Tag Archives: Wolfe Tones

ALBUM REVIEW: RUSTY NAIL- ‘Bitter Ale, Bitter Heart’ (2016)

If Liam Clancy grew up listening to Nirvana, it would sound like Rusty Nail.

St.Louis based Celtic-infused celtic-rock originals and traditional Irish Pub songs.

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Rusty Nail will be a name new to the vast majority I am sure but with this their new album they deserve a much wider audience and this just may be the one to get them it. Born and bred in the second biggest city of Missouri, St. Louis and when you find out the biggest city in Missouri is Kansas City you begin to realise exactly whereabouts in America you are. Famed through cinema history as the epi-centre of just about any decent cowboy film St Louis was a city founded by the French that transformed into a booming nineteenth-century industrial mecca. Experiencing a massive influx of people beginning in the 1840’s especially from Ireland and also from Germany, in forty years the population grew from 20,000 to 160,00 in 1860. Today the US Census Bureau gives the population of St. Louis as 318,416. Militant societies were formed, and an Irish nationalist rally at the Old Courthouse over 110 years ago filled the place to the rafters. Sadly in recent years the economy of the city has declined and St Louis has the highest percentage loss of residents of any city in the USA losing 62.7% since the 1950 census. It also has one of the highest murder rates in the USA (happily on the decline since 1993) but don’t despair as gentrification has given the business area lots of shiny new buildings for everyone to look at from across the city. Though as usual statistics don’t take into account the heart of a city and St. Louis has plenty of that. The city has also acknowledged their roots with those famine Irish who arrived all that time ago by twinning with both Galway and Donegal and while many of the Catholic churches those Irish built are gone and new residents live where they once lived the Irish community is still vibrant and strong with gaelic games and culture and tradition flourishing. The story of the St. Louis Irish is fascinating and I spent many a late night reading about them for this review. A great place to start is Bob Corbett’s Dogtown Homepage here. Dogtown is the Irish part of St. Louis and the name stems from the time of the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 when poor Irish squatters, living in makeshift shanties in Forest Park, were forced by the fair to move southward to the neighboring hill. As Bob himself says

“When they had to give up their squatters’ rights in the park, many of them moved over here. Most of them had space, so they kept hunting dogs. Quite a few of the people living over here descend from them”

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So out of this imperfect (tell me where is?) city comes the latest in a long line of Irish infused celtic-punk bands. Rusty Nail are a seven piece group formed in the winter of 2005 that plays music inspired by the likes of the ususal suspects of The Pogues, The Tossers and Flogging Molly but also of the Clancy Brothers, The Wolfe Tones and even Tom Waits. Their debut album, Ounce And A Half Of Whiskey, released in 2006 showed a band a long way from today’s incarnation. Played as a straight up four piece acoustic band the album stands up extremely well with its mix of mostly self penned ballads and a few trad covers and all with some surprisingly good country’n’western touches. They followed that up in 2011 with the release of Boozers, Bastards, and Bards. It saw the band move away from the acoustic more folkier music they had been playing. As Rusty Nail co-founder Alvan Caby says

“We always wanted to be a full rock band. So about a year into the band’s run, we added drum, bass and guitar slots to make a bigger sound”

With this ‘full sound’, as they put it, the album brought some great reviews and gained them massive exposure and they very soon became firm favourites among the St Louis Irish community and its friends. The album is again a  collection of mostly self penned tunes about drunks, unsavory characters and Irish poets chucked into a blender and mixed up with traditional folk sounds, rock and punk. The band take their name from an old-timey alcoholic beverage made with Whiskey and Drambuie Liqueur that gives a nod to the past while keeping it modern and helping along the booze-fueled festivity!

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Rusty Nail left to right: Pete McAvity- Electric Guitar * Chris Otto- Tin Whistle, Native American Flute * Dennis Frentzel- Drums * Kelly LaRussa- Violin * Alvan Caby- Mandolin, Guitar, Vocals * Chad Ross- Guitar, Banjo, Dulcimer, Accordion, Bouzouki, EBow, Organ * Mark Hochberg- Bass

So in the 10th anniversary year of the band they have come up trumps again with Bitter Ale, Bitter Heart. The album begins with ‘The Magician’ and fiddle and from the outset sets the tone. You can hear influence from The Tossers here but Rusty Nail are their own band and within the first few bars you can tell this band is something special. Alvan’s lyrics sound like they are ripped straight out from his heart and laid bare for us. He said in a recent interview that

“There’s lots of silly lyrics in our older songs. But for now it’s about the idea of honesty and true-story kind of stuff. I’m a big fan of sad lyrics with happy-sounding music. There are a lot of artists who do a similar sort of thing. It’s about being honest. I don’t know if it will mean as much to the next person as it does to me, but maybe it will. It helps me deal with feelings of failure, feelings of loneliness and feelings of disappointment. But there’s also feelings of love and hope. As dark as the songs get, then there’s still hope”

That thing Alvan said about sad lyrics with happy-sounding music nails the Rusty Nail sound perfectly. ‘Return To The Start’ the next track up gives off an triumphant air with the jolly sound of fiddle and this time the mandolin to the fore but again there’s much more to it.

(not the album version but I like it even more)

Alvan’s voice is not yer perfect croon, that much is true but I very much doubt it could be done any other way and it fits in like no ‘crooner’ ever could. ‘Giving Up’ gives it over to the tin whistle to shine and more lyrics maybe best not to listen to in the dark on your lonesome but by Christ it’d be enough to get you out yer chair and leaping around. As has been said before here on this blog the level of musicianship of some of these celtic-punk bands is incredible.

‘Less Than Angels’ is the first slower song of the album and tells of the Irish that left in those so called ‘famine’ years. Again a real and honest heartfelt song that tells the story in a way I have never quite heard before.

“The hunger drives you to do incredible things

To travel across oceans and cut off all our wings

And be less than angels with sin in our heart

Abandoning our nature, destroying all our art

 

They say that the famine was the cause for all of this

It’s a hell of a gamble, a swing and a miss

A perishable future amongst gravel and soot

The dust of our harvest is trampled under foot

 

Will the poor be poor always?

Zero hope and dream is killed

Will the classes and divisions

Become narrower still

No belief in myself

Erasing all our goals

The grave-digging starts tomorrow

Better start digging your hole

 

The hunger drives you to do unspeakable acts

To lie to your brother, exaggerate the facts

And be less than angels with blood on our hands

The hourglass is emptied of the last grains of sand

 

I’ll do anything for a job, anything for a life

I’ll suffer for the scraps, for child and for wife

Bill collectors have all taken the dignity I have left

Politicians and the banks are all guilty of theft”

The band are back rocking out with ‘It’s A Shame I Did Nothing’ and gives them the chance to show off their rock credentials but also chucks in a flute to keep it celtic and an acoustic guitar that shines through the rocking loud and clear. ‘Another Story of Unreturned Love’ is by far and away the catchiest song on this album of catchy songs. Telling of a failed relationship and its aftermath.

“I couldn’t talk to you

Standing in front of you

Holding my feelings and biting my tongue

And our “Little Ireland” is what we decided on

Things that I wish that I said when I’m young”

All the band come together in celtic-punk perfection and a wee mention for the superb drumming here too. ‘Hardscrabble Road’ is the tale of a loser told in a slow ballad that speeds up towards the end and the accordion drives it along till Alvan’s voice takes the lead.

Coming to the end and celtic-punks favourite subject pops up in ‘Liquid Miracles’ again telling of a loser who, like many, knows exactly what he’s doing but can’t help himself.

“the disease of the mind that I have caught”

Another slower song ‘Central West End’ and more misery and the common theme seems to be that the loser in Rusty Nail songs is trapped by addiction despite knowing all too well what he’s doing. Another catchy as feck number that is a great example of the excellent production here. All the instruments, electric and folk, are clear as them bells (what does that mean??) and despite the tune speeding right up in parts doesn’t lose that clarity so hats off to Chad for the excellent recording and mixing. Chad plays guitar, banjo, dulcimer, accordion, bouzouki, EBow and organ on the album so surely knows what he is doing! Next is the album’s longest song at well over five minutes.

‘Mad As Birds’ another standout track and evokes sadness upon sadness here as the song builds up and up and swirls round and round before ending on, for them, a rather positive note before coming to an end with ‘The Nightmare Will Prevail’

“It’s only fair, that you buy another round for all your friends

They’ve stuck around and stuck up for you

When the rest of us could not pretend

This bitter divide that you’ve caused for us is one that’s hard to defend

But I have faith in you,

Even though it may be hard for anyone to comprehend”

This is pure infectious dance music (proper dance music that is!) with enough fist in the air moments going on here to give you a bad shoulder in the morning! Like the best in celtic-punk its a roller coaster of emotions and the joyous music belies the seriousness of the words and though Alvin’s (and Chris) lyrics often inhabit a dark place it’s the story of Irish-America. It’s not all shamrocks and shenanigans you know. So whether you are looking for a band to get you off your feet and move and shout and scream and spill your drink to or just kick back and sit and listen to with a glass of the pure to warm you and take in every road these bhoys and ghirl have travelled then Rusty Nail are the band for you and whichever you choose you are guaranteed to find a great time.

(you can listen to Bitter Ale, Bitter Heart for free before you buy it by clicking play on the Bandcamp player above)

nail3Buy The Album

FromTheBand  cdBaby  Amazon

Contact The Band

WebSite  Facebook  Twitter  Bandcamp  ReverbNation  Soundcloud  YouTube

  • for another view of the album check out Celtic Folk Punk And More here

(great video with music and band interviews)

ALBUM REVIEW: LARKIN- ‘A Toast To St. Jude’ (2016)

With traditional Irish folk music and some of their own originals Larkin rock it up while keeping it trad. Always a good yellin’, rebel song, drinkin’ song good time with Larkin!

Larkin

Larkin are a superb 6 piece trad Irish folk band from Tulsa, Oklahoma in the USA that play traditional working class Irish protest song’s. They are led by Chad Malone, formerly of the American crusty punk political hardcore racket Brother Inferior, he has swapped one kind of music that comes from the heart for another that will surely stir the emotions of even the most stony hearted punk rocker. Leaving the hardcore punk growling behind Chad sings in a vein that crosses both Luke Kelly and Shane MacGowan while the band follow in the much same way inspired by the likes of both The Dubliners and The Pogues as well.

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It has been eight years since Larkin’s last release and that is far too long. Their first release was The Curse of Our Fathers which was the first CD I had ever sent off for from America way back in 2003 when I had never even heard of the internet. Rustling up a bunch of dollars and posting them off not knowing if they’d ever get there! Lucky for me they did and a short while later the CD dropped out the letterbox and was ready for me to play constantly for months to come and tape for about at least fifty people! It was thirteen songs that included a smattering of old rebel songs and some brilliant original compositions that seriously marked them out as a band to watch. Irish-American life in song and Chad had obviously lost none of his songwriting ability’s when he made the dramatic (to some!) shift from hardcore punk to trad Irish. They followed this with Reckoning in 2005 and again it covered much the same track as their debut. More original songs this time but still a few rebs’s covering both the ‘auld days’ with ‘Broad Black Brimmer’ and the new with ‘Men Behind The Wire’. Again the music was exemplary and the energy through the roof. The following year they released a six track EP called Alexandra, named after the daughter of one of the band members, and again folks went bloody mad for it. Garnering great reviews from both folk and punk sites it seemed like Larkin were on the rise but whatever happened we this side of the pond were never to know and their international profile went down and we heard absolutely nothing till this their new album hit the streets running recently.

That new album A Toast To St. Jude has again been released, like all Larkin releases, on Know Records a punk rock and hardcore record label from Long Beach in Southern California. Available from the band on only vinyl for the moment on either orange (limited to 200) or green coloured vinyl, but that include’s a free digital download card. It is available as a download on other things like iTunes though so if you want one don’t be silly and delay… send off today.

A Toast To St. Jude begins with ‘The Ballad Of St. Patrick’s Battalion’ and straight from the off its a thigh slapping and merry fiddle led jaunty tribute to the famed battalion of up to several hundred mainly Irishmen who fought as part of the Mexican Army in the Mexican–American War of 1846–8. Famed in song already by the likes of Damien Dempsey (‘St Patrick’s Brave Brigade’) and The Street Dogs (‘San Patricios’) and countless others its a proud addition.

Larkin slow it down for ‘A Bottle And Two Days Later’ and it’s the tin whistle that dominates here aside from Chads vocals which shine out loud and proud over all. The music has a slight country twist to it but listen to the words and get carried away on the swell. ‘Row In The Town’ follows and is the first cover here and top marks for a song I have never heard covered in celtic punk before. Better known as ‘Erin Go Bragh’ it’s the story of 1916 and the brave leaders who fought and were executed in the Easter Uprising.

“God Bless gallant Pearse and his comrades who died
Tom Clark, MacDonagh, MacDiarmad, McBryde
And here’s to James Connolly who gave one Hurrah!
And faced the machine guns for Erin Go Bragh”

Written by the great Irish balladeer Peadar Kearney who also wrote the national anthem of Ireland ‘Amhrán Na BhFiann’ as well as a host of other well known and cherished Irish rebel songs. The song sticks to much the same tune as The Wolfe Tones version which is by far the most popular. ‘The Long Goodbye’ sees them back in thigh slapping mode again and despite it being almost entirely acoustic instruments they are giving it as good as any punk band and you can imagine the pit to this being pretty rigorous while ‘Shadows And Dust’ sees Chad giving it his best Shane as he sings of the evils of drink and drinking. Slow and mournful and the fiddle and whistle keep it moving on. A word here for the backline of non Irish instruments and the drumming and electric bass are both excellent additions and are as much of the sound as the others. Like all the best celtic-punk bands Larkin can switch it up and manage to follow a slow song with something like ‘The Wages Of Sin’ where Chad sings as fast as anything he managed in Brother Inferior. The beauty is though that you don’t notice that switch as it seems completely faultless. We are halfway through and they slip in ‘Lexy Slip Jig/Villain’s Octaves Jig/December Jig’ a collection of dance reels and jigs that prove Larkin are as an accomplished bunch of traditional musicians as exists in celtic-punk. Bloody superb is the only way to describe this and the fiddle playing of Karen Harmon is beyond brilliant. ‘Maybe Someday Outside Of Belfast’ slows it down again and Chad can turn his hand to much more than reb’s and rockers and he can give out a beautiful auld love song too. Of course it doesn’t have a happy ending but hey ho there you go! The longest track here and again I’m marvelling at this story teller’s words. ‘Midnight In The Fall Of Man’ ramps it up again with frantic acoustic guitar setting the pace with the band barely able to keep up. ‘A Wayward Lament’ again slows it down and Chad again hits a nerve with this my favourite song of the album. His voice may be a thousand miles from crooning but extols more emotion and feeling than anyone I have heard in a very long time.ST JUDE Album theme tune ‘A Toast To Saint Jude’ is exactly that a tribute to the apostle who is the patron saint of lost causes! He became associated with desperate situations because of a letter he wrote in which he says that the faithful must keep going even in harsh or difficult circumstances. Fast and utterly brilliant and over in just two minutes it sets up nicely for the album’s only other cover and poignant is not the word. ‘Back Home In Derry’ has been covered by a small handful of celtic punk bands and always sounds fantastic as it does here. Written by the peoples MP Bobby Sands while incarcerated in prison its an amazing song that never fails to move.

“Van Diemen’s land is a hell for a man
To end out his whole life in slavery
Where the climate is raw and the gun makes the law
Neither wind nor rain care for bravery
Twenty years have gone by, I’ve ended my bond
My comrades ghosts walk behind me
A rebel I came – I’m still the same
On the cold winters night you will find me”

A song about Irish freedom fighters sentenced to slavery in Australia by the British Government in the 1800’s the song was originally recorded by Christy Moore and Christy tells of the origins of his learning the song

“I was playing in Derry and staying with The Barrett Family. After my gig we were gathered in Chamberlain St having a banter and drinking tea when a bit of singing broke out. A lad, just home from The Blocks (prison), sang these verses and subsequently wrote out the words for me. At the time the name Bobby Sands was not known to the world as it is today.
He used the air of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald from Gordon Lightfoot, an air which I suspect has earlier origins.  My version of Bobby’s song is shorter than the original”

Finally A Toast To Saint Jude comes to an end with ‘Have Another Drink, Boys’ and its altogether thirteen of the best songs I have heard in a good while. I simply cannot say how much I loved this album.

Team Larkin

Larkin from left to right: David Lawrence ~ whistle * Dalton Williams ~ guitar, bodhran * Chad Malone ~ vocals * Karen Naifeh Harmon ~ violin * Kelly Tuttle ~ bass Johnny Walker ~ drums

Larkin are almost the perfect band to symbolise celtic-punk. Heartfelt renditions of classic Irish songs that stir the emotions that will have you sobbing your heart out into your beer one minute and belting your lungs outs and thumping the table the next. That their own songs sound perfectly at home being sung right next to songs that are over a century old while at the same time giving off a very modern vibe is a fantastic achievement. Everything about Larkin is to be recommended right down to the artwork (once again done by the amazing Dublin punk artist Boz) and while some Irish-American’s may not know all that much of the history of Ireland that is not the case with Chad and the other bhoys and ghirls. History courses through the entire Larkin back catalogue and this is no exception. The band are named after the famed Dublin working class agitator and trade union leader James Larkin (1876 – 1947), a second generation Irish man born in Liverpool. He grew up in poverty and received little formal education but became a leader and a visionary whose influence still lives on today at home in Ireland and beyond. The hard life of the Irish who made the journey across the broad Atlantic and the sometimes hard life of their descendants (you see not every man is a king is in the US of A) is rarely better told and Chad sits comfortably up there with Tony from The Tossers or Leeson from Neck as a modern day celtic-punk story teller. The high praise doesn’t end there though and the music that accompanies is of the highest quality as well. Fast paced tunes with heaps and heaps of energy mix it up with soulful ballads and instrumentals that are all guaranteed to fill the dance floor with either swaying emotional mobs linking arms and pints in the air or a mosh pit you’d be taking your life in your hands to go near. With whistle, fiddle, acoustic guitar, electric bass, drums and vocals Larkin kick up an almighty storm and may just possibly be the world’s most punkiest folk band. No sod that… in fact make that definitely the world’s most punkiest folk band!

Buy The Album

KnowRecords (available on green and orange vinyl with free download card)  Microsoft  iTunes

Contact The Band

Facebook  MySpace  Chad Malone Facebook page (Larkin singer)  Soundcloud

  • you can check the wonderful artwork of the chief Larkin illustrator, Boz here at his web-site
  • Know Records Facebook page is here.

ALBUM REVIEW: ANTO MORRA-’16’ (2016)

London Irish Folk Punk

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Somewhere between the Pogues and Ian Dury with perhaps a dash of Madness.
The ever prolific Anto Morra returns with this sixteen track album tribute to the 1916 Easter Rising. In the 100th Anniversary year of the Rising their have been many books and musical tributes paid to that heroic act and I have to say that ’16’ is up there with the best of them. For those that don’t know the Easter Rising took place in April 1916 in Dublin and is one of the most important events in Irish history. It was an attempt to win independence from the United Kingdom by force of arms. Lasting only a few days from April 24 to April 30 around 1500 members of the Irish Volunteers, led by school teacher Pádraig Pearse, joined by the smaller Irish Citizen Army of James Connolly, seized key locations in Dublin and proclaimed an Irish Republic independent of Britain. They called on the Irish people to rise up and follow them but their call fell on death ears and they were quickly crushed by the huge police and government forces sent against them. For nearly a week Dublin was paralysed by street fighting before British artillery bombardments finally compelled Pearse and his colleagues to surrender. Sixty-four rebels were killed during the fighting, along with 134 troops and policeman and at least 200 civilians were injured in the crossfire. James Connolly whilst dying from shrapnel in his chest was carried on a stretcher to the courtyard in the prison and after confessing his sins to a priest and receiving communion he was shot while tied to a chair to stop him falling out of it. When asked by the priest would he forgive the men who were about to shoot him, James Connolly replied
“I will pray for all men who do their duty according to their lights [conscience]. Forgive them father, for they know not what they do”.
After only six days the Rising was over and fifteen leaders were court-martialed and executed at Kilmainham Jail in Dublin. A sixteenth, Eamon de Valera, was saved from a death sentence because he was an American citizen. The executions caused a wave of revulsion against the British and turned the dead republican leaders into martyred heroes. Despite its military failure, the Rising was a significant stepping-stone in the eventual creation of the Irish Republic. These men would soon prove to become an inspiration to the next wave of freedom fighters in the War Of Independence who would eventually force the British Empire to it’s knees.

ProclamationThe tradition of rebel music in Ireland dates back many centuries, dealing with events such as the various uprisings over the years, the hardships of living under oppressive British rule, but also strong sentiments of solidarity, loyalty, determination, as well as praise of valiant heroes. Though not confined to Ireland it can be said that the Irish have mastered the art of oral history in song and rebel songs are a massive part of that history.

Anto’s album contains sixteen tracks that include some surprising inclusions as well as as some of his own compositions. He is accompanied on several songs by his great friend Tim Chipping on mandola and banjo but for the most part this is pure Anto. Pure London Irish folk punk as Anto puts it himself. Raised in west London by Irish parents his formative years were as a punk rocker floating from band to band and dole cheque to dole cheque in Thatcher’s Britain. Moving from the rat-race of London to the quiet of the Norfolk countryside Anto began to further explore his Irish roots by joining Whirligig, a four-piece ceilidh dance band. In 2013 he left the band after ten years and decided to concentrate on his songwriting and solo performances.

16 begins with the first of Anto’s compositions the ballad ‘Blood On The Shamrock And The Rose’ and is the story of the feelings that the war in Ireland evoked on both sides. Hatred is never a good thing and for the those of us would like to see a united Ireland sooner rather than later hate is not the way to achieve it. A truly great anti-sectarian anthem. This is followed by Kelly From Killane. Made famous in the past by The Dubliners and more recently Damien Dempsey and written by the influential poet Patrick Joseph McCall (1861–1919) about John Kelly who fought in the 1798 Rebellion. He was one of the leaders of the victory over the English at the Battle of New Ross, but was later captured from his bed and hanged and decapitated by British soldiers on June 22, 1798. A up tempo version more akin to Damo’s version. Anto is unaccompanied on ‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley’ a ballad written by Robert Dwyer Joyce (1836–1883). A beautiful tragic song telling of a young man doomed to fight and die in the 1798 rebellion spending his last moments with his loved one. ‘The Rising Of The Moon’ follows and is one of the most covered of all Irish songs and is again based on the 1798 rebellion. One of my personal favourites is up next. hearing this for the first time on one of my Grandad’s old records. ‘Down By The Glenside’ tells of a old woman of around the time of the 1916 Rising recalling her youth.

“Some died by the glenside, some died near a stranger
And wise men have told us their cause was a failure
But they fought for old Ireland and never feared danger
Glory O, Glory O, to the bold Fenian men”

A somewhat modern classic is up next with ‘Back Home In Derry’. A song written by Bobby Sands who was the leader of the Irish Republican Army prisoners in the Maze Prison and led the infamous hunger strikes of both 1980 and 1981 which would eventually lead to his death on the 5th of May 1981. Before he died Bobby was elected as an MP to the British parliament gaining 30,492 votes which dwarfed the votes his many enemies (including Thatcher) had received in that parliament who called him a criminal. He borrowed the tune from Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’ for his tale of a young Irish rebel being transported to Australia. Covered by many artists including Christy Moore and Neck it’s a beautiful song and all the more tragic that Bobby’s light was extinguished so early. ‘Wasted Life’ follows and its a brilliant version of the Belfast band Stiff Little Fingers punk rock hit from the late 70’s. Taken from what I think is the best punk rock album of all-time Inflammable Material.

Fast and emotion filled and over in a flash and Anto sings next of an emigrant thinking of his home in ‘Charleville’ in north Cork. ‘Song For Ireland’ is another classic beautiful song. Made a hit in the 70’s it was  written by an English couple, Phil and June Colclough, and was inspired by a trip they took to the Dingle Peninsula. It has been recorded by Mary Black, Dick Gaughan, Barleycorn and Clannad to name but a few.

“Dreaming in the night
I saw a land where no one had to fight
But waking in your dawn
I saw you crying in the morning light
While lying where the falcons fly
They twist and turn all in your air-blue sky”

‘Only Our Rivers Run Free’ is another personal favourite of mine and the title is self explanatory. Mickey MacConnell wrote the song in 1973 and it became a huge hit for both Christy Moore and Irish living legends The Wolfe Tones. Never has Anto sounded better but then straight away he goes one better with ‘Paddy’s Lamentation’. A song written during the American Civil War era about an injured Irish soldier fighting for the Union who dreams of returning to Ireland. ‘The Merry Ploughboy’ is known wherever you’ll ever find an Irish person from the terraces of Celtic Park to bars and clubs though out the world. It’s the first of two consecutive songs written by the great Dominic Behan (1928-1989), brother of writer Brendan. Both were committed socialist’s and republican’s and were among the most influential Irish artists of the 20th century. Anto gives it plenty of ‘ooompf’ and sings with gusto for one of the few, especially on this album(!), joyous and uplifting songs on this album.

“And when the war is over, and dear old Ireland is free
I’ll take her to the church to wed and a rebel’s wife she’ll be
Well some men fight for silver and some men fight for gold
But the I.R.A. are fighting for the land that the Saxons stole”

Definitely one of those songs that gets the blood racing and would get even yer most avid ‘west-brit’ up on a bar stool baring his chest and belting out his lungs. We are back to more serious matters next with ‘The Patriot Game’. One of the most tragic songs ever written about the war in Ireland and also contains some of the most savage put downs you’ll ever hear of the

“quislings who sold out the patriot game”

Telling of Fergal O’Hanlon, from Monaghan who was killed at the young age of just 20 in an attack on a British Army barracks on New Years Day in 1957. Another volunteer, Seán South, was also killed during the raid. ‘Rocky Road To Dublin’ is an upbeat Irish classic, an incredibly fast-paced 19th century song about a Irish man’s experiences as he travels to Liverpool from his home in Tuam in Ireland. A live favourite of Anto’s he performs the song accompanied only on the bodhran. Written by D.K. Gavan, known as ‘The Galway Poet’, for the English music hall performer Harry Clifton who made the song famous.

Another live favourite of Anto’s is up next with ‘The Foggy Dew’ perhaps the best and most widely known, and covered, of songs about the 1916 Rising. It was written by a Catholic priest, Canon Charles O’Neill (1887-1963), sometime after 1919. The song encourages Irishmen to fight for the cause of Ireland, rather than for Britain, as so many young men were doing in World War 1. The most famous version of which is by the The Chieftains and Sinead O’Connor to which The Dropkick Murphys have been taking to the stage for the last decade. With nearly an hour on the clock 16 finally comes to an end with Anto’s song, his own ‘Green, White And Gold’. Anto’s take on the 1916 Rising is well worthy of its place here amongst some of the best Irish songs ever written.

16 is released next week as a limited edition digipack gatefold CD on St Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2016. The cover art, as on all Anto’s releases is by the famous London Irish artist Brian Whelan. It is more than refreshing to hear these songs sung in a London Irish accent as I noticed that even in my head I was singing along in a Irish accent! Anto is a unique talent with an ability to tell a story in a way that grabs you and forces you to listen. Famed for his wordplay and the way he manages to inject the spirit of punk rock into his acoustic folk he has taken these famous songs and re-told them in a way accessible to everyone. One of the most moving things about this album is surprisingly not one of the songs but the small tribute on the record sleeve that I will end the review with.

“This album is dedicated to my Dad Edward Anthony Morrissey and my Grandfather Daniel Forde. Both brave Irish men who fought for the British and survived World War 1, World War 2 and the Korean War and always dreamt of an united Ireland”

Buy The Album

E-Bay (CD)  FromAnto (Download)

Contact Anto Morra

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Pogues at WRYou can pick up a copy of 16 at the official record release show on St Patrick’s Day at The Water Rats in Kings Cross where Anto will be supporting the #1 Pogues tribute band The Pogue Traders well into the early hours. This is the same venue where The Pogues played their first ever gig so come along and be part of history! Tickets are only £7 and are available in advance from here and you can find all the details including set times nearer the date here on the Facebook event page.

  • we have much much more musings in the Anto Morra vaults here if you would like to catch up with them.

ALBUM REVIEW: MALASAÑERS- ‘Spanish Eyes’ (2015)

a collection of working class madrileño musicians with the requisite Irish soul needed to bring traditional Irish folk music with modern influences to life.

Malasaners- 'Spanish Eyes' (2015)

This debut album from Malasañers is as good a debut album as you’re ever likely to hear or have heard in celtic-punk circles.The band are named after a district of Madrid in Spain and while two of the band are from Spain the rest are German and the whole band now reside’s in Germany completely. From the very first spin this album hit the spot for me. With thirteen tracks and clocking in at just under forty minutes Wolverine Records have released an excellent record here. The album was recorded in both Germany and Spain and the production is crystal clear and everything from the vocals to the various instruments in play are all combined to produce a perfect sound.

Malasaners

I first came across them on the superb four-band compilation double album ‘Welcome To The Folk Punk Show’  (review here) that was also released by Wolverine Records last year featuring as well as Malasaners, The Judas Bunch and celtic punk legends The Mahones and The Porters.

From left to right: -Arturo Reyes (he didn´t record the drums, but he mixed the album with  us) -Carlos del Pino: banjo and singer -Elena MissBassplayer: guitar -Miguel Fernández: fiddle -Javier Vicius Cano: bass Photo: Jose Luis Frias

from left to right: * Arturo Reyes (he didnt play the drums on the LP but he mixed the album with us) * Carlos del Pino: Banjo and Vocals * Elena MissBassplayer: Guitar * Miguel Fernández: Fiddle * Javier Vicius Cano: Bass * Photo: Jose Luis Frias

The album’s first track is the title song ‘Spanish Eyes’ and is about those brave men and women who fought against fascism in the 1936 Spanish civil war, especially those who came from Ireland. A beautiful song and fitting tribute-

“They came from North, South, and East
From Dublin, Clare and from Kildare
Their mission here was all too clear
To halt the evil beast”

From the first few chords you get a feel for exactly what this album has in store for you. This is celtic-punk with the story telling spirit of bands like The Wolfe Tones or The Dubliners looming large. All the songs on ‘Spanish Eyes’ are the composed by the band themselves and there really are no weak tracks here at all.

The Spanish Civil War is behind the following song ‘Kings Shilling’ as well, which has moments that remind me of the great Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone, before the speed folk kicks in and we are in familiar territory. Putting the lyrical boot into the forces that take an Irishman into exile to fight in one of the bloodiest battles in Spain on the side of the fascist forces. The lyrics throughout the album are outstanding and are no different here

“To fight for those who have enslaved me/ To wave their flags and spill my blood/ To turn my back on my own country/ To leave my bones in foreign mud”

This album could quite easily fit in with both sides of the celtic-punk fan base. ‘Still Alive’ is one of the folkier songs but still comes with a feeling behind it that carries the album along with great energy. ‘Drunk And Single In Madrid’ ramps up that energy to tell of a young Irish emigrant to Madrid and his escapades. The music is fast and furious with the banjo played at breakneck speed and the song ends with the great line

“They say Ireland is the place/ But I’m better broke, drunk and single in Madrid”

‘Listen’ rattles along with a country feel to it while ‘Rights’ is one of the albums highlight’s and is also accompanied by a great video. The banjo leads the way and Malasaners nail their political convictions to the wall again with a song trying to rouse the people from their slumber and take back their rights.

“It’s not fair the way we’re feeling
So abandoned, so unsafe, so insecure
They smile watching us bleeding
Let’s stand up, fight for our rights”

Not enough bands in celtic-punk use the harmonica so always cheers me to hear it, as in ‘The Price Of A Memory’, and its an instrument that even though not celtic does fit the celtic folk sound very well. ‘Tell Why’ again has a country feel to it and is the tale of broken love. ‘Lucky Duckies’ is a catchy number and one of my favourites with the fiddle blazing away while ‘Siege Of Drogheda’ has a sound not too disimilar to the ballads of the Murphys or the Mollys. Slowish but with the accordion out front and lyrics again touching on the tragic past. The ‘Siege Of Drogheda’ took place in September 1649 when the English forces of Cromwell besieged the Irish Catholic forces and committed what was said to have been

“unparalleled savagery and treachery beyond any slaughterhouse”

towards the captured soldiers and civilian population. ‘Walking Towards The Waves’ returns Malasaners back to what they are best at and another standout track which brings this great album to an end with the superb ‘Too Many Fools’ and the punky ‘Stoneheart’.

Malasaners

from left to right: Carlos, Arturo, Elena, Miguel, Javier Photo: Jose Luis Frias

Malasaners have a very feel for their punk roots as well as a respect for Irish music and the Irish story telling tradition and have managed to meld them together in such a way that I can only see the band going on to much bigger and better things.

(press play below to hear the entire album)

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HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’S DAY TO ALL!

At the Siege of Limerick
Patrick Sarsfield won the day
but they Irish they were cheated
when his army went away
Queen Ann and her successors
forced on us those Penal Laws
denying the rights and liberty
of religion lands and property

Murder plunder faugh a balla clear the way
cheating stealing diddle idle de
ducking diving faugh a bala clear the way
diddlily i dle do di diddly idle de

Then came the three mad Georges
and they had us nearly fooled
they couldn’t speak the lingo
of the countries that they ruled
puppets of the ascendancy they kept the Irish down
and the rebels and the whiteboys had
their armies on the run

And You’ll never beat the Irish
no matter what you do
you can put us down and keep us out
but we’ll come back again
you know we are the fighting Irish
and we’ll fight until the end
you know you should have known
you’ll never beat the Irish

Then famine Queen Victoria
came to rule us by and by
she was on the throne so bloody long
we thought she’d never die
she presided over hunger
famine poverty and disease
she drove the people from their home
to their deaths or to land beyond the seas

Murder plunder faugh a balla clear the way
cheating stealing diddle idle de
ducking diving faugh a bala clear the way
diddlily i dle do di diddly idle de

All Across the 19th century we fought oppression
with great zeal
O’Connell spoke his blarney
for emancipation and repeal
Young Ireland and the Fenians
tried with dynamite and gun
Parnell, the Men of Sixteen died, then Michael Collins
had them on the run

You’ll never beat the Irish
no matter what you do
you can and put us down and keep us out
but we’ll come back again
you know
we are the fighting Irish
and we’ll fight untill the end
you know you should’ve known
You’d never beat the Irish

Murder plunder faugh a balla clear the way
cheating stealing diddle idle de
ducking diving faugh a bala clear the way
diddlily i dle do di diddly idle de (x2)

The Wolfe Tones are Ireland’s number one folk and ballad group.

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RED ROSES FOR ME AND ME

by John McNally

Red Roses For Me

There is certain things that are so momentous in life we remember the exact moment they happened, where we were, who you were with , the colour of our underwear. For a great number of people of a certain age it was “Where were you when Kennedy was shot ?” it sounds a little like having to provide an alibi but the truth is that people do remember as it was a big deal. Now it might not just be something so international as that,  it’s personal stuff too. Do you remember your first kiss ? your first day at school ? when you popped your cherry ? these things matter and they are worth remembering. I remember a lot of that kind of stuff and I also remember the soundtrack to things.

Red Roses For Me

You know that thing when you hear a tune on the radio and you connect it to something in your life ? all the memories come flooding back because they are what you associate with it. Well my soundtrack runs to the Pogues and a lot of the good the bad and the ugly times have a song that corresponds and yeah I can actually remember where I was and who was with me the first time I heard them. I want to talk about the Pogues now and why they are the soundtrack to my life and why I love them now as much as I did when I heard them first.

My favourite childhood memory is of Sunday mornings. My mother would play her vinyl collection on her record player and it’s sounds would fill my bedroom up and tear me from my sleep. The playlist varied a bit but usually included music by The Wolfe Tones, The Dubliners, Count John McCormack , Percy French , Paddy Reilly and The Furey brothers. In an odd twist as Christmas approached Mario Lanza would be added to the playlist in stark contrast to everything else. So I would be roused and make my way to the kitchen, the wonderful odour of sausages and eggs filling my nostrils as my mother cooked up a storm in the frying pan. But in anycase among the vinyl was a collection of Irish folk songs and one of the tracks was a version of  ‘The Auld Triangle’ by The Pogues. So this is where Shane MacGowan and I met for the first time. I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight but there was a definite attraction. That wonderful distinctive voice, the understated piano, the rolling percussion oh I was a young lad but my ears worked quite well and it was as if Shane had served his time in that cell with Behan so well did that song translate I had a feeling there was more to these Pogues and to this bucko MacGowan. So I requested that my mother add  ‘Red Roses For Me’ to her vinyl collection and eventually she did and that’s when this attraction I had to the Pogues turned into a full on love affair.

“In the rosy parks of England
We’ll sit and have a drink
Of VP wine and cider ’till we can hardly think
And we’ll go where the spirits take us
To heaven or to hell
And kick up bloody murder in the town we love so well”

Transmetropolitan hit me like train coming out of a dark tunnel. The line was cast and I was reeled in. That album crept in through your ears and nose and occupied your brain. The songs that you heard before were reworked into such away they sounded new and different and exciting. Waxies dargle came in like a hurricane ripping and tearing at you as it was sung and screamed like an assault on you this wasn’t music to sit and listen to, this was a force of nature you danced and found something to batter the table with to keep time with the beer tray that served as an instrument in the song you were a part of the experience not just a spectator.. There was no time for drawing breath because ‘Boys from the County Hell’ let rip next, it always put me to thinking that mean faced gunslinger from the spaghetti westerns Clint Eastwood would have had it as his theme tune if he had been riding the plains of Tipperary rather than the wild west of America. My mother never approved of the wee bit of profanity and mention of ‘hoors’ as she is a good Catholic woman but she turned a deaf ear to it all the same and I was allowed to bring my own family and all the neighbours in hearing distance with me on my journey through the dark streets of London to that wonderful place Brendan Behan had made his home where streams of whiskey flowed. It was magical.

The music was familiar yet new, it walked a tightrope between sheer chaos and awkward control. It was Irish music but by God it was more, it was evolved and alive and although there was the misty eyed beauty of Kitty that you could imagine a Sean nos singer giving an encouraging nod too if you were by the fireside in your local pub it was in the organised chaos of the upbeat songs that the true beauty was the unbridled joy of drinking and shagging and living hard was layed at your feet it was raucous and untamed and bloody primal it made you want to drink those 15 pints of beer and howl at the moon with the guttural roars of ‘down in the ground’ but mostly it made you feel alive and pretty happy you were as it happened no matter how bad things were. A lot of Irish folk music was of the dead patriot strain which pulled on the heartstrings and tear ducts with equal vigour and made you cry and curse the blasted tyrants who hung our heroes this music skipped the funeral and went to the wake have a drink and a dance and worry about it tomorrow it was fucking magic.

So this life long love and obsession was born and strengthened with every song I heard and concert I went to. No other band would ever put a spark in me like the Pogues have and how could they ? MacGowan’s imagery and poetry set to the music I grew up hearing and loving was unequalled by anyone else, he remains an unequalled raconteur and all the other pretenders to his crown merely fell by the wayside. So I can answer where I was when I first heard Shane serenade me and who was with me and what happened next and clear as a bell I can remember that day right down to the delicious smell of my breakfast the moment the first chord of ‘Auld Triangle’ rings the air. That’s the first song in the soundtrack to my life but as the years have gone by Shane and the Pogues have added many more and I can only pray there is more to come.

Red Roses For Me back cover

a big BIG thank you for the article to Jim McNally. John has his own blog ‘BrainFarts’ on which you can find pretty much more of the same as this (here) so go and have a look.

The Best Pogues Related Sites

In The Wake Of The Medusa  Paddy Rolling Stone  The Parting Glass  Pogues Facebook Page

More Information

Red Roses Wikipedia  Red Roses Lyrics  

we’ve had plenty of articles on The Pogues so check out the following 

‘From Oppression To Celebration- The Pogues And The Dropkick Murphys And Celtic Punk’ here 

‘A Wee Biography Of Shane MacGowan’ here 

‘30492-London Celtic Punks Top Twenty Celtic-Punk Albums Of All Time’ here

‘Film Review: If I Should Fall From Grace With God- The Shane MacGowan Story’  here

‘Book Review: Irish Blood, English Heart- Second Generation Irish Musicians In England’  here

ALBUM REVIEW: JASPER COAL- ‘Just The One…’ (2015)

the raw and  uninhibited aggression of folk-punk with the authentic yet explosive renditions of traditional Celtic tunes

Jasper Coal- Just The One...

Well here we are with our first album review of 2015 and luckily for me its one of my all-time celtic-punk favourites Jasper Coal. They may not be a name known to too many of you but by Jiminy they ought to be. Highly innovative and super original they encapsulate everything that is good within the scene. They have total respect for the origins and the roots of the music they play and boy do they play it extremely well!

(from left to right) kevin nicholson - fiddle, vox ian hoppe - guitar, vox miguel martinez - drums jeremy burns - bass, tenor banjo, bouzouki, vox matthew parrish - lead vox, whistle ryan morrison - bagpipes, whistle, vox

(from left to right)   Kevin Nicholson – fiddle, vox   Ian Hoppe – guitar, vox   Miguel Martinez – drums   Jeremy Burns – bass, tenor banjo, bouzouki, vox   Matthew Parrish – lead vox, whistle   Ryan Morrison – bagpipes, whistle, vox

Formed on St Patricks Day in 2004 Jasper Coal performing sea shanties and Irish drinking songs around their hometown they now celebrate their eleventh year with the release of ‘Just The One…’ their fourth album release and yet again they’ve plundered folk and traditional music’s back catalogue and come up with an album of covers that simply bristles with energy, passion and emotion.

Jasper, Alabama

Based in Birmingham the capital of  the state of Alabama in the southern United States, the band’s name was inspired by stories of those Irish immigrants who worked in and around the coal mines in central Alabama in the mining town of Jasper. The discovery of coal along Alabama’s rivers can be traced back to 1815 and has gone on to influence Alabama and its development right up to the present day. Worked like dogs in terrible conditions and then thrown aside when the job or the miners body is done seems to be the lot of the miner internationally. Wherever a coal mine can be found then exploitation and desperation can be found soon after. Out of this working class life then came Jasper Coal a group of lads of Irish and Scottish desent and a willingness to take our forefathers music and give it a modern yet traditional twist and stamp it with a massive Jasper Coal brand!

Jasper Coal- 1000 feet Closer To HellTheir debut album ‘Immigrant Child’ came out in 2008 followed in 2010 by ‘1000 Feet Closer To Hell’ which hit the dizzy heights of number 13 in the London Celtic Punks Top Twenty Celtic Punk Albums Of All Time (here). An absolute belter of an album which began my love affair with this great band. The album featured their first original song named after the album and describing the miners life brilliantly as well as a fantastic cover of the The Pogues rowdy drinking song ‘The Boys From The County Hell’. Third album ‘Drowning The Shamrock’ came out in 2012 and even though with each album release their acclaim has risen they still deserve to be heard much more high and wide.

Jasper Coal

This album kicks off with ‘Tell Me Ma’ and even though its been covered by all and sundry JC still manage to give it a kick up the arse. Starting with a simply fantastic pipe intro the first thing to say about this album is that all the way through Ryan’s piping is majestic and is easily as good as anything you’ll ever hear on a celtic-punk album. Matt is the only original member left from Jasper Coals original incantation as The Immigrants and his distinctive vocal style and voice add bucketloads to the music. There’s many a electric band that wish they could kick up a storm like these fella’s I’m sure. ‘Paddy 15’ is an update of ‘Poor Paddy’ the Dubliners/Pogues classic. Again the band nail it with this story of a immigrant Irishmans life breaking his back digging the rail in his new home. ‘The Glass Of Beer Set’ is a traditional song with bagpipes leading the way and excuse me while I gush over the piping again here but it is immaculate. A fantastic song sure to get even the mardiest of people tapping their toes and slapping their sides. ‘My Son John’ is an Irish trad song set during the Peninsular War of the early nineteenth century. Based upon ‘Mrs McGrath’ the song tells the sad story of a Irish woman whose son enters the British Army and returns seven years later having lost his legs to a cannonball while fighting against Napoleon. A sad fate that befell far too many Irish over the years. Jasper Coal have never shied away from doing what may be considered ‘controversial’ songs over here but are probably standards over there in the States. ‘Snipers Promise’ is a modern Irish rebel song and is played very simply with acoustic guitar and Matt’s voice singing delicately the story of an IRA sniper who longs for the day when he can retire and lay down his gun.

“Oh mama, oh mama comfort me
For I know these awful things have got to be
But when the war for freedom has been won
I promise you I’ll put away my gun”

What many don’t realise is those men who fought were not professional soldiers they were ordinary people who rose to face the challenge of defending their communites and their country. A lovely song with a chorus that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. They crank it up to eleven next with what many consider to be Flogging Molly’s best ever song ‘Devils Dance Floor’ and they deliver a version the Molly’s would be proud of. JC have never been solely about Ireland and have often done Scots songs and ‘Bennachie’ is one of the album’s stand out tracks. Bennachie is a range of hills in Aberdeenshire.

“Gin I were whaur the gaudie rins
The gaudie rins, the gaudie rins
Gin I were whaur the gaudie rins
At the back o’ Bennachie”

Some believe that the peak had religious meaning and this theory is supported by the large number of standing stones in the area. The significance is believed to be connected to the profile of the hill, which is shaped like a female breast, which is reflected in the name ‘Mither Tap’ (Mother Top) or ‘Bennachie’ (Beinn na Ciche: ‘hill of the breast’). Extremely catchy with fiddle and pipes and drums and guitar combining perfectly. They follow this with honorary Celt Steve Earle’s fantastic ‘Copperhead Road’. If you’re looking for story telling song writing then check out Steve’s back catalogue. This great song tells the story of a moonshiner who joins the Army

“They draft the white trash first round here anyway”

and ends up fighting in Vietnam and brings his experience home and instead of moonshine grows marijuana on his farm in Tennessee.

Next is the classic Irish rebel song (Come Out You) ‘Black And Tans’. A rousing, fist in the air song that has inspired many over the years and is absolutely perfect for punking right up. The Black And Tans (so called due to the colour of their uniforms) were mercenarys brought over to terrorise the Irish back in 1919. With the nation rising and the empire on the verge of defeat the British governement decided to import the Tans and give them free reign to terrorise, murder and brutalise the population in an attempt to cowe them into submission. They never succeeded and despite the many atrocities that they were responsible for they were roundly defeated. The song was written by Dominic Behan, brother of Brendan, and is dedicated to his father. Its sure to get yer blood pumping…Irish or not!

“Oh, come out you black and tans,
Come out and fight me like a man
Show your wives how you won medals down in Flanders
Tell them how the IRA made you run like hell away,
From the green and lovely lanes in Killashandra”

The bhoys give it a modern twist with the addition of an extra verse (which I am 100% sure Dominic would applaud) that further nails Jasper Coals views to the mast and good on them for having the balls to do so.

“Oh, come out ye English Huns;
Come out and fight without yer guns;
Show yer wife how you won medals up in Derry
Ye murdered free young men,
And you’ll do the same again,
So get out and take yer bloody army with ye”

One of the many outstanding things about Jasper Coal is the bands playing of Irish gaelic songs. Matt sings ‘Óró Sé’ the albums final track with gusto and reminds me of The Wolfe Tones in a haunting version what with the military style drumming and drone of the pipes. Known under a few different names the title basically means ‘Welcome Home’ and has undergone several re-writes incuding one by the great Irish patriot Padraic Pearse. A fantastic way to bring a fantastic album to a close.

Jasper Coal are one of those rare breed of celtic-punk bands that with the same set of songs would appeal to both fans of punk and trad music. If this album had come out last year it would surely have won the London Celtic Punks Trad Album Of The Year award as well I’m sure as featuring high in the chart for the Celtic Punk Album Of The Year too. Taking the influences of the modern celtic-punk bands and seamlessly blending them with those traditions of those that came before us. A superb band with superb musicians and the first album of the year is already a contender for Album Of The Year!

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From The Band

LONDON CELTIC PUNKS PRESENTS OUR BEST OF 2014!

TOP TWENTY CELTIC PUNK ALBUMS OF 2014

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)
2. CREEDS CROSS- ‘Gods And Fighting Men (here)
3. ROVERS AHEAD- Always The Sinner, Never The Saint (here)
4. LES RAMONEURS DE MENHIRS- Tan Ar Bobl (here)
5. THE MAHONES- The Hunger And The Fight
6. BLOOD OR WHISKEY- Tell The Truth And Shame The Devil (here)
7. THE ROUGHNECK RIOT- Out Of Anger
8. BASTARD BEARDED IRISHMEN- Rise Of The Bastard (here)
9. JAY WARS- Carry Me Home (here)
10. THE RAMSHACKLE ARMY- Letters from the Road Less Travelled
11. 6’10- The Humble Beginnings Of A Rovin’ Soul (here)
12. LUGH- Quando Os Canecos Batem (here)
13. SIGELPA- TerraMorte (here)
14. KITCHEN IMPLOSION- Pretty Work Brave Boys! (here)
15. THE KILKENNY KNIGHTS- Bradys Pub Tales (here)
16. BEYOND THE FIELDS- The Falcon Lives (here)
17. THE YOUNG DUBLINERS- ‘Nine (here)
18. KELTIKON- Agenbite Of Inwit (here)
19. FM 359- Truth, Love And Liberty (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.
1. MIDDLE CLASS BASTARD- Rebel To The Core (here)
2. BLACK WATER COUNTY- Fellowship Of the Craic (here)
3. THE MAGGIE WHACKERS- Naoned Whisky (here)
4. LQR- A Touch Of Liquor (here)
5. SOUTH SHORE RAMBLERS- Bare Knuckle Blackout

TOP FIVE TRAD ALBUMS OF 2014

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.
1. RUNA- Current Affairs (here)
2. THE ALT- ‘The Alt (here)
3. THE CRAICHEADS- Brewed in London (here) 
3. THE BUACHAILLS- At Your Call (here)
5. I DRAW SLOW- ‘WhiteWave Chapel (here)

BEST CELTIC PUNK WEB-SITE OF 2014

Celtic Folk Punk And More Blogonce again there is no question who gets this
CELTIC FOLK PUNK AND MORE
 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!

BEST GIGS

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
 London Celtic Punks
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…
click on the blog logo at the top of the page to find more of this kind of stuff…

WHO DARES TO SPEAK OF EASTER WEEK?

RADIO REBEL GAEL PRESENTS :
Who Dares To Speak of Easter Week?
Radio Rebel Gael’s Tribute
to the heroes of Easter week and all Irish freedom fighters throughout history…
In Dublin 98 years ago, a tiny band of Irish rebels and patriots took possession of the main post office. There, on Easter Monday, they proclaimed the birth of an Irish Republic and the end of England’s imperial rule. At the time the rising was unrealistic, had little support and was swiftly put down. Yet with vengeful ferocity, the British ordered the execution, one by one, of 15 rebel leaders, including a trade unionist, James Connolly, suffering from gangrened wounds, who had to be propped up in a chair to be shot.

When the grisly business was done, William Butler Yeats wrote, Ireland had

“changed, changed utterly: a terrible beauty is born.”

The victims themselves sensed that theirs was a blood sacrifice that foresaw rebirth and renewal, that their deaths might some day be seen as the secular incarnation of a sacred season. But the Easter Rising also proved to be a dress rehearsal as an empire fell and ordinary people entered and seized history.

His Name Was Connolly

featuring the best in Irish rebel folk and celtic-punk from Ireland and ‘across the broad Atlantic’

1.) The Foggy Dew- ATHENRYE (Dublin)

2.) Erin Go Bragh- THE WOLFE TONES (Dublin)

3.) Bright Star- Bobby Sands- as read by STEPHEN RAE

4.) Comrades In The Dark- THE PRODIGALS (New York)

5.) Freedom’s Sons- SHARKY DOYLES (Chicago)

6.) Connolly Was There- POL Mac ADAIM (Belfast)

7. Easter Time/Freedom’s Sons- BARLEYCORN (Belfast)

8.)Meet Me At The Pillar- DUBLIN CITY RAMBLERS

9.) Culture- THE REBEL HEARTS (Tipperary)

10.) The Dying Rebel- KATHLEEN LARGEY (Belfast)

11.) Citizen’s Army- RAY COLLINS (New York)

12.)Who Dares To Speak Of Easter Week?- BRENDAN BEHAN (Dublin)

13.) Met A Proud Man- GERRY T.MORAN (Norfolk/Dundalk)

14. Who Dares To Say- THE BATTERING RAM (Dublin)

15.) The Starry Plough- THE DRUIDS (Kildare)

16.When Will We See- THE DRUIDS (Kildare)

17.) The Rifles Of The I.R.A- ATHENRYE (Dublin)

18.) Provos Lullabye- THE WOLFHOUND (Belfast)

19.) Woods Of Drumboe- THE WOLFHOUND (Belfast)

20.) Guest Of The Queen- BRIAN UA BAOILL

21.) Bobby Sands- CLAYMORE (Glasgow)

22.) McVerry’s Men- BANJO BURKE (Kilkenny)

23.) Eamon Wright- ADELANTE (Coatbridge)

24.) 1916 Proclamation- CU CHULAINN

25.) Banna Strand- FLYING COLUMN (Belfast)

26.) The Rebel by Padraic Pearse- THE DUBLINERS

27.) Padraic Pearse- THE WOLFE TONES (Dublin)

28.) Follow Me Up To Carlow- BLOOD OR WHISKEY (Kildare)

29.) The Peeler And The Goat- NIAMH NI CHARRA (Killarney)

30.) Oro Se Do Bheath Abhaile- THE DUBLINERS

31.) Sean Larkin- THE IRISH BRIGADE (Tyrone)

32.) The Rhythm Of Time- BOBBY SANDS

33.) H Block Song- THE PLAYERS BRIGADE (Dublin)

34.) Ninety Miles from Dublin- POL Mac ADAIM

35.) Mise Eire- POL Mac ADAIM

36.) The Wind That Shakes The Barley- THE BATTERING RAM

37.) Boys Of The Old Brigade- EIRE OG (Glasgow)

38.) The Boys From Tamlaghtduff- CHRISTY MOORE (Kildare)

39.) The Rising- BRICK TOP BLAGGERS (California)

40.) Henry Joy (Faithful To The Last)- CIARAN MURPHY (Armagh)

41.) Who Fears To Speak Of Easter Week- DOMINIC BEHAN (Dublin)

http://radiorebelgael.podomatic.com/

“Had the Gaelic race never produced a scrap of literature, had our treasures of history and romance never had a being, had our Cormac’s, Keating’s and our O’Clery’s and Donnachadh Rua’s never written a line, these folk songs of ours would have been sufficient to prove for all time the glorious capabilities of our race.”

– Padraig Pearse

to find out more about the 1916 Easter Uprising you could try Wikipedia or the excellent site at Easter Rising 1916.

The 1916 Societies are committed to fostering and promoting Irish unity as set out in the 1916 Proclamation and their website is here.

Radio Rebel GaelContact Rory at Radio Rebel Gael at Facebook here

ALBUM REVIEW: THE BUACHAILLS- ‘At Your Call’ (2014)

The Buachaills- At Your Call

the boys from the county Cork
The Buachaills are a very busy band. Fresh from a London double-header weekend in February comes this their debut album ‘At Your Call’. Straight away you can hear some similarities with both The Lagan and The Bible Code Sundays. They have other things in common as both these bands are regular fixtures at London Irish home games while The Buachaills are the chief house band of Munster when they play at home at Thomand Park. Don’t know why but these rugger buggers have got great taste in music!
In their short history they’ve had some pretty notable gigs aside from the rugby occasions. Touring with Irish folk legends The Wolfe Tones, The High Kings and Finbarr Furey as well as a whole bunch of festival headlining spots they’ve even reached the ears of Irish footy legend Ian Aldridge who booked the band personally to play a function he was organising!
Formed as recently as early 2012  the band comprises of Eoin Murphy on vocals, guitar and mandolin , Aaron Dolan on uilleann pipes, whistles and vocals , James Fleming on bass, guitar and vocals and Chris Carey on Drums. They’ve become one of the most sought after trad and folk bands in Ireland and this album is likely to make them so here as well. In fact world domination could be at hand as this album is simply that good. Despite being together such a short time it must be a inspiration to other bands to see how far The Buachaills have come. Mind you hard work and superb musicianship don’t come natural for everyone!
The Buachaills
The album itself consists of 12 tracks- 8 covers and 4 originals- and clocks in at just under 45 minutes. The choice of covers is inspired with Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street and celtic-punk/rock standards ‘South Australia’, ‘A Pair of Brown Eyes’ and the boys even tip their hat at our exiled mams and dads with ‘Paddy’s Green Shamrock Shore’.  My own personal favourite is a cover of the Luka Bloom track ‘You Couldn’t Have Come At A Better Time’. The self-penned numbers stand up equally to these classics. As I already said the musicianship is outstanding and it’s just amazing to listen to Aarons piping. The uilleann pipes are such a beautiful instrument its sadly underused in celtic-punk with most bands preferring to use bag-pipes but I think there’s no competition myself. A couple of instrumentals get the foot tapping and a word here to Ciaran O’Shea who produced the album and done such a great job. He’s worked with Linkin Park but we’ll not hold that against him!
The Wolfe Tones and The Buachaills

The Wolfe Tones and The Buachaills

The Evening Echo in Ireland described The Buachaills as ‘The Mumford and Sons of Irish trad’ and I’m very pleased to announce that is absolute total bollocks and it amazes me how a Irish newspaper can even consider making such a comparison. The Buachaills have more passion and energy and authenticity in one mandolin string than that precious, pretentious, calculated rich guys-cum-folk band can ever imagine! Folk music has such sense of history and The Buachaills love of Irish ballads and culture is obvious and its great in this age to see a young band sharing that tradition with new audiences. While bands like The Buachaills exist those traditions will never die.

The Buachaills

Contact The Band-
Web-Site  Facebook  Soundcloud  Twitter  YouTube

I asked Eoin what The Buachaills meant and more importantly how it was pronounced and he told me na buachailli means ‘The Boys’ in Irish.  They anglicised it a bit to The Buachaills and its pronounced ‘boo cals’…
The Buachaills- ‘Baker Street’

The Buachaills- ‘the Boys From Fairhill’

http://youtu.be/DKbpJmHERXE

ALBUM REVIEW: BETWEEN THE WARS- ‘Won’t Go Quietly’ (2013)

BETWEN THE WARS- Wont Go Quietly

Another superb release from one of the best bands from one of the best and brightest celtic-punk scenes in the world from Melbourne band Between The Wars. Released on the bands own label ‘Slippery Slope Records’ and we can surely say it will not disappoint! We had the pleasure of putting on Jay Stevens, BTW’s vocalist, London gig when he came over to play a few gigs in October. To celebrate that we interviewed Jay and he spoke about the band and his song writing style.

celtic bands that tell stories – and not just stories of drinking. The difference between listening to the Wolfe Tones rather than the Dropkick Murphys means perhaps a little bit more storytelling in the writing

and that is one of the huge differences between Between The Wars and most celtic-punk bands. Theirs a real sense of history and yes, story telling in their songs akin to those old Irish folk bands we love so much like the Tones and The Dubliners.

BTW

The music is acoustic led with not that many electric instruments popping up but still sits proudly in celtic-punk! We’ve often talked about the difference between ‘folk-punk’ and ‘punk-folk’ and I’d say this is the latter with acoustic guitar, ukulele, mandolin and violin dominating proceedings. The album kick’s off with ‘Worst Enemy’ and straight away its the recognisable BTW sound we know and love “my worst enemy is me” Jay spits out over one of LPs fastest and catchiest tunes. Like a lot of BTW releases the ocean features strongly, understandable given Australia’s history and those celtic people who washed up on the shores there. The standout track though is also the most serious ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ tells the story of the blitz in the east-end of London. The jauntiness of the song belies the subject matter like a lot of their material its layered in a way to make you think and there’s not enough of that in music. The fiddle work throughout is simply breathtaking and carries you along while Jay tells the tales. As well as the ocean theirs also a obsession with bittersweet tales of love like the beautiful ‘First Train Out’ which has you until the last few lines and then drops you like a ton of bricks! Theirs influences here of country as on ‘I Won’t Ever Get Between My Woman and Her Whiskey Anymore’ and punk as on ‘I’ll Dance On Your Grave Maggie Thatcher’ which was written by John McCullagh and tells the story of his dad who was a coal-miner and fought a year long battle against the state on strike to stop pit closures. My dad worked alongside Johns on that pit face so this song hits a real nerve. There’s plenty of anti-Thatcher songs out there now but none quite capture the hatred for her like this one. Let this song be her legacy.

The album ends with another ‘ocean’ song ‘A Sailor’s Lament’ that begins with a acapello intro before sliding into a slow and soft tune and then bursting out into more recognisable BTW territory.

Each Between The Wars release shows their development as one of the top acts in the scene today. That they refuse to stand still and rely on their trademark sound is to their credit and though you never know exactly where their going with their next song you know it’s going to be a great one!
image

Contact The Band

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Buy The Album

Slippery Slope Recordings    (and listen to it too!)

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INTERVIEW WITH JAY STEVENS FROM AUSTRALIAN BAND ‘BETWEEN THE WARS’

gig flyer
When we heard that Jay Stevens from the fantastic Aussie celtic-folk-punk band BETWEEN THE WARS was coming over to these shores to play a few solo shows we jumped at the chance to do the London leg of his tour. so we thought we’d ask him some stuff so we did and he answered it all and here it is now for you…
BTW
How long have you been playing with BTW? have you played with other bands previous? Between The Wars is a four year old band that I started, along with (ukulele player) Jason. He and I have played in plenty of bands before this one, but this is the longest I’ve ever been in a band. So many lineup changes, but we’ve been pretty solid for the last couple years. I started this band after hearing “Irish Londoner” by the Bible Code Sundays, who I get to play with on this upcoming tour!
jay5
Looks like the tour is shaping up into something special now. Who are you looking forward to playing with and any places youre looking forward to going? Being a Aussie have you been over here before? As I said before, Bible Code Sundays are a massive influence on me and our band, so I’m keen as hell to see them. Have also been a huge Neck fan for years so I’m excited to play a show with Leeson! Over the years I’ve made some good “internet” friends in England so with that in mind, I’m stoked to be playing a few shows with my boys from the Lagan and Three Sheets T’Wind – and swapping Office quotes in real life with Brendan O’Prey. I’ve been to England before, but not as an adult. Really excited to see London, watch a Blades game in Sheffield (lifelong Sheffield United fan) and to also see the Scottish villages of Stranraer & Portpatrick, where I will also be attending my cousin’s wedding! If you’re looking for a decent League One side to watch you should get along to Leyton Orient. At time of writing we’re top of the league! If I was looking for a decent League One side to watch, I wouldn’t be a Blades fan.

As the singer and main songwriter of the excellent Between The Wars how did you get into celtic-punk music? Was it through family or other music? I have to hand it to old mate John McCullagh, actually. I was in a bit of a hole, musically. After having kids and whilst I was watching my marriage go down the drain, I didn’t know what to do, I just knew I wanted to be in a band again. I was teaching John’s son (John Lennon McCullagh, now signed to Alan McGee’s label 359 Music in the UK) to play guitar, and John and I would always have banter about Bob Dylan, Celtic, Arctic Monkeys, Oasis etc after the lessons. He showed me a few songs he’d written and we got together a few times and played them. One of those songs was Ride On by Christy Moore. I hadn’t heard Christy before but I am in love with him now. From there, I looked up as much celtic folk, and then celtic folk punk, as I could – I’d been a fan of the Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly for ages but never looked outside of that. I came across the Biblecode Sundays, and my musical life changed.
jay4
I’ve always thought that Australian celtic-punk has been a cut above, both musically and lyrically, bands from Europe and the States. I cant put me finger on it but does the Oz celtic diaspora experience contribute to this or are you all just better writers and musicians? I think we bring our own style to it. There have been a bunch of amazing Australian artists over the years, both in folk, punk and rock music. Personally I’m a huge fan of an old Aussie band called Weddings Parties Anything. I’ve always looked to them for influence, as well as celtic bands that tell stories – and not just stories of drinking. The difference between listening to the Wolfe Tones rather than the Dropkick Murphys means perhaps a little bit more storytelling in the writing. I suppose any country with the legendary Ned Kelly as its symbol of resistance is gonna produce cracking music! Who are the Aussie celtic/folk-punk bands we should look out for? Heard any news on The Rumjacks getting back together? Yep, that’s definitely happening. Caught up with Johnny McKelvey at a show we played with the Real McKenzies and it looks like the album that was made at the start of last year will show its head. As for Aussie bands, you can never go past our good mates the Ramshackle Army. They are just finishing up their new record which should be a cracker. Also a fan of Paddy McHugh and the Goldminers, Handsome Young Strangers and our old mates in Mutiny who have just released a twenty year retrospective.
jay2Theres always been a lot of debate in celtic punk circles about so-called ‘foreign’ bands playing (stealing?) traditional folk music without respecting where it comes from. Do you think it matters much or at all? I don’t know too much about bands that steal or play traditional folk without the respect. We try to pay respect as much as we can to those that have come before – we’ve played the traditional folk song Barbara Allen, for example. I think ultimately music belongs to everyone – the more people that play or listen has got to be a good thing for music in general. No-one has any right to claim music as their own personal property. Providing you know where it comes from, I can’t see an issue – i’m well aware that our music represents bands that have come before like the Wolfe Tones, Dubliners and the Pogues. I know the stories behind most of the songs I listen to, in regards to rebel songs and the like. There is a lot of snobbery around especially about the drinking songs. I mean its not like The Dubliners ever wrote a song about getting pissed is it? i think celtic-punk reflects the good and bad things in the lives of ordinary people. This could be both getting pissed and being a alcoholic and lets face it it very much part of celtic culture whether we approve of it or not.

Without giving the game away too much what can we expect to look forward to on this tour? who are your influences as both a solo artist and as BTWs frontman? I’ve sat down with all of our songs and played around with them acoustically. Expect some songs to be a lot softer, and some songs to remain that raucous way that we’re known for. Influences – hmm, this is a tough one. I have a huge list of influences ranging from the Wolfe Tones, Dubliners and Christy Moore, through to Frank Turner, Matt Pryor, The Boy Least Likely To. Of course, Bruce Springsteen is probably one of my bigger influences – but more in lyrics than anything else. Too many bands these days try to ape Springsteen’s voice and it kind of shits me. I take a lot of influence from literature as well as stories of war. Anything where I can be on the side of the underdog makes me write.
 When you get back home after the tour what you going to be up to with the band? Any plans to keep up the solo stuff? The solo stuff is actually my priority at the moment, I’m in the studio recording a solo record, which will be a collection of songs – some originals, some covers, and a Between The Wars song. I’m really looking forward to that being released early next year. When I get back from the UK, I’m going to sit down with Jason and we’re going to write the next batch of Between The Wars songs. I’m keen on getting back to the roots of our sound after the last record. There’s a band from Melbourne that has actually just got back together called Catgut Mary and I think I’m looking to them as well as mates like the Lagan and Three Sheets T’Wind to give me some influence on the next lot. I’d like the band to get back into the studio early to mid-next year, with a view to a late 2014 release. Looking forward to meeting friends that I only know via facebook, and making new friends. Can’t wait to teach you all the shoey!
jayDiscography:
Carried Away- 2010
The Rats- 2011
The Aces Are Coming- 2011
New Ruins- 2012
Won’t Go Quietly-2013
Tour Details Here:
The ‘I Hear You’re In For A Cold One…’ Tour traverses the land from London to Glasgow throughout October providing solo acoustic  re-imaginings of Between The Wars songs.
Come along for a night of fun folk music about drinking, heartbreak, regret, drinking, drinking and drinking…
Between The Wars:
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