Two bands from completely different places and era’s pay homage to the late great John Denver with their version of his classic track ‘Country Roads’ done Celtic-Punk.
Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River. Life is old there, older than the trees, younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze.
* Country roads, take me home to the place I belong. West Virginia, mountain momma, take me home, country roads.
A long time ago now I came across a band on My Space (yes it was that long ago!) and even in the heyday of Celtic-Punk this really stood out. Fast, energetic, authentic Irish-American Celtic-Punk and while most bands talked up The Clash and The Pogues, The Gentlemen took their inspiration from Sham 69 and the Cockney Rejects and The Wolfe Tones! If I can be forgiven for saying they stood head and shoulders above everything the rest the scene had to offer. I think by then they had already split up but they did leave behind two fantastic records in a full length album Stick To Your Guns and an album of early recordings imaginative titled Greatest Hits.
(Both releases are compiled below on the Bandcamp player along with a couple of extra tracks for **FREE** download)
A 9 (yes nine!) piece band from Morgantown in West Virgina it was perhaps inevitable they would turn their hand to John Denver’s classic song but it was with the video that people really sat up and took notice. Capturing the spirit of working class Irish-America they are a band that has never in the intervening years been off my stereo. Over the years we have tried to get in touch with The Gentlemen but to no avail so if anyone knows them send them over.
So it is that almost thirteen years later one of the current leading lights of the Celtic-Punk scene turns their hand to ‘Country Roads’ too. The Cloverhearts formed when Aussie Sam and Italian Chiara first met at a Rumjacks show in Manhattan, New York fresh from Chiara’s departure from fellow Italian Celtic-Punkers, The Clan. Soon joined by guitarist JJ, bassist Stefano and drummer Christian The Cloverhearts have not been slow at releasing new music onto the scene and along with some high profile support slots their rise has been meteorically and they have become one of the Celtic-Punk scenes bands to watch.
With a sound that veers off from Celtic to Ska to Punk and back to Ska again The Cloverhearts are that new breed of Celtic-Punk bands that don’t feel confined by trad Celtic / Irish Folk and just play the music that they want to. They have an new single out next week called ‘Thorn In My Side’ that you can pre-order from here: https://show.co/WHlE5cm
Ironically though the country roads in this song are set in West Virginia, John Denver had never ever set foot in West Virginia! Co-writers and married couple Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert were driving along Clopper Road in Montgomery County, Maryland when the song formed. Later that night they played with Denver and between the three of them wrote the song with Denver saying afterwards he instantly knew it was a hit. It peaked at #2 in the Billboard US charts on release in 1971 and since has gone on to become John Denver’s most iconic song with it being adopted as one of the state anthems of West Virginia and is the theme song of West Virginia University where it has been played at every home football game since 1972.
We want to move away from just being ‘ReviewReviewReviewReview’ so we have started this monthly feature that comes out on the last day of each month. 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 sadly), live streams, crowd funders etc., to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Contact Us page and it will go in here!
Sad news for us as we have had to cancel the BENJAMING’S CLAN tour. As you can imagine being in a band is a very precarious business at the moment and risking the expense of coming over when the gigs may be cancelled at short notice is just not a option. The band though are going to do a special LCP exclusive Live Stream instead on Saturday 24th October. Keep a eye out for more details!!!
Coming to London (and the rest of the UK soon) the OLD TIME SAILORS is a musical show taking the audience back in time to the 19th century. Every audience member receives the Sunday Sailor, a newspaper shaped program including the lyrics to all our songs in order to sing along and become a Sailor for one epic night! The crew is composed of 17 musicians playing fully unplugged to ensure the most authentic experience. A 3 hour show featuring over 30 songs and tunes where the audience will sing and dance surrounded by drunken sailors. Everything takes place within a magnificent stage set, designed to give the audience the sensation of being inside a 19th century vessel. FacebookYouTube
Boston Paddies THE GOBSHITES are back! Bloody love this crowd and they got a new video out from their upcoming album St. Patrick’s Favorite Band. A cover of ‘Come On Eileen’ merged with the song that ‘inspired’ Kevin Rowland to write it- ‘What Does Anybody Ever Think About’ by The Blue Ox Babes.
THE CLOVERHEARTS are from Italy though their singer Sam is an Aussie and they’ve been releasing some really solid Celtic-Punk for the last couple of years…
and here’s another one!
We only just reviewed Atlanta’s THE MUCKERS latest album (its a corker!!)Irish Goodbye a few weeks ago and here’s an interview with Jeff from the band with Ronan ex-lead singer of the London based Bible Code Sundays for a chat all about his band, the Celtic-Punk scene (surprised we never got a mention though) and their shared experiences in the Irish music family.
It’s fantastic to see life beginning to get back to normal. Lets keep our fingers crossed it continues. A new video hit You Tube last week from the brilliantTHE TAN AND SOBER GENTLEMEN with a song from their forthcoming second album.
German Celtic-Punkers TIR NAN OG have a new album Sing, Ye Bastards! due out any day so they have put out a crowd-funder on Start Next.
“We don’t want the CDs to rot away in some dark, forgotten corner of our rehearsal room, nor do we want our beautiful new songs to remain unsung. We want to bring them to you – live and loud. So we are going on tour and for that we need your support! Join us Let’s celebrate the music and make sure no-one has to live without our new album!”
The ever prolific PADDY FINNEGAN’S GREEN MACHINE have put out the Little Red EP for Labor Day 2020. A 3-track digital release as a ‘name your price’ download. Basically the new solo project for Raymond from Buffalo’s The Fighting 69th.
From Philadelphia in Pennsylvania Misanthropic bare-knuckle country punk, no chaser SIDE POCKET LOUIE. AS Bryan McPherson says “Gritty Working-Class Street-Folk-Punk-Americana and the such!”
Irish Psychobilly legend Philip ‘Doyley’ Doyle guitarist has not stood still for ten seconds during the ‘clampdown’ and continues to put out some superb music on Diablo Records. His new album of Psycho-Surf-Punk, the aptly named Influenza Hysteria, came out last week.
One of the best Celtic-Punk bands around and one of my personal favourites 1916 from New York City have a new song outcoming from their forthcoming new album Revolutions.
High-Energy Celtic Folk Band based out of Northern Colorado THE STUBBY SHILLELAGHS have a new album pout at the end of October and have a new song/ video.
Dutch Celtic-Rockers MAGGIE’S FLOCK were featured on Dutch TV show Podium Kabam performing a great song ‘Maggie Of The Moor’.
Got sent this in and at first didn’t know what to make of it but have a look at ‘Rappers React To DROPKICK MURPHYS I’m Shipping Up To Boston’ and I’m sure it will tickle you too. Approach with a sense of humour and top marks for rubbishing the bullshit ideology of ‘cultural appropriation’.
Remember if you want your release featured then we have to have heard it first!
THE POGUES – BBC Sessions 84-85 (Vinyl only!)
SIDE POCKET LOUIE – Dirty Hands, Dirty Money
ShamROCKS- FCP Live! (review next week!!)
FINNTROLL – Vredesvävd
THE CUNDEEZ – Teckle And Hide
How did we miss this!!!! Melting Punk is a 20 (twenty!) band Folk-Punk / Acoustic-Punk compilation from Quebec, not in Canada. Yes 20 bands and not only that but its available as a ‘Name Your Price’ download that was released back in October, 2018. Loads of bands new to me and the Web-Zine so definitely worth the couple of minutes it takes to download.
Crusty Folk-Rockers the NEW MODEL ARMY are one of the hardest working and touring bands around so having had all their plans quashed they are doing a special Live Stream over on their Facebook page. The concert will be a high-quality, pay-to-view, two-hour (plus) event filmed with multi-cameras, graphics and artwork – with the band playing a wide range of material spanning the 40 years. We will be selling tickets at £10 for which you will be sent an exclusive code to access the broadcast in the hours before the show. Details here. Tickets here.
Germany based MacSLONS SHOP do the merchandise for a whole range of Celtic-Punk bands and they always have a interesting range of sale items including t-shirts and CD’s and much much more!
Swedish Celtic/Folk/Irish punk rock band PUNK MAHONE are planning a Live Stream on October 31st. Check their Facebook page for more details.
Based in Copenhagen, but originally from England, Ireland, Scotland and the northern-most tip of Denmark,BROPHY’S LAW toured the UK a couple of years back with Sir Reg and have released the excellent ‘Record Collector’ for International Record Store Day.
In case you missed it Irish-American Celtic-Punkers THE TEMPLARS OF DOOM played a storming hour-long full-band Labor Day Live Stream set for the London Celtic Punks direct from their home in Ulster County, New York State.
All we need to do now is for you to help fill this page 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.
The second EP from one of the brightest new bands in the Celtic-Punk scene has descended! The Cloverhearts follow a great tradition of Italian bands that capture perfectly what Celtic-Punk is about.
Only a few months after their debut release The Sick took the Celtic-Punk scene by storm The Cloverhearts return with another blockbuster EP. Like their debut its six original tracks that pull in influences from around the scene and their obvious affiliation to The Rumjacks sound is not just down to Sam their Australian singer but one that doesn’t overpower their own sound. The Sick came a very respectful 4th in the London Celtic Punks Top Ten EP’s/Singles Of 2019 for last year. Not bad at all for a release that had only been out a matter of weeks before the Poll took place.
(you can stream The Sick on the Bandcamp player below)
So The Cloverhearts stick to exactly the same format for The Sacred. Six songs all original compositions and they even come in at virtually the same length of time (only one minute short!). The EP begins with the single ‘Caught Ya In A Lie’, basically a ‘Pop’-Punk song with some fantastic bagpipes laid on top. When you have a piper that is good as Chiara is then it makes perfect sense to fit the songs around her piping. The Folk melodies are left at the dock as The Cloverhearts concentrate on their harder edge and Punkier sound. Catchy as hell melodic Punk and definitly the right choice to lead the EP.
A song about people trying to get the better of you and the consequences of lying. A great start to things that they follow up with the pipes heavy ‘Drunk Tank’ where Sam tackles that most prevalent of Celtic-Punk subjects! On ‘I’ll Be Home Soon’ they showcase a whole raft of genres with Celtic and Country among others. The most folky of all their songs so far but still that melodic Punk attitude. Sam’s vocals are great and unusually for Celtic-Punk he makes absolutely no attempt at a Shane MacGowan drawl but croons away magnificently! A very personal song for Sam about never feeling at home after a lifetime spent living in Australia, Singapore, England and Italy. They return to harder material on ‘Walk’ with plenty of band “Wo-Oh” chants and chugging guitar and a cool chorus it’s a class song that at four minutes has plenty of time to develop. It leads us nicely into ‘Gutters To Graves’ another catchy number and though I may be making it sound like I’m reviewing the same song six times The Sacred is a very diverse sounding EP. It all revolves around the tight melodic Punk sound with Sams clear as crystal vocals and Chiara’s excellent piping. I wouldn’t come to The Sacred perhaps as a lover of Celtic music but if you like your Punk well played and gimmick free then The Cloverhearts are a band that you will love. The last song here ‘Where Did We Go Wrong?’ just goes to show how wrong I can be with a song that revisits the Celtic/Country sound from earlier but much more blatantly and I bloody love it!!
So another successful release but tempered with the sad news that their most ambitious tour to date has had to be cancelled due to the current medical crisis in Italy. A tour that would have took them to Germany, Czech Republic, Austria and around Italy so hopefully it will be re-scheduled soon. Their are some utterly fantastic Italian bands around and its good that The Cloverhearts have found their niche among them. A bunch of bands that fit nicely together with all them sounding just that bit different from each other. A while back I went to a Psychobilly all-dayer and it got a bit boring but a all-dayer starring The Cloverhearts, The Rumpled, The Clan, Uncle Bard And The Dirty Bastards, Tullamore and Dirty Artichiokes would be one hell of a gig. Any millionaires out there give me a shout!!
(Stream The Sacred before you buy it on the Bandcamp player below)
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
From false friends, to (temporary) sobriety, to lovable junkies and the world’s worst public transport however you like your Celtic Punk’n’Roll – the debut release from The Cloverhearts will have you covered!
No country in the world had had such a relationship with Ireland and the Irish as Italy. From the poverty stricken roots of our mass migration to the new world and then living side by side in American slums to the eventual ‘coupling’ of their communities to the influence of a shared religion that dominated every strand of life back home and that they also helped spread around the world. When I was a kid on holiday back in the ‘auld country’ it was pretty common to bump into foreign travellers and in my experience the Italians always outnumbered everyone else. Even these days its common to meet young Italians experiencing the real Ireland away from gentrified Dublin. These links have now gone full circle and we have those same Italians going back home with a love of Irish culture and music (that many sadly in Ireland no longer have) and re-inventing it. To that end no countries in Europe have adopted Celtic-Punk as Germany and Italy have. With The Rumjacks Italy has took them to their bosom and several bands have hit the streets with an obvious affiliation with The Rumjacks sound.
The Rumjacks sound is a good place to start here as both they and The Cloverhearts have a very unusual thing in common. The Rumjacks have a Italian drummer and The Cloverhearts have a Australian singer in Sam Cooper not only that but Sam and Italian tin-whistle/bagpipe extraordinarie, Chiara de Sio first met at a Rumjacks show in Manhattan, New York fresh from Chiara’s departure from fellow Italian Celtic-Punkers, The Clan. Fast forward and joined by guitarist JJ Bassi, bassist Stefano ‘Cione’ Becce, and drummer Christian Amendolara The Cloverhearts have unleashed their first record alongside two recent high profile support slots with (them again!) The Rumjacks. So considering the band have only been together for just a short time their rise has been meteorically and this new EP is a great way to start.
The Cloverhearts left to right: Cione Becce – Bass, Backing Vocals *Christian Amendolara – Drums, Percussions * Chiara De Sio – Tin Whistle, Bagpipes * Sam Cooper – Vocal , Songwriter * Luigi JJ Bassi – Guitar, Backing Vocals
The Sick came out at the beginning of last month on the Italian record label, Black Dingo Records and has six new songs all written by Sam and the band themselves. The EP begins with ‘Always Monday’ which was the first single and shows how much those Europeans love their ska. I’m not such a big fan myself preferring sad tearful songs about hunger, famine and forced emigration to happy-go-lucky joyful bouncy Ska like this! I know this all makes me somewhat of a pariah. “How can anyone not like Ska” has been said to me many a time. Luckily this song has a tough edge to it and threatens to turn Punk at any moment meaning that I can just about tolerate it. Basically a song everyone else will love and enjoy so just ignore this miserable bastard.
I’m in much more favourable territory next with what I consider the EP’s standout track, ‘Black Eyes And Broken Hearts’. Kicking off with chunky loud guitars and bagpipes the music has the same sort of Pop-Punk air to it as Dutch Celtic-Punk band Drunken Dolly or more famous bands like NOFX or Blink 182. Catchy as hell with great lyrics smothered in black humour and Sam has a great voice too for this. I was also a big fan of Chiara and her piping while with The Clan and here again it is absolutely note perfect. This leads us onto ‘Drinking Songs’ and with its tin-whistle opener it is more yer typical standard Celtic-Punk song. Played fast and with passion this is a sure fire dance floor filler leading us onto ‘Fuck Trenitalia’, a story about Italy’s national rail way service. Funny enough I first heard this while waiting for a train that was running late whilst in deepest Surrey so can sympathise 100% with the sentiments expressed. I’m guessing a lot of people in Italy would as well as within ten days the video had amassed a staggering 170,000+ views on You Tube!
(Warning- “this video may be unsuitable for some”)
Loads of ‘effing and blinding’ throughout this exceedingly catchy number. Again played at full throttle and plenty of The Cloverhearts usual humour. No time for any ballads on The Sick and ‘Junky’ keeps the pace going. About a junky friend of the band and we should remember that inside everyone cursed with this terrible addiction is a real person who needs support to rid themselves of it. Anyone immersed in the punk scene will know a person who has lost everything to addiction and the sentiments in ‘Junky’ are beautiful. Not a bad song either and the catchiness keeps coming at you with the EP’s final track and a return to some Ska with ‘No Time For False Friends’. No lecture from me this time as the whole EP (including the Ska-ish) tracks have grown on me and it’s an excellent song to bring the curtain down. Veering from Ska to Punk and back to Ska again the whole band sound magnificent. The bagpiping sounds fantastic and though the bagpipes don’t appear on every track you can hear that the songs have been written with the pipes in mind and they haven’t just been tacked onto any old song.
The Cloverhearts opening up for them Rumjacks recently in Bergamo
So there you go the debut EP from a band that has only been together for a blink of an eye and already one of my favourite releases of the year. We always delight in the arrival of another new band on the scene and its unusual for a band to come straight out the blocks and find their niche straight away but The Cloverhearts have done just that. They may be influenced by others in the scene (who isn’t?) but they have come out with an EP that has their individual sound stamped all over it. Highly recommended!