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Heath Baumhor & Chris Looney
GAELIC STORM BLURB:
Gaelic Storm is back with their TWELFTH studio album, once
again delivering the foot-stomping, eclectic mix of tunes that has established
the band as one of world music’s premier live acts. "Matching
Sweaters" infuses traditional Celtic music with modern influences,
updating the genre for a new generation of fans raised on rock, country, and
folk. These 12 brand new tracks straddle the line between tradition and
innovation in the world music format, making "Matching Sweaters" an
GAELIC STORM BIO:
After nearly two decades and more than 3,000 live shows, Gaelic
Storm — the chart-topping, multi-national Celtic band — is
looking sharper than ever with their latest release, Matching Sweaters.
The new album mixes traditional Irish music with modern influences, creating a
sound that's as wide-ranging as the band's own audience.
From bluegrass fans and country cowboys to Deadheads, rock &
rollers and Celtic fanatics, Gaelic Storm has built one of the most diverse fan
bases in modern music. Matching Sweaters helps explain the broad appeal.
Rooted in the songwriting of founding members Patrick Murphy and Steve Twigger,
the album moves from drinking songs ("Another Stupid Drinking Song")
to energetic instrumentals ("The Narwhaling Cheesehead") to rootsy
pop/rockers ("Whiskeyed Up and Womaned Out"), gluing everything
together with the spark and spirit of a band that's spent close to 20 years on
"We're a touring band," says percussionist Ryan Lacey,
who joined the lineup in 2003. "That's how this band works. Matching
Sweaters is one of the most complete albums we've done so far, because it
taps into every facet of our live show."
Those live shows date all the way back to the mid-1990s, when
Gaelic Storm kicked off its career as a pub band in Santa Monica, California.
By the end of the decade, the musicians had appeared in the blockbuster film
"Titanic" (where they performed "Irish Party in Third
Class") and laid the groundwork for a career that would eventually find
them topping the Billboard World Chart five times, making appearances at mainstream
music festivals such as Summerfest, Telluride and The Rock Boat Cruise, and
regularly headlining the largest Irish Festivals across the country, all the
while gaining a reputation as a genre-bending Irish band whose songs mix Celtic
traditions with something new and unexpected. Now, with the band's 20th
anniversary on the horizon, they're putting even more emphasis on those newer
"We'll push the envelope, then reel it back in, then push
it again," says Murphy. "There's a lot of variety here, and that's
why we can play country festivals, bluegrass festivals and rock festivals, and
still fit in perfectly with each one. We wanted Matching Sweaters to
reflect that range, so people could buy the CD and hear everything we're able
to do in concert."
When it came time to write Matching Sweaters' 12 songs, Murphy and Twigger teamed up with longtime friend and co-writer Steve
Wehmeyer. Together, the three found inspiration in everything from old Irish
newspapers ("The Rustling Goat Gang," whose details were gleaned from
an article about a vanishing goat herd from Waterford) to bits of conversation
overheard in local pubs ("Paddy's Rubber Arm").
In addition to writing new songs, the musicians have continued
to play new markets every year, taking the chance to stretch their boundaries — and widen their audience — whenever possible. It helps
keep them on their toes.
"Playing for a new crowd is great," says Twigger.
"It takes you back to those early days, where you've got something to
prove. We could just do Irish festivals, but why not play a crossover show
where 90% of the audience doesn't know you, and you have to make them
know you? That's what makes your band good."
Matching Sweaters follows in that hard-working tradition,
dishing up all the ingredients fans have come to expect from Gaelic Storm — the drinking songs, sea
shanties, furiously-strummed instrumentals and sing-along melodies — while spiking the mix with
newer flavors. Eat it up, but make sure to save some room! There's plenty more
where this came from.