Greg Pearle & John Illsley ( Dire Straits )

Greg Pearle & John Illsley ( Dire Straits )

Greg Pearle: A Renowned Irish Singer-Songwriter

Hailing from Dublin and currently based in Ballina, Co Mayo, Greg Pearle stands as a distinguished figure in Ireland's music scene. A luminary who has dedicated his life to music, Pearle's performances resonate with a rare, captivating energy that leaves an indelible mark on all who have the privilege of experiencing them.

His musical journey spans a lifetime, with each note and lyric a testament to his unwavering passion and talent. Pearle's live performances are nothing short of extraordinary, characterized by a distinctive vocal timbre and meticulously crafted tracks that linger in the hearts of his audience.

It is a testament to his artistry that he holds the remarkable accolade of inspiring the legendary Rock 'n' Roll icon, John Illsley, out of retirement. Their collaboration culminated in the acclaimed album "Beautiful You," a harmonious blend of Pearle's evocative melodies and Illsley's seasoned expertise.

Greg Pearle stands as a hidden gem within Ireland's rich musical tapestry, a maestro whose music transcends boundaries and leaves an indelible imprint on all who have the pleasure of listening.

The Legendary Encounter: John Illsley and the Irish Rock Group Cunla

In the picturesque countryside of rural Hampshire, a legendary figure found solace away from the roaring crowds and electrifying stages of his past. John Illsley, renowned as the bass player of the iconic Dire Straits, had bid adieu to the music world, seeking refuge in the tranquility of Hampshire's rolling hills to pursue his newfound passion for painting.

Amidst the quaint charm of local pubs, "The East End Arms" and "The George Hotel" on the Isle of Wight, Illsley unveiled his artistic prowess to the world, his vibrant canvases telling tales of a life richly lived.

However, fate had other plans for this rock 'n' roll luminary. It was a March evening in 2005 when the music found its way back to John Illsley in the most unexpected of places—a cozy pub in Leicestershire. Little did he know, this evening would mark the beginning of an epic musical journey.

Enter Greg and his band, Cunla, a spirited Irish rock group whose music seemed to echo the very soul of the Emerald Isle. As Illsley's ears caught the first notes resonating from the stage, something stirred within him—a nostalgic yearning for the days of raw, unbridled energy that defined his Dire Straits era.

In a moment of spontaneous combustion, John Illsley joined Cunla on stage, the bass reverberating with the familiar strains of Dire Straits classics. For Illsley, this was more than just a performance—it was a resurrection of passion, a rekindling of the fire that had lain dormant for over a decade.

Recalling that unforgettable night, Illsley reminisces with a twinkle in his eye, "I was asked to play a few tunes with them. I liked their attitude and the fact that despite the large quantities of Guinness that had been consumed, they could all play very well."

And so, amidst the warmth of the pub's flickering lights and the thunderous applause of awestruck patrons, John Illsley found himself reborn on stage once more. The chemistry between Illsley and Cunla was electric, a fusion of veteran prowess and youthful exuberance that left an indelible mark on all who were fortunate enough to witness it.

From that moment on, the world of music knew no bounds for John Illsley and Greg Pearle. Their chance encounter in a Leicestershire pub would pave the way for a musical partnership that transcended time and boundaries, culminating in the creation of the acclaimed album "Beautiful You."

It was a meeting of legends, a collision of worlds, and a celebration of the timeless magic of music. The story of John Illsley and Cunla is not just a tale of two artists—it is a symphony of destiny, woven with threads of passion, inspiration, and the unyielding spirit of rock 'n' roll.


To coincide with an exhibition of his art in Les Baux de Provence, John was asked to perform some Dire Straits songs.

John Recalled "The Mayor of the town asked me and it’s not done in France to refuse the Mayor ". "I asked Cunla if they could learn some Dire Straits songs and it turned out that Greg was a big fan and knew a lot of the songs already”.

John and Cunla played at the Festival des Alpilles, performing to 1300 people in the Cathedral D’Image in Les Baux de Provence. The show was recorded and John was “pleasantly surprised” by the results. “I initially wanted the band to have a record of their French experience but several people heard it and encouraged us to release it.”

Friendship & Album

John and Greg became friends and John discovered that Greg was a very talented songwriter. “We spent some time knocking his songs into shape then began recording them in Mark Knopfler’s fabulous studio in Hammersmith". "Wait ’till you hear them". "Greg writes brilliant songs and has an amazing voice.”

Greg Pearle will always be remembered for the man who inspired John to find excitement in recording and playing live again. He takes his mark from greats such as Tom Waits, Van Morrison and Chris Rea, Pearle’s gravelly tones are infused with emotion from a well-traveled life.

Their collaborated album didn't get the the accolades it deserved but Greg has absolutely no regrets . Greg Recalls " To work and record an album with one of the greats was an experience I will cherish forever ".

Buy The Album

Anton (2008 film)
Film Awards in 2009. The theme song, One was written and performed by Greg Pearle, John Illsley and Paul Brady. When Anton O'Neill returns home after five

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3 comments on “Greg Pearle & John Illsley ( Dire Straits )”

  1. Today 10th March 2018......I was at a Greg Pearle gig last night in emmets bar in Ballina town.......I think I have just seen the best free gig on planet earth ....amazing voice and I have not witnessed a man sing with such passion ........pure class ......

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