The hard working selection committee has finally made up their collective mind and are pleased to announce the local and regional performers for 2017. There are some familiar faces, as well as some newcomers. We trust that there will be music and song for all to enjoy.
Dallas-based 5 Second Rule has kept toes tapping since 2008 with clever, lively mash-ups of traditional Irish dance tunes, classic rock and other styles. They return to NTIF for the 8th straight year to delight audiences with their big acoustic sound and unique variety.
Members include Michelle Feldman on fiddle, David Lovrien (piano, whistles, sax), Paul Dryer (guitar, mandolin, banjo, harmonica), and Rick Holt (bodhran & drums). All four members also enjoy teaching as a part of North Texas' vibrant Irish music educational programs.
BEHAN is all about family – family by blood and family by friendship. Anyone who has heard BEHAN has become an honorary member of their family. From the grandparents to the youngest grandchild, they have always encouraged audiences to join in and share their music (the boys need help with the lyrics sometimes). BEHAN includes brothers Barney, Michael, and Joe Behan with brother-in-law Joe Morris and lifelong friend Rusty George.
BEHAN’s influences include The Clancy Brothers, The Dubliners, The Irish Rovers, Irish Rogues, Bing Crosby and Daddy Behan’s predilection to inundate their young ears with jigs, reels and barn dances from old 78’s. Somehow, the punk music scene, liturgical music and the Arlington Drum and Bugle Corp are factors. Combine these influences with sibling rivalry and a Guinness or two and there’s bound to be a raucous time. BEHAN – Gaelic for fun.
Beyond The Pale delivers a wild ride with stunning vocal harmonies and dazzling acoustic instrumental flare. Weaving traditional music together with original and contemporary songs and world instrumental pieces, this quartet effortlessly spins out fiery reels and jigs, original songs, both humorous and haunting and some familiar selections with a celtic twist. This is music from around the world, including Celtic, Bluegrass, Contemporary Folk, Mexican Polkas, Eastern European and Scandanavian tunes, Americana and even a little Texas Swing! And the entire band sings, from well-crafted original songs to Beyond The Pale’s unique versions of contemporary songs ranging from 1930’s music hall songs to stunning a cappella pieces.
Expect the unexpected as Beyond The Pale cooks up a tasty acoustic stew on fiddle, flute, hammered dulcimer, accordion, guitar, bodhran, whistle, concertina and saxophone. Discover your roots and expand your borders with this highly versatile never-a-dull moment band! www.beyond-the-pale.com
The musical engine of CLEGHORN is renowned fiddler Dylan Cleghorn and his father, the legendary Texas guitarist John Cleghorn. CLEGHORN's unique brand of “Celtic rock” mixes their original songwriting with high-energy fiddle and bagpipe tunes.
The Celtic Music News review of CLEGHORN's album states: "The robust and pristine sound of Dylan Cleghorn's fiddle is wrapped in heavy pop rock rhythms that approach anthemic intensity. John Cleghorn, adding his original songwriting, screaming guitar riffs and golden vocal melodies, reveals himself as a man who truly knows rock."
The performances of CLEGHORN have enamored audiences and stirred up festivals across North America. Dylan and John have been acclaimed as charismatic performers who even go as far as leaving the stage to play among the crowd during their concerts.
CLEGHORN promotes an energetic and uplifting show for all ages that should not be missed.
Emerald Accent Irish Music was founded in the spring of 2010 for the enhancement of the Celtic cultures through music in South Mississippi but has since spread its influence throughout the southern states. Performing for dances, concerts, pubs, and receptions, Emerald Accent is the well-rounded band for those who enjoy Irish and Scottish music. The band performs 30-35 concerts annually and has been the official performing band for the Jackson Irish Dancers since 2015. You can hear Emerald Accent at Fenian’s Irish Pub in Jackson, Mississippi the first Thursday of every month.
Emerald Accent includes members Clark Lowery (vocals, guitar, banjo, bouzouki), Gail Fox (fiddle), Tom McCandlish (bodhran, vocals). With backgrounds in Irish, Bluegrass, Blues and Classical, the band brings freshness to the genre while priding itself in the Irish and Scottish traditional styles.
The band’s work includes two CD’s: an Irish CD called “Laurel Green” recorded in the summer of 2012 and a Scottish CD released September 2015. Both CD’s are available for download on our website, Facebook page, CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon.
The Irish Rogues have been recognized as “Dallas’ Premier Irish Pub Band” for over thirty years. Originally formed by John Hodgins, accordionist from County Offaly, the band has performed continuously, entertaining crowds at pubs and festivals with their infectious style, good humor and raw energy that is the Irish pub tradition.
The Irish Rogues began their career in 1981 at the famous Nick Farley’s Lounge, Dallas’ first Irish pub and fondly referred to by patrons as the “old NFL”. The band continues to perform regularly at Dallas’ renowned Trinity Hall and McKinney’s favorite, The Celt. Members have been featured performers at the annual North Texas Irish Festival since it's inception in 1982.
The band plays a rich collection of favorite sing-a-longs and ballads with brilliant instrumentals. Their instrumentation include fiddle, guitar, bouzouki, tenor banjo, mandolin, five string banjo and accordion. Three part harmonies reflect the beauty of the music while retaining that rough edge of the Irish pub. While much of their music pre-dates the turn of the century, the songs are widely known and loved wherever Irish music and culture are celebrated. The Irish Rogues are: Earnie Taft, David Sparks and Steve Harrison.
Jeff’s interest in music began at an early age, trained on classical violin, then switching to guitar in his early teens, he learned to sing and play traditional songs of Ireland and Scotland.
He founded the Carlisle Folk Music Club on the northern fringe of the English Lake District and the Scottish borders. Many of the top touring Celtic performers of the day sang and played there. Jeff pitched in as a support artist to these great talents and soon built a repertoire and a reputation as a fine Celtic performer in his own right. He was soon on the road singing and playing in folk clubs and concerts, TV and radio, all over England and Scotland.
After Jeff relocated to the USA, he put down roots in Racine, WI, where he settled into his music again and was soon performing all over the region, in pubs, clubs, concerts and festivals, including TV and radio. He has performed at some of the most prestigious Irish Festivals throughout the Midwest and beyond. This year, in August, will be his seventeenth consecutive appearance on a main stages at the largest Irish Festival in the world, in Milwaukee, WI.
Jeff is delighted to be invited back to Dallas, in 2017 to perform at NTIF (North Texas Irish Festival) for his third consecutive appearance. A seasoned performer with 8 CD’s to his credit, Jeff’s music includes a mix of traditional Irish and Scottish ballads and pub songs, and classic Acoustic American folk songs that suit a broad palette of people’s musical tastes.
Bagpipes AND vocals. Songs AND tunes. Respect for Celtic tradition while redefining Celtic rock. No Screaming, just powerful harmonies and great musicianship.
Deanna Smith sings like an angel, Richard Kean pipes like the devil, add Linda Relph on fiddle, a bad ass rhythm section and a whole lot of fun and you get Jiggernaut.
So the question stands "Is Jiggernaut a Celtic band with a rock-n-roll sensibility or a rock-n-roll band with a Celtic sensibility? Who cares, either way Jiggernaut ROCKS!!!
For nearly three decades, the trio JIGSAW has been one of Texas’ most prominent traditional Irish music ensembles. Instrumentally, JIGSAW is talent rich, blending a large variety of instruments and vocal harmonies. Kevin Alewine plays flute, guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, whistle, bodhran and sings. Peggy Fleming plays fiddle and is the lead vocalist of the group while husband Ken plays tenor banjo, button accordion, Anglo concertina, guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, whistle and also sings. As the name implies, JIGSAW interlocks multiple talents to present traditional Irish music in its most authentic form.
In addition to their music, JIGSAW’s members have been leaders in the promotion of Celtic music in the region. Ken and Peggy Fleming are co-founders of both the North Texas Irish Festival and the Southwest Celtic Music Association (SCMA) of which Ken was the original director and president respectively.
Ken also founded the Traditional Irish Music Education Society (TIMES) and is the founder/director of the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat. Kevin was a former director of the North Texas Irish Festival and a former president of SCMA. Both Peggy and Kevin were also former editors of SCMA’s Ceili newsletter.
Jim Flanagan a perennial favorite at NTIF returns with some new songs and stories. Jim is a native of Ballyvourney, in the heart of the Muskerry Gaeltacht (an Irish speaking area) in County Cork, now living in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. An anthropologist, and recently retired from the University of Southern Mississippi, Jim has performed at major festivals around the country (Milwaukee, Dallas, Atlanta, New Orleans, Savannah, Austin, Jackson and Butte).
Singing old songs and contemporary traditionalist songs in English and in Irish, his material selection is varied and well-grounded in many areas of Irish culture and tradition. There is definitely something for everyone: Love, emigration, tragedy, melancholy, and comic relief. Over the years, his regular pub performances in New Orleans and Jackson (MS) have helped establish him as a significant force in Irish music in the Southeastern United States.
"In addition to being a fine academic, Jim also is a fine balladeer and guitarist with an extensive repertoire of traditional Irish songs.” - Mick Moloney .
LessMore has had to withdraw from the festival for personal reasons. Hopefully they will be back next year.
Michael William Harrison presents as a solo folk singer whose repertoire features songs from America, Ireland, Scotland and Canada, and, includes songs about war, love, life, and especially the sea.
Michael has, and will continue to perform shows for both adults and children at Celtic and folk festivals ‘round about. Be it a rousing tale of the sea or a gentle finger-picked ballad – there is a song for everyone. Come hear and enjoy this fine folk singer.
Tom Knapp of Rambles Magazine wrote, “Michael William Harrison is the sort of authentic folk artist who keeps the genre alive and kicking. This is the core of folk music, just a singer and his music. If we don't keep musicians like Michael William Harrison sitting on their stools and strumming their guitars, all the big band projects around won't keep folk music alive.”
The North Texas Caledonian Pipes and Drums is an award-winning competition bagpipe and drum band. It is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the music and culture of Scotland. The band can be heard at festivals and other performances around North Texas as well as at highland games across the country where they proudly represent the North of Texas area.
The NTCPD is also available for hire for weddings, funerals, company functions, or any occasion (solo piper, mini band, full band). Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (NTC) PD8-5840
For more information, please visit our stand in the Automobile Building, or online at www.ntcpd.com and facebook.com/ntcpd. Our recordings are available at the Performer Products stand, our NTIF booth, through iTunes and cdbaby.com.
Óga, a contemporary folk trio from DFW, dynamically expands the boundaries of tradition roots music. With unmistakable origins in Irish trad, this group combines Django, Jazz, Traditional, Modern & original compositions to create a remarkable sound.
This band features Fiddler/Vocalist Hailey Sandoz, Guitarist/Vocalist Joseph Carmichael & Bassist Nathan Phelps. Óga recently debuted Fingerprints and received outstanding reviews from International Radio Live Ireland plus magazines Western Way & The Ceili.
Óga will have you up on your feet and groovin' to the music. ogaband.com.
The Piper Jones Band is made up of three friends who met in Texas and played extensively in the Texas Celtic music scene starting in the mid-90's. EJ Jones on pipes, Frances Cunningham on bouzouki, and Wolf Loescher on percussion, spent many years playing in separate bands and they now work together playing festivals all across the country. NTIF is a homecoming for them where they can bring their expertise in Scottish piping, Irish, Breton, and Appalachian tunes and songs, with Inter-Celtic World percussion. The three aspire to play their music with a joyful abandon and power that comes from many years experience.
EJ, Frances, and Wolf recorded a CD together entitled Crossing the Sabine in 2016 in Austin, TX. It is the sequel to the 2015 release, The Wandering Stars, which was played on NPR's Thistle and Shamrock program as well as the BBC's Pipeline program.
Poor Man's Fortune is North America's premier exponent of the music of Brittany, but have never stood still long enough to be categorized as a Breton band.
Combining traditional Breton, Irish, Scottish & Cajun music with original tunes and even more original ideas, Poor Man's Fortune is 'World Music' in a world of its own. Breton melodies floating over Cajun songs, Bagpipes on 2-steps and waltzes, plinns, jigs, an dros, ridées, gavottes, made-up folk dances, songs of joy, sadness and murder... all featuring an incredible assemblage of traditional and modern instruments, some of which were invented by the band, including bouzouki, dulcitare, biniou kozh, bombarde, highland pipes, small pipes, fiddle, hurdy-gurdy, accordion, cor anglais, electric bass and all manner of drums, wooden flutes & whistles.
Based in Austin, 'Peoples Republic of Texas', Its lineup includes musicians from France, Scotland and deep in the heart of Cajun country.
Sarah Copus has been a harp student at the North Texas School of Irish Music since 2012, and is a founding member of its Gaelic Youth Chorus. Her first recordings in Gaelic appear on the album “Winter Air” in 2013. Sarah has been featured as a soloist in concerts through the Gaelic Youth Chorus with major touring artists like Celtic Woman and The Irish Tenors. Last July, she sang a duet with Emmet Cahill of Celtic Thunder during his performance in Dallas. She has also performed with Irish musical sensations, Téada as an opening act for their Irish Christmas in America tour.
Sarah is an active member in the Texas Celtic music scene, having given 160 performances in the past 2 years with various bands, including the School of Irish Music's Gaelic Chorus, Festival Band, and Sarah's own band Innisfall. Venues included The Celt, Trinity Hall, NTIF, Celtic Christmas Dallas, Kimbellfest: Scotland, Poor David's Pub, among others. In May, 2015, Sarah accepted the award for "Best Vocal Album" at a live presentation during the Zone Music Awards Show in New Orleans for her family's album "Trail Of Dreams". Sarah sang and played harp for the audience of over 700 attendees.
The Selkie Girls have quickly and firmly established themselves as one of the premier folk music acts in the North Texas region.
The band (Alli Johnson: guitar, vocals, Jaycie Skidmore: penny whistles/flutes/vocals, Dave Ervin: guitar/mandolin/vocals, Joel Black: upright and fretless acoustic bass, vocals, Martin McCall: percussion, and Linda Mudd: harp have performed at the most sought-after events throughout the state, with featured performances at the North Texas Irish Festival, Austin Celtic Festival, Texas Scottish Festival, the Kimbell Art Museum, and some of the premier local pubs as well.
With so much great music in the DFW area, it’s worth noting that the Selkie Girls offer a unique perspective on Celtic and folk music. Their take on the Celtic music tradition, built upon lush vocal harmonies and dynamic instrumental arrangements, always captivates their audiences. The band’s repertoire includes ancient laments, contemporary ballads, traditional Irish tunes, Scottish Gaelic folk sung in the native tongue, and foot-stomping jigs and reels.
Singing Pilgrims is an intergenerational trio performing traditional Celtic and original music that is so much more than melody and rhythm. Their songs are personal expressions of the path they have walked together for over two decades and their story is woven into the fabric of each tune.
The Singing Pilgrim band members have been making music together for over 20 years--beginning when Bria and Natasha were small children in “The Apple Mountain Harp Kids” ensemble directed by Jeanne. Their musical journey morphed through their growing up years as they played on concert stages, radio, television, festivals and private events leading them to finally form the Singing Pilgrims trio in 2014. Since then, they have performed all over the nation and have recently traveled to Ireland, sharing their music in pubs and concert venues all along the way.
The long, shared history of the band members brings a unique perspective and expression to their music. High powered fiddle tunes, soulful ballads in three part harmony and heartfelt stories fill out a Singing Pilgrims program with all three ladies taking a turn on the Celtic harp--the instrument that brought them together and solidified their life-long friendship.
Skeleton McKee brings the best of rock and rollicking Celtic roots/folk/rock, pub songs, and a wee bit of trad, blues and country. This band will give you a performance that keeps your toes tapping and your hands clapping with a dose of humor on the side. In less than 2 years, this band has made a big impact on the DFW Celtic music scene, with Celtic infused entertainment featuring great vocal harmonies, precision instrumentation and intricate rhythms. Skeleton McKee comprises jovial, experienced musicians who combine impressively diverse backgrounds to deliver the cream of the Celtic tradition. Once you experience a live show, you’ll know why their slogan is “All For Fun and Fun For All!”
Their musicianship is showcased in the wide variety of instrumentation that includes piano accordion, bodhran, mandolin, banjos, electric guitars, bouzouki, acoustic guitar, harmonica, saxophone, electric bass and drums.
Please visit our website at www.skeletonmckee.com for our up-to-date gig schedule, band photos and CD sales. You can also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Skeleton-McKee-1428351937478704. Send us your comments at email@example.com!
String Theory is an exciting new Celtic folk band in the North Texas area that specializes in high energy Irish trad tunes and songs. Ranked in the top 5 Best Irish Bands in Texas by the Dallas Observer in 2016, the band features Celtic finger style guitarist and music professor Jesse Ramirez, national award winning Irish fiddler Nathan Kennedy, Meg Tapley on flute, whistle and vocals, plus their rhythm section: Bill Zauner on upright bass, and Matt Cook on bodhran, octave mandolin, and vocals.
The band premiered in 2015 with performances at The Celt and Trinity Hall and has since had over 50 shows between those two pubs. They have also performed in many other venues, festivals, retreats, and weddings. They performed in 2015 at the O’Flaherty Retreat, and will be featured in the upcoming McKinney music festival in summer 2017. They were a featured performer at the North Texas Irish Festival in 2016, as well as Irishfest Atlanta. The Band was the headline performer at the 2016 City of Allen’s Shamrock Shindig St. Patrick’s festival. They also have an active Celtic wedding schedule. Connect with them via String Theory Irish on all social media.
String Theory just released their first CD, self titled. It includes many upbeat Irish dance tunes to get your toes tapping, wonderful folk marches and waltzes that shows the bands deep musical training, and some of the most haunting Irish ballads and airs you may hear.
The Here and Now, based out of Austin, Tx, is an exciting band made up of Chris Buckley (fiddle), Niamh Fahy (fiddle), Rob Forkner (Bodhrán) and Joseph Carmichael (guitar). All accomplished musicians in their own right, together they create a rich and captivating sound full of energy that presents Irish traditional music in a contemporary context.
Drawing from each of their backgrounds in Irish music, with a geography that spans the United States and Ireland, The Here & Now keep tradition at the heart of their music.! ! Niamh Fahy - fiddle! Chris Buckley - fiddle! Rob Forkner - bodhran! Joseph Carmichael - guitar!
Houston's premier traditional Irish band, The Jig Is Up!, has performed at festivals and venues across Texas and the Southeast and has been broadcast nationally on NPR's Thistle and Shamrock and across across Ireland on Kieran Hanrahan’s RTE's Ceili House.
The band plays innovative arrangments of traditional tunes and chooses songs from both the Irish and American repertoire, always performing them in traditional Irish style. Robert Shaddox, with his clear tenor voice, is the band's main vocalist and a skilled bodhrán player. Diehl Moran's inventive fiddle and banjo provide grace and drive to the music.
Larry Mallette is the featured flute and whistle player and resident composer. Matt Lewis' skilled guitar sparks the dance tunes and adds lyrical beauty to the ballads he and Robert sing. Judd Heartsill’s driving accordion fills out the band's big sound and provides the “nyah,” while his nautical songs spice up the show. Whether playing flute tunes from Sligo and Roscommon, fiddle tunes from Clare, or polkas and slides from Cork and Kerry, The Jig is Up! will set your feet tapping.
Founded in Houston in 1994, The Rogues created a new genre of Celtic music with exceptionally well-played pipes and driving percussion. From street festivals to Scottish Highland games to performing with a symphony orchestra, The Rogues deliver a commanding performance.
Starting at the Texas Renaissance Festival in 1994, the band soon began performing out of state and added Scottish Highland Games and Celtic festivals and corporate shows. The band has produced it's own theater show called Celtic Crossroads and performed as a guest artist with the Air Force Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC and had music featured in the 2011 film "Kill the Irishman.".
The Rogues have performed in Las Vegas, Scotland, Greece, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Canada, several cruises and all over the United States. Members of the band have competed all over North America and won 1st place at the World Pipe Band Championships. The Rogues have produced 10 albums and 2 DVDs to date and are listed in the official Grammy book for several nominations, though falling short of the final 5. The Rogues have a tradition of supporting charities, sometimes holding their own fundraisers supporting individuals and causes for soldiers. The band even has it's own tartan in the Scottish Register of Tartans.
Therese Honey’s childhood fascination with the harp blossomed into an exciting and successful career as a full-time harpist, recording artist and teacher.
She has performed as solo harpist with the Chieftains, has been featured at the Chicago Irish Festival, the Milwaukee Irish Festival, the annual Carolan Festival in Keadue, Co. Roscommon, in addition to NTIF, O'Flaherty's Irish Music Retreat, the San Antonio Highland Games, and the Sherwood Celtic Music Festival. She is a two time first-place winner of the Gulf Coast Celtic Harp Competition.
A Waterbug recording artist, Ms. Honey has released five solo recordings and has published several books of harp arrangements of traditional music.
Her recent recording, “Summer End”, received rave reviews. Chris Spector, writing in the Midwest Record, said, "This solo Celtic harpist, whose chops have taken her all the way to performances with The Chieftains, gets so into the music you feel this is harp music like you’ve never heard it. Honey goes well above and beyond making this more of an experience than a record. Honey could single handedly usher in a new era of contemporary acoustic music that does not need any flag waving genre banners to herald the arrival. Killer stuff throughout.” www.theresehoney.net
The North Texas-based musicians of Threadneedle St have been together for 20 years, delivering strong traditional instrumental music from all the Celtic nations with a driving pulse that makes it ideal for dancing.
Whistle player Peggy Turner, fiddler Melina Shaffer, percussionist Jim Brunke and guitarist Bobby Bush have appeared at many venues in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, and at large national festivals such as the Chicago Celtic Festival and the Dublin Irish Festival. In addition the members have been with the North Texas Irish Festival from its beginning.
The band has produced two well-received CDs, Having a Tune and Underground.
Troen has been bringing their own brand of high-energy Irish music since 2002. Over the years they have worked to blend the excitement of their favorite Celtic tunes with the melody and lyricism of their own compositions.
It has been said that growing up together has given their music a unique energy and cohesiveness. Troen's performances have been described as everything from explosive and energetic to melodic and endearing. They long to leave their audiences entertained and inspired.
Paul Hobbs on fiddle
Yakyn Willcutts on button accordion, keyboard and vocals
Ray Tyler on uillean pipes
Jair Willis on guitar
Now in their 21st season, a steady slate of performances throughout Ireland, Scotland, and the US have made Tullamore one of the Heartland's premiere Celtic bands. Fueled by Rachel Gaither’s stellar vocals and hot fiddling, Mary Hanover’s beautiful voice and personal charm, and Mark Clavey’s creative genius and love of folk and Celtic music, Tullamore’s sound is unmistakable - an American-folk body with a traditional Celtic soul.
Their take on Celtic music is rich and clear vocals, tight harmonies and instrumentals, and cool and clever arrangements. Across the country and across the ocean, from arts-centers to Irish Festivals and Scottish Highland Games, Tullamore are favorites wherever they go.
Acclaimed for their instrumental prowess, onstage charm and soulful vocals, Vintage Wildflowers has developed an enthusiastic legion of fans with their vibrant Celtic, folk and bluegrass blend.
Their music reflects the lives and backgrounds of these three women, melding the trio’s wide-ranging musical interests with their Celtic music obsession. With the release of their three albums and their performances on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and on the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour, they’ve earned national acclaim and a growing reputation for creating music that is respectful of tradition yet distinctly their own.
Vintage Wildflowers are: Abby Bozarth – fiddle, guitar, accordion, harmony vocals; Audrey McSperitt Schmidt – lead vocals, guitar, bass, Irish flute/whistle; Dana Fitzgerald Maher – Celtic harp, piano, harmony vocals, Irish whistle.