glory of Munster Rugby. The song celebrates the achievements of these great teams and players. River to Sea Band include- Ivan Smyth( Banjo, Bodhran, Mandolin), Dermot Daly ( Violin / Vocals), Tom Shanahan (Whistles,Uilleann Pipes), Val Cooke (Vocals), Siard De Jong (Violin),Matt Kelleghan (Drums) and Francie.
All profits from River to Sea have gone to charity.
The song “Peace, Love and Rock & Roll” was Francie’s first co-write with record producer David Richards (Queen, David Bowie, Chris Rea) , David is based in the ledgendary Mountain Studio, Montreux, Switzerland. It was here the band Queen recorded some of there classic albums. As well as writing songs, David and Francie recorded the classic song “Smoke On The Water”. This particular song is very special to Montreux and the duo brought it back home, where it all began. This classic song is a tribute to Montreux, Mountain Studio, Claude Nobs (Funky Claude, mentioned in the lyric) and the Montreux Jazz Festival. Francie spent many years in Switzerland and this is his tribute and way to say thank you.
“Our River Keeps On Flowing” A Song for Ireland and The Gathering 2013.
This song was released on St Patricks Day, 17th of March 2013. Francie, Matt Kelleghan (drums, co-producer) and John Reddy (graphic designer) were invited to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny’s office (Irish Prime Minister), for the official launch. Jimmy Deenihan, Minister For Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht wrote the cover notes for the CD “This song is about pride – pride in our people and pride in our country“
“Rock On” was released the 2nd July 2013, to celebrate the Festival Season. It was recorded between Westland Studio, Ireland and Relief Studio, Switzerland. The track is co-produced by Greg French and Francie.
“Music changed the world and will again, Rock’n’Roll is here to save you”
“It’s in your blood, Rock On, It’s in you’re soul, Rock On”