Irish Wake of Cruel Seamus
What happens when you take ex-members of Gael Force, The Rising, and Ceann, add a white-hot fiddle player, and turn them loose in a studio? The result is THE IRISH WAKE OF CRUEL SEAMUS, an 11-song collection of catchy originals and updated takes on Irish classics. 'The Irish Wake...' also boasts guest appearances by Seanchai and the Unity Squad/ex-Black 47 uillean piper Chris Byrne on two tracks, and a scorching rap interlude by Scots-Irish rapper Gavin "Griddy" Rafferty. This updated version of the band - a previous incarnation released the CD 'Three Spuds and Curry' in 2002 - occurred when drummer/vocalist John Shea bumped into bassist/vocalist Tom Dunphy at the old Rocky Sullivan's location in Manhattan a few summers back. Both were veterans of the Irish pub rock scene - but lamented to each other that they weren't all that active in music anymore. There, over pints of the dark stuff, the seeds of Cruel Seamus v2.0 were sown. Shea reached out to ex-bandmate Kevin Doyle to fill the guitar slot - and the boys were off and gigging, filling out the 'top' melody slot with guest musicians and old friends. But the Cruel Seamus sound truly solidified when Amy Beshara joined the band. A New Jersey-based educator and former member of the fiddle trio Sonas, Beshara infuses the music with not only Irish fiddle, but her deep Cape Breton, Scots, and Eastern European influences. And she's the focal point of the Cruel Seamus live gigs, as her energy and swinging style infuse this new-old band with fire and flair. So it's whether it's the wistful "Queen of the IRA," the upbeat ska-rock of "Beauty of Your Creation," the in-your-face rap of "Irish Pride" or the countrified tale of substance abuse and rerget of "Garden Rose," the members of Cruel Seamus acknowledge their Irish roots in ways that also nod to the wide spectrum of musical influences they're absorbed as lifelong residents of the NYC area. THE IRISH WAKE OF CRUEL SEAMUS proves this band to be very much alive and kicking. Slainte!