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Wednesday September 5th to Sunday September 9th
In recent years Galway truly has become the home of Americana Music in Ireland with many legendary artists such as Steve Earle, John Prine and Jim Rooney finding a home in the Tribal County . To celebrate the rich cross-pollination between the Galway ‘session’ scene and the Nashville outlaw troubadour scene it has just been announced that Galway’s first Americana Festival will take place at venues throughout the city from September 5th to 9th and will feature notable acts such as Mollie O’Brien (sister of Bluegrass legend Tim) and Rich Moore, Clive Barnes, Johnny Dickinson, Niall Toner, Jeff and Vida Band, Moonshine (featuring ex Sweeney’s Men and Planxty guitarist Johnny Moynihan), The Lee Valley String Band and many more.

Festival director Pete Lamb grew up within the shadow of White Hart Lane in North London but it was to the music of the Deep South Delta region that his heart belonged. “I’ve been listening to and playing Bluegrass for several years” he says “When I moved to Galway in 2004 I got together with Mick Crehan of The Crane Bar and together we organized an evening of American Folk Music. That went incredibly well and it sort of sowed the seeds for a festival of American roots music. There is an appreciative audience for this music in Galway and this year we decided to expand a little further. Monroe ’s Tavern and The Quays have come on board and it has allowed us to put on a broader range of gigs and sessions”

The international section of the festival kicks-off with Mollie O’Brien and her husband Rich Moore at The Crane Bar on Wednesday September 5th for a much-anticipated return. The Washington Post in reviewing their show wrote “Tim O’Brien’s big sister owns one of those remarkable voices that seem to thicken in tone the longer she holds a note. The precision of her phrasing, the smooth flow of her delivery and the sheer beauty of her alto make her one of the best interpretive singers in American pop today” The Jeff and Vida Band from New Orleans play The Crane on Thursday September 6th and Monroe’s on Friday September 7th and their brand of Bluegrass and Country is set to send the Dominick Street area into overdrive. UK guitarist Johnny Dickinson has been fusing blues with celtic influences for many years and you can hear his distinctive, hypnotic playing at Monroe ’s on Sunday September 9th at 8.30pm: Recommended!

As well as acts from around the US , Ireland and the UK at the festival there is also a strong local element over the four days. “We wanted to show that there are some very fine homegrown acts to be enjoyed in this city. I’ve always had a respect for musicians who can cut it live and there are many examples of that at this festival” Local heroes The Maimin Cajun Band headline the festival at The Quays on Friday 7th with their irresistible Cajun dance rhythms, and Galway’s own adopted son the folk troubadour Chad Dughi plays Saturday 8th at Monroe ’s . Noelie McDonnell - described in Hotpress as a hybrid of John Prine, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan – is joined by his band The Timber Tramps on Saturday 8th in Monroe ’s. Other local acts to watch out for include slide guitarist Tom Portman, The Lazy Blues Band and the heavenly harmonies of Hazard Hallow (featuring Ruth Dillon).

Clive Barnes is a master of growling blues vocals, virtuoso guitar picking and sparkling dobro playing – he comes to Monroe ’s on Thursday 6th. Hailing from Wexford, he has toured the US several times and shared the stage with legendary acts such as Dr John, Solomon Burke, Taj Mahal and Terry Callier. Fellow Wexford man Niall Toner is one of the greatest known bluegrass exponents in Ireland and he plays The Crane Bar on Sunday 9th of September. The Lee Valley String Band from Cork play The Crane on Saturday 8th and are sure to bring a warm glow with their old-timey and bluegrass mix.

“I hope this festival will grow to become a significant date on the Galway calendar, and eventually on the national and international music calendar” says Pete Lamb. For more information on this exciting new festival check out or email Pete at: or phone 085-1033709

Y’all come now, ya hear!?…….

Permalink - Posted: August 27, 2007 at 4:16 pm