Much-loved Galway band the Saw Doctors make their annual March pilgrimage to North America in the coming weeks, this time for their largest ever tour this side of the Atlantic.
The Tuam outfit will play some 29 gigs over six weeks, many at their usual destinations including Boston, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, but also including debut performances in places like Florida, North Carolina and Iowa.
Speaking to The Irish Emigrant Leo Moran, one half of the group’s founding duo, said the band is really looking forward to the tour.
“We’ve never played in Florida before and it’ll be nice to go somewhere different, somewhere with a bit of sunshine,” Moran said. “But we love going back to all the familiar spots too, of course. It’s always brilliant to go back and play for fans in Boston and New York.”
The band’s recording of the classic Petula Clark tune “Downtown” was a big hit in Ireland over Christmas, climbing to number two in the charts.
“We went over to London to record with her and only had one evening in the studio so it was hectic but it was great, it worked out really well,” Moran said of the band’s work with the veteran songstress, which was recently given a “Pick of the Week” nod by USA Today.
The band’s version also got back to the tune’s original writer Tony Hatch.
“He was delighted with it,” Moran said. “As songwriters ourselves it’s really nice when another songwriter appreciates what we did with his work. The video for the song, which also features Petula, was filmed over one night in Galway City.”
Moran was also keen to talk about the band’s new drummer, Rickie James O’Neill. The young Claremorris, Co. Mayo musician is just 21 years old; he wasn’t even born when the band hit number one in Ireland with “I Useta Lover” in July of 1990.
Former drummer Éimhin Craddock worked with Rickie over the final months of 2011 to ensure a smooth transition. Moran is sure the new man is ready-made for the job, having taken to the task like a duck to water during an 18-show UK tour which reached 25,000 paying fans.
“Rickie played the second half of the British tour with us and he’s only been to the States once before so he’s really excited about it,” Moran laughed. “He’s very young and it’s nice to bring that new energy and fresh perspective into the group and on tour with us.”
In Massachusetts, the Saw Doctors will play at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester on March 8, at the House of Blues, Boston on March 9, and at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton on March 11. They take in Manhattan on March 10 and 16 for gigs at Irving Plaza, and also play shows in New Jersey and Connecticut.
For the full tour schedule and to purchase tickets, visit www.sawdoctors.com.
One of the band's most popular "N17":