Tag Archives: The Shillelaghs

ALBUM REVIEW: THE SHILLELAGHS- ‘Ripples In The Rye’ (2019)

The Shillelaghs are an Irish-Canadian band hailing from Calgary. With this their second studio album they deliver some hard hitting and original Gaelic tinged Celtic-Punk which takes me back to the glory days of the scene!
If there’s one thing we can’t seem to get enough of its band in Europe with the word ‘Bastard’ in it and in North America bands with the word ‘Shillelagh’!! At least though Bastard is easier to spell as i can think of at least four bands with different variations of shillelagh. It’s got to the point where I’m not sure what the correct spelling is but seeing as these guys and a gal from Calgary are very much in touch with their Celtic roots then I think its easy to presume this spelling is the correct one!

The Shillelaghs from left to right: Lisa Graham – Piccalo * Andrew Shannon – Bass Guitar * Dave Anderson – Vocals * Greg Devine – Accordion * Ryan ‘Van’ VandenBerg – Drums * Kyle Libbus – Guitar

The band took the well worn route to Celtic-Punk having formed out of various local punk bands in 2006 and unusually for a Celtic-Punk band those members are still intact and driving forward. You just cannot beat a settled and established line up. This would lead to the release of their debut album in 2011, Wastedly. It took another four years for them to follow this up and in 2015 the eagerly anticipated Bury Me At Sea landed at shore and gave The Shillelaghs uniformly great reviews across both the Celtic-Punk world and further afield too. Voted into #14 in our Best Of 2015 the album also made the top-ten of the sadly deceased (and buried at sea) Celtic-Folk-Punk site.
(Have a listen yourselves and stream the The Shillelaghs debut album Bury Me At Sea below on the Bandcamp player)

So thirteen years after coming together, and nine after their debut album, the original band are still together and pumping out what I would call ‘traditional North American Celtic-Punk’. Here The Shillelaghs have recorded ten outstanding original tracks for Ripples In The Rye and as vocalist and songwriter Dave beautifully puts it

“reaching out to the past to tell us of it’s struggles, only to find ourselves reflected back – hope and acceptance in the face of loss, and the power to enjoy ourselves in spite of it – being burdened with knowledge, and the internal power to throw off the chains of guilt – the immortal adventure of memory forged with your compatriots by your side, and the journey yet to be written…”

Ripples In The Rye starts with ‘Relentless’ and that’s the sound of classic (or traditional) Celtic-Punk invading your ear. Kicking off with some some pounding drums a piccolo (flute) grabs your attention and chugging guitar before Dave dives in on vocals that may divide some but I love them. On the growlier side of things these are punk vocals for a Folk-Punk band. The song keeps a steady pace except for an interlude broken by Kyle and a wicked little guitar solo. This is Celtic-Punk and so most of the subject matter tends to be of the serious though hidden behind a wall of tomfoolery and shenenigans and a ‘reet good time’ and while that tends to be true there’s always a stream of black humour throughout and The Shillelaghs don’t disappoint on ‘Drunk On A Loading Dock’ which has all the things I just mentioned in a song that flies past in just 123 seconds!! Very nice accordion solo here too (from guest Greg Devine who also helped with the production for the album too. My hat is tipped to ye!) and I would have enjoyed a bit more of that to be honest. ‘From Your Mind’ slows it down a bit with more accordion giving it at times a Cajun feel while the band support with a Ska-ish beat. Dave’s vocals here soar and prove there’s a lot more to it than just shouting in harmony. ‘Old Growth Soul’ begins gently with acoustic guitar before taking off in several directions. Influences galore here to the point that it’s hard to put your finger on them. Punk at times and Folk at others it’s a strange wee number though also strangely familiar. More than half way through and no sign of a ballad yet and ‘Let Me Go’ speeds along very nicely. A song about death is always a surefire hit and it’s the album’s standout track for me as everything combines perfectly for a song steeped in Celtic-ness in both music and lyrics. Another short song of only just over two minutes these Shillelaghs don’t hang about do they!

Released as the bands first ever official video (come on gang you got to keep up) and also the lead single from the album it’s accompanied by a video that is perfect in it’s simplicity. Just a band performing in front of their mates in a bar. That is the perfect Celtic-Punk video. So an album of just over half an hour for ten songs shows they keep it snappy but they take a longer route next on ‘Along The Road’ and it doesn’t disappoint either. The arrangements are a bit more elaborate but aye I agree with you guys keep it punky!! The songs are coming at us now and ‘Pale Horse’ is fast and furious and leans more towards a straight Punk song while ‘Street Pirates’ takes the tune from it’s name and though their are distinct genres of Pirate-Punk and Pirate-Metal it’s almost that ballad I was after but I think I’d have to call it a Pirate-Rock ballad. Cool as ever and catchy as hell with great accordion with a killer chorus that leads us nicely into the last song of Ripples In The Rye and ‘Blackthorns’ takes us out in style with another song of ‘traditional North American Celtic-Punk’. Dave sings achingly and bursting with emotion (as he does throughout the album) while the band come together for a song that is lead beautifully by Lisa on the piccalo.

I have spoken here about a kind of ‘traditional’ album. A traditional sound for a Celtic-Punk band. Well that doesn’t mean the likes of the Dropkicks and the Murphys it means the sound of bands like The Shillelaghs who have distilled the sound of their ancestors with the sound of modern (though not always that modern) music to make something that is both meaningful and to be enjoyed to the upmost. The Shillelaghs are a band that can take the serious and the fun and put them together to give a glorious riot of a good time. Ripples In The Rye is released on November 2nd and is available for pre-sale at the links below so don’t delay and get in there as quick as you can. In fact as quick as a Shillelaghs standout track will do.

(you can stream some of the songs from Ripples In The Rye on the Bandcamp player below)

Buy Ripples In The Rye  Vinyl-FromTheBand  Download  Google

Contact The Shillelaghs  Facebook  WebSite  YouTube  Bandcamp  ReverbNation

LONDON CELTIC PUNKS PRESENTS OUR BEST OF 2015!

Best Of 2015 (2)
One of the best things about doing this here blog-zine is the end of year ‘Best Of’s’. This is our chance to reward, for what it’s worth, and recommend those releases that tickled our collective fancies over the last twelve months. Where as in 2013 the Best Of’s were dominated by local bands and releases and in 2014 it was international bands that stole the show this years is more of a mix of the two. No shocks at the top I’m afraid. It was always going to be a slug out between the big hitters of celtic-punk with The Rumjacks just shading it from the The Mahones by the slightest of margins. One of the team commented that the only difference was that ‘The Hunger And The Fight Part 1’ was slightly better than Part 2. In third place came 1916 out of New York who only just sneaked in with the December release of ‘Last Call For Heroes’. The album came out so late we didn’t even get a chance to mention it let alone review it nevertheless it blew us all away with their brilliant combination of rockabilly and celtic-punk. Another one to file in the ‘shamrockabilly’ category. Overall no major surprises and all four admins lists pretty much tallied up with each other but it’s especially great to see some non-English speaking bands in there as well as some bands that were new to us in the last twelve months. I was particularly happy to see Skontra and The Cundeez make the grade representing celtic-punk as played in the celtic nations. 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. If your album is not here do not be downhearted. These twenty album’s are the tip of the iceberg of what was released last year in what was an outstanding year for celtic-punk. Feel free to comment, slag off or dissect our lists. We don’t pretend to be the final word as that my friends is for you…

TOP 20 CELTIC PUNK ALBUMS

1. THE RUMJACKS- ‘Sober And Godless’  (here)
2. THE MAHONES- ‘The Hunger And The Fight Part 2’
3. 1916- ‘Last Call For The Heroes’ (here)
4. FEROCIOUS DOG- ‘From Without’
5. THE GREENLAND WHALEFISHERS- ‘The Thirsty Mile’  (here)
6MR.IRISH BASTARD- ‘The World, The Flesh & The Devil’  (here)
7.  THE DEAD MAGGIES- ‘Well Hanged’  (here)
8THE GO SET- ‘Rolling Sound’  (here)
9. MICKEY RICKSHAW- ‘No Heaven For Heroes’  (here)
10. HAPPY Ol’ McWEASEL- ‘Heard Ya Say’  (here)
 11. JASPER COAL- ‘Just The One…’  (here)
12. THE CUNDEEZ- Sehturday Night Weaver  (here)
13. THE FATTY FARMERS- ‘Escape From The Dirty Pigs’  (here)
14. THE SHILLELAGHS- ‘Bury Me At Sea’  (here)
15. JOLLY JACKERS- ‘Sobriety’  (here)
16. MALASANERS- Spanish Eyes’  (here)
17. SKONTRA- ‘Foguera’  (here)
18. THE WAXIES’ ‘Down With The Ship’  (here)
19. KITCHEN IMPLOSION- ‘Selfish’
20. THE TOSSPINTS- The Privateer  (here)

TOP TEN CELTIC PUNK EP’S

Now onto the EP’s. These are classed as shorter usually four to six songs long and around anything right up to 15-20 minutes long. No shock here at number one as a unanimous vote saw this years new band of the year Mick O’Toole walk away with the title. They have been a solid fixture during the year building up quite a reputation and following. At number two it’s long been a well known secret that Indonesia is a hotbed of celtic-punk and Dirty Glass are one of the best bands in their flourishing scene and ‘Drunken Summer Nights’ ran O’Toole very close while another English band came in third. Matilda’s Scoundrels really hit the heights in 2015 and just like Mick O’Toole bigger and better things await them in 2016. The rest of the list is made up from bands from across the globe with Slovenia, South Africa, Hungary, Catalonia, Russia, Holland, France and Yorkshire all making the list.
1. MICK O’TOOLE- ‘1665 Pitchfork Rebellion’  (here)
2. DIRTY GLASS- ‘Drunken Summer Night’  (here)
3. MATILDA’S SCOUNDRELS- ‘Split w/ The Barracks’  (here)
4. ZUNAME- ‘Pipes Not Dead’  (here)
5. THE HYDROPATHS- ‘Wailing Away’  (here)
6. SOUTH SHORE RAMBLERS- ‘Open Room Sessions’  (here)
7. O’HAMSTERS- ‘Kiss My Irish Ass’  (here)
8. LOCH NESZ- ‘Leave The Captain Behind’  (here)
9. CIRCLE J- ‘Year Of The Goat’  (here)
10. SIGELPA- ‘Ens Van Diagnosticar Un Transtorn’  (here)
11. THE MOORINGS- ‘Nicky’s Detox’  (here)

TOP TEN FOLK/TRADITIONAL RELEASES

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 each of them all to bits. If you like celtic-punk then you should not be afraid to give traditional folk a listen. Most of it is more punk than punk these days you know. It’s a direct link to the music that inspired celtic punk music and their are some amazing bands and performers out there. Hard to decide which order they should go in especially as O’Hanlons Horsebox could have just as easily won this years Best Celtic Punk Album as well! This is how the Top Ten ended up.
1. O’HANLONS HORSEBOX- ‘Songs And Stories From The Border’  (here)
2. BARRULE- Mannannans Cloak’  (here)
3. LE VENT DU NORD- ‘Têtu’  (here)
4. BRYAN McPHERSON- ‘Wedgewood’  (here)
5. THE RATHMINES- ‘Ramblin With The Rats. Stolen Songs of Struggle’  (here)
6. ANTO MORRA- ‘Boudicca’s Country’
7. JACK OF ALL- ‘Bindle Punk’  (here)
8. JOHNNY CAMPBELL- ‘Hook, Line And Sinker’  (here)
9. FFR CELTIC FIESTA- ‘Fresh Blood’
10. THE PROCLAIMERS- ‘Let’s Hear It For The Dogs’  (here)
11. SKWARDYA- ‘Domhwelyans/ Revolution’

TOP CELTIC PUNK WEB-SITE

Celtic Folk Punk And More BlogAgain Waldo over at Celtic Folk Punk And More walks away with this award. There is simply no better site on the internet. Everything you would possibly need to know is here with a HUGE range of bands covered and there is no doubt in my mind that the site you are reading here now would not exist without the inspiration of Celtic Folk Punk And More. Sadly Waldo published a post on January 3rd titled ‘New Year, New Life’ (here) announcing the suspension of the site for a while. We wish Waldo well and look forward to his, and his fantastic web site’s, return.

* The lists were compiled from the scraps of crumpled paper, and one beermat, handed to me by the other three admins from the London Celtic Punks Facebook page and tallied up over several pints of beer in a seedy working man’s Irish boozer in north London.

 Sláinte, The London Celtic Punks Crew- 2015

all the major players in celtic-punk do Best Of lists so click below to check out what they thought

CELTIC FOLK PUNK AND MORE

CELTIC-ROCK

PADDYROCK

MacSLONS IRISH RADIO

remember any views or comments we would love to hear them…

2015 REVIEWS ROUND UP PART ONE- BAY STREET BASTARDS, THE STANFIELDS, THE WAXIES, SEAMUS STOUT, THE SHILLELAGHS

This year has been quite brilliant for celtic-punk releases, and they haven’t all been Hungarian either, but sadly we haven’t had the chance to review everything we received or heard so here is Part 1 of our 2015 Round Up where we catch up with all the bands we missed first time round. This time two American and three Canadian bands.

THE BAY STREET BASTARDS- ‘Self/Titled’  (BUY)

Bay Street BastardsThe debut release from this seven piece celtic-punk band, and devotees of Ice Hockey, from Ontario in Canada. This seven track, half an hour long mini album came out in May and is typical of a lot of Canadian celtic-punk. A strong working class ethos runs through the lyrics while the music is fast and furious and hard to compare. They certainly know what they are doing and there are plenty twists and turns on this album with instruments like cello appearing. The music veers from straight up celtic-punk to Tom Waits style ‘pissed-up’ ballads to even a sort of psychobilly number. All the tracks are quite lengthy and despite that don’t outlive their welcome due to the speed at which they are played. Stand out track is probably ‘Slappywags’ where the fiddle holds court in a song about the Bastards favourite boozer. Just a bunch of beer swillin’, foot stompin’, mosh pittin’ Canadians.

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THE STANFIELDS- ‘Modem Operandi’  (BUY)

Stanfields-Modem OperandiAnother cracking Canadian band who play a similar style of celtic punk to the Bay Street Bastards but mainly concentrate on thrashing out some brilliant fast as hell punk rock. They have toured over here a couple of times and even played the prestigious trade union music Tolpuddle Martyrs festival last year. Catchy hooks galore and some proper toe tappers and mosh pit favourites but The Stanfields can give it the celtic treatment too and the album’s influences are plenty. So much more to this band than just thrashing out. Again that working class ethic beats strong in their hearts and dominates what they do. Only eight songs but over half an hour and a couple of real epics here too. ‘Fight Song’ stands out especially and the band chose it, quite rightly, to be the first single from the album.

The album ends with ‘Will The Circuit Be Unbroken’ that takes through a trawl of pretty much every style of music that The Stanfields have in their arsenal. A great album and we look forward to seeing them back in London again though hopefully this time with a better promoter!

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THE WAXIES- ‘Down With The Ship’  (BUY)

the waxiesHailing out of Michigan these Irish-American lads have a stack of releases behind them and I intend to get round to hearing the lot of them so impressed I was with this album. Released in September with twelve tracks and over forty minutes of music The Waxies keep it acoustic but they also keep it loud and in fitting with the way they describe themselves- Irish Gypsy Punk. The music though firmly with both feet in Irish music does take in influences from the sea as you will see from the album cover. Catchy as hell once again and with great vocals and lyrics. The lyrics are all included on the Bandcamp page by the way and theres a poignant song in tribute to fellow Irish-American musician and Grand Rapids resident Nate Carey who passed away last year. Only two covers and The Waxies have a real feel for their community with plenty here for anyone who is proud of their Irish roots but they also can play and the instrumental ‘The Silver Spear’ shows that they can play a pretty fantastic reel as well. Another cracking album and I know there’s some ‘electric’ bands out there that wish they could kick up a storm like the The Waxies! The album ends with a good a version of ‘The Parting Glass’ as I have ever heard… seriously.

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SEAMUS STOUT- ‘For Your Purchasing Pleasure’

Seamus StoutFormed in 1999 Seamus Stout have been around a good while and have built up a healthy following around their home state of Texas playing their local hostelries with a grand assortment of irish and Scottish classics. Of course they don’t confine themselves to covers and with five previous full length albums under their belts they sure do have a healthy amount of songs to choose from. Musically its straight up celtic music well played and with a shitload of gusto. Again its purely acoustic but kicking up a real racket. ‘For Your Purchasing Pleasure’ is a live album that has a perfect production that ensures all the instruments are clear as a bell and the vocals come out nice and strong too. Sixteen songs officially squeezed onto this CD but its actually a load more as they play some pretty damn good reels as well. There’s a whole host of instruments at play here giving the impression that this four piece band is more akin to a troope so busy are they. Can’t find a link for this album but you can find Seamus Stout’s previous releases here and here.

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THE SHILLELAGHS- ‘Bury Me At Sea’  (BUY)

The Shillelaghs- Bury Me At SeaHere’s another Canadian band to end our North American round up. The Shillelaghs hail from Calgary in Alberta and despite being founded in 2005 ‘Bury Me At Sea’ is the bands first release and even though its been a long time coming its certainly been worth the wait. Twelve tracks and 3/4’s of an hour long and only one cover means The Shillelaghs sound is stamped all over ‘Bury Me At Sea’. Fiercely independent the music is fast, well played and mostly acoustic with raspy vocals and tales of the sea, drinking and other dark themes. Our comrades over at Celtic Folk Punk & More noticed that the singer sounds like an angrier Mark Chadwick from The Levellers and by George that’s amazingly accurate. There’s quite a Poguesy sound going on here but the electric guitar steers it just away while also keeping it firmly in celtic-punk country. Album opener ‘Shillelagh Justice’ lets you know exactly where the album is going but there’s some real suprises here with the beautiful ballad ‘Dark The Days’ with dual male/female vocals and the closing number the acoustic ‘Better To Bleed’ which begins with just Dave’s voice and acoustic guitar before the band join in. It is though the heavier numbers I prefer and it’s the title track that grabs you by the throat and rocks your socks off. If you like this song then you simply MUST get this album!

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So ends Part 1 and we are sorry we weren’t able to give each album the full London Celtic Punks treatment but just not possible with time on our backs. Anyhow more to come in Part 2 so check back in a few days and catch up with some European releases. If you don’t want to miss any of our posts then you can follow us by simply filling in your e-mail address in the box that is either below or to the left depending how you are viewing and you will receive every post to your in-box.

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