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According to the Census approximately 34.5 million Americans claim to be at least partially Irish. This makes Irish Americans the second most common ancestry falling behind German. However, on March 17, Saint Patrick’s Day seems to bring out the Irish in many despite their actual heritage.
Local singer-songwriter, Teague Alexy, has recently teamed up with Trampled by Turtles’ mandolin player Erik Berry to release a collection of traditional Irish folk songs as well as a couple of originals on the aptly titled album, “Irish American.” The album also features some familiar names such as Trampled by Turtles fiddle player Ryan Young, Nicholas David, Jillian Rae, Ian Alexy, as well as members of Pert’ Near Sandstone and Pistol Whipping Party Penguins. For those wanting to get some traditional Irish music going in the next week, this album will certainly do the trick.
When it comes to the approach of this album, it holds close to the traditional Irish sound these songs were meant to be. It’s safe to say these songs stay on track with acoustic arrangements versus a band like Flogging Molly or heaven forbid Metallica’s version of Whiskey In The Jar. Of course they did get a cover of Whiskey In The Jar on this album, but it’s rather mellow and soft aside from some accompanying background vocals.
There are two originals on the album, the first is titled “Miss K’s Fancy.” This short but sweet instrumental Irish jig highlights the mandolin of Berry. In contrast, the other original titled “Irish American” is more of a waltz that brings out Alexy’s calm and soothing voice. These two factors between the mandolin and Alexy’s vocals keep this material feeling authentic and intimate. It nearly begs to be played in a dark pub while customers sip on Guinness and Jameson and sing along during some of the choruses.
A few of the traditional tunes include: Mountain Dew, The Moonshiner, The Wild Colonial Boy, and Rosin the Bow. The final track is “The Parting Glass,” a minimalist but intense take on the song that truly brings Alexy’s vocals to the forefront. Some selected tracks can be found on Youtube.
There will be a few chances in the area to see this material performed live. Teague Alexy and Erik Berry will be performing in Two Harbors, MN at Castle Danger Brewery on Saturday, March 10 and also at Lutsen, on March 16 for the Duluthsen Music & Ski Festival.