Celtic Music Stories #585
Play • 2 hr 7 min

Listen to the audio liner notes from several musicians on the Irish & Celtic music Podcast #585.

Willowgreen, Poitin, Amelia Hogan, Kinnfolk, Boston Blackthorne, Téada, Barrenhart, Altan, Brad Tuck, Lúnasa, Sue Spencer, Marc Gunn, Enda Reilly, The Chivalrous Crickets


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0:06 - WELCOME


Willowgreen performs traditional, contemporary and original music from Ireland, Newfoundland, Scotland, Canada, U.S.A. and the rest of the Celtic music world. Their signature vocal style combined with instrumentation including harp, hammered dulcimer, bodhrán, guitars, button accordion, whistles and mandolin appeals to audiences of all ages.

Jim Ofsthun bio: Jim is an original member of Willowgreen, and a talented vocalist and instrumentalist with international performances on Irish bodhrán, guitar, button accordion, and whistles. He is also a member of McInnis' Kitchen, and of Eira. He has family connections to the music through Ireland and Newfoundland, and is considered one of the top producers in Irish music in the Midwest.

4:37 - Willowgreen “Crocker’s Cove Reel” from Willowgreen

7:34 - POITIN

Poitín are an award-winning traditional Celtic band from Pilsen in the Czech Republic. They explore all forms of Celtic music but are firmly grounded in the pub session tradition and like nothing better than sitting round a table in the corner of a cosy pub playing old favourites about tarry sailors, merry maids and drunken nights. Poitín have performed at festivals across Europe in Italy, France, Poland, Denmark, Germany and the Czech Republic.

As the album says, it's 'one for the road', to go with you and keep you company in your car or on your bike, and this Celtic world music will take you from Ireland to Argentina, from England to Egypt, from Brittany to the Czech Republic and beyond.

15:44 - Poitin “Claudy Banks” from One For the Road


Amelia Hogan is an impeccably authentic singer of Celtic music and her heart comes through in honeyed tones on Irish, Scottish, British, and American styled vocals. She sings in the Irish music tradition of Sean-Nós, or “old style” as well as accompanied. Amelia also plays bodhran and a small 22 string Welsh lap harp, and tours internationally to global acclaim.

Amelia Hogan sings both traditional and contemporary folk music with lilting graces and subtlety. She’ll weave a mysterious old magic that takes the listener out of time and place. She transports audiences with haunting melodies, holding them close, and stirs ancient spirits with an evocative storytelling presence.

24:07 -  Amelia Hogan “Taking Flight” from Taking Flight

26:19 - FEEDBACK

28:24 - KINNFOLK

Josh and Julie Kinn weave bouzouki, bodhran, and smooth vocal harmonies in their Celtic folk music from the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Kinnfolk have played at festivals and listening rooms throughout Virginia and beyond. In 2021, Kinnfolk was one of 10 bands--representing 10 countries from across the globe--selected to be part of the inaugural Robinson Emerging Artist Showcase hosted by the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival. As their notoriety has expanded worldwide, their music has been featured on podcasts and radio programs across the globe.

39:51 - Kinnfolk “The Hat Song” from The Knotted Circle


Boston Blackthorne has been performing with the same core members for over 25 years. Their sound is a unique blend of traditional Celtic and Americana in a driving format - more rock than the Clancy Brothers, more folk than the Dropkick Murphys - while sharing some of the traditional repertoires of both.

They are proud of their deep songwriting bench - the original songs of Boston Blackthorne have won several national and international songwriting competitions including first place in the International Narrative Songwriting competition and honorable mention in the International Songwriting Competition.

The band’s sound is centered around powerful vocal harmonies and lead vocals shared by several of the members.  Between the 5 core members instrumentation includes fiddle, 4&5 string banjo, harmonica, 6&12 string guitars, mandolin, bouzouki, bass and drums

50:26 - Boston Blackthorne “Fishing over the Lusi” from Single


You can hear more stories by the Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh on show #580.

Altan are an Irish folk music band formed in County Donegal in 1987 by lead vocalist Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and her husband Frankie Kennedy. The group were primarily influenced by traditional Irish language songs from Donegal and have sold over a million records.

The group were the first traditional Irish group to be signed to a major label when they signed with Virgin Records in 1994. The group has collaborated with Dolly Parton, Enya, The Chieftains, Bonnie Raitt, Alison Krauss, and many others.

57:29 - Altan “An Mhaighdean Mhara” from Island Angel



Earlier this year, I wanted to learn more about Irish dance. I contacted one of the co-founders of Atlanta Irish Dance by Burke and Connolly. Emma Burke is a certified Irish dance teacher and internationally certified Irish dance adjudicator, which allows her to judge Irish dance competitions world wide. During her Irish dancing career, she competed all over the world, winning titles throughout.

Atlanta Irish Dance is the Premiere Irish Dance Academy in Georgia and one of the top Irish Dance Companies in the United States. They have an exciting performance based program run through their 501c3, in which they produce lively crowd-pleasing performances for crowds across Atlanta.  Their dancers and teams are ranked 1st in the Region, 2nd in North America, and among the top 10 in the World.

We talked a little about their Feis they do each year and Irish dance costumes. I’ll break that up with some dance tunes.

Feis vs Feisana from Atlanta Irish Dance

1:04:11 - Téada “Jigs - The Women of Monaghan / Nancy Hynes’ / Tap the Barrel” from Coiscéim Coiligh / As the Days Brighten


1:14:31 - Barrenhart “Haste To The Wedding/Drowsy Maggie/Harvest Home” from Celtic Grass



Born in Hant's Harbour, Newfoundland, Brad developed a love for music early in his life. Residing in St. John's, Brad is the drummer for a staple of the traditional Newfoundland music scene, Shanneyganock, and began a solo career in 2018 with the release of his first album "On These Waters". Brad was nominated for Traditional Artist of the Year at the 2018 & 2022 MusicNL Awards, and has released three full length albums, one EP and two Christmas singles.

1:20:14 - Brad Tuck “The Red Violin” from Stages

Colin Farrell of Lunasa told a story back in show #579.


Lúnasa is a traditional Irish music group, named after Lughnasadh, an ancient harvest festival. They tour and perform internationally, and have recorded a number of albums of both traditional and contemporary Irish instrumental music.

1:27:06 - Lúnasa “Morning Nightcap = McLeod's Farewell/Morning Nightcap/The Malbay Shuffle” from The Story So Far


Sue grew up singing Newfoundland and Irish folk songs with her family, and comes by her Irish roots through Newfoundland.  Her driving guitar style and signature smile will lift your spirits.  Sue has been nominated multiple times for the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council Hall of Honour Award.  She also performs internationally as part of Willowgreen and McInnis' Kitchen.

1:34:43 - Sue Spencer “Tickle Cove Pond” from North Shore


1:39:32 - MARC GUNN

John Sharkey White II requested my version of “Peggy Gordon” in the last episode of the podcast. Obviously, I am the host of this podcast. But I’m gonna read my current bio on my website like I’ve done with others.

Marc Gunn is a Rhythm & Folk songwriter who fuses Irish and Scottish folk songs with pop culture. One brewery called it Sci F’Irish music. His musical weapon of choice is the autoharp. He breathes acoustic Rock and Roll into this folk instrument and adds a bellowing taste of rhythm & blues.

Gunn found musical inspiration performing Irish drinking songs. He learned the art of performing at Renaissance faires and from his childhood idol, Elvis Presley, who said, “You've got to put on a show to draw a crowd.” His concerts are fun filled with sing along songs that get the audience's feet tapping.

And now for my song…

I first heard the song “Peggy Gordon” from a cassette of Irish Drinking Songs I found at Half-Price Books in Austin, Texas. I learned most of my early Irish song repertoire from that album, songs like “Whiskey in the Jar”, “Big Strong Man, “Wild Rover”, “Bog Down in the Valley” and lots more.

Their version of “Peggy Gordon” was short, but memorable. I played it on and off for many years. I remember singing it at a pub in Switzerland when I met Heidi and Stef of the Celtic band Bow Triplets.

In July 2009, I met my future wife, Gwen, while touring in Virginia. We had this whirlwind romance and began talking on the phone every day and went to see each other as much as possible even while I was out on tour. I was completely mesmerized by her.

A few weeks later, I was back in Austin. I was scheduled to record my next studio album with Rich Brotherton. He’s an incredible engineer and had done some brilliant work for Ed Miller and lots of top-notch artists in Texas.

I was having trouble singing the song. I was pitchy and my voice lacked any real emotion. The lyrics have this great feeling of love and longing. Which is exactly the feeling I was having with Gwen so far away. And so… I closed my eyes, focused on Gwen, and sang.

To this day, I still tell people it is one of my best recordings. Because I feel like I nailed it. And then to top it off, Rich Brotherton added some absolutely beautiful guitar work, as he did throughout that album. It is definitely one of my warmest and lushest and best-produced albums.

1:42:07 - Marc Gunn “Peggy Gordon” from The Bridge

1:46:26 - ENDA REILLY

Enda Reilly is a folk singer, songwriter and guitarist from Dublin, Ireland. Firmly rooted in the Irish tradition with songs that strive for a better future, Enda Reilly’s work invites you to see the world from his varied and unique perspective through each new song and project. From busking on Grafton Street to the National Concert Hall, Enda has performed on countless stages in his hometown of Dublin and beyond.

1:50:46 - Enda Reilly “Christmas True” from Christmas Is With Us

1:54:07 - CLOSING


The Crickets explore the roots, branches and crossroads of Celtic and English folk and American Old Time music. With equal attention to exhilarating performances and academic rigor, they bring to the stage boldly reimagined arrangements of standards and originals with traditional influence. With a particular focus on song repertoire, they're known for their rich vocal harmonies and fascinating textural blends incorporating over 15 instruments, both modern and ancient.

They're a family band comprising two sisters, two couples and childhood friends. Four of their members are full-time classical musicians as well.

2:02:23 - The Chivalrous Crickets “The Lord of Misrule” from A Chivalrous Christmas

The Irish & Celtic Music Podcast was produced by Marc Gunn, The Celtfather. The show was edited by Mitchell Petersen with Graphics by Miranda Nelson Designs.

The show is supported by our Patrons of the Podcast on Patreon. Subscribe to get bonus podcasts and vote in the Celtic Top 20.

Visit our website to subscribe to the podcast. You’ll find links to all of the artists played in this episode. You’ll get access to our Best of this Year Playlist. You can subscribe to our Celtic Music Magazine and get 34 Celtic MP3s for Free plus, you’ll get 7 weekly news items about what’s happening with Celtic music and culture online. And best of all, you will connect with your Celtic heritage.

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Promote Celtic culture through music at http://celticmusicpodcast.com/.


* Helping you celebrate Celtic culture through music. I am Marc Gunn. I’m a Celtic musician and podcaster. We are here to cherish our diverse Celtic community and help the incredible artists who so generously share their music with you. If you hear music you love, please email artists to let them know you heard them on the Irish and Celtic Music Podcast.

You can find a link to all of the artists in the shownotes, along with show times and chapters for each song when you visit our website at celticmusicpodcast.com. So you can skip around. And if you are a Song Henger on Patreon will get a music-only episode.

Once again, we are doing a different sort of show. This is not the usual format.

I collect stories from artists about the songs they write or play. It’s sort of like the Liner Notes behind some of their songs. Much like what I do on my Pub Songs & Stories podcast. I’m excited to share this nice bunch of stories as we finish up 2022.

If you’re in a Celtic band and would like to talk about a song or tune that you play, drop me a line. I’ll get you instructions and I’ll get you on the show next year.


Every week this year, Miranda and I compiled the latest Celtic Top 20 votes. We updated a playlist on Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube. These are all of the top voted tracks of the year. And so it’s a pretty fantastic playlist that will stick around.

We have a new playlist coming in 2023. Again, all due to your voting. You can help these artists out by following the playlists and adding tracks you love to your playlists. Subscribe to our newsletter to find out who was added this week.

Listen on Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube.


Because of Your kind and generous support, this show comes out at least four times a month. Your generosity funds the creation, promotion and production of the show. It allows us to attract new listeners and to help our community grow.

As a patron, you hear episodes before regular listeners, vote in the Celtic Top 20, and a private feed to listen to the show.  All that for as little as $1 per episode. You can also get music-only episodes as a Song Henger.

A special thanks to our Celtic Legends: Marti Meyers, Brenda, Meghan Walker, Dan mcDade, Carol Baril, Miranda Nelson, Nancie Barnett, Kevin Long, Annie Lorkowski, Shawn Cali


  1. Go to our Patreon page.
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You can become a generous Patron of the Podcast on Patreon at SongHenge.com.


Every year, I take a small group of Celtic music fans on the relaxing adventure of a lifetime. We don't see everything. Instead, we stay in one area. We get to know the region through its culture, history, and legends. You can join us with an auditory and visual adventure through podcasts and videos.

In 2023, we’re going on a Celtic Invasion of County Mayo in Ireland. We’re gonna explore the area and get to know Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen. Learn more about the invasion at http://celticinvasion.com/

#celticmusic #irishmusic #celticmusicpodcast


What are you doing today while listening to the podcast? You can send a written comment along with a picture of what you're doing while listening.

Email a voicemail message to celticpodcast@gmail.com

When you make a per-episode pledge on Patreon, I plan to charge 4 episodes per month. But sometimes I forget. Other times, I charge for the show on the wrong date like I did this past month. As a result, the podcast income was short this month.

Thankfully, our Patrons of the Podcast are just incredible. They donated money and bought CD and digital downloads in my store to help cover the loss. Thank you SO much for your generosity, as always.

Asa Swain wrote: "Dear Marc, Thank you for playing “Banjos we have heard on high” in the Nov 28 episode (of the Celtic Christmas Podcast). It made me smile in delight. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas season. Thanks for sharing beautiful Celtic music with us year round.

I’ve been listening to your show for about 15 years, I got a chance to chat with you at the online Boskone you attended in 2020. (On zoom) You talked about how wonderful traveling was. I haven’t travelled overseas since 2019 (because of COVID), but in December my wife and I are going to spend a week exploring Iceland. We’re very excited. (we’ll only have 4.5 hours of sunlight each day, but we hope to see the northern lights) . All the best."

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