OPENING ACT: Dodie Guardia & Somethin' Southern
Celtic Group Coming To Sparta Summer Concerts
The Sparta Summer Concert Series continues this Friday evening by bringing Celtic music group The John Byrne Band to the Nicholson Pavilion Stage.
The John Byrne Band is led by Dublin native and Philadelphia-based John Byrne. Their debut album, After the Wake, was released to critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic in 2011. With influences ranging from Tom Waits to Planxty, John's expands upon the musical and lyrical traditions of his native and adopted homes. John and the band followed up After the Wake in early 2013 with an album of Celtic and American traditional tunes. The album, Celtic/Folk, pushed the band on to the FolkDJ Charts, reaching number 36 in May 2015. Their third release, another collection of John Byrne originals, entitled "The Immigrant and the Orphan", was released in Sept 2015. The album, once again, draws heavily on John's love of Americana and Celtic Folk music and with the support of DJs around the country entered the US FolkDJ Charts at number 40. Critics have called it "..a powerful, deeply moving work that will stay with you long after you have heard it" (Michael Tearson-Sing Out); "The Vibe of it (The Immigrant and the Orphan) is, at once, as rough as rock and as elegant as a calm ocean...each song on this album carries an honesty, integrity and quiet passion that will draw you into its world for years to come" (Terry Roland - No Depression); "If any element of Celtic, Americana or Indie-Folk is your thing, then this album is an absolute yes" (Beehive Candy); "It's a gorgeous, nostalgic record filled with themes of loss, hope, history and lost loves; everything that tugs at your soul and spills your blood and guts...The Immigrant and the Orphan scorches the earth and emerges tough as nails" (Jane Roser - That Music Mag).
The album was released to a sold-out crowd at the storied World Cafe Live in Philadelphia and 2 weeks later to a sold-out crowd at the Mercantile in Dublin, Ireland. John has toured with or opened up for acts as diverse as The Hothouse Flowers, Ian Gillan (of Deep Purple), Gaelic Storm, Murder by Death, Finbar Furey, Luka Bloom, The Saw Doctors, The Solas, Sharon Shannon, The Young Dubliners and The Greencards.
In 2017, John returned to his Irish roots, recording an album with his father, brother and other noted musicians. The album, "John J.Byrne and the Twangmen" consisted of old Dublin Street songs along with some American/Canadian folk tunes, with John's Dad taking the vocals. Special appearances by Andy Keenan (Amos Lee, Jennifer Nettles) and Robbie Malone (Lir, David Gray) along with members of the Irish band Home Brew helped get the attention of the Irish National Archives, who almost immediately added the album to their collection of folk recordings.
Both as a solo/acoustic act, and a full 6-piece band, John logs in over 150 shows per year, building a loyal and devoted following. His next record, another collection of John Byrne originals, is scheduled for release in 2019. For up to date info and dates, go to www.johnbyrneband.com.
The opening act for the show will be Somethin” Southern, a male/female acoustic duo accompanied by percussive rhythms; covering today's country, a few classics and originals with contemporary vibes. Based in Sparta, Somethin’ Southern are Michael Fancher, an acoustic guitarist/singer-songwriter and Dodie Guardia, an American country singer/hand-held percussionist. Formed only recently after discovering a shared passion for music, they are playing it, singing it, and writing it.
All concerts in the series are FREE to the public, family-friendly, rain or shine events. Bring everyone along with lawn chairs and a picnic. The show starts on Friday July 26th at 7PM in George Dykstra Park, 22 Woodport Road, Sparta. Indoors to Mohawk Avenue School Auditorium if weather demands. Please visit www.spartaarts.org for more information and updates.