Watch: Can our reporter charm the coos with his banjo?

I’ve played some unusual gigs in my time.

A Great Gatsby ball, a ceilidh for refugees and even a stone circle have all been subject to my banjo playing. But a barn full of heifers was definitely the strangest.

After a tour of the farm, managing director Mac Mackie said: “They prefer ballads to heavy metal music. Have you got your banjo?”

As an intrepid reporter I had packed my five-string on the off-chance there would be a slot for me.

My first set was to be in front of more than 200 cows in the barn.

With production on the line the steaks were high, so I went for an old favourite – Cripple Creek. Many of the cows stopped grazing to take a peek as I did my best to get their hooves tapping, but it wasn’t long before I was drowned out by what I’m still not sure was mooing or booing. Maybe I’d have more luck in a quieter setting.

From left, Mac Mackie and EE reporter, Conor Riordan with his banjo.
From left, Mac Mackie and EE reporter, Conor Riordan with his banjo.

Mac took me to where the calves were hanging out and promised: “They will definitely be more interested.”

Sat on a bucket, I settled down to play an old Scottish folk tune to the youngsters. True, they were much more patient with me but I don’t think it was really to their taste.

My final gig was an outdoor event – in a field. Before I had even started a couple of the coos ran off and as soon as I strummed my first chord the rest followed.

Despite some reassurance from Mac they can be a tough crowd, I decided it’s best to leave the music to the professionals.

But at least the experience made me feel like a real cowboy.