*Editor's Note: Welcome to season two of Mike Farragher's "TAYSHT" series, his column and podcast exploring Irish America's culture and food. You can read the previous installment here.
Legendary Celtic rock greats Barleyjuice are back with “The Old Speakeasy."
Founder Kyf Brewer has been on the rock scene for over four decades, fronting the bands The Ravyns (MCA) and Company of Wolves (Polygram/Mercury), as well as recording four solo albums. His original Barleyjuice songs such as "Weekend Irish," a rollicking sendup of the Irish festival scene, "What’s Up Yours?," "Get Your Irish On," and "Celtic Girl" have been featured in movies, TV shows, and radio programs.
His latest release, "The Old Speakeasy," features several former band members as special guests and was scheduled for release in 2020 before Covid held them back from touring with it. "The Old Speakeasy" marks Barleyjuice’s eighth studio album produced and recorded by Kyf Brewer, mixed and mastered by Cliff Hillis.
“Coming out of the pandemic, I was wondering if we should continue with the band,” Brewer reveals in the latest edition of our TAYSHT podcast.
"I decided to recruit as many former members of Barleyjuice as possible for guest appearances. The look back provided a bright future for the band with these new songs."
Former featured band members violinists Shelley Weiss and Billy Dominick, bassist Dennis Schocket, mandolinist Graham Ford, and guitarist Dave Woodworth are among the band members returning to the party for the group’s eighth studio release.
Brewer says this album was also a family affair as well, with daughter Scotlyn and wife Beth providing backing vocals on "Rose of Garden City" and "High on Highland Life," with Remi playing the trumpet on "Merry Queen of Scotch."
A lifetime on the road has made this merry band of musical marauders reflective. "A Winter Toast" is a final toast to good friends before leaving and facing the road ahead, while "It Takes a Village (To Raise a Drunk)" honors the great drunken poets the band met along the way.