The Killdares,
(self-produced, 2002)

Celtic-pop, alternative-rock, killer-keltic, cutting-edge; the labels are endless, and yet the Killdares have managed to be all that and more with what appears to be, at least from the audience viewpoint, cool grace and rock solid performances. By playing 150 shows annually, including a nightly, month-long gig at the State Fair of Texas each October, they have developed a phenomenal fan base. Live shows are open season for masses of dancing, singing, jumping fans that just can't seem to get enough and will stay all night as long as the band continues to play.

The album's opening tune is the perfect example of Killdare magic. Called "Cutting Bracken," their arrangement of "Cutting Bracken," "Dram Before You Go," "Helen O'Grady's" and "Paddy's Leather Britches" takes "traditional" where it's never been before with hard-core percussion, white-hot fiddle, smoking bass and a completely unhinged lead guitar. It's sort of like taking Granny to the dance and watching her outdance the crowd. Just when you think it couldn't get any more intense, they turn it up another notch.

The slowest song on the album is a cover of "Leaving on a Jet Plane," and it finds a way to warp speed in typical Killdare fashion.

Front man and drummer Tim Smith is also the band's lead vocalist. Jim Folstad plays rhythm guitar and Highland bagpipes, and Ed Walewski plays bass guitar. Fiddle player and backing vocalist Linda Relph has since left the band, as has Roy Fletcher, lead guitarist and backing vocalist.

- Rambles
written by Sheree Morrow
published 13 December 2003