KISS THE BLARNEY was (or possible were - I can never quite make my mind up about the grammar of bands) a traditional (ish) Irish band, specialising in, and occasionally veering away from, traditional and contemporary Irish folk music.
The band was led by the singing of John and myself, driven along by John's bass and guitar, Robbie’s storming banjo and guitar (both acoustic and dobro) and my fiddle, melodeon, mandolin, flute, accordion and sax.
Belfast-born John was the original member of the band, playing bass and guitar and sharing the vocals with Ralph, who played banjo and guitar until he left to form the Slippery Hill Boys bluegrass band. I joined about ten years ago after Chris Perry, the original fiddle plyer left to concentrate on his excellent ceili band, Peak Folk. When Ralph left, Robbie joined to play guitar, banjo, mandolin and various other instruments with strings. He likes real ale, pork scratchings and Airedale terriers.
We mostly played pubs because they had beer, although we have also played for quite a few birthday parties, the odd wedding, a beer festival or two and probably some other events that have slipped my increasingly doddery memory.
I ended up writing a fair bit of the set and wrote most of the songs on the band’s second CD, including all the ones on the player above. There are more of them on the band’s video pages.
The band folded in March 2018 after St Patrick’s day, mostly because I decided to leave and neither of the remaining two wanted to do the work involved in keeping going as a duo. I had got increasingly frustrated and bored over the final two years as nobody except me wanted to learn anything new, and the few ones we did manage to shoehorn into the set were quickly forgotten again. I felt that not only was I bored, but so were our audience, and I’d rather go back to playing solo than carry on with the same material.
But, as you can see from the videos, it was a damn good band while it lasted.