The Canny Brothers Band have just released their excellent CD, One Drop of Whiskey, an engaging collection of trad, rock and country that’s good to the last drop!
“We do a wide variety of things,” explains guitarist/bassist Tom Canny when asked about the variety of sounds on the CD.
“The first part of our show is acoustic and the second part is electric. We do some traditional stuff, rock stuff and originals. Our basic influences are folk.
“We grew up listening to the Grateful Dead and Van Morrison as kids, but then we also went to all the East Durham festivals and saw the Wolfe Tones, so it all came together in our sound.”
One Drop of Whiskey includes a reverent cover of the Saw Doctors’ “Green and Red of Mayo” that includes a fine Jerry Garcia-inspired guitar solo, Steve Earle’s “The Galway Girl,” and Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away.” The melange of song styles creates a roadhouse bar feel that will get everyone with a pulse in the mood for the upcoming Big Green holiday!
According to Canny, his brothers Steve (bass and banjo), and Mike (guitar and mandolin) formed the band with Keith Fallon (vocals and guitar), Kevin Baynes (bass and guitar), Marty Bajo (percussion), and Dean Russo (drums) out of necessity after they surveyed the meager Irish music scene in their backyard.
“One night about 10 years ago we went out on St. Patrick’s Day to see a good Irish rock band and there wasn’t anything in Staten Island, Brooklyn, or Rockaway Beach,” he says.
“So we decided to fill the need and it has been great. We now play to fans that look like we do -- folks in their thirties and forties who are looking for a connection to their heritage. At parties, we also see a lot of older people with their grandchildren. So, it’s really great to pass on the music to all generations.”
The Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones meet in the bog for the title track, written by Fallon. Over a southern fried rock beat and rollicking mandolin, Fallon sings, “One drop’s too many, three or four is not enough, five, six or eight will make this pain seem not so tough.”
It’s a great chat that makes this reviewer look forward to more originals on the band’s next disc. This band of brothers makes for a harmonious sound that, according to Tom, has mellowed with age.
“Being in the band with your brothers is really great most of the time,” he says with a laugh.
“It’s a great excuse to spend time together. As time goes on and we get older, it’s easier. You get less hot-headed as you get older.”
The Canny Brothers Band is proud to play their music in a scene Tom thinks is stronger than ever.
“Locally, the scene is great,” he says. “You have Black 47, which are like our godfathers. Celtic Cross is a terrific band, as are Screaming Orphans and Shilelagh Law. The Law are just incredible musicians.
“I think the New York scene in particular is really great now. Some really good underground podcasts which makes us a little counter-culture, which is cool.”
The band throws covers into their set of songs that include “The Foggy Dew,” “Spancil Hill” and “Tell Me Ma.”
“We have so many influences that it is sometimes hard to narrow it down and agree on something,” says Canny.
“We aren’t afraid to play Blue Grass or Pearl Jam. We picked ‘Silver Wings’ by Merle Haggard to cover because it’s just fun to play live. We are all big fans of country.”
They’ll be spending their fourth St. Patrick’s Day in Ulysses (52 Stone Street in Manhattan) and have a full dance card of pubs, private house parties in March, with “a lot of corned beef and beer in our future,” jokes Tom.
Check out www.cannybrothersband.com for the full schedule.