Hi Gerard, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. Can we start with your musical history? Where are you from, who are your inspirations, how did you get involved in Celtic-rock?
Hey, John, I was born in Detroit, however, my parents moved us to a Christmas Tree farm in the township of Emmett, Michigan, about fifty miles North of Detroit, when I was three years old. I grew up out in the country.
The Tossers – Johnny McGuire’s Wake McDermotts 2 Hours – Dirty Davey Gerard Smith – The Maid Of Cabra West 1916 – For Whiskey Irish Whispa – Hot Asphalt Greenland Whalefishers – Darkness Hugh Morrison – Old Scotland Jack Daw – Pigtail Man The Mahones – Girl With Galway Eyes Horslips – The High Reel The Mickey Finns – The Ballad Of Duffy’s Cut James McGrath – Race To The Bottom Dangerous Folk – Shipping up to Brisbane Brick Top Blaggers – Witness to My Own Wake
Neck – Every Day’s St Patrick’s Day The Skels – Have A Drink Ya Bastards Black 47 – Green Suede Shoes The Muckers – Let’s All Go To The Bar BibleCodeSundays – Drinking All Day Sons Of O’Flaherty – Dead and Gone The Rumjacks – An Irish Pub song The Mahones – Shakespeare Road Big Bad Bollocks – Guinness Bodh’aktan – Black Velvet Band Featuring Paddy Moloney Charm City Saints – Dicey Riley Bill Grogan’s Goat – The Galway Races Jackdaw – Come out you Black And Tans The Pourmen – Too Old To Die Young Murshee Durkin – The Pogues & Whiskey The Woods Band – Finnegan’s Wake Irish Whispa – Bold O’Donohue Pat Chessell – The Mother-in-Law Greenland Whalefishers – Joe’s Town The Tossers – St Patrick’s Day Sharky Doyles – Everybody’s Irish Kilkenny Knights – Dance! The Gobshites – Alcohol Horslips – The High Reel Horslips – Dearg Doom Kilmaine Saints – Foggy Dew The Bucks – Psycho Ceiled In Claremorris Blood Or Whiskey – Follow Me up to Carlow-Holt’s Way The Peelers – A1A FLA The Electrics – Seventeen Bottles Of Porter Sir Reg – Stereotypical Drunken Feckin’ Irish Song The Templars Of Doom – Mamma Weer All Crazee Now
Third Eye is the third full length release from Detroit Celtic rockers Bill Grogan’s Goat. The Goat are easily one of the most original bands in the whole Celtic-rock universe. Celtic meets primal Detroit rock’n’roll, and a few other influences just for good measure. Here is a blow-by-blow of the best of this very fine album.
“3rd I” is a short intro track giving off a Pink Floyd space rock vibe that merges into “The Newry Highwayman”, with its laid back but loud guitar sound. The guitars crank up further on the (almost) symphonic Celtic-metal instrumental, “Andro des Morts”. “The Burning of Cork” continues the vibe of “The Newry Highwayman” of laid back, big guitars and traditional melodies.
“Knockdhu Set” is pure Horslips ala “King of the Fairies”. Robbie Burns’ “Ye Jacobites By Name” builds from a gentle introduction into a full Celtic rock symphony. But just in case you have been suckered in to the progressive state of mind, “Paddy’s Dead” is Detroit primal punk that will slap you back into reality.
“Mary Mac” is straight ahead Celtic-rock with a funky undercurrent, while the Scottish standard “Wild Mountain Thyme” merges Celtic melodies and Americana. “The Devil’s Trumpet” is a Celtic jam in the style of Enter the Haggis at their finest. “The Blacksmith” is a traditional song of the South of England, though most folk would know this song through Planxty’s version – the Goat version gives the track a Johnny Cash twist at his hurting best.
In all a very fine, well crafted album from one of the most original bands on the scene.
Looks can be deceptive. Looking at the band picture on the back side of the Second Wind sleeve (the 2nd album no less), Bill Grogan’s Goat (apologies to the band) look like a middle-aged folk rock band permanently stuck playing the Sunday opening spot of some poorly attended, Irish festive in some middle of nowhere, mid-Western state – the track list (all standards) doesn’t take away from the assumption. The music? We’ll its all that but just louder, faster and dirtier and more Motor City guitar riffs then you could ever imagine Irish folk to be. Iggy and The Stooges meets The Clancy’s Brothers and its good and at times skull crushing amazing – the version of Danny Boy is my song of the year so far – post grunge, industrial with a riff and tone that would make Tony Iommi proud. Kick out the jams Paddy Rockers.
BGG hail from Detroit-Folk-City and members are all 20 plus year veterans of that city’s music scene. Here BGG present to us for review 14 tracks of mostly high energy yet laid back electric guitar driven Celtic rock standards with touches of blue grass coupled with sea shanties. I said mostly didn’t I? Cos’ on their version of The Wild Rover they go all out Detroit ala a guitar sound that wouldn’t go amiss from The Stooges or The MC5 and I frigging love it. On the next release I’m hoping to hear more Iggy and less Jerry.