I’m not going to do a long review on Anthem as the album has been out a while and it’s got lots of in-depth reviews elsewhere. Flogging Molly had gone off on a bit of a tangent with, Speed of Darkness, but with the follow-up, Life is Good, they got back on track. I’m happy to report that Anthem keeps them heading the right direction. I will say while Anthem rocks hard it is also their most Celtic-sounding album with an almost Seán Ó Riada style Celtic orchestration (especially, The Croppy Boy ’98). There are plenty of songs here that will be in the band’s live set for a long time – These Times Have Got Me Drinking, A Song of Liberty and, The Croppy Boy ’98.
Flogging Molly are set to release 3-song EP, ‘Til The Anarchy’s Restored, on March 10th. The EP features a new song, “‘Til The Anarchy’s Restored”, which dropped today, along with re-records of their classic tracks “Drunken Lullabies” and “What’s Left Of The Flag”.
Anthem, the new album from Flogging Molly is out September 9th. The album is produce by Steve Albini who of course produced Swagger and Drunken Lullabies. Check out the first single from Anthem, The Croppy Boy ‘98, here.
Shite’n’Onions – First of all apologies for being so late to the game – I read a write up on you in London Celtic Punks a couple of months back and was so impressed by what I read that I ran out and bought your album “All Manner of Ways”. After a few spins, I really like it but I’m struggling to put a label on your sound. I hear outlaw or alt-country – you remind me of people like Townes Van Zandt and Blaze Foley, yet I also hear Christy Moore – it’s almost country with a Celtic soul. How would you describe your music and who influenced you?
Dylan – Yeah, Eddie & London-Celtic-Punks do great work in raising awareness for artists, glad to have had their support recently. You know yourself, most publicity is bought & paid for, so when people like yourselves reach out to an artist, on your own time, purely based on the fact that you’re actually interested in the artist & their work, well, it’s more of a genuine thing isn’t it? I’ve never paid for PR myself & I self released that record, so I expect it to continue to reach people as time rolls on, rather than it having reached a lot of people from the get-go. Naturally, when you first release a record, after all the hard work that goes into making it, you do what you can to get it heard. My drive for getting an album heard, is always geared towards the gigs. I’m a live artist, not so much a studio artist, so other than working on the songs themselves, I’m always thinking of the gigs. As much as that record is considered a studio album, my own performance is completely live on there, I didn’t use click tracks, headphones or overdubs or anything like that. I sat in the room, in front of a couple of mics & played the songs live. With having moved to Nashville from Dublin, via London, I did have distribution issues in getting hard copies across seas to folks, but we live in a digital age, so it was available to be listened to anyways. I’m sure all this played a part, in the album reaching people quite some time after its release, but a lot of new listeners found that album during the pandemic.
I guess All Manner Of Ways is the sound of my life’s journey. That album wasn’t designed with a certain audience in mind, like how a lot of genre based albums are. When other musicians join in on my songs, I only really know when it’s not right, which is more of a feel thing, I don’t to ask them to play a particular way. I’ve never had a contemporary sound either, so I think that record will always sit a little outside of whatever is current, ye know? Songs inspired me, not genres. In my formative years, I just followed the songs. I was brought up on Christy Moore & at that time, I wouldn’t have even known what a genre was. Of course, eventually, we learn more about the journey of songs & where they came from, which helps us to describe their sound, but artists like Townes & Blaze just had great songs & I believed them, that’s what was most important to me. Townes sang Dirty Old Town & Christy sang Song To Woody. A lot of the Irish folk song pioneers, of the 60s & 70s, were immersed in American song traditions in their formative years & of course, Irish music is a root of American Roots music, so I never really felt any restraints in that regard. It was immediately obvious to me, how connected it all was. Van Morrison would be the most obvious example of that. As soon as I became aware of genres & the likes, I knew the artists that communicated important things to me, wrote outside of those restraints. I enjoy the fact that you mentioned Celtic country here & that you came across me in a punk article. That makes me feel good. ‘Celtic soul got country’, we’ll go with that for All Manner Of Ways.
Shite’n’Onions – You are originally from Dublin and you followed the natural route of many Irish musicians to London but now you are based in Nashville. How did you end up in Nashville? I’ve been there a few times and it’s a culture shock to me (and I’ve been in Boston 25 years). How do they accept an Irish guy playing in Nashville? Is there a good alternative scene in Nashville (outside of Music Row and the Broadway Honkey Tonks?
Dylan – Yeah, I was born & raised in Loughlinstown, a very working class area on the south eastern outskirts of county Dublin. From an early age, I had a hunger to experience the diversity I imagined a big city would offer. By my late teens, I had my eye on New York, but I ended up in London instead. For the guts of ten years, I lived all over London, in places like Kentish Town, Crystal Palace, Tottenham, East Finchley, Acton & Forest Hill. I had arrived in London with a guitar & songs to sing, but it was during my London years, that I learned how to be a live solo performer. Towards the end of my time in London, I began to venture over to the continent of Europe, which led to me performing at Muddy Roots fest in Waardamme, Belgium in 2013. Muddy Roots fest is run by a label of the same name & they are based out of Nashville. In 2014, I was invited over here to the States, to play some gigs & record for that label. During that visit, I met my now wife. So initially, it was music that brought me over here to Nashville, but eventually, I moved here to be with my wife.
Nashville is an interesting town, it’s very much its own thing. There’s nowhere else like Nashville, not in my experience anyways. You could draw some comparisons with Austin, Texas maybe, but even then, Nashville could still be considered, to be more of a self-interest-music-biz-town in a lot of ways. Many people move here, in an effort to further themselves within the music industry, but I don’t tend to be around those people much, as it’s not really where I’m at in life. I become friends with people, for who they are, not for what I think they can offer me, ye know? I think you can find alternative scenes in most towns & Nashville has a lot going for it, but you would definitely have to dig a little deeper, to find alternative scenes here, especially if you’ve lived in a place like London, or even Dublin for that matter. This isn’t Country Music City, It’s Music City, but in fairness, you’d be hard pushed to even find some of the more mainstream genres, like Reggae or Celtic Punk. Bill Herring of 1916 just moved here from Rochester, New York & there’s a strong possibility, that he may very well be, the only active Celtic Punk singer currently living here. No joke. My wife & I love Nashville & it’s a town full of great people, but we do keep an eye out for other places to live though too.
Speaking of honky tonks, Broadway & alternative scenes, there is a very healthy local honky tonk scene here in Nashville, away from the downtown areas. Over towards East Nashville, there are important events like Honky Tonk Tuesdays, which have to be seen to be believed. It’s a revival of sorts I guess. You could also maybe say, that there’s another folk revival currently in bloom too. When it comes to traditions, I’m not much of a fan of the term ‘revival’, continuity has always been there for me, but those traditions have been entering mainstream culture again, in an obvious way. There are a handful of honky tonks on Broadway, that the locals will still go to, like Robert’s Western World or Layla’s, & some of the best & hardest working musicians are in those places to, but for the most part, locals don’t tend to visit the majority of honky tonks on Broadway or the bars over on Music Row.
All in all, we’re spoiled rotten here for music, both in quality & in quantity. It’s a very vibrant town & like everywhere else, it’s fast changing. As for myself, I really haven’t played in Nashville much, during the time I’ve been based here, but that’s about to change.
Shite’n’Onions – Speaking of Celtic-punk you have written/recorded with James Fearnley of The Pogues and The Walker Roaders. How did that come about? Any plans for future collaborations? And you have toured with Flogging Molly, The Mahones and the odd metal band – how did those tours go?
Dylan – Well, most of those things would be linked. I met Flogging Molly here in Nashville in 2016. We got chatting, they had a listen to my music & I got an invite to perform on their punk rock cuise in 2017. The Flogging Molly Cruise was an amazing experience. The cruise ship left from Miami & it travelled through the Bahamas for a few days, with bands like DeVotchKa, The Skatalites, NOFX, The English Beat, Voodoo Glow Skulls & of course, Flogging Molly too. Flogging Molly’s accordion player, Matt Hensley, is also a renowned skateboarder, so they had a skate ramp up on deck, between the pools & the stage. Matt got his old skateboarding crew together & they skated away while the bands played. The cruise ship had various venues throughout its decks & we all performed multiple times over the course of the few days. By my last performance on there, quite a crowd had gathered for my set. Flogging Molly’s singer, Dave King, joined me on stage too & that helped a lot with the momentum of things. Dave & his wife, Bridget Regan, couldn’t have been more supportive of me. I’ll always be very grateful for that. Once I finished out, the last song of my last set, Dave & Bridget told me that they wanted to take me on tour with them. Later that same year, they did just that. I went on a US & Canadian tour, as the third & opening act, with Flogging Molly & The White Buffalo.
I didn’t write with James Fearnley of The Pogues, but James did add accordion to two of my songs from from that album, All Manner Of Ways. I’ll try not to make this confusing, but again, it’s all linked up. My actor & musician pal, Zander Schloss, was also performing on The Flogging Molly Cruise. Zander had his then manager, Tom Barta, on board with him too. Zander has been in many bands, such as The Cirlce Jerks, The Weirdos & The Latino Rockabilly War with Joe Strummer, but Zander & his then manger, Tom, were also in a band together, known as The Low & Sweet Orchestra. Well, James Fearnley was also in The Low & Sweet Orchestra. So Zander, Tom & James were all in that band together, they are all friends & they are all based out of LA. Are ye still with me? Hah. Just to further confuse things, at that time, Tom had also started to manage James Fearnley’s new band, The Walker Roaders. While I was on the punk rock cruise with Zander, Tom said that he also wanted to manage me. So, for a time, Tom Barta ended up managing Zander, James & myself. My tour with Flogging Molly & The White Buffalo, started at the Fox Theater in Oakland, California, so my wife & I flew out to LA, a day or two before the first show of the tour, to meet up with Tom Barta & James Fearnley there. I kept in touch with James after that & he added accordion to a couple of songs on All Manner Of Ways for me. We’ve already spoken about the flavour of that album, so it was important for me, to have someone like James on that record. Especially on the songs that he performs on. I grew up on The Pogues & having James on Where Dublin Meets Wicklow, the only song on that album that references home, really grounded the spirit of the album for me. James used the same accordion, that he used on The Pogues album, Rum Sodomy & The Lash too. Back in Nashville, I had recently opened for Spider Stacy, who was also in The Pogues, so it was all a real buzz for me & a serious honour.
On the back of that momentum, I met up with a Swedish booking agent, to arrange a solo headline tour of Scandinavia. During that meeting, the agent put the idea to me, of touring Europe & the UK in 2019, with the Swedish heavy metal band Avatar. Avatar had brought a one-man-band on their previous tour & they were looking to keep some of that flavour for their next tour. Originally, I was asked to be the opening & third act, on a bill with Avatar & a Canadian psychobilly band from Montreal called The Brains. The Brains weren’t able to do that tour in the end, but their drummer also drummed for The Mahones, so The Mahones joined the tour instead. That was one hell of a tour. I also joined The Mahones on stage for most of those shows & towards the end of that tour, I ended up being the only support act. When you’re a solo acoustic act, people can have a very limited perception or vision of what your gig can be. Some promoters, gig goers & event organisers, fail to understand, that it’s not only about the amount of people on stage, the type of instruments that are being played, how well known the act is, or how upbeat the music is considered to be. All most solo acts require, is the potential of an atmosphere to work with. All in all, it boils down to being able to communicate. There isn’t going to be much of an atmosphere, if you put a solo act on early, before a crowd has time to settle, or if you put a solo act on a tiny stage, off to the side somehwere, while a DJ in the background drowns them out. If you give any performer, the chance to communicate within an atmosphere, it can often become something far more special than any wall of sound could ever offer. I will say this though, if you do put on a solo act, in front of a large crowd, make sure their volume is at a decent level, otherwise they’re fucked. It’s not that you need to be loud to play to a crowd, but if there isn’t that loud place to go to, the performance can feel far less dynamic & attention spans may drift as a result. So, over the years, I was kind of on a mission to see how far I could take the solo acoustic thing & that was kind of it, being the direct support act to a Swedish heavy metal band, in countries were English is their second language. Some nights, I just stood there & sang A cappella, to a crowd waiting for a pyrotechnic metal show. That tour definitely divided opinions, but there were many beautiful & spirited moments & the magic that comes with that, will make any challenge worth the risk. That was the last extensive tour that I’ve done too.
Shite’n’Onions – This has been a great interview, Dylan. Final question. So, what’s next for you?
Dylan – No bother John. Thanks for your time & consideration. As for what’s next, I really don’t have any solid answers for that. Everything has been so unpredictable of late, ye know yourself. The pandemic hasn’t been a creative period for me, as I tend to do everything at the same time. Touring encourages me to write & vice versa. Like I was saying earlier, most of what I do is geared towards the gigs, but things are starting to pick up again & I’m getting out on the road whenever possible. I had an amazing gig at Muddy Roots Music Festival this year, it was my first time back there in five years & it couldn’t have gone better. That’s the same crowd I was also mentioning earlier, the same label that brought me over here to the States back in 2014. It was a very grounding & wholesome experience to reconnect with all that. I was in Maryland & North Carolina, there last weekend, doing a couple of great shows & that local Nashville residency has just started too. I’m currently booking for Europe & the UK, for March & April in 2022, which I’ll finish out with a visit home to Ireland as well. So hopefully that will all be able to go ahead come the time. I also recently started my own interview show, The Stirring Foot, which you’ll find on all the usual streaming platforms. Episode one was with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, episode two was with Steve Ignorant of Crass & episode three will be with John Sheahan of The Dubliners. It’s more of an audio montage series, than actual conversations, but it’s been amazing catching up with those artists through zoom calls. They’ve reminded me of why I started playing music myself, at a time when I really needed to be reminded. So I’ll keep my website updated with any further news & hope to see ye down the road. Thanks again pal
I didn’t put out a best of 2019 list on St. Patrick’s Day 2020 and the whole world went to shite. So, in my attempt to fix the strange vortex we have been in since, here with no further ado is the Shite’n’Onions best of 2020 (and 2019)
The Top 6:
#1 The Go Set: Of Bright Futures….and Broken Pasts
#2 Greenland Whalefishers: Based on a True Story
#3 The Walker Roaders: The Walker Roaders
#4 The Real McKenzies: Beer & Loathing
#5 The Tan & Sober Gentlemen: Veracity
#6 Bodh’aktan: Ride Out The Storm
Best 30 Year Retrospective:
The Mahones: This Is All We Got To Show For It (Best Of 1990 – 2020)
Is it really 20 years!! Seriously? To me Swagger is the album that started the Celtic punk scene. Sure the Pogues were the first Celtic-punk band but there was not a real scene before Flogging Molly exploded with Swagger. Even the Dropkick Murphys were still a street punk band in scally caps back then. The 20th Anniversary Edition box set is a really nice package – Swagger as a double LP on red and white colored vinyl including the bonus Juan El Sentimental. A six track live EP on blue splatter vinyl from 2001 with mostly previously unreleased traditional stuff. A DVD of Swagger live from 2000 and various goodies – lyric book, buttons, record player pad. In all a very, very nice package.
Celtic-punks first supergroup here! LA based The Walker Roaders consist of a Pogue, James Fearnley (vocals and accordion) and former members of the Dropkick Murphys (Marc Orrell) and Flogging Molly (Ted Hutt, a founding member of the Mollies and later producer). Musically, The Walker Roaders are closer to the Pogues then DKM or FM though even closer to James two post-post Pogues bands, the 1990’s Low & Sweet Orchestra and the more recent Cranky George but with stronger Celtic melodies then either which meshes so well with his north of England grittyness.
1014 is the best place to start Mustard Finnegan’s history of Ireland. It in that year Brian Boru defeated the Danes. For hundreds of years, Ireland was known as the Isle of Saints and Scholars – the image of monks in monasteries; smoking pot, lovingly illustrating copies of the gospels, praying and guiding the heathens in Europe outta of the Dark Ages. Though not all of that is necessarily the true. Ireland was made up of a bunch of small kingdoms with kings more like Afghan warlords or the Bloods and Crips – I’m the king of from here to that rock over there and I’m gonna steal your cattle and run back to my ring fort. Ireland had big problem with the Vikings. The Vikings were a bunch of dudes from Scandinavia with helmets with horns sticking out of them who loved to vacation in Ireland and plunder the Irish monasteries and murder the monks. After a few hundred years of this the Vikings started to stay around and started, like all the cities in Ireland and meddled in Irish politics (bit like the EU these days).
Brian was an ambitious sort of fella and conquered one Irish kingdom after another and made them pay tribute to him (this is not like Michael Jackson’s Tribute, Brian would take hostage of the kid of the lesser kings and if the lesser king didn’t do his bidding and pay taxes and send solders when Brian needed them then that was the end of the young fella). Once the Irish were under his heal he went after the meddling Vikings of Dublin. Coming face to face for battle on Clontarf beach on Good Friday 1014 – the Irish warriors kicked serious Viking ass along with kicking the asses of the Dublin Viking’s mates from the Isle of Mann and Denmark – many of whom after the beat down drown in Dublin Bay trying to escape the Celtic axemen, starting the long tradition of pollution in Dublin bay. Unfortunately, for Brian, who being wicked old (he was about 73) and was praying in his tent as the battle raged so he did not notice a sneaky Viking who suck up on the big B and buried an axe in Brian’s back and that was the end of him.
The Norman Invasion
Belfast Andi – Irish Ways Irish Laws
After 1014, Ireland went back to it petty warlords fighting with each other over this bit of bog and that sheep over there and all was good and dandy until a woman got in the picture. In 1167, Diarmait Mac Murchada (that’s Murphy in English), King of Leinster (the east bit of Ireland) ran off with Derval (the woman in question), the daughter of the King of Meath (the rich bit of Ireland in them days and these day) and the wife of Tighearnán Mór Ua Ruairc (Terry O’Rourke in English), King of Bréifne (a strip of fields and bogs that ran from Meath to Sligo these days called Leitrim). Tighearnán was pissed off of course and with the help of the High King, Rory O’Conner, they ran old Diarmait outta the country. Diarmait being a schemer and a general a-hole approached a Norman Knight called Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke also known by the name Strongbow (Strongbow is much more Knightly and Ciderish name, Richard de Clare sound more like the name of the owner of chain of ladies hair saloons). Diarmait promised Strongbow his daughters hand in marriage, who by all accounts was a pretty hot chick, as well as succession rights as King of Leinster, if he’d help him out. Strongbow not having much going on as the King of England when not hammering the Scots was beating up on his own Knights, took him up on the offer and arrived with his mates (Fitzgerald, Fitzgibbon, Burke, Butler and Prendergast) and the best in 12th century military technology gold pieces could buy. Shortly there after Diarmait was back being King of Leinster but over old England, old Henry II didn’t like the idea of one of his knights becoming a king of anything and setting up a rival kingdom so he called up the Pope and asked for the OK to invade Ireland (of course this is the one time the Pope is a bloody Englishman) and once permission given Henry arrives and declares himself Overlord of Ireland.
The Pale and Beyond
Blood or Whiskey – Follow Me up to Carlow/Holt’s Way
BibleCodeSundays – Clew Bay Pirates
The Dreadnoughts – Grace O’Malley
We can skip ahead to the 1590’s now, the Norman Knight have gone native (more Irish then the Irish themselves) and the English rule is now pushed back to the general Dublin Area – known as The Pale. Ever heard the expression “Beyond The Pale”? Meaning being outside proper behavior, well that was where the wild Irish lived with their new Norman mates, fighting with each other over this bog and that bog and the odd goat.
One of those Chieftains was a woman called Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen who was so fearsome that she show up bare breasted in Queen Lizzy’s court in London to demand the removal of the Queens representative in Connacht.
The Flight Of The Earls
Black 47 – Red Hugh
Queen Elizabeth was a tough old boot in her own right and took a leaf outta ol’ Brian’s book raising the sons of the Gaelic Chieftains in her court. One of these lads was Red Hugh O’Donnell of the Tyrone. Hugh and his mate O’Neill of Ulster (The O’Neills are the oldest and biggest family in Europe, there is something like 3,000,000 descendants of Niall of the Nine Hostages the original Neill running about, the O’ meaning descended from, talk about virile) played a good game with the Queen. When in her court they played along by English rules and when back home in Ulster they did what ever they bloody pleased. But Lizzie’s henchmen in Ireland keep pushing in on O’Neill and O’Donnell business and enough to piss’ em off that they stopped playing the game and rebelled. The Irish chieftains were able to push the Perfidious Albion almost out of the country but were finally defeated a the Battle of Kinsale in 1601 – Kinsale is as far as you can get from Ulster, being on the south coast in Cork. O’Neill and O’Donnell and most of the other O’s fled the country for Spain and that was the end of Gaelic Ireland.
The Plantation Of Ulster
Being traitors to the crown, all of the lands of the O’Neill and O’Donnell went to the crown who decided that the best way to control the Irish was to get rid of ‘em and replace ‘em with good English protestants – this was after the reformation of course.
“Here’s a health to the Protestant Minister And his church without meaning or faith For the foundation stones of his temple are The bollocks of Henry the Eight” – Brendan Behan
This plan didn’t work out so well as most of the smart English with ambitions for advancement went to the America’s and stole the Indians land so in Ulster the numbers had to be made up with low class, lowland Scots. The Irish got kicked out and the planters got the good land (and the natives the views).
Cromwell in Ireland
Flogging Molly – Tobacco Island
The Fisticuffs – Young Ned of The Hill
The 1600’s was an ugly time to live in Ireland. When the civil war broke out in England the Catholics of Ireland, Gaelic and Old English supported the cause of Charles I and took the opportunity to try and get their lands back from the planters – much slaughter followed. With the end of the war in England and Chuck’s head on a spike Cromwell turned his eye on Ireland and took revenge in the Irish for rebelling and waged holy war on the population. Cromwell was by far the biggest Fu#ker in Irish history, his soldiers laid wasted to much of the county, butchering the citizens of Wexford and Drogheda when the garrison of those cities didn’t surrender fast enough. When he didn’t murder you, then he transported you to Barbados to your death as a slave in the sugar plantations or worse to Connacht and eternity as a bogger. Allegedly Rihanna is descended from one of those Irish transported to Barbados…..I told you Cromwell was a fu#ker. Cromwell eventually dies (of malaria of all things) and the Stuarts are back on the throne of England. Cromwell’s body exhumed, hung, drawn and quartered.
Ollie Cromwell, Lord Protector and general bastard. Warts’n’all
The Battle Of The Boyne
Roaring Jack – The Old Divide And Rule
Hugh Morrison – Ye Jacobites By Name
Prydein – Minstrel Boy
The Tossers – Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye
The Stuarts were bad new. It would have been in everyone’s favor if Guy Fawkes had his way……BOOM! Things calmed down under Chuck II but there are problem when his brother Jimmy II replaces him. Well wee Jimmy was a Celtic support and the England parliament, Huns. They manage to live with him until a son was born and then they realism the Catholics won’t be going away. Jimmy is given short shift and exiled to France with his daughter Mary and her Dutch son-in-law William of Orange put in his place. Jimmy II raises any army with the support of the King of France and sails for Ireland to join up with his Irish supporters.
James manages to set back peace, love and understanding 1,000 years in Ireland when he lays siege to the walled city of Londonderry. The siege is only lifted when Williams ships arrive with solders and supply’s . The two sides play cat and mouse for a little while and finally meet on the banks of the river Boyne on July 12th, 1690. James’ French and Irish army verses Willies Dutch, German, English troops. William wins and James runs away. The most ironic thing about this is the bad history that still abates- the brethren up in Ulster regard this a a victory over the Pope and Popery, yet the Pope was playing politics here not religion and supported the protestant William and most of Williams army was Catholic – the Pope was trying to stick it to the French. With Jimmy gone, the Irish fell back to Aughrim under the command of Patrick Sarsfield, defeat followed and then on to Limerick. The City of Limerick was put under siege (that it still needs to clean up after) but William didn’t want to wait it out and offered a fairly decent treaty – join me or go to France and join the French army. The Irish took the French route and spent the next hundred years dying on the battlefields of Europe for the ungrateful French. With Willie back in England and Sarfield and his men dying for France. The over loards in Ireland we left to their own devices to introduce the penal laws
“Cuimhnigidh ar Luimnech agus feall na Sassonach!” – “Remember Limerick and Saxon Perfidy”