THE Craic Music Fest will be held on March 3 at the Mercury Lounge in Manhattan's East Village and as always the lineup is eclectic
Irish singer and songwriter Colin Devin will take the stage to give a another masterclass in contemporary Irish pop and rock stylings.
Fans will recall in 2010 Devlin released his first solo album, Democracy of One, an acclaimed pop recording that became a firm favorite in Ireland and in the U.S., where its hit songs later played on Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, The Cleaner and other top shows.
A nominee for Best Irish Male at the Meteor Music Awards, Devlin may live in L.A. now where he writes and records, but his accent is still unadulterated Newry, County Down.
“There have been a lot of opportunities in L.A. that perhaps might not have been available to me to the same extent in Ireland,” he told the Irish press in 2015. “As well as writing and recording my own music, I’ve also started to do film scoring, and co-writing as well as producing other artists (the Janvia Magness album he wrote songs for picked up a Grammy nomination in 2017).”
“He has a lot of fans in the city from his long career as a solo artist and from his time in The Devlins. He writes these terrific love songs that have a great sense of optimism. He's an Irish guy with an American sensibility. There's none of these I lost the girl and it's raining and I'm never going to make it home tracks. When he plays here he always fills the house.”
Another performer on the night is the gifted Count Vaseline, being Dublin born singer and songwriter Stefan Murphy, formerly of the well known Irish band The Mighty Stef. Now based in Atlanta, Murphy has been enjoying a later in life creative flowering, recording three albums within the last three years.
“He's out on his own now and his style is a real contrast with Colin's,” says Mulligan. He's not kidding, Murphy offers off kilter gems that keep the flame of rock and roll and revolution burning in our own cynical auto-tuned times.
The opening acts on the night will include Natalie Clark, an Irish Scottish girl who opened for The Indigo Girls and who is just gifted, Mulligan insists. “Expect more love songs, a sense of optimism, a likable performer, are you starting to see a trend here? It's the 20 year of the Craic Fest, we're not going to be getting too heavy.”
The Paddy Smith Blues band will kick the night off. “It's nice to have an element of the blues. He's from Ireland and he's coming in with a three piece band. It's a sound that we haven't really had before and it's a great way to kick off the night.”
Like many of the best blues musicians, Smith has lived what he plays. Navan born, the gifted harmonica player saw his alcohol dependency once threaten the career he worked so hard to found. But then a tragedy in his life saw him vow to turn his life around and he has been sober for over seven years, a triumph worthy of his talent.
Meanwhile the Kids Fleadh is also back on March 10 at 11:30 A.M. at the Cinepolis Theatre in Chelsea. Award winning short films will be followed by Irish step dancing class with the Niall O'Leary school, to give the kids an insiders sense of the old country.
“They have great stadium seats, and fun films to keep them occupied. The cool thing is that both the kids and the adults enjoy the shows. The films are mostly animations and they're fun for everyone because that how we programmed it.”
The film's directors will attend the screenings for a brief discussion after they unspool, just like in regular grown up events, so prepare for some fun chats.
“One of the film's is called Rockmount, about a kid who thinks he's Roy Keane,” laughs Mulligan. That could be every kid in Ireland. What are you waiting for? For tickets to the Music Fest and the Kids Fleadh CLICK HERE.