Where can I find more music that fuses celtic roots and bluegrass music?
February 6, 2015 6:15 AM   Subscribe

I recently came across an amazing performance of The Boy Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn by Dan Tyminski for the Transatlantic Sessions. I love the combination of traditional bluegrass music with celtic roots and was wondering if there are recommendations for music or bands that do this. I came across some music by I Draw Slow which I'm really enjoying as well, but I'm hoping that I can be pointed to other stuff that's out there.
posted by jamincan to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I have no personal knowledge or recommendations for music but your question reminded me of this book Wayfaring Strangers, which does include a CD.
posted by lyssabee at 7:01 AM on February 6, 2015

You might like the Chieftains' collaboration album Down the Old Plank Road.
posted by mskyle at 7:02 AM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oooh! Oooh!

Tim O'Brien is the one you seek.

His albums The Crossing, Two Journeys and Fiddler's Green in particular (I strongly recommend the latter's companion album, Cornbread Nation, where the dominant flavour is "Americana" instead of Irish. Those two albums are a nice pairing). There's also some stuff in this vein on Hard Year Blues.

Also, if you've never heard his solo version of Wayfaring Stranger, you are missing a truly transcendent experience. I've heard him do it live, and...just wow. Get thee to Youtube.

He does the same thing with Working on a Building. He makes it really triplety and gives it a strong Celtic flavour.

On some of his stuff he works a lot of Celtic bouzouki/octave mandolin into a bluegrass context.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:55 AM on February 6, 2015

Tim O'Brien is also on the Chieftain's project mskyle mentioned as well.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:00 AM on February 6, 2015

Kind of related is Steve Earle's Dixieland. I guess the tin whistle makes it kinda Celtic. Here he is doing it with the Del McCoury band.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:04 AM on February 6, 2015

Just because I guess I'm going down this rabbit hole this morning:

Earl Scruggs with the Chieftains.

Tim O'Brien with the Chieftains.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:09 AM on February 6, 2015

Another tune that lands somewhere in the ballpark is Bill Monroe's "Scotland" - he wrote it to sound kind of like bagpipes.

That tune illustrates how fiddle in bluegrass descends from a Scots-Irish tradition, so Celtic music is really kind of its roots going way back, so it's neat to hear that come full circle. It's like bluegrass going home for a visit with some long-lost relatives, or Celtic music going to visit its American cousins.

In any case, even if it's not what you're looking for, Scotland is worth a listen just to see Emmylou Harris and Bill Monroe dancing.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:17 AM on February 6, 2015

Emmylou Harris in general does a lot of Celtic-y stuff.

The Waterboys may be more on the Celtic side of things, but their stuff may also be worth a listen - particularly Fisherman's Blues and a bit on Room to Roam.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:37 AM on February 6, 2015

You might like Akira Satake as well. Cooler Heads Prevail has a bit of a celtic vibe to it.
posted by Meagan at 9:42 AM on February 6, 2015

Checkout the Brock McGuire Band, great stuff. And n'thing Tim O'Brien. His albums are fantastic.
posted by beowulf573 at 9:44 AM on February 6, 2015

Scythian has the sound you seek.
posted by youcancallmeal at 9:51 AM on February 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Dolly Parton's Little Sparrow is more bluegrass than Irish but Altan appears on at least one song. And it's a great album.
posted by beowulf573 at 9:55 AM on February 6, 2015

Response by poster: Wow, thanks for all the responses! I look forward to checking out the various suggestions; this could take awhile!
posted by jamincan at 2:48 PM on February 6, 2015

Fiona Ritchie who wrote Wayfaring Stranger noted above has a radio program Thistle and Shamrock. Look at thistleradio For a lot of info, podcasts, playlists, and more. I listen every week and have found much to enjoy.
posted by Nosey Mrs. Rat at 2:15 PM on February 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

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