|Fire in the Glen doesn't hold back at its performances, where audiences can't seem to help tapping their toes, clapping and singing along and even trying their hand (foot?) at step-dancing!!
These dedicated musicians are making a bold effort to bring Irish, Scottish and Maritimes music, as well as their own brand of "Celtic eclectic" accents, to southcentral Pennsylvania. A Fire in the Glen performance means a lively presentation of blistering fiddle tunes, mug-thumping pub songs and soulful ballads and airs. Now with a loyal following in their native Lancaster County, bandmates Tom Knapp (fiddle, bodhran, backing vocals), Michael Filippo (lead guitar, vocals) and Amanda Wells (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, percussion) are expanding to new horizons.
It was a stroke of fortune (OK, an accident -- ask Tom to tell you about it sometime) that brought Fire in the Glen together, with John Varner serving the first two years as singer/guitarist and Chet Williamson, Jason Mundok and Aaron Gagne helping to redefine the band's sound over the next decade. Since the band's professional debut in March 1999, the group has opened for the likes of Lunasa, Great Big Sea, Tarras and bagpiper Kieran O'Hare. They performed at the Festival Club at Cape Breton's highly esteemed Celtic Colours International Festival, the Celtic Fling in Mount Hope, Pa., and at countless pubs, festivals, wedding receptions, retirement homes and other social occasions.
The band's first CD, On the Road to Lisdoonvarna, is sold out after receiving lots of positive feedback for its lively appeal. Also gone is the band's EP, Aaargh! The Susquehanna Pirates!, which featured some of the band's original work, and Pirates, Wakes & Whiskey, the band's second full-length CD that boasted 70 minutes of music, including several tracks recorded live at Bube's Brewery in Mount Joy, Pa. Still available is Let the Wind Blow High, which was released in March 2005, and their most recent CD, Shout 'til the Break of Day, which was released in 2010.
If you're interested in a band which blends traditional Irish, Scottish and Cape Breton styles with its own "Celtic eclectic" approach, check out Fire in the Glen. You can reach the band by calling Tom at 717-396-9293 or by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit their website at http://fireintheglen.com.
So, who are these people, anyway?
fiddle, bodhran, backing vocals
Tom studied classical violin during his formative years but locked it away in a dusty closet immediately after graduating from high school. Years later he released it from captivity, dubbed it "fiddle" and began a wild love affair with Irish music. He began attending Irish sessions in the Harrisburg area and started the first local sessions in Lancaster County before deciding (quite by accident) to start this band.
He co-founded Fire in the Glen in March 1999 with local musician John Varner, later working with singer/guitarists Chet Williamson and Jason Mundok and singer/drummer Aaron Gagne before landing the current lineup. The band has released four CDs and an EP to date.
Tom has played bodhran on albums by Harmony Hill and Varner Lynch, and he has performed on stage with Maggie Drennon, the Rogues, Enter the Haggis, Clannamore, Laune Rangers, Knotwork Band, Woad Women and Arcona Reel Band. When he's not performing, Tom is a reporter with the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era, Lancaster County's daily newspaper.
A Lancaster County native, he is founder and editor of Rambles.NET, a prominent online review magazine, and he's the proud husband of Katharine McGourty Knapp.
lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, percussion
Amanda is Chester County-born and southern Lancaster County-raised. A singer-songwriter, she began her informal music education at the ripe age of 10 under the watchful eyes of musical friends of the family and her late father. Although Amanda has a fondness and appreciation for most genres of music, her early and most prominent influences were bluegrass and folk.
Amanda moved to Lancaster after high school to pursue an education in art, but eventually fell into the grips of adulthood and a full-time job. After taking a "semi-permanent hiatus" from art, she focused on songwriting and performing, and in 2005 released a rough first CD. She has since recorded and released a professionally produced second album and has been performing with husband and metal front man, Robb Graves. Amanda was also invited to be a touring and album vocalist for the Indiana-based fantasy metal band, Lorenguard.
Primarily a guitarist and vocalist, Amanda dabbles with piano and harmonica, and she will attempt to play any stringed instrument laid in front of her. Amanda also runs her independently owned fantasy- and medieval-themed costume business, Equip This.
lead guitar, vocals
A Lancaster resident for eight years, Michael co-founded the Dwindling Farmboys with Jeff Bryson in 2005 and the Bon Accord Trio with Chris de Vitry and Trixi Greiner in 2007. He plays guitar and banjo, and he sings in a neo-traditional style reflecting a cross-pollination of musical influences.
Michael previously lived in Boston, where he was exposed to traditional Irish music through musician friends and in local pubs, performing in all-night sessions that also featured the likes of legendary Donegal fiddler Tommy Peoples, banjoist Kevin Griffin and uilleann piper Paddy Keenan. It was at this time Michael began playing old-time music in pub sessions and house parties. He also learned to play the banjo clawhammer style. All this was a departure from Michael's blues rock and jam band electric days, gradually transforming him into a trad-rat. (He still digs Zappa's Hot Rats.)
Though he lived briefly in Reading, Sinking Springs and Willow Grove as a young child, he hails from the Hudson River town of Sleepy Hollow: home of the Headless Horseman.
He lives in Lancaster with wife Ana and son Oskar.
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