After 10 albums, and nearly 3,000 live shows, Gaelic Storm — the
chart-topping, multi-national Celtic band — is
dishing up a hearty serving of Full Irish. The greatest-hits album spans
the bulk of the band's career from 2004-2014, mixing crowd favorites and
concert staples with three previously unreleased recordings.
Gaelic Storm has straddled the line between tradition and
innovation for nearly two decades. Led by founding members Patrick Murphy and
Steve Twigger, the group infuses traditional Celtic music with modern
influences, updating the genre for a new generation of fans raised on rock,
country and folk. Along the way, the musicians have topped the Billboard World
Chart four times, appeared in the blockbuster film "Titanic" (where
they performed "Irish Party in Third Class," an unreleased song made
available for the first time on Full Irish) and earned a reputation as a
"We have earned every single one of our fans, one at a
time," Murphy says. "There's no sponsorship. No corporation is
pulling strings. Every fan is made by us playing a show and shaking hands and
learning names. We've become friends with so many of them. When someone at a
show tells me they've never seen Gaelic Storm before, I say, 'Welcome to the family.'"
Full Irish pays tribute to the group's diverse journey.
The album features sea shanties and drinking songs, traditional tunes and
originals, instrumental workouts and vocal showcases. "Whiskey in the
Jar," another brand new recording, even harks back to Gaelic Storm's early
days as a pub band in Santa Monica, California, long before the group played
the Telluride Festival, the Rock Boat cruise, or high-profile theaters in
countries like France and Spain. Together, these 15 songs celebrate the sunny
side of life, urging listeners to raise their pint glass and stomp their feet.
"When you go eat pub food in Ireland," explains Steve
Twigger, "you can order the 'Full Irish," which is a combination of
mushrooms, beans, bacon, sausage, black pudding, white pudding… It's
the works, basically. That idea seemed to represent everything about this
album. This is the works. Everything we do is represented."
Regularly playing more than 120 shows a year, Gaelic Storm has
built a loyal following as diverse as the band's own music. Fans of traditional
Irish music have championed the group for years, but so have fans of
harder-edged Celtic rock. On tour, Gaelic Storm is just as likely to play a large
rock club as a plush theater. The band makes regular appearances on cruises,
too, joining artists like the Barenaked Ladies and Michael Franti.
"Our audience spans the whole spectrum," Twigger says.
"We'll play a rock venue one night, then a performing arts center that
might've hosted a ballet performance the night before. We've got hardcore fans
who love our energy, Jimmy Buffet fans who love our message, folk fans who love
our stories. Everyone can appreciate it, and that's been the secret to our
"Looking back over our past albums is like flipping through
a photo album," adds percussionist Ryan Lacey, who joined the band in
2003. "Each record was made during a different time and a completely
different phase of our lives. What hasn't changed is the message. We want everybody
to have a good time, to enjoy themselves. It's the sort of message that
everyone can get behind."
Although Full Irish takes a look backward, Gaelic Storm
is still moving ahead at full speed. There's another studio album in the works,
as well as plenty of tour dates on the books. Hungry for more rule-breaking Celtic
music? Full Irish will satisfy your appetite… even
if it's just an appetizer for what's to come.