90% of my ancestry points to Germany, but somewhere along the line, there must have been an Irishman in the mix. Or maybe from a past life. Whatever it is, I am drawn to the Emerald Isle’s offerings – especially where beer and music is concerned. Give me some Waterboys, some Chieftains, some Pogues, and a few pints of Guinness, and I’m a happy man.
Young Dubliners have been putting forth their brand of Celtic rock and roll for over 20 years now, and their new album ‘Saints and Sinners‘ happily fills my appetite for great Irish-branded rock & roll. Co-founder Keith Roberts has been leading the Young Dubs since he moved over to the states and formed the Young Dubs in 1988. They made their mark at the Irish Rover pub in Santa Monica, California. If you were listening to AAA radio back in the early 90’s, you may remember their most popular tune, “Last House on the Street” (a great song that I canNOT seem to find anywhere online, anyone?).
But that was then, and this is now. ‘Saints & Sinners’ isn’t just a collection of predictable Celtic sounds. It’s an eclectic mix of well written tunes.. It’s got great pop hooks (“Buy You a Life”), heart-wrenching ballads (“(I Don’t Think I’ll) Love Anymore”), an instrumental rocker featuring Kenny Wayne Shepherd on blistering guitar (“Saoirse”), and some straight-ahead get off your ass and party anthems on the the first trio of tunes on the album (“Saints and Sinners”, “Howaya Girls”, and “Rosie”). “My Town” surprised me too in its positive outlook on these tough economic times. The lyrics about never giving up and getting back up when you’re down sound a little cliche and corny at face value, but Keith and his band make it work. I’m drawn to those songwriters who write about those who experience despair and tough times in life, but keep a hopeful and positive spirit, and know there’s a better day coming (read: Bruce Springsteen). That’s who I am, after all.
Young Dubliners are road dogs, spending about 200 days on the road a year. Reports are that they’re a great live band to see. Hearing some of the songs on ‘Saints and Sinners‘ has me pumped to hear ’em live. If you’re here with me in Arizona, you can catch them April 25th at the McDowell Mountain Music Festival. They have the 1:30pm slot, which is way too early for these guys in my opinion, but I’ll take it.