Donal Cox
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Donal Cox


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"Blowing Hot! Java Shrine - Nothing To Declare"

Reflecting their experiences of travelling the road as a quintet of hopeful and talented musicians, Java Shrine lay down their pleasant and easy going strumming for the world and wait for the layers of subtlety and grace to settle amongst us. They may not rely on bang and bluster to catch our ear, but there is intelligence and taste at work here. Long after misguided empty vessels have blown themselves out, you get the impression these boys will still be charming many with recordings of genuine rapport and skill. Touches of trombone, euphonium and trumpet pop up to shift expectations. Stand out: Goodbye San Francisco. - Musicain (Musician's Union) - Album Review


Donal Cox - In The Spotlight.
Java Shrine - Nothing to Declare.



I started playing and singing at the age of 9 and at 17 was playing in a band 'Java Shrine', a 5-piece outfit that in its first formation spanned ten years (1997-2007). Comprised of the best of friends and indeed three brothers to boot, Java Shrine travelled and performed pretty extensively (by unsigned standards anyway) throughout Europe, including Germany, Denmark, Finland and Sweeden. We even touched on the east and west coasts of the States for a time. I contributed in part vocally and musically as well as writing and co-writing some of our material.

After parting ways with Java Shrine, I set out to record and produce my own record, which finally came to fruition in early 2008. The album is called 'In the Spotlight' and of course some of it can be sampled here. The album wouldn't have been possible without an awarded grant from The Arts Council of Northern Ireland and as Mr Joe Cocker would say:" With a little help from my Friends". The album features a couple of Java Shrine members in the form of Gary and Chris Day as well as other local musicians: John Bird, Fergal Hughes and Jarlath Mulholland.

After the independent release of 'In the Spotlight' I travelled to Australia where I became involved in a small Sydney project aptly called "Looking for Jane Doe"; While mainly concentrating on new material (some of which definitely had that rawer edge with it being a 3-piece outfit and all), the Jane Doe trio: Stew Taylor, Paul Prammer and myself began gigging around Sydney playing venues/clubs and partaking in Open Mic Jam sessions, as well as a little community radio. Indeed 'In The Spotlight' was being spun on Bondi Fm (Sydney), as well as some home radio stations. Things were going well but unfortunately this new project had to come to an end as a result of Australian visa restrictions.

In early June 2009 I returned home for a few months to re-establish old relationships, both musically and personally. Band wise I continued with the 3-piece theme. I once again collaborated with John Bird (The bass player on 'In The Spotlight' who is currently playing with 'Xander and The Peace Pirates', a band who are currently supporting Bon Jovi on the UK leg of their tour) and a new addition, Gerry Morgan on percussion (Gerry was signed to Virgin for a time with a band called 'Royworld'). This 3-piece band in its first formation was called Zeagrass and we performed in the likes of Studio 2 @ Parr Street studios, Liverpool. September of the same year saw the return to Australia (Melbourne this time) continuing mainly to write, and occasionally perform. Although the overall time spent in Australia didn't see us make the contacts and progression career wise that we would have liked, I'm glad to say that the trip/tour definitely was an overall positive move from a writing point of view.

Returning home again in April 2010 and once again re-establishing relationships musically we jumped straight back onto the local giging scene and more recently I've been concentrating on studio work and recording new material... long overdue!

I think looking back at my past endevoiurs if has shown me that I'm the sort of person who likes to get out there and make things happen. Get on the ground and get chatting to people face to face. This also helps in experiencing the world and its cultures, which for me at the moment is important from a song writing point of view. I'd also say that my song writing would be influenced by artists and bands such as Crosby, Stills and Nash, Neil Young, The Band, The 4 Of Us, Sting and The police, John Mayer, The Dave Mathews Band, Chris Rea and John Martyn.

That's my story for now, still writing the rest of it!