|Photo of the Yanks from their CD cover -- Dylan Foley, Dan Gurney, Issac Alderson and Sean Earnest|
The New York City area is buzzing with anticipation for the long-awaited CD launch of The Yanks, the exceptional new recording that as much as anything else reflects the very healthy state of Irish traditional music among young people in the metropolitan New York area.
The self-titled maiden voyage sonically was recorded in East Durham in three days by John Walsh, who captured Dylan Foley, Dan Gurney, Isaac Alderson and Sean Earnest in peak form at the Blackthorn Resort during the Catskills Irish Arts Week.
The Catskills proved a very appropriate setting for the four musicians who have been playing together since 2011, including many late night sessions in the mountains.
Foley on fiddle and Gurney on the button accordion in particular were weaned on classes and sessions at the Catskills week over the years, turning out to be leading musicians both at the prestigious summer school and the upstate New York community from which they both hail -- Gurney from nearby Rhinebeck and Foley from Highland Falls.
Both absorbed music from master musicians at the camp and all year long from sources like Rose and Brian Conway, Monsignor Charlie Coen and Mike McHale as they grew from boys to men. They developed a fine ear for other fine musicians and developed their own styles and repertoire as serious players with prize winning technical skills.
Isaac Alderson grew up in Chicago and developed an interest in the uilleann pipes, flute and the tin whistle and at an extraordinary All-Ireland Fleadh he managed to capture three senior All-Ireland championships on the three instruments, the first and only American-born musician to do so.
He shifted his base to New York and has been an integral part of the New York City session scene when he isn’t touring with Comas or an Irish dance show.
The fourth member of The Yanks comes from Philadelphia in Sean Earnest. He has a fast-developing reputation as a first-rate accompanist with a great grasp of traditional music, particularly well-suited to playing with younger folks dedicated to it.
The 14 well-chosen tracks on the new CD reveal a quartet that knows their way with the chunes, and it is redolent with the flavor of a tasty session somewhere. The interplay between the musicians gives vivid testimony to not only their skillful playing, but also their love and commitment to the art form and the power of coming together at crossroads like the Catskills where sessions and craic go to all hours of the night and morning.
The lads have chosen Theatre 80 (80 St. Mark’s Place and www.theatre80.net) for their launch where Gurney participates in a Monday night session at the historic old theater in the East Village. Joanie Madden will be the guest host for the concert that starts at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 28. The place seats up to 200 people and tickets can be purchased in advance.
Copies of the CD will be available for purchase or you can visit www.yanksband.bandcamp.com to download, or also cdbaby.com.