The second full length release from Flatfoot 56 off-shoot band 6’10. Tobin Bawinkel began 6’10 to go back to his musical roots in Americana and Folk music. Life can’t be all circle pits and spitting on sweaty crowds! The groups first full length album since 2014 Gerard Mellon finds ten tracks of childhood memories, raising a family, love and social commentary about society toxicity documenting the progression of the 6’10 story.
What with pandemics, despotic rulers and a lack of football, we almost let this one slip past us. Thankfully Eagle Eye Eddie wasn’t going to let that happen; and who can blame him, as it comes from one of this site’s favourite artists, Tobin from Flatfoot 56 fame. Obviously, it’s from his other project 6’10. The acoustic, more ‘folksy’ sounding group. I think the membership of 6’10 is quite a fluid thing, with different contributors at different times. What is a constant though is Tobin and his good lady wife Vanessa’s, contribution. In fact, this 10 track album features a number of what could be called duets.
The recent addition to Tobin and Vanessa’s family of a baby brings a much more mellow feel to Tobin’s song-writing. Fatherhood has definitely influenced the style and content of this offering. It still contains the clever sometimes whimsical offerings, along with the expert musicianship, but maybe now has an introspective slant. There are pleasant love-songs like ‘She’s the One’ and ‘Vanessa’s Song. There are also deeper songs like ‘Wither’ that somehow carry extra punch when one considers what the world is going through in the current climate. Flatfoot and Tobin could never be accused of lacking a social conscience. (In the traditions of all good Celtic Punk artists!) ‘Weight’ is a great example of this, especially these days when so many are questioning our roles in the new normal.
I think this is one of the great features of Tobin’s song-writing, that it makes the listener think; whether it be the large faith/religious aspects of some songs, or the intimate closeness of others. These are universal feelings that we all can relate to and perhaps share. Vanessa takes the lead in a couple of tracks, notably ‘Come Home’ and she plays a major role in the whole feel of the album.
(No ‘proper’ videos of any of the songs released yet so you’ll have to go on Gerry’s word but 6’10 did perform a couple of songs from Carried In Retrospect on their recent Live Stream set on Facebook)
The whole feel of this album is different to 6’10’s previous offerings, without calling it downbeat, it just feels slower, less impactful than the Humble Beginnings of a Roving Soul. Maybe it’s the post production or the recording process, but the “feel” is pared back, fewer instruments are involved in the final sound. It harkens back to the America of the dustbowl and the 30’s, when the content of a song seemed to be more important than production effects. You can imagine Tobin and Vanessa touring this album as a complete family unit, with no razzamatazz. Genuinely good music with honest emotions and good intentions. Perhaps this is what we’ve got to look forward to over the next few years.
There has been a huge gap in the Celtic-Punk scene since the sad demise of the Celtic Folk Punk And More web-zine so in an attempt to make ourselves useful and fill it we’re starting a new regular monthly feature here. All news items that we otherwise miss will get a mention but I need YOU to be the eyes and ears if it’s going to work so send over to us any band news, record releases, videos, tours (not individual gigs though yet), live streams, crowd funders etc., to us at email@example.com or through the Contact Us page and it will go in here!
The best Celtic-Punk album I have heard yet in 2020 has been the debut long player from Norway’s OGRAS and they have a new video out featuring Children Of Dust a standout track from their recently reviewed album No Love In The City.
The video to the debut single from new highly rated Edinburgh band THEGALLOWGATE MURDERS Wreck Head Wedding came out to a big fanfare. Filmed and directed by the main geez himself Frankie McLaughlin in Govan and Edinburgh. One of a few new bands in the scene we are expecting to here an awful lot more from once the lockdown ends!
Rose family Irish-American supergroup THE WILD IRISH ROSES album ‘Full Bloom‘ which was reviewed during St. Patrick’s Week is now out on vinyl.
After the hugely positive response to THE PLACKS debut single, My Dearest Friend the band are releasing a second single in May. Official release date will be announced soon but it will again be available for download and this time also on 7″ vinyl.
March was a mental time for releases and far too many came out for us to get round to but we did our best and hopefully we’ll get round to them all but these are the most recent releases we are aware of.
FEROCIOUS DOG – ‘You’
LEXINGTON FIELD – ‘Here’s To You: Ten Years Of Fiddle Rock’
NORTH ALONE -Punk Is Dad’
BLACK WATER COUNTY – ‘Comedies And Tragedies’
THE DEAD RABBITS – ‘The Dead Rabbits’
PADDY MURPHY – ‘Rams Rebels Goats and Girls
PEAT & DIESEL – ‘Light My Byre’
HUGH MORRISON – ‘The Other Side’
Been a good few years since the series of Shite’n’Onions compilation albums came out but luckily MacSLONS IRISH PUB RADIO have taken on the job and Volume 5 of Raise Your Pints is all set for release in early May. The Cloverhearts, The Placks, The Rumpled, Krakin ‘Kellys, The Gallowgate Murders, Ferocious Dog plus loads more. Find out more direct from MacSlons.
New York Irish rockers 1916 have a new album out later in the year and released the first single / video. After a successful St Patrick’s Week where they live streamed several entertaining shows including both full and acoustic band gigs and some solo shows from frontman Billy this is the Celtic-Punk scenes most anticipated album of 2020.
The crowd-funder for the second full-length 6’10 album, ‘Carried in Retrospect’ has ended and so the album is set for release sometime in the next few weeks.
THE DROPKICK MURPHYS after their Paddys Day show on Facebook are now even more bloody popular and celebrated with the release of a new single. The rather laboured ‘Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding’ is backed by the brilliant cover of Black 47’s ‘James Connolly’ and is available everywhere.
German band THE FEELGOOD McLOUDS may not be a band on every bodies lips but they are a bloody good band and have their new album ‘Life On A Ferris Wheel’ out very soon and having heard it can guarantee it will be one to watch for the end of year Best Albums Of 2020.
Swedes BLACK ANEMONE are very active in promoting the Celtic-Punk scene and have made a lot of friends because of that but they are also a cracking band and they have a new album due out any day. Here’s the title track and even with the current condition they still manage to bring out a decent video.
There’s a new Celtic-Punk band on the scene and thanks to SCORDISCI from Serbia for alerting us to the release of their cracking new song and video, a cover of The Pogues ‘I’m A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day’. Watch out for these guys!!!!
Having suffered the lock down longer than the rest of us Chinese band GRASS MUD HORSE have a had a busy couple of months with a fantastic new logo c/o Laurence Crow Illustrations and a massive range of merchandise for you to spend your hard earned on. They also put out the 6-track Quarantine Sessionsof Irish covers and also featured on the Beijing Underground music compilation (both available for free) and also have an EP of original material out soon.
The Italian Celtic-Punk scene is on fire so far in 2020 and I’ve had a sneak peak at the new album from UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS ‘The Men Beyond The Glass’ and can confirm it is another brilliant release. They put out ‘Back on Your Feet’ as the first single from the album.
To wrap up our first edition of Odds’n’Sods we have two local bands to us the first being the excellent CALICO STREET RIOTS who were just getting into their stride with a whole pile of gigs lined up before lockdown came along. Their new single was written by bassist Nick about his son Harley and shows the Riots more reflective side.
London Irish alternative trad folk rockers and one of my favourite bands CROCK OF BONES released the video for the beautiful ‘Ferry’ and as all the videos here is well worth a look.
Finally (tomorrow May 1st) streaming site Bandcamp are doing away with revenue fees for the day so all money will go direct to the bands so check out your favourite bands BC sites and send rest assured that for one day at least these vultures won’t be pocketing a decent sized share of your money for doing absolutely nothing.
So you get the idea so all we need to do now is fill it with news and remember if you are new to the London Celtic Punks blog it is easy to subscribe / follow and never miss a post. Also if anyone is interested in helping out on the reviews front then let us know via the Contact Us page.
Well here we go again. It only seems like five minutes since I was compiling all the votes into last years Best Of that saw The Rumjacks romping home with Album Of The Year. This year has been a bit quieter on the Celtic-Punk front but as last year was so busy that is perhaps not surprising. That’s not to say their weren’t some fantastic releases as their were plenty and it was still really difficult to come up with the various lists below. Not so many big bands this year so it was left to the lesser known bands to shine but remember this is only our opinion and these releases are only the tip of the iceberg of what came out last year. Feel free to comment, slag off or dissect our lists. As a bonus we are adding the Readers Poll again this year so you can even vote on your favourite release of 2019 yourself. If it’s not listed then simply add your choice.
We don’t pretend to be the final word as that my friends is for you…
(click on the green link to go where you will find more information on the release)
How to compete with last year? Every single top band in the genre released an album so things were always going to be a bit quieter for 2019. Top spot this year unsurprisingly goes to The Walker Roaders Celtic-Punk super group! With Pogues, Mollys and Dropkicks making up the team how could they possibly go wrong! Everyone’s ‘next big thing’ Mickey Rickshaw came in a well deserved second and Ferocious Dog took third after releasing their best album, for me, since From Without. Greenland Whalefishers celebrated 25 years on the road with their best album for quite a while and what Best Of would be right without some bloody brilliant Irish-American bands challenging at the top too. Pipes And Pints new album with a new singer received acclaim from across the Punk media and The Rumjacks couldn’t follow up last years unanimous victory despite having two album releases (both sort of live) in the top thirteen. Fiddlers Green continue to make consistently great albums and go into 2020 celebrating thirty years together! Good to see homegrown bands The Whipjacks, The Tenbags, The Filthy Spectacula and Sons Of Clogger making it too. The top thirty was made up of thirteen countries from USA, England, Norway, Czech Republic, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Argentina, Japan, Quebec, Hungary, Spain and Japan.
The Lucky Trolls took #1 spot with their brilliant self-titled EP following on from fellow countrymen the Krakin’ Kellys multi award winning 2018. Trust me it would have taken an exceptionally good release to keep The Party by Drunken Dolly off the top spot but that is what happened. Dolly’s excursions over to these shores this year j=has seen them grown in stature and you can’t go to a Ferocious Dog gig without spotting at least a dozen of their shirts. Loretta Problem wowed us with their single ‘Waltz Of My Drunken Dream’ which took us right back back to The Pogues glory days and what about that accompanying videotoo!! If we had a award for best video then that would have walked it. The Kellys had a quiet year with comparison to ’18 but still managed a respectable #5 and great debut releases from The Placks our sole representative from a Celtic nation (big things are going to happen to this band in 2020 mark my words), Italian/Aussies The Cloverhearts and, from just down the road from my Mammy, Shanghai Treason from Sheffield who only put out one song… but what a song! Eight countries represented from Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Scotland, Argentina, Australia and Yorkshire!
Argentina is becoming a bit of a hot-spot for Celtic-Punk with not only some well established bands but also some new ones starting up too and with this release Aires Bastardos announced their arrival on the international scene too. Not afraid to dive straight into a folk number after a Cock Sparrer cover they veer from standard Celtic-Punk to Folk and back to fast as hell Punk but in that really accessible way that only Celtic-Punk (and maybe Ska-Punk) bands can do.
The Dreadnoughts don’t really think of themselves as Celtic-Punk so I reckon they’d be happier to win this than Celtic-Punk Album Of The Year. A superb collection of sea shanties that is a pleasure to listen to that was always going to be #1. Crock Of Bones representing the London Irish in 2nd with an album of trad folk with punk rock attitude and it’s especially good to hear some originals done in the style of the ‘auld ways’. 6’10 challenged for the top spot as they always do with everything they release and Bryan MacPherson and Callum Houston both produced great releases of singer-songwriter acoustic folk with Irish roots.
Sadly the Celtic-Punk world has shrunk a little regarding Web-Sites. Winners of the last two years the Mersey Celt Punks have been slacking (sort it out lads!) and enjoying their gigs too much to tell us while Shite’n’Onions have been too busy transferring everything onto a different platform and preparing for a bit of a re-launch I expect. Sadly celtic-rock.de have shut up shop after twelve years so it just makes it all the more clear how much we all miss Waldo and his fantastic Celtic-Folk-Punk And More site. As regular as clockwork and all the news that was ever fit (or not!) to print. Closing down the site in its 10th year in March must have been a tough decision to make and so this year we award best Website to Waldo and let it be known that no Celtic-Punk site will ever come close to replacing you. We would certainly not exist without his kind help and inspiration. All the best comrade enjoy your retirement! One welcome addition is Michu and his Celtic-Punk Encyclopediasite from Poland. Worth checking out especially if you are in a band.
We are not alone in doing these Best Of 2019 lists in fact all the major players in celtic-punk do them so click below to check out what they thought.
So there you go. Remember we don’t pretend to be the final word on things in fact if you check the other Celtic-Punk media I’m sure we’ve all come up with relatively different lists. Our Best Of’s are cajoled and bullied out of the admins from the London Celtic Punks Facebook page. The assorted scraps of paper and beer mats were then tallied up please remember not all of us heard the same albums so like all the various Best Of’s ours is also subjective.
This is our 8th year of making these Best Of lists so if you would like to check out out who was where in our previous ones then just click on the link below the relevant year.
Last year we introduced a new feature THE READERS PICK. We had no idea if it would work or not but it was a raging success so we going to do it all again this year. With well over 500 votes cast you lot chose the debut album from the Krakin’ Kellys as a worthy winner. Only the Top Ten albums are listed but there is an option to write in your favourite release or just to send us love… or abuse!
You are allowed to vote twice but not for the same artist.
The Poll will close at midnight on Friday 31st January with the result announced soon after.
remember any views, comments or abuse or slander we would love to hear it…
Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- January, 2020
Chicago based 6’10 is the acoustic project of Tobin Bawinkel, the lead singer of Flatfoot 56 whose critically acclaimed first full length album, The Humble Beginnings of a Roving Soul came out back in 2014. Gerard Mellon discovers life isn’t just circle pits and spitting on sweaty crowds. Here’s a band that is a little more laid back and thought provoking.
So here we have it, a new EP of six original tracks from Chicago’s 6’10. Many of you will know this band as Tobin from Flatfoot 56 ‘s side gig. This EP follows on from 2014’s The Humble Beginnings of a Roving Soul, and Flatfoot’s Vancouver Sessions where some of the band’s best tracks were reworked utilising traditional instruments and giving the tracks a more ‘folky’ sound. 6’10 were created by Tobin to explore the musical influences that he grew up with, folk, Americana, bluegrass and other ‘traditional’ styles of acoustic music. There aren’t really any other band members, more like regular collaborators and then specialist instrumentalists. This all leads to a more laid-back sound compared to Flatfoot, but still with the heart that we would expect from them.
It kicks off with an ‘intro track’ of Tobin singing solo and with no instrumental backing called ‘The Old Man’. It’s a gentle introduction to the EP with the song being about an old man who wants an audience for his songs. Up next comes ‘Nam’, a livelier tune that probably would fit in on a Flatfoot album (and after all the waffle I spouted in the first paragraph!!!). It’s (obviously?) about Vietnam and tells the story of a nineteen-year-old getting drafted and sent out to fight; he wins a medal but is shunned when he comes home. (Dunno if his name is John Rambo!) Next up is ‘It’s All Been Said Before’, which has a very singalong catchy chorus, but this betrays the seriousness of its message, which basically is telling us to look at things from other people’s points of view instead of just repeating what’s been said before. Next up is ‘The Isle’, a cracking track which has religious undertones and gives Tobin’s voice a great work out. It’s very upbeat and the message (of redemption?) is very uplifting. For me personally, the next track ‘The Promise’ is the standout track of the six (don’t get me wrong they’re all top quality!) but this one is a real gem. It starts with a slide guitar sound that instantly brings you down south (think of the movie Southern Comfort), it’s very atmospheric as it builds up to the vocals first from Tobin and then Vanessa and then both together with the music gradually growing. It’s a love song that I can’t do justice to with writing, so I will just say listen to it! The final track is ‘Just Say Hi’ and it’s a two hander with Tobin and Vanessa singing a ballad about a man who needs to be more decisive if he is going to win a girl’s heart. It has a very intimate sound, just a guitar and the two singers as if it was recorded at home and not a studio, this adds to its appeal and is a warm sound to close out the disc.
This is a cracking little release from Tobin and his friends, that carries-on the great work from the first album. It’s a shame that it is only six tracks (including intro) because I’m sure we all would have welcomed more. I would definitely recommend buying it and encouraging a few live performances on this side of the pond. You can get it through the 6’10 Facebook page where you can also see what they’re up to.
(you can stream Where We Are before you buy it on the Bandcamp player below)
It’s the first of December and not long now till Christmas Day so here’s the new Christmas single from Premier League Celtic-Punkers Flatfoot 56 off-shoot 6’10.
Chicago based 6’10 is the acoustic project of Tobin Bawinkel, the lead singer of Flatfoot 56 whose critically acclaimed first full length album, The Humble Beginnings of a Roving Soul came out in December of 2014.
Gather around the Table, I’ll tell you of a stable
A humble place, the birth of grace, the son of God is here
The fire will be going, the candles will be glowing
We’ll sing the midnight carol songs, proclaim the son is near,
Christmas is here.
Peace on earth is spoken, its a mending of the broken
A second chance a song and dance, to celebrate the year
Bells they will be tolling, like angels they are showing,
Peace on Earth, good will to men, the fathers plan appears
Christmas is here.
Come gather around and see, The birth of the king
swaddled in a manger, here the angel sing
Christmas is Here
Tobin started 6’10 to go back to his musical roots in Americana and folk music. Life can’t be all circle pits and spitting on sweaty crowds. Here is a side that is a little more laid back and thought provoking. He is joined by many talented musicians who bring much to the table as far as diversity and musical creativity.
“When I was growing up, I remember playing folk and bluegrass music with my family in our living room. I always loved the story telling aspect of this style and the joy of playing with close friends and family. I loved it when songs would have a quirky and playful tone and theme. All of the pretentious elements that can sometimes find their way into music, were absent during these sessions with my family and friends. You would find seasoned players, playing right next to children who were just learning. This culture is what I wanted again. The idea was to return to a simpler and more earthy feel.”
Those who have grown to love Tobin’s raw punk aesthetic and candor will find much to cling to in this new endeavor. There is sorrow and yearning for a place far from here. But there is also joy abundant amidst the unexpected twists in life’s passage. 6’10 is close to the hearts of those who hunger and thirst for something more than an empty life following the American dream. You can check out their debut album here on the Bandcamp player below.
More in the same week from Fiddle Rockers Lexington Field out of San Diego, CA. Playing shows, drinking pints and having a good time! Slainte!
God only knows what possessed Lexington Field to release a brand new EP and a LP on the same day but on reflection it works. Our review of their EP, Modern Times, appeared here last week and while not wanting to go over the same ground I have to say we were extremely impressed with it. The differences between the two releases are stark with the EP harking very much back to the roots of Lexington Field in the Celtic-Punk scene while Dreamers is a thoroughly more rounded affair and lends itself to Flatfoot 56’s offshoot 6’10 or the Murphys/Street Dogs collaboration FM359. pcked with elements of Country, Folk and Americana aside from their Celtic/Irish influences it marks a natural progression from that debut album back in 2011.
As Beau Gray, lead vocals and guitarist and writer of many of the songs here said in a recent interview.
“In the summer of 2017, we started writing songs again. It was time to write about all the positivity and hope we experienced in our daily lives. Love, family, our children, and the dreams we were so blessed to have come true, inspired the songs of both albums. Dreamers is an uplifting, catchy record, one we always wanted to write, and finally decided to take the leap into a more inclusive, all-ages sound. Five songs really tapped into our pop punk roots, which lead us to separate them from the pack, and give them their own home in Modern Times. We are very proud of all these songs and hope the positivity stands out and represents us as the artists we have become over this last decade. Our family, friends, and fans have supported us all these years, and both albums honor them. We are humbled, and very lucky to continue to create fiddle rock music in Lexington Field.”
Both releases came out today on Thursday, November 1, 2018 and the ten track Dreamers, is Lexington Field’s fourth full-length album in nine years along with a very fine selection of EP’s along the road. Both releases were tracked at Weathertop Studio (Anza, CA) in the Spring) by long time collaborator Matt Maulding, formerly of the brilliant celtic-punk band Brick Top Blaggers, who also performed keyboards, harmonica and backing vocals alongside Beau and Bryan Hane on electric and acoustic guitar, Cami Smith on violin, Nick Sitar on drums and percussion and Nick Freeling on bass.
Photo by Sarah Anne
Here they are in the throws of ecstasy at their double-record release party with the legendary and super amazing Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band (if you don’t know them then definitely check them out too… after Lexington Field though) at the Soda Bar in San Diego just last night! I’d have given my left arm to be there with you bhoys and ghirl!
Dreamers begins with the absolutely wonderful ‘Crazy Love Song’ and Beau’s happiness is evident all over the song as it takes in influences from across the United States even at one point nearly venturing into the more folky side of college bands like R.E.M. It really is a fantastic start but i will stop short of singling it out as, and i doubt this will shock anyone, I love every single song on this album. It really is that good. It may not be full on Celtic-Punk but I’ve noticed a shift in both artists and fans to tone down the more punkier side of things and as I enter my fifth decade in a couple of years I find myself absolutely enraptured by releases like this and this is certainly one of the best ones you’ll hear. With ‘Crazy Love Song’ still ringing in my eyes it time for the first single release from the album and ‘Bright Blue World’ carries on in the same vein with bouncy and catchy folk to make your heart melt! The official video was filmed by Chung-i Wang at Yore Studio in San Diego and edited by Beau.
The songs roll off and the joy seems into you but its not a cheesy kind of thing but the band opening themselves up and having to guts to tell us their inner most secrets and frailties and the righteous aim to become better people through sharing their lives with their loved ones. ‘Greater Than The Sea’ leads us up to ‘Nashville’ where they slow it right down and Cami’s sad Irish fiddle laments while Beau sings of moving to the home of C’n’W and I always love hearing the harmonica. Though not exactly Celtic i always thinks its criminally underused in Celtic-Punk. They pay tribute to their home in the relaxed ‘Diego Nights’ and next to ‘Michigan’ though not sure what the connection is there but the song is utterly beautiful!
Their are moments here where Bruce Springsteen could be channeling his Irish roots and ‘Honey’ could easily fall from the Bosses lips though not with the same emotional range as Beau. Cami’s fiddle rages through ‘The Lumberjack’ with a harder edge to the previous songs as the story of the lumberjack unfolds. We coming towards the end and they go out with a bang with ‘Story Time’ and ‘Saint Oliver’. Two songs that continue in the same catchy vein and lead us gently to the end of the album and Beau extolling of family is a great way to bring down the curtain.
A couple more things to add here before I leave and one is the pure quality of Beau’s writing. As proved by this double release he can flit from downright humour to pathos and sadness and pure joy with ease. He is maybe the perfect example of a Celtic-Punk singer/songwriter and it’s that range that makes Lexington Field such an interesting band. The other thing is the effort they always put into their releases and the artwork and I would suggest if possible to get the physical CD to really appreciate Dreamers. Lexington Field are one of the mainstays of the American Celtic-Punk scene and with this record their popularity is sure to grow seeing as it will impress new fans and please anyone who has been following their career to date. A wonderful record. Here’s to many many more.
(Treat yourself and have a listen to the title track on Dreamers on the Bandcamp player below. Then your only decision should be whether to get the Download or the CD!!)
Old Dirt Road (2011 LP) * Poor Troubled Life (2012 EP) * No Man’s War (2013 LP) * Greenwood (2015 LP) * Redwood (2016 EP)
Chicago’s Flatfoot 56 announce the release of their new EP featuring five songs old and new that blend the band’s mix of traditional Irish folk music and surging punk rock.
While the Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly are undoubtedly the biggest band in Celtic-Punk I have no doubt who the best band in Celtic-Punk is and that is Flatfoot 56. Ever evolving and always innovative it only seems a few weeks ago that they managed to walk away with the London Celtic Punks album of the year for 2017 (here) for their superb album Odd Boat. It was an unanimous #1 vote from all four of us here and Gerry made it clear what he thought on the review of the album
“I honestly could have sat here and gone through each track individually and told you all how good they are, but that would be crazy and still wouldn’t do the album justice. The only way you’ll be able to see how right I am is by going out and buying it!”
The new EP released last month is completely acoustic and consists of five songs one new and four old ones that have been completely re-written and presented as basically new songs. The band have never been adverse to using traditional instruments but here they bring out the Irish uileann pipes as well as whistles and accordion to produce a sound that is both melodic and gritty but thoroughly magnificent. To help achieve this the Bhoys enlisted the help of veteran producer Roy Salmond, the owner of White Water Productions near Vancouver, BC who has been working with artists for over 30 years.
The Vancouver Sessions begins with a song from the bands 2007 album Jungle of the Midwest Sea re-imagined as a classic slice of Delta Blues. Compared to the original it is barely recognisable and I even had to check it was the same song! On ‘Cain’ Flatfoot 56 head more in the direction of their folky offshoot 6’10 but still manage to keep the Flatfoot 56 energy and passion. As Tobin puts it
“took on an entirely different feel than the original, loved the way this new take on an old song turned out. It’s low, its gruff and it’s us in a very weird way.”
Mandolin, fiddle and Tobin’s gruff rumbling voice ensure this song is the ultimate ear-worm designed never to leave you alone once you’ve heard it. The song comes accompanied by one hell of a video too of the band sitting around a campfire playing in the most natural settings for the song.
In fact for the video members of 6’10 accompany them and even bringing in original members and friends including Tobin’s good lady Vanessa.
“I see you coming, don’t do it
I know you and I see through it
Your parents curse made you work the fields
You gave God what grew but you didn’t yield
In your anger, you beat him dead
And his blood turned your field red”
The song tells of Cain and Abel the first sons of Adam and Eve. Cain was a farmer and his brother Abel a shepherd. The brothers made sacrifices to God but God favoured Abel’s sacrifice instead of Cain’s. Cain then murdered Abel, whereupon God punished Cain to a life of wandering. ‘Cain’ is followed by the EP’s only new song ‘How Long’. Tobin kicks it off with acoustic strumming and then his wonderful warm full vocals take over and with accordion and drums keeping the beat while Vanessa’s beautiful voice is a lovely counterpoise to Tobin’s. The song’s lyrics talk about the yearning for something more than all of the chaos the world seems to be throwing around. Consistent with many of Flatfoot 56’s lyrical themes, this one leaves the listener hoping and looking for something more. ‘I Believe It’ has already seen the light of day in an semi-acoustic version on 2012’s Toil but here they slow it right down in a song that strips the original right back to its barest bones before adding in some amazing uileann piping. The pipes drone only adding to the melancholy of the song.
“thoughtful—and tender, at times—reminders of what life can be if we slow down and take lyrics in”.
The song ends with a few lines from the Flatfoot favourite ‘I’ll Fly Away’ and slowly it ebbs away. ‘Penny’ was the fastest and most punky song on last years Odd Boat so even more remarkable that they have managed to turn it into the song here. The tune remains but the addition of gentle mandolin takes it to another level while again Vanessa’s traditional style of folk vocals adds perfect balance. For the EP’s closing number Flatfoot again take one of their fastest tracks and adapt it into something stunning and while ‘Take Hold Again’ is the most recognisable of the songs here its still packs a punch in such a different way to the original. Elements of trad Irish folk, Country and Americana abound and while its not your usual F56 release for those of us who have softened to 6’10 its utterly perfect.
The album has been released on Sailors Grave Records and comes as a special edition etched vinyl disc in three different colors. It is also released on CD and digital formats but you can have a sneaky free listen via the bands Soundcloud account here.
The band have announced that it is important to remember that this is not a new direction for Flatfoot 56 but rather a temporary diversion and it won’t be long before they are back to their driving anthemic Celtic-Punk rock anthems before we know it. And anyway they do have 6’10 for this sort of thing. If their goal is to help introduce their punk fans to folk then they can sit back and relax as it is mission accomplished as The Vancouver Sessions may be calm and laid back but it still successfully transfers their aggressive punk rock sound into something that is real, raw and superbly beautiful.
Playing positive-natured hardcore-tinged celtic-punk Chicago heavyweights Flatfoot 56 released their new album, Odd Boat, last week with Sailor’s Grave Records. Produced by Matt Allison in Chicago and featuring twelve songs that blend their unique blend of traditional Irish folk music and surging punk rock.
by Gerard Mellon, 03/2017.
So, it’s been five long years since we had a new album from Flatfoot 56, although in that period we had an acoustic album from 6’10, a punk/oi album from Brick Assassin (both bands featuring members of Flatfoot 56), and an EP, featuring a couple of new tracks, split between 6’10 and Flatfoot 56. But a new release from the Chicago Celtic punkers, has been a long time coming! It is called Odd Boat, and comprises a dozen tracks, it runs for 37 minutes.
(Justin has since been replaced on drums by Conrad)
And what a cracking half an hour or so it is! The punk and folk factions in the band blend so well together, giving us a sound so unique to Flatfoot 56 that places them right at the heart of Celtic Punk. These lads get it, they really do! Their last offering Toil was a superb album and this follow up is equally as good. Although it’s not a clone of Toil, far from it! The production on Odd Boat gives it a rawer sound, maybe it’s a bit more punk influenced. There is still the musicality and excellent instrumentation there, but it’s a bit like aggression or power has been added. Perhaps this disc is more related to the wonderful Jungle of the Midwest Sea album from 2007. Anyway, whatever tweaks that have been made over the past five years, they work very well.
Flatfoot 56 formed in the summer of 2000 as a three-piece punk band. The three original members, who are brothers (Tobin, Justin and Kyle), started writing songs in mid-2000 and by the Christmas they were playing their first gig. The following January they band added Josh Robieson to the lineup and the band began including the Highland bagpipes into its sound and Flatfoot 56 had began their rise as one of America’s most popular celtic-punk bands. Countless TV appearances and remember that series of Sons Of Anarchy involving the IRA that played them throughout the whole series! We even had the pleasure of seeing them live in London back in 2010 I think it was. They were first band on at 8pm and maybe twenty people tops there in the Hope And Anchor basement. Didn’t realise it at the time but this gig was the direct inspiration to start the London Celtic Punks!
Flatfoot 56 from left to right: Kyle Bawinkel – Bass, Vocals * Brandon Good – Mandolin, Guitar, Vocals * Conrad – Drums, Vocals * Eric McMahon – Bagpipes, Guitar, Bass Drum * Tobin Bawinkel – Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar
The opening ‘Ty Cobb’, is about a famous Detroit baseball player who was renowned for diving in (“studs up” in our London parlance!) at the bases, is a fast paced, up-beat intro that draws you in and lets you know that you’re in for something special. From the following track ‘Stutter’ through ‘Penny,’ ‘Odd Boat’, ‘Englewood’, ‘Forward’, ‘The Crippled’, ‘Curtains’, ‘KPM’, ‘PS’, ‘The Trap’ to the final track, ‘A Voice’, you feel that you have heard something special! ‘KPM’ is a ballad like track that leans toward acoustic. ‘The Trap’ goes the other way and is a much more punk/oi sounding track. Many people will have heard ‘Penny’ already and so will know just how good this new material is. The final track ‘A Voice’ is a mid-tempo spiritual song that signs off the album beautifully.
(the first single off Odd Boat featuring guest vocals from an artist named IL Neige)
I honestly could have sat here and gone through each track individually and told you all how good they are, but that would be crazy and still wouldn’t do the album justice. The only way you’ll be able to see how right I am is by going out and buying it! Then if you’re anything like me you’ll play it, then play it again and again. It’s an absolute pleasure having to review albums like this, but what I’d like to do and what many more people would like, would be an opportunity to review a live show! It must be time for the band to come over and play a few gigs in the Ireland and Britain!! I mean, even if they have to sail over in an Odd Boat!!!
The amazing new EP from Chicago premier league Celtic punkers Flatfoot 56 is a special split EP with front man Tobin Bawinkel’s excellent folk-punk side-project 6’10.
Well we keep hearing winter is coming and we can see the nights closing in, but don’t worry the guys from Flatfoot 56 and 6’10 have brought out a split EP to cheer even the saddest amongst us! It’s 7 tracks long with one new one from Flatfoot 56 and two new ones from 6’10. It kicks off with the old standard ‘Cotton Fields’ but given the punk treatment from the Flatfoot 56 lads.
Next we have a new (or at least un-released) track ‘Picciolini’, it’s an instrumental with a mandolin led Russian flavour to it. Very good it is too! We then have two tracks taken from their last album ‘Toil’, ‘First The Rich The Strong And The Poor’ and then ‘This Time’.
Both excellent, like nearly every track on Toil!
6’10 then bring us a warm up-tempo style ballad called Seeing Light.
They follow this with their take on the standout track (for me!!) from Toil , Winter In Chicago. It’s an acoustic version with a guitar and drum style that has an almost calypso flavour to it. Another cracking track!
Finally we have Protest, a pleasant number although the recorder (or pan pipe, I really don’t know!) solo takes a bit of getting used to. All in all we have an excellent (if a little too short) release, that showcases the power and energy of Flatfoot 56 coupled with the more mellow , thoughtful acoustic sound of 6’10. Well worth getting to brighten up these long dark nights.
01. Flatfoot 56 – Cotton Fields
02. Flatfoot 56 – Picciolini
03. Flatfoot 56 – The Rich, The Strong And The Poor
04. Flatfoot 56 – This Time
05. 6’10 – Seeing Light
06. 6’10 – Winter In Chicago
07. 6’10 – Protest
Released 2015 on Flix Records and limited to only 500 copies.
Last year our ‘Best Of’ list was completely dominated by bands from these shores but this time there’s a much more international flavour to 2014’s Best Album’s list. Again Irish influenced bands dominate but the absolute standout album for me was without a doubt Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards from Italy who nailed their fusion of punk rock and traditional music completely. With their own roots and influences included along with some amazing uilleann piping they are deserved winners of the Best Album spot. Kitchen Implosion join them in what has been a great year for Italian bands. Sure not all of these twenty bands are celtic-punk in the dictionary definition of the phrase but sod that anyway. These are what we liked and they all fit in in some way. Twenty bands from thirteen countries (Italy, England, Sweden, Brittany, Canada, Ireland, USA, Australia, Brazil, Catalonia, Germany, Switzerland and Belguim) which only goes to show the international appeal of the celtic-punk scene these days. A special mention for London Irish band Creeds Cross superb debut album. Only just caught them live and they were awesome so hoping to see much more of them around town in 2015.
As ever we have reviewed some, though not all of these albums, so click (here) after the title and you will be re-directed to our review.
We compiled the ‘Best Of’ lists together from the scraps of paper handed to me by the various admins from the London Celtic Punks facebook page.
1. UNCLE BARD AND THE DIRTY BASTARDS- ‘Get The Folk Out!’ (here)
20. THE BLACK TARTAN CLAN – Scotland in Our Hearts
a special special mention for three absolutely brilliant compilation albums too. Can’t really include them in the Best of charts so heres all three in no particular order at all as they are all 11 out of 10!
a class album with 4 songs per band and an absolutely beautifully put together record. THE PORTERS/ THE JUDAS BUNCH/ THE MAHONES/ MALASANERS 4-WAY SPLIT DOUBLE ALBUM- ‘Welcome To The Folk Punk Show’ (2014) here
a mostly Russian compilation paying tribute to all (lets just face it they are!) our favourite celtic-punk band- ‘Ex-USSR Tribute To The Dropkick Murphys’ (2014) here
this ought to be the number one album of the year to be honest. a fecking amazing compilation of Indonesian celtic-punk bands.the quality is amazing throughout.absolutely stunning. I cannot recommend enough!! ‘Wind From The Foreign Land- Indonesian Celtic-Punk Compilation’ (2014) here
TOP FIVE CELTIC PUNK EP’S OF 2015
No question which EP deserved this and Russia’s Middle Class Bastards just blasted us away with their follow up to their 2013 album. Superb use of bagpipes and brass instruments combined with fast but tuneful punk rock. A bit unfortunate for Black Water County who looked nailed on to win this for most of the year with their fantastic 2nd EP. The Breton band The Maggie Whackers released their EP back at the start of the year while The South Sea Ramblers from South Africa literally released theirs just a couple of weeks ago while LQR from Holland slipped theirs out in time for St Patricks Day… ooh err missus! So spread out across the year but these are the ones that left their mark. Looking forward to hearing more from them all and long players must be arriving soon I hope.
As the blog is for (mostly) celtic punk so it is that we only review stuff that isn’t celtic punk if we really really (really!!) like it. All these rocked our boat and we loved them all to bits. Hard to decide which order they should go in but this is how we ended up. Turned out to be an all Irish list with I DRAW SLOW from Dublin with beautiful alternative country sounds and both Cork’s THE BUACHAILLS and London’s THE CRAICHEADS going head to head with both bands playing similar styles of music while Irish-American supergroup THE ALT’s debut album was a worthy runner-up to fellow Irish-Americans RUNA’s brillliant fourth album.
keeping the whole wide world up to date with what’s going on and who is doing who within celtic punk (and more!) while also supplying us with regular free downloads and free compilations. Waldo you’re great. Keep it up mate!
Apart from the ones we put on which were all amazing and showcased some amazing performances from JAY WARS and THE DEAD MAGGIES from Aus, THE GREENLAND WHALEFISHERS from Norway, a couple of benefit gigs for Mad Dog out The Popes (hope youre back on your guitar highkicking soon pal!), BLACK WATER COUNTY played their London debut and went down a fecking storm, me O’s mates STEVE WHITE AND THE PROTEST FAMILY were as superb as ever and released a fantastic album. One of the major highlights was discovering the quintessential London Celtic Punk in ANTO MORRA and we look forward to working with him again in the future. We teamed up with fellow Londoners of Urbankelt and will be doing so again too.
I also saw DAVID ROVICS for the first time, THE MEN THEY COULDN’T HANG’s amazing 30th anniversary show was incredible, NECK and their sadly ended residency at TChances which had us all pissed on Polish lager on Sunday afternoons for the first 6 months of the year, FLOGGING MOLLY in Reading in June which showed they havent lost a thing and are as great as ever, THE POGUE TRADERS were the best Pogues tribute band I ever seen. Disappointing was missing so many gigs where I just didnt have the cash especially The Pogues various outings. THE STANFIELDS from Canada seemed like a decent bunch of lads but their London gig was a total rip-off. The pre-gig ticket price was £7-50 which more than doubled to £15 on the door on the night. Oi bands watch out for charlaten promoters won’t you? Rebellion music fest brings loads of decent bands over to play but that means that they all end up playing in the same week so I had to forgo THE GO-SET’s return to London. Missed out on THE WOLFE TONES London gigs too due to work. All three of them! THE LAGAN have been brilliant. Far far too many of their gigs to go into detail so we have choosen the whole of St Patricks Weekend as our Number One! With NECK playing three gigs over the weekend and both THE BIBLE CODE SUNDAYS and THE LAGAN playing on the same day as well it seen a clean sweep of all the London bands done. Afterwards sick days were phoned in, headache pills were taken and the best St Patricks in donkeys was had.
Now were just looking forward to catching THE DROPKICK MURPHYS ‘Celtic Invasion ‘ Tour in Dublin and London this year round St Patricks Day.
Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- 2015
Of course all these things are very subjective so don’t be dismayed if your album ain’t here. What appeals to one don’t neccessarily appeal to another. It would be impossible to keep up with the multitude of celtic-punk related releases so these are the best of of what we actually did get to hear. All the various sites in the celtic-punk family had different winners so to see what they thought check out the Best Of lists of the following sites…
journey through the mind of a man who has overcome betrayal, unforgiveness and pain. how a soul in agony was able to find peace and strength through difficult times
It would seem at the moment that over half the celtic-punk scene has gone off to make folk or country side projects at the moment. One of the first to do so was Tobin Bawinkel of the fantastic Chicago based band Flatfoot 56. If you’ve not heard of Flatfoot 56 then take yourself immediatly to the bottom of this review and look up their web site. One of the top bands in celtic-punk they are truly one of the scenes trailblazers and innovators. But if you do know of them then read on!
‘The Humble Beginnings Of A Roving Soul’ is a follow up to last years six track EP ‘The Humble Beginnings’ and continues in much the same style just don’t expect the wild, loud and sometimes brutal sound of Flatfoot 56, as with these songs Tobin has gone back to his musical roots. Laid back American folk with definite celtic influences with thought provoking lyrics and a sometimes relaxed style that shows Tobin’s talents off in every way possible.
The album was funded by a ‘Kickstarter’ campaign where fans pledged money to finance the production of the album in return for various rewards like advance copies of the album or signed merchandise. They easily surpassed their target so this is truly a DIY effort without a sniff of any interference from outside. Not only that but the CD itself is like a wee piece of art coming in an 8 panel digipack format that displays the full albums lyrics and images. A stunning cover that would happily adorn any wall, it has had time and care lavished on it so do yourselves a favour and forget the download if you can and get the physical copy.
Aided by fellow band members Josh Robieson, Mike Pettus and Keith Perez the album includes a deluge of instruments and traditional influences. Tobin explains
“When I was growing up, I remember playing folk and bluegrass music with my family in our living room. I always loved the story telling aspect of this style and the joy of playing with close friends and family. I loved it when songs would have a quirky and playful tone and theme. All of the pretentious elements that can sometimes find their way into music, were absent during these sessions with my family and friends. You would find seasoned players, playing right next to children who were just learning. This culture is what I wanted again. The idea was to return to a simpler and more earthy feel”
This they have done. Recently we have added a new feature to the blog ‘Classic Album Reviews’ (here) where we intend to take you right back to the roots of folk music, sometimes with albums over sixty year old sometimes or music from before the 2nd World War. Music that has inspired and motivated and helped create what we are listening to today. It is to 6’10 credit that they could easily be filed into that section too. The music is lovingly crafted and expertly played and if Tobin can get his mellower side out here then I’m sure fans will be happy that Flatfoot 56 will show no signs of slowing it down themselves.
The first of the album’s twelve tracks starts with ‘Cannon Ball’,one of four tracks that also appeared on that debut EP. Strumming guitar, picking mando and Tobin’s raspy cool as feck voice combine for an absolute classic. The sound of F56 is of course still in there and if anything this is Flatfoot56 stripped right down to the basics. F56 never ever shied away from their working class roots and ‘Da Boss’ is an ode to the blue collar worker. This could have made the Wobblies ‘Little Red Song Book’ way back in 1909! ‘Peach Farmer’ shows a happier and uplifting side to the album. It’s not always about back breaking toil when you love what your doing. In the great ‘Timothy’ Tobin again surpasses himself with a story of a man sharing his knowledge and foresight from a hard and tough life to the Timothy of the title. A superb song that in the best of folk tradition helps you to understand yourself just that little bit more. Next is ‘Hurricaine’ one of the albums faster tracks and certain to get your foot tapping along. This must surely be a live favourite I’d say.
Though we dont like using the word Hun here on this blog Tobin isn’t to know so we will forgive him and ‘Someday Hun’ is not a ballad celebrating the demise of our much despised zombie neighbours but rather setting off on the road to perform and looking forward to your return home to your true love. ‘Where Did you Go?’ is a slow and tragic ballad of lost love and the suffering that comes with it. ‘Tuesday’ and ‘It Is Well’ continue in the same vein with guest vocalists and tinges of country in there as well before ‘Burning Ships’ tells of true love and a simple life together. In ‘Backpack’ Tobin tells the heart breaking tale of of the collapse of a mans life before he finds joy in moving on and eventualy finding happiness.
“the backpack is calling my name”
The album ends with the sad but beautiful ‘The Travellers’. More brilliant story writing that takes you into the conversation between two sad dreamers who while their lives away telling each other stories trying to escape the banal day to day existence they are trapped in. The story of working class dreamers everywhere that I’m sure renowned artists like Pete Seeger or Woody would have been proud to have written.
The album clocks in at over 45 minutes and is worth every penny to buy the CD. 6’10 are heading over on a European tour in the Autumn so be sure to keep checking them out so as not to miss the tour. This is truly a great album and I simply cannot recommend it enough to you. The musicianship is first rate but as ever its the lyrics and the stories within the songs that sell it for me.
“The main goal of this band is to be able to inspire and relate to people who want something more then the typical things that the world we live in tries to force us to live for. I want it to encourage those who have gone through tough times, to realize that there is always gold to be found in the mud that life sometimes bogs us down in. The trials and difficulties we face can either make us bitter or they can make us better. This band offers an entertaining evening to those who just want to reflect on stories from the past and hopefully be inspired by the ramblings of a seasoned traveling musician”
At home Tobin is a teacher right in the area of Chicago where he grew up, as well as a church leader and its his concern for the bodies and minds and souls of working people that shines through. Tobin exposes his innermost feelings for us and for that we can be grateful. The album itself has the feel of something unpolished and rootsy but rest assured everything to do with this record is first class. A superb debut album and I simply cannot wait for the tour. Congratulations for all involved we are in love with ‘The Humble Beginnnings Of A Roving Soul’ and I’m sure once you’ve heard it you will be too. You will laugh, you will cry and you will be moved.
A bit of a departure from our usual celtic-punk fare with this record. Its basically the side project of Tobin Bawinkle, lead singer of Chicago celtic-punk band FLATFOOT 56, and ex-Flatfoot member Josh Robieson. Those expecting the raucous ‘celtic-oi!’ of F56 are gonna be well disappointed as what you actually get is 6 tracks of thoughtful country tinged Americano folk music. Just yer men with a guitar a mandolin and a voice…
Every part of the record has been hand produced with the production, design and actual manufacture all being done in Tobin’s house. All was painstakingly stamped, written, recorded, stencilled, cut, burned, and numbered to DIY perfection by the band and friends of 6’10.
Which also happens to be Tobin’s height if you’re wondering…
You can listen to all the tracks here before you buy it-
*as a interesting aside it was in fact FLATFOOT 56 that inspired us to do all this. a few year back we heard about some young band of celtic-punkers coming over to play the Hope And Anchor in Islington. we didn’t know much about them but turned up early as we didn’t know what time they were on. well was a good job as they were first band on at 8 and only got 30 minutes. the gig was awesome even though every band after F56 were shit. God knows how much they got paid as the crowd was tiny and we decided then we’d try and offer a alternative to bands coming over rather them leave them in the hands of unscrupulous promoters who don’t give 2 shits for the music!