Four great bands in one night celebrating the Pogues, the godfather and forebears of everything celtic punk. What could possibly be bad? Not a lot, I’ll sure as hell say. Our man ‘cross the broad Atlantic’ didn’t have far to travel to check out this gig in his home town and even got on the stage for the grand finale!
Friday 10th March 2023 at The Sportsman Tavern, Buffalo NY State
CRIKWATER from South Buffalo opened the night. I’ve seen them as sessions before and they are fantastic players. Their set went really well. Brilliantly played. It was a little softer than I would have liked for a tribute to a band who’s lead singer bit someone’s ear at a Clash show, but still. Phenomenally executed. FacebookWebSite
Next up was McCARTHYIZM. A definite notable mention goes to their fiddle player Sally Schaefer, who I’ve been lucky enough to play with a few times. They ended the set with “Turkish Song of the Damned” which has that great ending. The band was lock tight but she stood out. FacebookWebSite
Next up was YELLOW JACK. Admittedly I didn’t catch the entire set. What I did catch, there was a long pause before they went on, was that they were likely the truest to the Pogues actual sound of what you hear on the records. Great instrumentation, good vocals. Had never heard of them before but they are definitely going to be on the radar from now on. FacebookWebSite
Last on was CAPTAIN TOM AND THE HOOLIGANS. Now I’m biased because I know a good chunk of the band and played with them for a stint. But at that point we playing polka, all polka, and nothing but the polka. I was a little nervous how a horn section etc would fit into a Pogues set, but they did not disappoint. Maybe it was a few hours of folks at the bar, maybe it was just them, maybe it was both, but there was a tangible energy. They closed with ‘Fiesta’ and then all the performers came on for ‘South Australia’ which was awesome and I snuck on for. All in all, it was a fantastic night and surrounded by friends who you might not even know, but were all sisters and brothers in one common denominator-the brilliance that is the Pogues. FacebookWebSite
The ‘big jam’ below, grand finale at A Tribute to the Pogues-A Fairytale of Buffalo, NY at The Sportsmens Tavern. Thanks to all who contributed to an amazing night in tribute to the Pogues and to the Buffalo Music Coalition who organised it.
After a couple of interviews with fellow Walker Roaders Ted Hutt and Marc Orrell, our man in NYC, Ray Ball, finally gets round to the main inspiration for the band, James Fearnley. There at the very beginning, on the 4th October 1982 in Kings Cross – James is best known from his days in The Pogues. However, he has had a long and varied musical adventure including as guitarist for the Nipple Erectors (the Punk band fronted and founded by Shane MacGowan), the critically acclaimed Low and Sweet Orchestra, and Cranky George (with brothers – screen writer Kieran and award winning actor Dermot Mulroney) before forming The Walker Roaders and releasing their self-titled #1 Celtic-Punk debut album.
So I may not be easily starstruck. Through the course of writing here and being part of music in general I’ve been able to make contact with some pretty amazing people.
However, I just got off the phone with James Fearnley, accordion player for the Pogues.
I’m still a little bit dazed.
As with anyone I talk to, I try to leave the card blank to sign by them-what is important to them is important to me as part of the Celtic music community and to share with you.
James got his start playing piano, I think about 10 he said, and he was a choir singer. I think I caught him off guard, when I said he played as I imagine Jerry Lee Lewis would sound on an accordion. I think he was amused by that, but I think understood what I was trying to say.
Somewhere in there we got to talking about his first accordion playing. I think he said that Shane had brought the instrument up in a laundry basket. I don’t think the point of it ever was to be the best accordion player, but to flesh out some of Shane’s songs. He had heard traditional playing in pubs etc, but sufficed that he couldn’t play like that.
We talked for a while about the Pogues years, and I made a point to ask how they ever kept that many people together whether in the studio or live. He just said there was a core group that just practised and practised, until the mayhem of that big lineup was gone.
At one point I asked James about the tune ‘London Girl’. In no small part because it’s got one of the fiercest accordion parts I’ve ever heard. If you haven’t paid close attention to it, trust me and do it. It’s insane that when I talked to Marc, I asked him if he’d ever learned the part and laughed in agreement that it’s really just a ridiculously intense and speed of light part. All James had to say about it was that when he was in the studio doing overdubs, someone came and put a note on the booth that said “Go Cajun”. I imagine the next take he just went wild and came to one of those moments after that was “holy hell, what did I just do?”.
Interestingly enough that was the only remark he made about certain styles of playing. The accordion player from a group I gig with, references styles that half the time (and sorry Tom) I don’t even know, much less understand. But, I enthusiastically at one point mentioned that the Pogues were the godfathers of Celtic-Punk.
He immediately disagreed and said to them they had just taken apart what the Dubliners and reassembled it just a little differently. He continued that he thought a lot of punk was like that. Taking things apart and putting them back together, just differently. He cited the Dropkick Murphys as very Punk, with the truly loud roaring guitars that sound, especially on their early records, in my opinion sounding like a mashup of the Buzzcocks melody and Washington hardcore intensity.
He talked a great deal about his band mates in the Pogues. We both especially paid attention to Phil Chevron’s “Thousands are Sailing” as a brilliant piece, may Phil rest in peace. Evidently-I had no idea of this-Cait had never played bass before. But then on the other side of that coin, neither had Paul Simonon from The Clash. Paul’s heavily Jamaican influenced lines are some of the most iconic in rock history. I suppose what I can take from that is you don’t have to have virtuosic abilities. It seems like the Pogues all learned and honed their instruments and just practised. And practised more.
The Walker Roaders were a street gang when James Fearnley was a kid growing up in Manchester who would slit your thumb with a knife if they came across you and felt like it.
It’s hard, if not impossible to capture all the Pogues years, but I brought it into the present with how the Walker Roaders came to be, his friendship with Ted Hutt over time and how Marc joined in. I think he must have found it refreshing to be able to write lyrics, but cited Shane’s prowess on the matter.
I asked, and I think I’ve asked the three Walker Roaders I’ve talked to, if there was anything more on that front. I told James that the album was something I think we all needed but didn’t know we needed. He had a good laugh at that.
From what I can tell, Ted, Marc and James don’t sit still long, there’s always a project on. But I think all three wanted to do more on that front.
Whatever comes on that front, or any of his projects, James was a pleasure to talk to and had a wealth of stories to share.
I can’t wait to see what comes next out of everyone, and I hope you all had a great and safe St. Patrick’s Day.
Our enormous thanks to Ray Ball. He has already featured on these pages as the driving force behind The Fighting 69th and his new band Ravenswalk from Buffalo. One of the most prolific and diverse artists in the Celtic-Punk scene we are proud to have Raymond on board our team. Writer, artist, musician he is a credit to the American-Irish community and you can find a wealth of his material available at his Bandcamp or the Ravenswalk site.
While this side of the broad Atlantic all the writers for London Celtic Punks are musically illiterate over in the US of A there is no end to the musical talents of our North America editor Ray Ball! Ray’s band Ravenswalk have a aptly titled six track EP out just in time for St. Patrick’s Day 2023.
Alongside being a great writer and a Celtic-Punk obsessive like the rest of us Ray recognises that Celtic-Punk is much much more than music. While some write the genre off as corny and just drinking music it is musicians like Ray that bring to mind the ancient seanchai. A traditional Gaelic storyteller and historian who passes on his knowledge through both music and song. So with all that in mind we asked Ray to go into the songs and give us a wee potted history of the songs.
‘Shipping Up To Boston’
This song needs no introduction. I arranged this for two bagpipes which I just played on different tracks, bass and drums. Just a little change of pace for a tune we all know.
A track from The Cranberries that I love Clare singing on that really encapsulates the troubles.
‘The World Turned Upside Down’
This tells of is a commune started in 1649 in England that didn’t last long due to the monarchy but was a huge stepping stone towards more contemporary socialist values. Not to make a huge political stance but a good song. The British army also played this tune on fife and drum when they surrendered to the allied French and continental army at the final battle of the American revolution, because it was a bitter irony.
‘Thatcherites By Name’
Sung to the tune of ‘Jacobites By Name’ originally by Robert Burns to criticise the British government under Maggie Thatcher. Not a super Irishy song but one I also love Clare’s vocals on and has the Rabbie Burns tie in.
This traces back to before the American Civil War, and was a popular tune then. It’s really about creating mayhem in a small Irish town lyrically but in it’s day was also a favourite amongst soldiers, particularly Irish ones.
‘The Irish Volunteer’
This is also a Civil War era tune, which celebrates an Irish immigrants story of his father dying on Vinegar Hill in 1798 to his fighting for his new country that allowed him a new life. All biases aside, by the 1860’s there were huge amounts of Irish immigrants fighting for both sides during the war. Some accounts actually state that soldiers on opposite sides that were all Irish would stop firing at each other because they all recognised that they were brethren caught up in a different fight. At the battle of Fredericksburg one confederate soldier crossed lines during the night and went to give water to his Irish union brethren who were wounded and dying in the cold. He is known as “the Angel of Mayres Heights” and there is a large monument to him on the battlefield today.
(Stream / download St. Patrick’s Day 2023 via the Bandcamp player below)
The album cover is based on the flag of the 7th Buffalo Regt., Irish Army of Liberation. The flag was carried into battle during the Fenian raids, which took place in the 1860’s after the war and consisted of veterans of both sides deciding they would fight to invade Canada via Buffalo and hold it in ransom for Ireland’s freedom, or even to start a “new Ireland” there. The battle showed a swift and distinct Irish victory but was short lived. The regiment was of volunteers from the heavily Irish south side of Buffalo, but saw heavy action. Two casualties of the battle were recovered and brought to their final resting place near to that south Buffalo area. Though their attempts failed ultimately, it presented the groundwork for the Easter 1916 rising in many ways.
Ravenswalk are the classically trained Clare Elizabeth on vocals and the aforementioned Ray Ball on all the other many instruments and they are based in the heavily Irish-American city of Buffalo in New York state. They have already amassed a back catalogue that much more established bands would be jealous of and it’s all freely available alongside the St. Patrick’s Day 202 six track EP as ‘name your price’ downloads from Bandcamp. We never get tired of saying that these downloads are completely free and their is absolutely no obligation to pay anything but their is an option if you do feel and can afford to send over a couple of pints. After all Guinness is expensive stuff in the States.
Unsurprisingly whenever the release of a new Dropkick Murphys album is announced the internet glows white with reviews and promotions so now two months after the release of This Machine Still Kills Fascists Ray Ball gives it a listen and our last post of 2022 sees if it does indeed live up to the hype.
So here’s the disclaimer. This isn’t what we expect Dropkick Murphys album to sound like at all. Al has been on leave for a bit now taking care of his family, and I know we call commend him for that and wish the best for the Barr family.
But here’s also what I learned. The Murphys have been in contact with the Guthrie family for about a decade. “Shipping Up To Boston” was originally a few Guthrie scribbles. Guthrie’s daughter had recently given an all access pass to her fathers materiel he never used or recorded.
Nora Guthrie with her father Woody “I collected lyrics on all kinds of topics…lyrics that seemed to be needed to be said – or screamed – today. Ken Casey is a master at understanding Woody’s lyrics, which can be complicated, long, deadly serious, or totally ridiculous. DKM is capable of delivering them all.”
So you’ve got Guthrie lyrics. While, as Ken stated in an interview, it wouldn’t be right to put out a regular album without Al, this was a good chance to put out this years in the making project. Instead of giving you a list of radio singles or hidden gems B-Sides, pick up a copy. Discover the stuff you like about the album. It’s all but completely acoustic, but straight up balls to the wall Americana at its best in nearly if not over half a century in my opinion.
Dropkick Murphys founder Ken Casey explained, “The project has been a long time in the making. Nora Guthrie thought her father would’ve got a kick out of us, would’ve liked us, that we were somewhat kindred spirits so to speak, which to us was a huge honour.”
So if you want to hear something tried and true other than “Fairytale” this holiday season grab a copy. Discover your favourites. This album is true- no deadline / record company profit marketing whatever / has to have a radio single track album.
There is no Al. God bless him and his family right now, but it’s a great piece. Give it a listen for something truly unique. Cheers guys!
Back in September when This Machine Still Kills Fascists came out we took a look at the life of Woody Guthrie and offer you the opportunity to download a great double album containing all of his greatest work for free. The link is still available so click below to be re-directed.
Thanks to Ray Ball. He has already featured on these pages as the driving force behind The Fighting 69th from Buffalo. The review of his 2-volume set of Dropkick Murphys coverswas one of the most viewed of the year. One of the most prolific and diverse artists in the Celtic-Punk scene we are proud to have Raymond on board our team. Writer, artist, musician he is a credit to the American-Irish community and you can find a wealth of his material available at his Bandcamp site.
After a couple of years of misery for Celtic-Punk fans 2022 has been something of a special year with the biggest and best the scene has to offer all releasing albums and The Real McKenzies even releasing two!
Here Ray Ball checks out Songs Of The Highlands, Songs Of The Sea out everywhere today. Packed to the gills with roaring sea shanties and bagpipe-fuelled highland anthems.
So, how to start this…I think I first stumbled on to The Real McKenzies with Clash of the Tartans. I was just getting into Celtic punk, I think Blackout and Within a Mile of Home were fresh on the record shelves. “Dropping Like Flies” and “Smokin’ Bowl” we’re staples of my 2000-something on my iPod nano.
Needless to say it was a good time to be a Celtic punk listener.
Sure, as we all know, the Pogues first combined the two genres. They hold their time and place in history. What I didn’t realize, or maybe appreciate, was the kick that came out of the Northwest in the early 90s. McKenzies formed in 1992, four years before DKM formed and not long but before “Alive Behind the Green Door” came out as a Flogging Molly live album.
I did some looking into it and dug up that a lot of the bands then and there sang in Gaelic, and put more of the punk and harsh edge into the music coming out of that part of the US and Canada.
I’ve listened to a lot of it over time but the McKenzies have always stood out to me. Paul, the rotating crew, the crazy pipes. They seem to have as much fun with it as we do. That’s important.
In “Songs of the Highland Songs of the Sea” McKenzies they bring their sound a little truer to maybe “Westwinds” than “Beer and Loathing”. Not that the latter was bad at all, it just felt a bit heavier than normal.
Don’t expect much in the way of new materiel in terms of songwriting here. From sea shanties to Robbie Burns, there’s a lot of great takes on standards to make an excellent album. Some I’ve even covered before in a punk way, and it’s different. But their take on it is different as Scottish Canadians than my Irish American.
I know Scotland the Brave and Leave her Johnny have already been released and are good indications of where the record goes. A must listen track is “Ye Jacobites by Name”, an 18th century set of lyrics set later to music and then given a do over by Paul and crew. I won’t spoil anything, you’ll hear some familiar Melodies if you go to local sessions or hear pipe bands often.
But, it’s a refreshing album I think we all need. They truly keep it up and going and there’s no objection to the bands ability to put out quality music at a rapid pace.
Thanks to Ray Ball. He has already featured on these pages as the driving force behind The Fighting 69th from Buffalo. The review of his 2-volume set of Dropkick Murphys coverswas one of the most viewed of the year. One of the most prolific and diverse artists in the Celtic-Punk scene we are proud to have Raymond on board our team. Writer, artist, musician he is a credit to the American-Irish community and you can find a wealth of his material available at his Bandcamp site.
The Real McKenzies are on tour in Europe during January and arrive on these shores on the 23rd playing Blackpool, two nights in Edinburgh, Huddersfield, Derby and then the New Cross Inn in south London on the 28th. For the smoke keep an eye on the Facebook Eventfor support acts, set times and ticket news.
It was also recently announced that they have been added to the bill at Rebellion festival in Blackpool next August doing two sets – a full band set and on the the ‘Almost Acoustic’ stage. This means the good news is they will be back around again next Summer.
Their are some very talented bastards out there in the Celtic-Punk scene! One such is Colin Mulholland who has written, composed, performed, recorded, mixed and produced his own material for a few years now. Ray Ball checks out his new album featuring loads of distorted guitars and vocals played at breakneck speed about Irish and Irish-American history.
First of all let me say that I’ve known Colin “Mulholland” for a couple of years-pre covid. He is a character and then some. “SHARP” (skinheads against racial prejudice), married to a wife that must be tough because she keeps him in line, straight edge, never touched a sip or toke of nothing. He works his fingers down to the marrows as a mechanic. Blue-collar, tough, hardworking guy. He has recently released “Irish Viking” as his latest album.
The recordings are raw. Like, something you’d expect out of a true 80’s straight edge band. But, having read the lyrics they are as poignant as raw. Though he doesn’t work a lot with traditional instruments there’s definitely the Celtic themes and Melodies in the music. Part of me likes my refined audio whatever but part of me also loves this coming through in mono.
There’s definitely no shortage of energy here. Old school punks will love this. Maybe not your average ‘Shipping Up To Boston’ Celtic-Punk but for true believers. Even I’d you only check out only one song, listen to ‘Cross To Bear’. It’s what I’d have put out as a single. Catchy without being cliché, well produced. Scally cap is off to you Colin. Well, very well done.
The album is only available to hear through the You Tube play list below but feel free to contact Mulholland at the links provided
Thanks to Ray Ball. He has already featured on these pages as the driving force behind The Fighting 69th from Buffalo. The review of his 2-volume set of Dropkick Murphys coverswas one of the most viewed of the year. One of the most prolific and diverse artists in the Celtic-Punk scene we are proud to have Raymond on board our team. Writer, artist, musician he is a credit to the American-Irish community and you can find a wealth of his material available at hisBandcamp site.
Marc Orrell was only 17 years old when he joined his favourite Punk band, the Dropkick Murphys, as lead guitarist and multi-instrumentalist. Marc has continued to write and play innovative music since his Murphys departure. Most recently alongside ex- Flogging Molly Ted Hutt and The Pogues James Fearnley in the Celtic-Punk supergroup The Walker Roaders. Ray Ball our man in NY had the pleasure of speaking to Marc and our thanks go to them both.
How to start this off-My first concert was Dropkick Murphys. They played at the Town Ballroom during the Warriors Code tour in 2004. Far From Finished opened, followed by Big D and the Kids Table. I think by the time they played LAX everyone had already bought all the Big D merch (none of us had heard of them yet). But me and the two friends that I came with were there to see DKM. I had passed my Jimmy Page and Angus Young phases of guitar heroes, but was really focusing in on Irish music, and my guitar hero if you will, at least lead, in that realm was Marc Orrell.
Flash forward a fair bit, I sent a message to Marc, who I’ve followed for a fair bit in social media, seeing if he’d be willing to do an interview for us. I figured what the hell, nothing ventured nothing gained. I was floored he agreed and we got a chance to talk on the phone yesterday. Marc is really an easy guy to talk to. I could have spent three times as long on the phone talking as I had time to. He greeting me “Hey, Ray, what’s up?” Like we were friends and really kept just going the whole time. He seemed genuinely interested in having a story to tell.
One of the first things we obviously had to talk about was his start in Dropkick Murphys. According to Marc, James (Lynch) and he were huge fans of the band from day one, essentially. I don’t know the exact timing of Rick (Burton, founding guitarist) and his departure from the group, but when James got the job as DKM guitarist, Marc was stunned. They both had been huge fans and James was now part of the group. We talked a bit about James’ playing. I compared it to Malcolm Young if AC/DC, and I don’t think Marc objected. Strong, steady, solid. I compared them to truly having a strong Angus/Malcolm thing going on. Marc attributes a lot of his influence to to Chuck Berry’s bluesy playing, along with The Rolling Stones. Marc’s solos and playing with DKM are really as blues as punk, to me at least, and I can really see that over the discography.
Despite the obvious career we all know and love with DKM, it seems like Marc has no shortage of irons in the fire after his departure from the band. The Wild Roses were brought up to me a number of years ago as his next project. I asked him a bit about it. It seems that the Roses are as much as a revolving group of friends who make music together, again in that same Rock / Rockabilly / Punk vein we see reoccurring.
The Walker Roaders were my next topic. To me, at least, they were the Celtic group I never knew I needed to hear until I heard them. Ted (Hutt) is a master producer and musician. We all know and love the Pogues. James Fearnley, accordion and vocals on the record, is unparalleled in his playing prowess. Someday I’ll strive to achieve even figuring out a snippet of what’s going on in London Girl. But as much of the walker Roaders is a band, it seems like it’s an entity. It’s the traditional group we all needed with a rock twist that we all didn’t know we wanted. There’s more music to come, according to Marc, but not something on a dead set schedule as of yet. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, though.
Marc as a few other irons in the fire in terms of playing and producing. I’ll pass on some links when we get them and we hope to hear soon from him and his projects soon.
Thanks to Ray Ball for the interview. He has already featured on these pages as the driving force behind The Fighting 69th from Buffalo. The review of his 2-volume set of Dropkick Murphys coverswas one of the most viewed of the year. One of the most prolific and diverse artists in the Celtic-Punk scene we are proud to have Raymond on board our team. Writer, artist, musician he is a credit to the American-Irish community and you can find a wealth of his material available at his Bandcamp site.
There is nothing better than coming across a new band you instantly fall for. Ravenswalk hail from Buffalo in New York State and while they have just started out they already have out some great sounding demos.
“though the crime rate may be bad and the snowstorms may be inconvenient, the cities friendly locals and beautiful scenery make Buffalo a good place to live.”
Buffalo is a strange city. Between the old steel plant and old industrial areas, yuppie lofts, Irish south Buffalo where street signs are still in Irish Gaelic, it’s a weird mix of blue collar laborers content with “Genny” (a local beer that’s pretty awful) and up and coming twenty-something’s drinking craft beer.
Buffalo Irish Centre mural
I was able to catch up with two friends playing at a local coffee shop on the WASPier north end of the suburbs playing some interesting stuff, outside the normal spectrum Of coffee house music. Ray and Clare make up “Ravenswalk”, a somewhat Celtic, somewhat protest, I think they threw an obscure Cohen song in there once. Weird stuff to hear in the realms of “Wagon Wheel” and “Hallelujah”, respectively by great artists, but cmon. We need to hear that like I need a hole in my head. Ray, acoustic guitar, some vocals here and there, had been playing Irish music since the get-go. He carried on “The Fighting 69th” for a number of years, he said, before taking a backseat to “weirder projects”. His taste is an enigma. One day he’s going from Gaslight Anthem there to The Dubliners and back to Social D.
Clare, to be fair, is an enigma unto herself. Classically trained, jazz lounge, the works. I’ve heard about 7 people there who said “she sings like an Angel”. All truth told, she does. Killer range, gorgeous but controlled vibrato, and a repertoire different but as random as Ray’s. Not as familiar to me, but hey, I like to think of myself as an aged punk who still listens to “Spirit of 77” sort of stuff.
According to both, Ray did a set on mandolin of “London Calling” (it was weird, just roll with it) and then went into a couple jigs. Clare I didn’t catch that night, but evidently she waved him down asking where he’d learned the jigs. Apparently they had zig zagged around the same Irish session music in Buffalo for a couple years but never met. Which is weird. It’s a damn small town.
They’ve done a few demo quality recording sessions, they said, and have about a dozen tunes at that quality on their Bandcamp site.
Bands, at least in my own experience, are a matter of the stars aligning in just the right way at the right time. I can’t tell you how much in my own experiences playing it’s just a matter of the right people in the same spot at just the right point.
Their demos cover some interesting spans and arrangements. Are they brilliant? Maybe not, but I see some cool potential in these two. We will see what comes out of it, but fingers crossed there will be something new and interesting I’ll pay attention to locally. It’s refreshing, I haven’t been able to say that in a fair while.
We are incredibly pleased to be able to bring you a interview with a man who has given so much to music but in particular to our wonderful Celtic-Punk scene. Our fella in the States Ray Ball chatted to Ted Hutt just the other day, Grammy Award-winning record producer, musician and songwriter and original guitarist and founding member of Flogging Molly. Ted is currently part of the Walker Roaders alongside The Pogues James Fearnley and Marc Orrell of Dropkick Murphys.
So I got the chance to talk to award winning producer, Flogging Molly founding member, and Walker Roaders guitarist Ted Hutt. Ted has worked with some of the the artists we all know and love and I am so thankful he took the time to talk to me on his approach to music production and working with those groups.
(The Walker Roaders- Smokestack Lightning – 2021)
Here’s the Q&A. I asked him a little bit to introduce himself. Here’s what he had to say-
“I have always loved music. I have always loved collaboration where the sum is bigger than the parts (at least hopefully). I have always been thankful for music as a constant companion through good time and bad, and the constant reinvention to be creative and challenge to be creative. I have always felt stuck in bands, always a bit restricting? I like a lot of things musically and producing gives me a way to dig into different parts of my record collection, to try different things from project to project. It’s interesting as I look through a body of work, that there are common themes and threads that come from the music that we grow up with.”
(Flogging Molly – Drunken Lullabies – 2002)
(Couple of years after Ted left Flogging Molly he returned on the Drunken Lullabies album as producer and mixer and also as co-writer for a few songs including the title track)
I mentioned again that the last person I saw him talk to was KT Tunstall, which I think was a little outside his usual spectrum. Here are his thoughts-
“Well, interestingly KT contacted me because she was working with a guy named Chris Leonard in Dublin, they were looking for someone to produce them. I guess the long story short was the names and artists they wanted to inspired by and the common denominator was me. I also know James Fearnley (Accordion Pogues, Accordion and Vocals Walker Roaders) and Marc Orrell (guitar, piano, a slew of instruments between DKM, Wild Roses, Walker Roaders, and a slew of other projects as well). I wouldn’t work on a project I didn’t think I couldn’t add something to…but there’s this thread of Irish/Scottish music…with the obvious others like Old Crow Medicine Show for example. I was a fan and thought it would be fun to work with them. I called their manager and next thing you know I’m recording with them at the Sound Emporium in Nashville. I asked them why they agreed and the pointed out the Link between the Celtic music I had made with Flogging Molly. Interestingly enough there’s also that story telling element with Gaslight Anthem. Bruce Springsteen loved ‘59 Sound’ and sang in a Dropkick Murphys record (Peg o’ My Heart). Once you start digging, that Celtic thread is everywhere!
(KT Tunstall and Chris Leonard – Run Rudolph Run – 2021
Produced by Ted Hutt)
I actually started working on an outline for a book or movie or something about how much of the music we love today had Celtic roots.”
I asked a little bit about that story telling aspect, it obviously plays a huge role in Celtic tradition, but also in his productions. I pointed out the link in ‘59 Sound using “Great Expectations” “Estella” and “Marley’s chains we forged in life”-pulled directly from 19th British author Charles Dickens.
“I loved that lyric”, he said. “Mary I worried and stalled every night of my life/better safe than making the party”, and so many others on that record. I felt like I unearthed another layer, which is something I’m very interested in. It’s an attempt to draw the listener in immediately, but also layers, texture and subliminal stuff that keeps revealing the more they Listen.
The story, when all told, provides a sort of companionship with the listener and artist, it reminds the listener they’re not alone!”
He concluded-“That someone else has similar experiences, that they had similar feelings! It reminds us “we are not alone in our struggles”. It’s always been important to me as a fan. Maybe we need that more than ever”.
Email: worldsendamerica firstname.lastname@example.org
Instagram: Ted Hutt @tedhutt •Instagram
Facebook: Ted Hutt
Twitter: Ted Hutt (@Ted Hutt)|twitter
Thanks to Ray Ball for the interview. He has already featured on these pages as the driving force behind The Fighting 69th from Buffalo. The review of his 2-volume set of Dropkick Murphys coverswas one of the most viewed of the year. One of the most prolific and diverse artists in the Celtic-Punk scene we are proud to have Raymond on board the London Celtic Punks team. Writer, artist, musician he is a credit to the American-Irish community and you can find a wealth of his material available at his Bandcampsite.
The power of your example is far greater than what you say!
and their ain’t no band who set a better example than the Dropkick Murphys. Love, loyalty and friendship. Ray Ball was lucky enough to catch the Murphys on only the second leg of their St. Patrick’s tour in Rochester, New York.
So, we all know this is a DKM show. And I’ll get into that later, but I wanted to get into a couple of the other groups that played.
First on deck was Jesse Ahern. Before walking in the doors even, I was a big fan. I got turned on to him when he was supposed to see him on a tour that got cancelled opening for DKM. Admittedly I’ve got all the records on my phone and keep them going pretty steadily on rotation in my car.
But he’s got a classic act down. One guitar, a harmonica and his vocals when he plays live. The records have more instrumental parts but it is bare bones, solid, working-class folk music. Solid solid set, early on and probably didn’t get the attention he deserves but I was definitely right up front and center.
Next came on The Rumjacks. First and foremost, replacing a band member is hard. I don’t care if you’re playing in a garage or were AC/DC trying to replace Bon Scott. Obviously a singer can also make or break a band. A new one-well damn. Uncharted waters. But they did it well.
The sound has changed. Personally I love the newer material-yes the ended with “Irish Pub Song” but ironically I wasn’t to familiar with the rest of the set. The overall sound and vibe is definitely headed in a direction I like. It makes me think definitely of what I wanted to sound like on record-only much, much better. No frills, crazy lighting, etc. On, straight Celtic punk, filled with whistles, bouzouki’s and a set of highland pipes, and go.
The Bombpops are not a group I would have bought headlining tickets for. Just not in my normal spectrum. That said, they had come cool music. Even though in my mind it shouldn’t be, it’s always unique to see two girls on stage. To me, in my own work I could really care less who you are as long as we have a good vibe and make good music. But it made me think of the bonus track on “Elgin Avenue Breakdown” by the 101ers. The track is a live cover of “Gloria” in which Joe Strummer goes into talking about women in the punk scene. “I’ve seen Patti Smith do it…” he says, and in a long tangent into how the whole idea of the punk movement was to break down those walls of convention.
Have we since 1976 when that was recorded made that headway? I’m not certain. I think we could argue both sides. I’m not entirely familiar with Bombpops repertoire. But I want to say, girls onstage in any act-punk or no-should not be a novelty. I personally don’t care if you’re a guy, a girl, black, white, purple-if you can play solid music and mean it I will listen. And damn, their guitarist played some of the most true punk palm-muting-all-downstroke machine gun sounding guitar playing I’ve seen in a very long time.
Ok, onwards. Dkm. I don’t need to introduce anyone here. But there were a few key points. Al Barr is out of the current tour on account of family matters. Much much much respect. The first thing I thought of when I heard that news was “Do you think Mick Jagger took time off from the Stones to help his sister take care of their mom?” Much respect to those who made it possible for him to do that. Frankly I don’t know much about Mick Jagger’s life, but I’m thinking I’m going to err on the side of probably not.
That leaves a hefty job for Ken to hold down. And he did it like an absolute champion. I’m willing to bet that everyone reading has at least seen them live on one of the Live Streams if not once or many times over the years. You know exactly what a good show you’re in for. But the one thing I will point out-the set list. “Do or Die”, “Caught in a Jar”, Caps and Bottles” and “Curse of a Fallen Soul” (some of which are mostly Al songs) came out of the vaults. The opened with “Cadence to Arms”. I’ve seen them every chance I get since 2004 and don’t think I’ve ever heard that done like that. They also did a mean cover of AC/DC’s “ Rock n’ Roll Singer ”. Old school my friends. A lot of us there were on the older side of the spectrum. There were even a few wee ones with their parents at the front.
So overall, some music I love, some fresh sounds, some impressive unexpected artists? Yes. Some serious nostalgia? Sort of. It got a bit rowdy and we were yelled at by two street preachers waiting on doors to open. It’s a crazy world, and it’s a punk show. Expect anything.
Set-List : Hang ‘Em High / The Fighting 69th / Sunday Hardcore Matinee / Deeds Not Words / Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya / Never Alone / Time to Go / Cruel / Going Out in Style / Take ‘Em Down / Echoes on A. Street / Devil’s Brigade / Boys on the Docks / The Dirty Glass / The State of Massachusetts / The Irish Rover / The Burden / Your Spirit’s Alive / 1953 / Barroom Hero / I’m Shipping Up to Boston / Encore / Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced / Skinhead on the MBTA / T.N.T. (AC/DC cover) /
Now seems the perfect time to mention the #1 Dropkick Murphys group on Facebook. Ran by fans for fans. Simply click the link and join up and join in the Murphys related fun.
Thanks to Ray Ball for the great review and all photos. He has already featured on these pages as the driving force behind The Fighting 69th from Buffalo. The review of his 2-volume set of Dropkick Murphys coverswas one of the most viewed of the year. One of the most prolific and diverse artists in the Celtic-Punk scene we are proud to have Raymond on board the London Celtic Punks team. Writer, artist, musician he is a credit to the American-Irish community and you can find a wealth of his material available at his Bandcamp site .
Upstate NY, Celtic rockers 1916 are an explosive concoction of modern Irish Folk, Punk and Psychobilly which makes 1916’s sound both highly original and at the same time traditional! A band that truly stands apart from other bands in the Celtic-Punk genre.
Our man Raymond Lloyd Ball caught up with lead singer and songwriter Bill Herring to talk about the band’s origins and their highly rated latest album Revolutions.
So here’s the story. 1916 is a band from Rochester, NY, about 45 minutes from where I am in Buffalo. We’ll touch on it, but this region of New York State was a place where, in the 1850s-1860s many Irish immigrants made their way from New York City or Boston. Obviously, the name “1916” needs no explanation. I was able to get an interview with Bill Herring, singer and guitarist in the band about the latest album “Revolutions” and the general gist of the scene as is.
Ray: First of all, we get the prominence of the name 1916, but what in the community in Rochester gave you guys both the incentive and the ability to put together the group and really make it work?
Bill: Well the “working” of 1916 is always something I consider to be a work in progress. Always evolving, changing with the times.
The name came about as a result of a healthy respect for Irish history and as a desire to get Americans interested in their own shared past. When we first started the group there were many many people who had no idea what “1916” stood for or what the significance of the name was. We always try to respect that history in our songs whenever we can-with undertones of revolution and forging your own path throughout the vibe of the music. That being said we do try to have some fun with it as well, with a songs like Ordinary Man and Khaleesi.
Rochester and most of central/western NY state is heavily steeped in a rich history of Irish culture. You’d be hard pressed to stumble through a post colonial churchyard west of Syracuse without finding Irish names on half the headstones. That rebel spirit has revealed itself in the existence of the Molly McGuires in the 1800’s and later on the Hibernians as time passed. I’m sure you even probably heard of the Fenian raids of post civil war Buffalo into British owned Canada in hopes of seizing a new Ireland. Now I’d be lying if I said we did name the band with all this in mind…but maybe it was all this history that led us to inevitably choose that name. I will say there is a quote from Dave King of Flogging Molly, where he talks on the Whiskey on a Sunday film they released several years ago. He mentions growing up in Ireland and seeing the young men of Dublin falling into a life of war with the IRA, and that there must be a higher form of communication to let people know what is happening over there. The only thought I had after hearing that was that-through intense, super fun music, you could engage people enough to get them interested in learning about this past…and how it affects the present day situation between Ireland and the USA.
Ray: Awesome answer, I’m AOH Myself.
Bill: As am I…
The Ancient Order of Hibernians is an Irish/Catholic fraternal group that does everything from charitable work to commemorations of things such, as Bill mentioned, the Fenian Raids from Buffalo to then British Canada. As a member from here, we hold an annual ceremony to the raids and to those who gave their lives for the cause of Irish independence.
Ray: So, given that history, how do you feel it’s important to incorporate modern music in a way that’s different then the traditional sessions you here at every other pub? I know you incorporate modern instrumentation while still harkening to topics that are either old in premise, modern, or similar (I’m thinking of a man you don’t meet everyday) and make it fresh?
Bill: Yes I think it’s important, at least for 1916, to provide a bridge between Irish traditional music and American folk/rock music. Even early county music has its roots steeped in Irish and Scottish music. That’s really the sound we’re going for. An American band that pays tribute to our immigrant cultural heritage.
Ray: Lastly, in terms of Revolutions, that came out just at the end of last year if I’m not mistaken. How on earth did you cut a record, and a good one at that, during the pandemic? How how did that effect the process 1916 has either writing or recording? Obviously “When We Reopen” is directly about it, but did anything else about the pandemic change the record?
Bill: The record wasn’t really about the pandemic. We actually wrote all of those songs (except for When we Reopen) well before any of this craziness ever happened. If anything there was a palpable vibe that I felt during the writing of those songs that you could feel out on the streets. People were edgy…combative. It felt like something bad was about to happen. The song that most mirrors that I think is The Falling. I wanted to write a song about my observations on the devolution of humanity in the face of our own technological achievements. Then I saw how bad things really could get the following year with the plague and the riots.
We recorded that record, mostly, with Bob Schmidt – (formerly of Flogging Molly) at the engineers booth along with our trusted friend Doug White, owner of Watchmen Studios in Lockport NY.
Having missed two consecutive St Patrick’s Days now, we are still trying to save up enough money to release the album on disc. I think people don’t realize how hard the shutdowns were on bands like ours. It was a tough tough time and I hope this bullshit is over soon.
Ray: That said, “Revolutions” is a solid record. I’ve been listening to it on and off for some time now. It’s got the classic 1916 vibe, upright bass, classic (though I’m definitely biased) Gretsch guitars, and a handful of traditional instruments with a solid kit. Is it reinventing the wheel? No. And better for it. We’ve all come a long way since The Pogues and earlier, more brash bagpipes-over-Minor Threat-style Celtic Punk. And there have been a number of bigger and smaller acts that have definitely left their mark upon the scene. They take some rockabilly, some punk, and a lot of Celt to make a fine Irish/American blend. Cheers to the guy from down the I-90.
Thanks to Raymond Lloyd Ball. He has already featured on these pages as the driving force behind The Fighting 69th from Buffalo. The review of his 2-volume set of Dropkick Murphys coverswas one of the most viewed of that year. One of the most prolific and diverse artists in the Celtic-Punk scene we are proud to have Raymond on board the London Celtic Punks team. Writer, artist, musician he is a credit to the American-Irish community and you can find a wealth of his material available at his Bandcamp site.
During the lockdown 1916 played several full concert live streams, as well as some great solo performances from Bill himself. Here’s just under two hours of 1916 from this years St. Patrick’s Day live stream performance. I can barely remember it through a fog of stouts and ales though I know I must have woke the neighbours! The music starts at nineteen minutes.
Amid the ashes of the Boston music scene burns an ember. A glowing promise of the raging fires that used to burn. The keepers of the flame are SHADOWS OF BOSTON.
A new Celtic Street Punk band band formed out of ex-members of Boston Punk bands Dropkick Murphys, Toxic Narcotic and The Blue Bloods. Raymond Lloyd Ball was among the first to hear the Shadows Of Boston debut release, a 4 track EP that has already set the Celtic-Punk scene alight, and here lets us know what all the fuss is about.
Did anyone believe a band out of Boston would be playing a mix of rock, punk, folk, and Celtic music? Of course you do. We all know and love the Murphy’s. And I’ll happily buy their records, merch, etc. because they’re something I grew up loving and shaped my musical trajectory.
I read in a review of the last album that it was “dad rock”. And it’s true. We can’t all be 20-something or younger pisspots forever.
For me, it’s a bittersweet pill to swallow, but that’s for another day. Fast forward to August 2021. I caught some random post that there was a new group coming out of Boston with ex-DKM piper “Scruffy” Wallace.
Shadows Of Boston left to right: Eric – Bass * Benny – Accordion, Banjo, Harp (yes feckiing harp!!!, Bagpipes * Tim – Drums, Bagpipes * Tony – Vocals, Guitar * Al – Lead Guitar, Vocals * Herb – Mandolin, Guitar, Bagpipes * Scruffy – Vocals, Whistles, Bagpipes *
I didn’t pay a whole ton of attention at the time. Much like the Street Dogs and the Walker Roaders, I didn’t want to think of them as a cool offshoot of DKM.
While each of said groups I love, my skepticism is always there. How can we really keep reinventing the wheel? Frankly we can’t. In the words of the McKenzies- “It’s all been done before”. But that sure as hell doesn’t mean we can’t revisit it.
Enter “Shadow of Boston”. They released a four track demo EP just days ago. Skeptic or not, the rumblings of Celtic punk out of Boston was enough to make me get a copy.
I was floored. Hard. Brash. Unrefined. In-your-face punk music with a Celtic twist. To those of us who still listen to “Sing Loud, Sing Proud” or “Do or Die”, or at least spent our youth doing so-this album is for you.
Part of the beauty of it is it’s format. It’s not squeaky-clean overproduced. It’s rough around the edges. I would love to delve into lyrics and styles but I can’t. And that is awesome. Other than the titles, I can’t make most of it out. And unless you google them, I can’t make a damn word out of a DKM record until “The Gangs all Here”. We’re not reinventing the wheel here. But to old, curmudgeonly bastards who have heard not only the Murphy’s, but important bands from the late-90s / early-00s Celtic punk-download a copy of this. It’s a diamond in the rough of a million bands playing the same thing. Not to knock anyone-and I’ve already talked about that other Boston Celtic band more than I wanted. But for those who remember Far From Finished or Righteous Jams – older Boston punk bands that didn’t make it past an album or two. This record is for you. Forget the connection with that other band. Yeah, ex members, great. But for everyone who’s complained over the groups of this era losing their edge – shut up and download the record. It’s truly a breath of fresh air you didn’t even realize you needed.
(Download or stream the Shadows Of Boston EP from the Bandcamp player below)
SOB Demo on all platforms!! ..Spotify, itunes Tidal…etc.etc but free on Bandcamp
Scruffy and Benny sat down with Mistress Carrie and did The Mistress Carrie Podcast at the end of 2020. Scruffy spoke of his time in The Dropkick Murphys, touring the world, learning the bagpipes and Punk-Rock, while they both talked about their time deployed in combat (would love to hear what they think of the current situation!), what makes Boston the city that it is and all things Shadows Of Boston.
Thanks to Raymond Lloyd Ball for the great review. He has already featured on these pages as the driving force behind The Fighting 69th from Buffalo. The review of his 2-volume set of Dropkick Murphys coverswas one of the most viewed of the year. One of the most prolific and diverse artists in the Celtic-Punk scene we are proud to have Raymond on board the London Celtic Punks team. Writer, artist, musician he is a credit to the American-Irish community and you can find a wealth of his material available at his Bandcamp site .