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The Willis Clan has enjoyed the journey of being re–introduced to their Irish musical heritage through Riverdance, learning the dance, winning the fleadh, writing their own tunes and songs, recording an album and touring and playing at Irish festivals. But recently The Clan’s music has taken a new turn while still remaining true to its roots. Having moved from a strong Irish community in Chicago to Nashville, TN 12 years ago has allowed the band to be introduced to many new styles of music.

After auditioning to play Irish music at World Fest at Dollywood, a theme park in Pigeon Forge, TN owned by country music legend Dolly Parton, the band was offered a gig playing 16 shows at their BBQ and Bluegrass Festival. This started The Clan working on bluegrass music and they came to realize how closely related the two genres are. Since then The Willis Clan has played over 50 shows at Dollywood’s Bluegrass Festival, played more than 10 times on the Grand Ole Opry with more dates scheduled, and this year was booked to play at the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh, NC during the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) annual fan fest.

They were also part of a documentary on youth in bluegrass called Generation Bluegrass 2 exploring Irish as the roots of bluegrass and comparing the similarities and differences of the music today. In each show The Willis Clan plays some Irish tunes and songs and brings bluegrass and country music fans back to their Irish roots.

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Permalink - Posted: November 15, 2013 at 4:48 pm