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Peter Donegan to sing skiffle legend dad Lonnie’s songs and chat at Romford’s Brookside Theatre

PUBLISHED: 15:00 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:05 10 January 2019

Peter Donegan impressed Tom Jones with his performance of Bless the Broken Road on The Voice on Saturday, January 5. Photo: ITV / Rachel Joseph

Peter Donegan impressed Tom Jones with his performance of Bless the Broken Road on The Voice on Saturday, January 5. Photo: ITV / Rachel Joseph

Archant

The son of a rock and jazz legend will be performing some of his music in a special intimate session at Brookside Theatre.

Peter Donegan is the son of the grandfather of British rock ‘n’ roll, Lonnie Donegan. He will be playing his own material and some of Lonnie’s hits in his show, an Evening with Peter Donegan.

He said: “There’s going to be a question and answer part where people can ask me questions about my performance in The Voice or anything about dad.

“We’ll also have a skiffle session where we pay homage to [Lonnie].

“It’s great that sessions like ‘an evening with’ provide an opportunity for a more intimate performance.”

Lonnie Donegan provided inspiration for artists and bands such as John Lennon, Paul McCartney and the Beatles.

Lonnie Donegan playing guitar. Photo: PALonnie Donegan playing guitar. Photo: PA

He was also the leader of the skiffle craze in the UK in the late 1950s.

Peter describes skiffle as what we now recognise to be Americana music – blending folk with blues, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll.

“Skiffle was a phrase coined by Ken Colyer back in the early 50s,” said Peter.

“People wanted to find a name for the style of music that was being played as a dance break in the middle of jazz singles.

“[Lonnie] introduced Americana music to the UK. He was the first person to bring the music here.

An Evening with Peter Donegan offers audiences a chance to hear original music from Peter Donegan at Brookside Theatre in Romford. Photo: Michael WharleyAn Evening with Peter Donegan offers audiences a chance to hear original music from Peter Donegan at Brookside Theatre in Romford. Photo: Michael Wharley

“He was doing what Elvis did a week before Elvis did it. [Lonnie] took folk songs and sped them up, creating a rockabilly Americana sound.”

Peter admits his bias as Lonnie’s son, but still insists that the rock legend is his biggest inspiration.

He told the Recorder: “I grew up with him in the house and having that calibre of a musician around – he’s always going to be my biggest inspiration.

“He encouraged me as soon as I started showing signs of interest in music.

“I would take my piano lessons and afterwards we would have jam sessions together. It never occurred to me to do anything else.

Peter Donegan impressed Tom Jones with his performance of Bless the Broken Road on The Voice on Saturday, January 5. Photo: ITV / Rachel JosephPeter Donegan impressed Tom Jones with his performance of Bless the Broken Road on The Voice on Saturday, January 5. Photo: ITV / Rachel Joseph

“Other than him, it’s people like Chris Stapleton and Eric Church that inspire me, or Van Morrison when it comes to songwriting.”

Speaking about his favourite song to perform, Peter says it depends on the reactions he gets from the audience.

“I’ll Never Fall in Love Again always goes down well.

“People don’t realise dad wrote the song. Tom Jones had a hit with it and Elvis Presley had a hit with it.

“The Superman, which is also the title of my album, always goes down really nicely.”

Peter Donegan will be performing songs by his father, Lonnie Donegan at Brookside Theatre. Photo: Michael WharleyPeter Donegan will be performing songs by his father, Lonnie Donegan at Brookside Theatre. Photo: Michael Wharley

Peter is taking part in The Voice UK 2019. His blind audition performance of Bless the Broken Road impressed Tom Jones.

The pair ended up singing an impromptu duet of I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.

“It was beyond words as I didn’t expect to do it,” said Peter.

“It was wonderful, a dream come true. I felt a little nervous as I hadn’t played the song in weeks.

“I performed the song for the first time at my dad’s memorial in 2004, so to finally play it with Tom – it’s surreal.”

The country singer added that he still gets emotional when he watches his audition.

“I’ve never been that nervous in all the 24 years I’ve been performing,” said Peter.

“I’d performed at a gig the night before and I didn’t get back to the hotel before 1am so I was running on a lack of sleep and a lot of nerves.

“It was pure adrenaline that got me through. When Tom turns around I can hear that my voice cracks. I was so happy I wanted to cry.”

An evening with Peter Donegan will be taking place at Brookside Theatre in Eastern Road on Saturday, February 2.

For tickets call 01708 755775 or email info@brooksidetheatre.com.

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