*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.

Seamus Keane has been pulling double duty as lead singer of The Narrowbacks and owner/bartender of Keane’s Bar and Restaurant on Katonah Avenue in The Bronx for many moons. On many a night, his worlds collide, and the fiery rock outfit he fronts will raise the roof on Keane’s.

The music and good times came to a sudden halt when the pandemic hit, with musicians and restaurant owners alike getting hit the hardest when indoor dining and live gigs were prohibited. A double whammy of disaster, one that Keane takes in stride. 

“I feel like I went into the pandemic in my twenties and I came out of it in my fifties,” Keane jokes.

He reveals a wellspring of creativity during this time, the rough spots producing one of their best songs yet in “Sackcloth and Ashes.” Offered as both a rock and an acoustic version, Keane’s raspy voice defiantly rises. “Endured a decade of defeat/battered and bruised out in the street/I won’t be falling at your feet/after a final curtain call,” Keane snarls. 

With things now opening up, The Narrowbacks (Keane on vocals, brother Pat on accordion, Barry Walsh on acoustic guitar, Fionn McElligot on electric guitar, Anthony Chen on bass, Will McKee on saxophone, Dan Foster on fiddle, and Alex Aitken on drums) are making up for lost time as they put together the finishing touches on a busy March schedule. The bar is open at Keane’s with live music both nights.

“Having an Irish music scene is something precious,” Keane says. “Support it before it goes away!”

On the latest edition of TAYSHT, I talk about bands like Black 47 and Shillelagh Law who showed The Narrowbacks the way, the new crop of musicians playing in and around McLean Avenue, the best place to get Irish meats in the five boroughs, and new music on the horizon for the band. 

Check out the latest TAYSHT podcast, featuring Seamus Keane of The Narrowbacks, here and over on Spotify:

*Mike Farragher is a playwright, filmmaker, novelist, and podcaster. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @brainonshamrox, or visit his website MikeFarragher.com.