“Well, here we are the Irish In America…”


When I was younger, the rest of my family loved Van Morrison and the Chieftan’s Irish Heartbeat.  A collection of traditional Irish songs did not appeal to a 10 year old kid who would rather listen to R.E.M.  Never mind that one of the songs contained lyrics in Gaelic.  I just couldn’t connect to songs that were part of a world I knew little about (or cared about at the time.)  

For lots of reasons, growing up I was always confused about whether I had Irish blood on my mother’s side.  (As it turns out, I do.)  It wasn’t until later, I began to appreciate Irish Heartbeat and other traditional Irish music.  Once I understood where I came from, it became easier to get beneath the songs and the sound.   I also began to see similarities between the early protest of Bob Dylan and the Irish rebel songs.  These songs contained a different voice, but were similar in spirit.  With that in mind, it makes sense that The Pogues updated traditional Irish music with punk rock – another form of music that started out as rebellious.  

I’m hoping that with tomorrow being Patty’s Day, I will hear some good live Irish music.  I’m not exactly betting on it.  Sometime ago, “live Irish music” turned into “guy with an acoustic guitar playing Simon & Garfunkel with ‘Whiskey in the Jar'” and “The Irish Rover”‘ thrown in for good measure.   I have serious doubts that I’ll have hear “Rocky Road to Dublin”, “Galway Races”, or “Star of the County Down” in any of the bars I’m going to go.


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