Denying the Gift Of Hate

admin : November 19, 2015 2:20 pm : blog

Last week I had a couple of great gigs in the North East. It was good to be back on the road again but the dates were almost marred by a conference I went to just before the first show.

It was a music industry event with the usual keynote speakers and I heard some helpful things. But rather than making things clearer I came away wondering what on earth I was doing.

On guy said of himself, “I’m 45 now. I can forget being at the top, so I’m looking at the youngsters.”

So is that it? 45 and he’s writing himself off? A few years ago I was at a concert at the Albert Hall. I sat next to someone who seemed to be in the know about the act that was on and the industry in general. He was interested in what I did until he found out I was 40. “Oh, well I’m afraid you’re past it” he said in all seriousness.

So here I am starting to think, maybe they’re right. Maybe I’m too old for this now. What do I think I’m doing scraping together gigs here and there. What am I really doing this for?

Then I was off to the first gig, trying to put the negativity aside, at least until I was back at my friends house in a safe pace to unpack my melancholy over a glass or two of cab-sav.

But the show built itself, the songs randomly selected telling a story and eventually concluding that the world is a mess but with God’s help we can be bigger than that mess and everything it carries with it. Both nights I ended with Streets of This Town and I realised what this is all about.

I finished the night in Alnwick and was loading up ready to head home when I heard about the latest terror attacks, this time in Paris. I drove home listening to the updates through the night, reminded of the hours after 9/11 where I tried to keep up with the news, hoping to hear something about my dad. I was thinking of the families waiting to hear if their loved ones were safe and wondered what the responses from those affected would be. I threw up some prayers, wept a little, thought of Syria, Beirut, the Russian plane crash, and I thought of dad and my own journey.

And then, a couple of days later I heard a tribute by Antoine Leiris to his wife Helene, who died in the Paris attacks. His simple words, “I will not give you the gift of hating you”, rang like a bell. He spoke for so many. Hope is bigger than hate, Love is bigger than fear. Someone said that darkness is merely the absence of light. If we can be light we can change the world.

‘I will not give you the gift of hating you’


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The Summer So Far

admin : August 13, 2015 11:09 am : blog, Gig News, News

So the summer is flying by and I’ve been kept out of trouble by the business of life! Had a couple off great trips, the first up to Arran for a week off. What a place, did some walking, saw a great jazz trio called New Focus, did some writing and relaxed. Looking forward to a return trip for some shows in 2016.

Been up to Kettlewell for Scargill Summerfest which was incredibly fun. Got to work with Paul Karensa, one of the comics behind Miranda and Not Going Out. Had a lovely gig there and met some top folks.

The Warwick Folk Festival was brilliant, despite being rather wet. Venues were packed and I played three venues including the splendid Bridgewater theater just before the legendary Roy Bailey.

Great to play the Godiva festival again which wasn’t so wet! I miss the folk and roots tent there but the Radio Plus is excellent.

Now working on the next album, lots of songs about dreams and journeys I think. That’s the way the theme is going anyway. And very soon I’ll give you some news of a very special project that I’m getting involved in with Global Care.

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O Ye of Little Faith?

admin : June 8, 2015 2:31 pm : blog, Music

Those nice people at UCB Radio have added me to their playlist! If you listen to UCB do text, email or call them and ask nicely if they wouldn’t mind playing some Rob Halligan.


This is all very good but I did get a text the other day that I guess shouldn’t have surprised me. Apparently, one show kicked off with my song, I Can’t make You Walk, you can listen to it by clicking the link at the top of this post.  A listener had messaged the show so bemoan the fact that there was no faith in that song and I was asked what the response should be to such a message.

I like being a Christian, albeit a failed one. It’s good to know that God loves me and I’m rather glad that the rubbish in my life has been dealt with – believe me there’s a lot of it. I’ve said before on this very blog how sometimes doubt tends to plague me. You know, can anyone hear these prayers or am I talking to the ceiling. Sorry to those of you who think I’m perfect and to those who know otherwise, you’re in good company. I’m so glad God is big enough to handle my failures, and I don’t say that in a throw away sense.

But this song really  isn’t about a lack of faith. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  You see, on a good day, I believe that God has give every one of us the grace and ability to make the difference that we need to in the world, whether that be a difference to our own life or the lives of those around us. The problem is that sometimes we choose not to make that difference. Sometimes despite everything being set up for us, our choice is to stay in bed, to spend the day doing nothing, watching daytime TV or whatever. So many of us sit on the sidelines and criticise the system, the church, society or whatever rather than doing something to make a difference.

This is all rather sweeping and there’s a lot that could be said but at the end of the day, the faith that’s in this song is that I can’t make you walk, but YOU can make you walk.

If you want a laid back life of ease then please don’t become a Christian. You’ll be terribly disappointed that  you have stuff to do.

As for what the response to the listeners message should be, I suggested “Oh yes, pray for that Rob Halligan, he needs it!”

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Confidence is the Key

admin : June 2, 2015 2:23 pm : blog

There’s been a lot of talk about confidence recently, at least there has amongst the folks in my church. Being confident to do what what you believe to be right. Or being confident to believe that what you’re doing is right.
Ok that needs some careful working out but here’s how I’ve got here. I love playing with a band. All my albums are recorded with a band and gigging with After the Fire has been amazing. I’ve learnt to front a rock band and connect with an audience. Playing solo has been great as well and in a completely different way I’ve learned the same thing. And I guess people see me and think I’m pretty confident. It’s true I don’t get nervous before stepping onto stage but confidence isn’t about nerves or stage fright.
motofestgig1Over the last ten years I’ve gone round in circles questioning my reasons for pouring so much time and effort into playing music. I used to wonder if it’s what God wants me to do but I’ve realised that sometimes God seems to say, “You do it, I’ll use it”.

But like so many good theories, it’s easy to say, less easy to apply.

This whole confidence thing, or lack of, show’s itself in other ways as well. A couple of years ago I played at Greenbelt. Although I’d played before I’d always been someone’s guest. This was my own gig and i wanted to make a hit. So I pulled a band together because I didn’t think me on my own would nail it, which was daft really because I’d been booked on the strength of what I usually did – performing solo. And time an time again I’ve done that – who can I get to help out to make me sound acceptable.

This weekend I had a bit of a breakthrough though. It was Coventry Motofest and I had a gig on the Radio Plus Stage. It had to be a band gig but a week before I realised I had no lead guitarist. It would be a three piece band with me on electric guitar. That, for me is a big deal. No Graeme Duffin to make the guitar breaks sound slick this time, no Gav for me to hide behind.  You see, I am no lead guitarist. I hit the guitar and sing. Step played bass and it was his first gig. He’d only just learned the songs and was probably feeling it more than me but it was a case of turn it up and do it!

So we did. It wasn’t perfect but it rocked. And sometimes that’s all that matters. Confidence is the key.

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Catching Up

admin : May 19, 2015 2:53 pm : blog, Charity, Gig News, Music, News, Radio

It’s been a mad couple of months, exhausting but incredibly rewarding with some great gigs, new friends and stunning moments.
It was great to hear at the start of April that UCB were adding me to the playlist on their wireless station. I did an interview and also had an interview on BBC 3 Counties Radio on the run up to the show in Princes Risborough. It was great to get back there and see some old friends.
Then there was the southern leg of the spring tour taking in Shaftesbury, Burgess Hill and Portsmouth. In Burgess Hill we raised a bunch of cash for Hope, a local charity which was grand.

I also got to play at the Quiz Night we ran at our drop-in centre and had a great little living room gig in Cambridge.

Then it was up to Scotland for a show on Arran and I must say, never have i been so blown away by the beauty of a place. Wow!  I took my mate Jimmy with me who had his flying camera so there should be some good shots on there way soon. The show was raising money for Casa Allianza and I just heard we topped the £400 mark which is great.

Then it was off to record at the Foundry – yup, the next album is underway.   Had a good day with the masterful Sandy Jones as we settled into the new songs.

The Bothwell Bridge hotel gig was ok – booked last minute and unsure of what it was but it went well and I made some new friends.

Saturday I hung out with J.J.Gilmore as we discussed how to put the world to rights and then headed down to Saltcoats for an evening show at the SBBC in front of a fantastic crowd. The hospitality in Scotland is 2nd to none and worth the 6 hour drive.

Now I’m immersed in Coventry Motofest as stage manager for the Radio Plus stage on 30th – 31st May. I’ll be playing a full band gig that day and then looking at the Big Comfey gig in Coventry on the 5th June, a house concert the following week and then a festival on Trafalgar Square which will be excellent. I’ve written and recorded a special song for that with my mate chris Hunt. You can download it free


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