We Banjo 3 Tour 2018
We Banjo 3 Setlist
08/22/2018 Seven Steps Up Live Music Spring Lake, MI
08/24/2018 Greenbridge Celtic Folk Fest Keene, ON
08/29/2018 Durty Nellie's Palatine, IL
09/02/2018 Four Corners Folk Festival Pagosa Springs, CO
02/01/2019 Chandler Center For The Arts Chandler, AZ
02/09/2019 Somerville Theatre Somerville, MA
03/10/2019 The Cedar Cultural Center Minneapolis, MN
03/12/2019 Rams Head On Stage Annapolis, MD
03/20/2019 Center For The Arts Homer, NY
It must be Irish logic--
The band is We Banjo 3, a Galway, Ireland Celtgrass (their term for the version of traditional Irish, old time and bluegrass music they play) band of...four (two sets of brothers), wherein only two play the banjo at any given time.
Despite any confusion with their name, the quartet triumphantly returned to The Irish Fair of Minnesota on Harriet Island in St. Paul, headlining the main stage on the coveted Saturday night spot of the three-day festival.
The festival is one of the country’s largest ethnic free events, held at this location on the banks of the Mississippi River since 2001, and draws some 100,000 people over its three-day weekend. In addition to the music, there is plenty of authentic food, vendors, activities, and demonstrations throughout the grounds to take in as well.
Though Saturday night draws the biggest musical audience, often the bands perform a second, slightly shortened set the following afternoon, and that’s what we took in on a sunny and warm Sunday. The foursome - (Enda Scahill – Banjo, Mandolin, Tenor Guitar; Martin Howley – Banjo, Mandolin, Tenor Guitar; David Howley – Banjo, Vocals, Guitar; Fergal Scahill – Fiddle, Guitar, Bodhrán) just released their fifth album, Haven (Sonas Recording), currently at #2 on the bluegrass charts (just behind Punch Brothers, who we saw the previous evening).
Singer Howley riffed on their own lyrics for the opening ‘We All Need More Kindness in this World’ changing them to “we all more sunscreen” as he squinted looking up at the warm sun while older brother Martin wore a large floppy hat to keep shaded.
Ash, a diehard fan on the front rail and member of the band’s street team, The Banjo Crew was recognized and the song ‘Little Liza Jane’ was dedicated to her and the other team members help spread word about the group. The new ‘Dawn Breaks’ brought out the high stepping line of ladies from the Mactir Academy to join along and help entice the crowd into dancing along, and the audience happily sang and clapped along to the new ‘Pack it Up’.
The band knows how to self-market as well, occasionally throwing out green frisbees and pop-up nylon fans with the band’s logo on it, as well as awarding best and worst dancing merchandise prizes to those in the audience.
The new ‘Shine On’ is not on the just-released record, but an exclusive song (Text “banjo” to 33222 to get the link to the free song and to join their email list) and sounded like something you might hear from Zac Brown Band or another Americana act). “Please keep in mind as you buy the merchandise, it goes to our medical costs for severe sunburn today” they joked.
Taking a couple r&b covers and Galway-nizing them, the foursome medley-ed a Jackson 5 classic with a verse from R. Kelly’s last big hit, getting the crowd even more involved, then finished their abbreviated set with ‘The Fox’- a traditional song that revs up its tempo as the machine-gun speed lyrics get quicker, that had everyone up front jumping along.
The good news for anyone that missed We Banjo 3 at this year’s Irish Fair (or any fans wanting to see them again) is that like last year, they return in the spring across the river, to The Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis on March 10 (to help get you in the mood for St. Pats) and it was strongly hinted they will be back for Irish Fair 2019 as well, so mark those calendars for the three, errr, four members that play two banjos… Irish logic.
(click on any photo below to enlarge and see full image)