|The Teetotallers -- Kevin Crawford, Martin Hayes and John Doyle.|
The return this spring of that occasional super group the Teetotallers -- Martin Hayes, Kevin Crawford and John Doyle -- is very welcome. The three superstars of Irish music relish the opportunity to match their talents and performances with one another whenever they can carve out time in their own busy schedules.
The results have been fantastic given the reaction thus far in Ireland and around the U.S. for their shows in the last year and a half.
Hayes has found more time to dabble musically in other collaborations beyond his hugely successful partnership with guitarist Dennis Cahill for over two decades. Somehow he keeps his musical genius on the violin very much to the fore through other work with tours and recordings with the Masters of the Tradition, the Gloaming and Triur.
In the Teetotallers he is able to explore the vast terrain of tunes from Co. Clare because the flute playing Crawford hails from the Banner (by way of Britain) County also.
Crawford enjoys his musical holiday from his usual trend-setting band Lunasa sitting alongside Hayes and the supremo accompanist Doyle, whose musical chops are in high demand by many musicians in the U.S. and Europe.
Doyle’s hard-driving guitar work which first took the Irish music scene by storm with Solas back in the mid-1990s has fashioned a very important solo career. It has also allowed his singing and songwriting skills to emerge, giving him an added dimension to any group or artists he joins in performance now.
In particular, his pairing first with Liz Carroll and then Karan Casey burnished his reputation as well as his being one of the best examples of a trans-Atlantic music maven that can fit in seemingly in any roots genre of music.
The trio came together after logging time at festivals and music camps in the U.S., and the camaraderie has really blossomed into a very entertaining package.
Their tour, which is supported by Culture Ireland, begins in the Midwest this week and heads to the Northeast this weekend with gigs in Pittsburgh (April 25), Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (26th), Silver Spring, Maryland (27th) and Bryn Athyyn, Pennsylvania (28th).
On Monday, April 29 at 8 p.m. they will appear at Manhattan’s Highline Ballroom in the Meatpacking District (431 West 16th Street; 212-414-5994). Then they stop in Somerville, Massachusetts at the Burren Backroom series for two shows on Wednesday, May 1 (7:30 and 9:30 p.m.; 617-776-6896).
On Thursday, May 2 they return to the Stratford, Connecticut Square One Theatre which is a wonderful venue. I saw them give a great performance last year hosted by the Shamrock Irish Traditional Music Society (www.shamrockirishmusic.org; 203-362-5912).
They finish the New England swing at the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, Rhode Island (May 3; 401-725-9272), Barre, Vermont at the Barre Opera House (May 4; 802-476-8188) and finally in Worcester at the Irish Cultural Center on Saturday, May 5.