As the producer of “Ceol na nGael,” one of WFUV’s Irish music programs, I’ve really enjoyed watching countless bands grace us with live music in our studios on Sunday afternoons. Through the years I’ve seen bands get together, break up, add members and lose members, change their managers, their websites, and their record labels. But the award for biggest band makeover goes to the Moonshiners Band. Actually, call them a Band of Rogues. The transformation wouldn’t be complete without a shiny new name to go along with their fresh line-up and sound. If we had thrown in some fancy costumes, and a hair and make- up crew we may have had a new TV series on our hands, “Extreme Makeover: Band Edition”!
A Band of Rogues rambled into WFUV for a recent live broadcast on Ceol na nGael where they ripped through two lively tunes written by them, thereby treating listeners to a taste of their new sound. While the core members have been making music together since the early 1990s, currently the band is a seven-piece with some new faces in the mix, including singer-songwriter Sean McNally and fiddler Meredith Rachel. I’m happy to report that a Band of Rogues has a full schedule of shows up on their website, themoonshinersband.com, for those of you who want to witness the Moonshiners make-over first hand.
Although the band is embracing many changes in 2012, one thing that remains the same is their affinity to the NYPD Emerald Society. It’s a relationship that was built on their shared interest in honoring their Irish heritage as well as their desire to help the Emerald Society raise funds for scholarship efforts. A Band of Rogues has provided the music for various Emerald Society fundraisers over the years, and will continue to do so in 2012. With a membership 5,000 strong working towards the preservation of Irish culture, and raising nearly $90,000 annually, that’s one fine Emerald Society. Check out nypdemeralds.com to find out how you can contribute to their efforts.
In other news, I couldn’t leave you this week without telling you about one more Irish musician makeover. Black 47 uillean pipe and flute player Joseph Mulvanerty recently appeared as a soloist at Carnegie Hall playing the music of renowned Welsh composer Karl Jenkins. Fair play to you, Joseph! When he’s not taking the stage at Carnegie Hall you can catch him rocking out with Black 47 all over the tri-state area, including an upcoming show at the Boulton Center in Bayshore, Long Island, on March 10 or on St. Patrick’s Day at B.B. King’s Blues Club and Grill.
For some Celtic sounds around town this week head over to the Turning Point Café in Piermont, N.Y., to see Annalivia on 2/1. On 2/4 check out Jameson’s Revenge at the Quiet Man Public House in Peekskill, N.Y., or hit up a Saturday afternoon session at Lillie’s in Union Square with Dan Neely on 2/4.