Entertainment

Irish rover sings long goodbye

After almost half a century of touring, George Millar is ready to leave the road behind. - Hamish Burgess Photo
After almost half a century of touring, George Millar is ready to leave the road behind.
— image credit: Hamish Burgess Photo

George Millar is leaving the road behind.

After almost half a century of playing clubs and concerts around the world he’s ending his career on the touring circuit.

The musician, a founder of the Irish Rovers, is currently on the band’s The Long Goodbye tour.

“I’m sad in a way,” said Millar, adding he’ll still keep his hand in the world of music.

The Irish Rovers still plan on recording and releasing albums, but the “grind” of travelling is wearing on Millar, more so than in his youth.

Millar said he is ready to spend more time at his home in Nanoose where he has lived for 20 years.

“Nanoose Bay is something special for me. It’s a lovely bay,” he said.

His career with the Rovers started in 1963 at 16. He had just immigrated to Canada from Ireland and enlisted his cousin Joe Millar and friend Jim Ferguson to join him onstage.

“We were getting $25 from playing on the weekend in folk clubs and we thought we had it made,” recalled Millar.

As an Irishman Millar said he dreamed of playing Carnegie Hall, a dream that has come true several times during his career.

The musician counts himself lucky to have had the opportunity to perform and pursue a career he loves.

“If anyone in the world, man or woman, can do the job you want to do then you are a very blessed person,” said Millar.

In 1966 the Irish Rovers released their debut album, The First of The Irish Rovers.

In the ’70s the band hosted The Irish Rovers Show on CBC.

The 1980s continued with television acclaim as the band hosted The Rovers Comedy House, a seven-part series on CBC, which included filming in Millar’s home country of Ireland.

In the ’90s the band formed its own record company, Rover Records. Over the years the Irish Rovers have received many nominations and awards.

Many of the band’s albums have been recorded in Nanaimo at Rick Salt’s Lois Lane Studios, including Drunken Sailor and Gracehill Fair.

In December the Rovers played The Long Goodbye concert in Courtenay.

Millar said he hopes to have one more performance in Nanaimo before it ends, but the tour details and venue bookings are still being worked out.

For more information or to check for upcoming concerts please go to http://irishroversmusic.com.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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