Irish rock crew Saw Doctors has always drawn deeply on its Emerald Isle roots, inspiring images of the lovely land's rural villages, wind-swept beaches, and lush, rolling hills. With innocence and ease, the Doctors dispense hooks that are so irresistible they defy sitting still. They are the sort of seamless, spontaneous melodies that are chock full of instant appeal.
"When you're doing something that you love doing, it's like playing a sport you love," Moran says. "I'm always asked why I think people love the band, and I say that's one of the major reasons. It's because we love it, and that enjoyment is infectious."
Though the group sometimes borrows from other musicians' songbooks (take the recent cover of that old '60s chestnut "Downtown," which featured a guest appearance by Petula Clark, the original singer), Moran and the band's other longtime mainstay, Davy Carton, have always had a knack for writing great original songs. They draw on a full range of heartfelt emotions, from dewy-eyed sentiment to infectious celebration.
"I've been very privileged to write with great songwriters in the Saw Doctors," Moran insists. "Davy and some of the other people over the years have just had a great knack for that catchy chorus."
There's also no ignoring the Doctors' knack for tossing out earnest anthems, including no less than 18 songs that have become Top 30 hits in the band's homeland. There are rowdy, infectious rockers such as "I Useta Lover," "N17," "Hay Wrap," and "She Says," as well as tender, wistful ballads of reflection and affection, including "To Win Just Once," "Me Heart Is Livin' in the Sixties Still," and "Clare Island." And then there are the seven studio albums, three live efforts, and various compilations, all of which provide the ultimate affirmation of the Saw Doctors' fine Irish charms.
"They call Ireland 'the land of saints and scholars,'" Moran says. "The Irish definitely have an interest in people, in language, and in coming up with new ways of saying things. Creativity is accepted and respected, and that's especially true in Galway. Everybody you meet is in a play or writing or acting or in a band."
Still, Moran admits his original inspiration came from abroad. "We grew up loving America, because that tradition of rock and country and punk music is second to none," he explains. "And America was home to all those giants of songwriting that we attempted to emulate.
"Obviously, we weren't in the same league," he laughs. "But if you're going to try to emulate the little people, you might as well attempt to emulate the greats as well."
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At this point, though, Moran and the Saw Doctors have their own imitators. So it is hoped that he, Carton, and company will continue to pursue the path they've been rambling down for the better part of the past 25 years.
"Sometimes I think I'll never write another song again," Moran muses. "I can't try too hard because it doesn't work like that. These songs are very elusive creatures. They're like little birds. They don't always land on your shoulder. Sometimes you have to be very still and patient. We're very delighted when one sticks and we can see that people relate to it. But we rarely know the difference. It's the audience that tells us the difference.
"You're just delighted when you write a song that works. But history has a habit of becoming history before you expect it to. So you're even more delighted when you can write the next one."