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Irish Appalachia


Veteran Irish folksters The Chieftains
  • Veteran Irish folksters The Chieftains

Believe it or not, there is a historical connection between Celtic folk music and Appalachian bluegrass. The Chieftains, premier propagators of Ireland's musical heritage, have reunited the two traditions in their latest album, Down the Old Plank Road: The Nashville Sessions. The album features guest artists like Vince Gil, Alison Krauss and Bla Fleck, and a long list of backwoods, buck-toothed yokel anthems garnished with a potato wedge. It's something like an Irish O Brother, Where Art Thou?

If you're willing to drop upwards of $100 bucks to see old fogeys like The Stones or The Who strain back muscles smashing a Gibson at the end of a 45-minute single-set ...than surely paying $27 to $43 for a slightly less-wrinkled set of whisky-chugging Dubliners won't be a stretch. The septet recently lost a member, Derek Bell, but undaunted, the remaining six come to town this Saturday night to perform at the Pikes Peak Center. Unlimited draught Guinness is provided free to all concertgoers. Just kidding.

But seriously, the music is genuine fun, and unlike those redundant, repetitive Irish drinking songs, it will keep your attention for more than 15 minutes. The band, now celebrating their 40th anniversary, has won six Grammies over the years for their eclectic renderings of Irish folk music. Plus, these veterans still know how to bang it out in style -- silver hair and all. The guest singers, however, are a CD-only enhancement, so don't expect to see them at the show.

-- Adam Krefting

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