Band of The Week: We Banjo 3

Meet the Band: David Howley (banjo, vocals, guitar), Martin Howley (banjo, mandolin, tenor guitar), Enda Scahill (banjo, mandolin, tenor guitar), Fergal Scahill (fiddle, guitar, bodhrán)

THREE GUYS WITH BANJOS: About seven years ago, David Howley formed the band with his brother, Martin, and Enda Scahill. "It was three guys with three banjos," says David Howley. "It was exceptionally fun. People took to it immediately." The band's first gig at the Galway Arts Festival sold out. Howley admits it was partly because of the band's name. The group then added multi-instrumentalist Fergal Scahill. "He brought an energy to the band that was intoxicating," Howley says. "He and his brother had been gigging together for eight years. They had a great chemistry. The band is built on the chemistry by two sets of brothers, and we're almost like four brothers on the road now."

YOU CAN CALL IT CELTGRASS: Critics use the term "Celtgrass" to describe the band's mix of traditional Irish music and bluegrass. "If you think about it, Irish music came to America and captivated people and blended with the music from the time," says Howley. "That's where you get American country and folk music. It's a blend of all the different musics that came over [to the States]. Instead of us being four Irish guys playing bluegrass, we're four Irish guys influenced by it. It's a seamless blending of Irish and bluegrass. It would be hard to find the point where it's Irish and the point where it's bluegrass."

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: Howley says the band's latest album, String Theory, represents a culmination of the group's work to date. He wrote "This is Home," the album's folk-y opening tune, about the troubles he saw in Belfast. The mournful vocals in the tune pair nicely with fiddle and banjo, making it sound like an old-time country standard. "There is an emphasis on the personal side of things," Howley says of the album. "It's maybe more serious on the writing side of things. We hope to record a new album in January which will be a personal album and we have new songs we wrote on the past couple of tours. We really want our music to evolve, and we don't want to do the same thing over and over."


WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: We Banjo 3 performs with the Auld Pitch at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 3, at the Music Box Supper Club.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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