We are delighted to announce our release of this brilliant live CD.
WE BANJO 3
Live in Galway
We Banjo 3 are
David Howley: vocals/guitar/banjo/mandolin.
Martin Howley: banjo/mandolin/vocals
Enda Scahill: banjo/mandolin/vocals
Fergal Scahill: fiddle/guitar/percussion/banjo/viola/vocals
Special Guest Artists:
Damien Mullane - melodeon, accordion
Tom Portman - dobro
Norianna Kennedy - vocals
Nicola Joyce - vocals
Peter Berrill - trumpet
Pat Corless - trombone
Nick Roth - alto sax
Kenny Talkowski - tenor & alto sax lt has been a rollercoaster few years since the 2012 release of We Banjo 3's debut album
Roots of the Banjo Tree . The accolades flowed in for the band‘s second album, Gather the Good In 2014. Cumulatively the albums have racked up awards such as The lrish Times Traditional Album of the year, lrish American News Album of the Year, Livelreland Concert of the Year, Celtic Connections Album of the Year and shortlisted for Songlines Newcomers Album of the Year.
The band's live shows have garnered a stellar reputation and We Banjo 3 are now the top headlining act at lrish and Folk festivals worldwide.
We Banjo 3 recorded this live album at The Rosin Dubh In Galway, over two nights in February 2015. Something very special happened that weekend: an electric atmosphere thick with anticipation, an audience breathlessly on the edge of their seats. and a band at the height of their skills with perfectly hewn songs and visceral energy.
This is We Banjo 3 at its raw, cutting edge best!
Introducing We Banjo 3
More detail at www.webanjo3.com
1. Get Onboard
2. The Bunch of Green Rushes/Salt Creek.
3. Lonesome Road
4. Sail Away Ladies/Because It's There
5. We All Need More Kndness in This World
6. Padraig O'Keefe's/The Foxhunter's Slip Jig/Roddy McDonald's
7. Tickle Me Pink
8. Air Tune
9. Gonna Write Me A Letter
10. Pressed for Time
11. High On A Mountain
12. Shove The Pig's Foot A Little Further In The Fire/ Fine Times In Our House
13. Poor Old Lisa Jane/ Dance Batman Dance
14. Bill Cheatum/ Kitchen Girl/The Donegal Lass
Recorded In their home town of Galway in front of a suitably riotous audience, this much lauded lrish four piece seizes the opportunity to display its chops, and impressive ones they are, too.
There's little or no audience interaction or banter here, just an hour of fast and furious live music that is the very de?nition of a good time.
The band moves seamlessly between traditional pieces and covers, with a typicical slow take on " Long Black Veil " the highlight of the latter. Contrary to the name, there is never more than a brace of banjos in operation at any one time, and augmented by guitar and fiddle as well as brass, accordion and Dobro from a range of guests.
Truth be told, this Is not very much different from what any number of Irish (and other)bands have been doing for a long time.
But traditions need refreshing and We Banjo 3 certainly do that and some . Whether they can move on from this is for the future,
but for now they're fast, furious and fun. Jeremy Searle
Froots Music Magazine Oct 15
Stacked with guests and laid down over two fun-packed nights at the Roisin Dubh, obviously located In Galway. We Banjo Three cement their reputation for trad Irish Americana crossover done with taste and verve. Rich testament to their skill and challenging agenda. Great craic! www.webanjo3.com
The Living Tradition Aug/Sept 15
It's the third album from the Irish quartet, and this time it's a live offering, recorded at The Roisin Dubh in Galway, a great music venue with an electric atmosphere. We Banjo are getting around at the moment - may seem to be playing everywhere - and this CD goes some way to explaining why. Banjos, guitars, fiddles, mandolins, percussion and some fine vocals rip their way through some mostly Americana/bluegrass tinged songs and cracking tunes (including Liz Carroll's Air Tune . Brian Finnegan‘s The Donegal Lass and what sounds like a Flook inspired version of Gordon Duncan‘s Pressed For Time , complete with the obligatory drum solo). There are also some traditional favourites such as Padraig O'Keefe's and The Foxhunter‘s Slip Jig and some old time offerings including Shave The Pig‘s Foot A Little Further In The Fire. It is mostly high octane stuff, full of energy, yet not lacking that essential swing.
Sail Away Ladies/Because It's There is a great set, the band being enhanced by the excellent melodeon playing of Damien Mullane. Elsewhere they are joined by a brass section and other guest musicians and singers.
Being recorded live, you get the added atmosphere this brings, and you can feel the fun vibe, for example in Guy Davis's We All Need More Kindness In We World , feathering the added verse: "We all need mote Banjos in This World'. (Really?)
The live sound is generally top notch, though on a couple of occasions the brass section threatens to overpower the banjos. Otherwise the recording and balance are pretty perfect. It sounds like a greet night was had in Galway - l wish l had been there. Fiona Heywood
The Irish Music Magazine Aug 15
These four lads just keep taking their musical genius to new levels and whatever about the magic of their last two studio albums, there's nothing like the raw emotion and fusion of the live experience. Watch them live in person and you get to experience the humour, dynamism and pure enjoyment as the guys unleash a frenetic energy that unfortunately cannot be captured, bottled and sold; listen to this live album and you got a mighty taster of just how energetic those live gig can be.
The band were joined on stage over two nights of recording with similarly energised musical talent that included Jig lam, Damien Mullane on box, Tom Portman on dobro and the perfect blend to Howleys vocal depth in the form of the delightful Norianna Kennedy and Nicola Joyce. Add a wealth of wind instruments to the line-up and the twelve tracks rock with musical versatility and virtuosity and that added We Banjo punch of showmanship.
Live in Galway can take you on many journeys, from the gut blasting, foot stomping exquisite intricacies in The Bunch of Green Rushes which is fortified by a driving wind and string instrumental interspersed with a delicate ?ddle before dropping you straight into an different type of emotional spectrum with Lonesome Road where David Howley's vocal always delivers just the right soulful intensity that is consistently intertwined and enhanced by the hacking instrumental.
I usually try and pick a few stand outs but the difficulty with anything We Banjo 3 performs is their ability to make each performance a stand out in its own right. I will mention Liz Carroll's Air Tune for its ability to capture a moment in time and totally draw you into its expressive sentiment and Pressed For Time for its purely instinctive capacity to showcase the individuality of talent within a depth of cleverly crafted arrangements that is a totally gripping listen.
Live in Galway is banjo driven rocket fuel and the spark of We Banjo 3 has ignited a musical furnace that is set to burn for a long, long time. Eileen McCabe
The Irish Times 4 stars
When you've forged such a great reputation on the back of your live performances, it makes sense to try to capture that elusive zeitgeist in full flight.
We Banjo 3 have done just that with this recording, bagged in the Róisín Dubh, anchored by the banjos of Enda Scahill, Martin Howley and David Howley, and belatedly scaffolded by the fiddle of Fergal Scahill, along with accordion, dobro and guest vocalists Norianna Kennedy and Nicola Joyce.
Wisely eliding the in-between song banter, We Banjo 3 concentrate on their glistening tunes, with Liz Carroll's Air Tune planted mid-set.
Howley's feverish vocals might occasionally need tethering, but the richness of his tone and sophistication of his phrasing are still show-stoppers. An infusion of no-holds-barred, high-octane live music. Siobhan Long
The Irish Echo
We Banjo 3 is a band comprised of high-caliber, imaginative players whose musical vision strikes a clean balance between Irish traditional and American old-time and bluegrass musics. I've discussed WB3's music here before and think highly of what they do, which is why I'm pleased to write about the group's newest offering, a concert album recorded at Galway's Roisin Dubh called “Live in Galway.” It's a well-hewn effort that maintains the group's high standard and reinforces the legend of their high-energy shows.
We Banjo 3 have built for themselves a fascinating musical niche. Because the American roots element in their music is so strong and so accessible, the group has an obvious appeal to the sizable community of Irish Americans who not only wholeheartedly (and sometimes zealously) embrace their Irishness, but who also have an abiding taste for American roots sounds. The group's love for these sounds is obvious and its handling of them so sound that it makes one wonder if Enda & co. haven't been living in Galway all these years but have actually been hiding out in Appalachia somewhere.
Take “High on a Mountain,” for example, a song learned from a recording of North Carolinian Ola Belle Reed. Singer David Howley sings its “high, lonesome”–style old-time melody with an open bore throat and is accompanied by Norianna Kennedy and Nicola Joyce, whose harmonies absolutely shimmer in beauty. Together with Enda Scahill and Martin Howley's banjos and Fergal Scahill's fiddle, the track has a very convincing – and very attractive – country sensibility.
Not content to simply explore banjo-based folk traditions, the album's opener is “Get Onboard,” a rousing “call to action” to open the live set that the group learned from blues singer Eric Bibb. It sports a full horn arrangement that suggests the blues, but the track is actually something of a roller-coaster of styles, capped by a deeply bluegrass-inspired banjo solo and a fiddle solo that has a strong western swing sensibility, all of which gives the track added dimension and generates excitement.
Indeed, horns are an important part of this album. One of my favorite tracks is “The Bunch of Green Rushes / Salt Creek,” which places familiar Irish tunes played on fiddle and banjo within a nuanced horn arrangement that extends and enhances what might otherwise be a fairly predictable track in terms of harmonic outlook. The horns have a similarly attention-grabbing manner in “Pressed For Time,” a modern composition by the Scottish bagpiper Gordon Duncan that gives it sort of an indie-folk sound.
As in their live show, this album has a lot of variety in terms of keys, styles and tempos which helps carry the album from beginning to end. The tracks I've discussed here thus far have all been up tempo, but tracks like “Air Tune” and “Lonesome Road” are great examples that show how the group is able change pace and bring thoughtful variety to their performances. Both of these tracks are very strong on their own, but they're smartly placed in the course of the album because they help reinforce the notion that we're listening to the live album and that the band has its audience's interests at heart.
“Live in Galway” is an album that conveys the spontaneous sense of a live performance. Audience reactions and sing-alongs coupled with the kind of musical rawness one would hear at a live show set the right tone in terms of “in the moment” authenticity and are major reasons for the album's success. Fans of We Banjo 3 will be very excited to hear this album, as it has the familiar sound the group's studio albums, but with more expansive arrangements and the energy of their live performance. Country music fans who might not know WB3's music will be attracted to this album because it represents a fresh take on familiar sounds. It is only a matter of time before this band gets a fuller taste of mainstream success. Have a listen, especially if your taste skews towards American roots music – you will be delighted! Visit www.webanjo3.com for more information. Daniel Neely's traditional music column appears weekly in the Irish Echo.