Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Irish Eyes are Smiling (Part One)

In honor of the month of March (which houses St. Patrick's Day as well as the release of the latest U2 CD) I plan to embark on a short series on some of my favorite Irish bands/artists. I know it might be a might disingenuous for someone of no Irish decent from Southern California to celebrate the music of the Emerald Isle but I realized just how many Irish musicians I admired and the ideas seemed to start flying.

First up is THE POGUES. Irish style music of all kinds (both traditional and of the rock variety) tends to be associated with copious consumption of alcohol. No more so is this in effect then when speaking of Shane MacGowan, lead singer of this Irish pub rock outfit. Their music is a combination of tin whistles, mandolins and punk rock ethos that made them, in some peoples minds, the most dangerous band around. Their live shows were legendary more for the potential for disaster as the music they played. But through all the rabble rousing and debauchery came pure passion and brilliant music. The highlight of their work, in my opinion, is "Thousands are Sailing" from the record "If I Should Fall From Grace With God". The story of Irish immigration to the US, the song aches with a longing for the homeland and a sense of wonder at the new adventure that lies ahead. There is hope in the lyrics and the music swells to a fever pitch over a rolling bass line. It is a quintessential Irish song about the Irish experience.

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