SOLAS with the Magic of Shamrock City

Solas_5197Join Solas, “Irish America’s most influential band” (NPR’s The Thistle and Shamrock) at the Earlville Opera House on Friday, September 19th at 8 pm as they celebrate the release of Shamrock City, their 11th album and most ambitious project & live show to date. A family story of immigration, mining and murder, Kim Ruehl of calls it “a deeply thoughtful, imaginative collection of songs which grapple with the wealth of ideas and emotions inherent in the immigrant journey.”

The first set of their show will feature the latest CD while the second set will feature work from all of their previous 10 recordings.  The Shamrock City live performance with interactive multi-media stage show featuring stories and projected images of Irish immigrant tales is receiving rave reviews. Paul Keating, a longtime Irish music critic and founder of the Catskills Irish Art Week wrote for “Based on the performance this could be a landmark recording, and in some aspects it might very well be the best one they have ever done, which is saying something given the “supernova” status of their early years.”

About Shamrock City: In 1910, Solas band leader Seamus Egan’s great-great uncle Michael Conway left his home in Co. Mayo, Ireland and boarded a ship for America. He was headed to the copper mines and boxing rings of Butte, Montana, aka Shamrock City (named so for the influx of Irish immigrants). Six years later, at the age of 25 and in a cloud of mystery, Michael was dead at the hands of local police.

Shamrock City as seen through the eyes of Michael, tells the story of the thousands of young men and women who left behind their homes and families for “the Richest Hill on Earth”. It reveals their spirit, tenacity and humor, but also the hardships they faced: discrimination, corruption within the mining companies, an unknown and unforgiving land, a system that valued the few over the many. One hundred years later, it’s their story, but the struggles of the working class and immigrants are the same. Shamrock City is for those then and now that believe in a better life, and are willing to risk it all for a chance at something more.

Irish Philadephia reviewed the new work: “Shamrock City” is easily on a par with anything that has been written, played or sung about the hope and heartbreak at the nexus of most Irish diaspora tales. It might even be better in that it stands not as one song or two, but as a unified whole, a complete and compelling story.”

You Tubes of SOLAS

Solas Shamrock City: Tell God and the Devil (2014 Live at WAMU)

Solas – Girls On The Line

“Solas is the quintessential Irish-American band recording and touring in the US today. Fifteen years ago, in a manner befitting their name (Gaelic for “light”), Solas burst onto the Irish music scene and instantly became a beacon – an incandescent ensemble that found contemporary relevance in timeless traditions without ever stooping to clichés. Anchored by founding members Seamus Egan (flute, tenor banjo, mandolin, whistles, guitars, bodhran) and Winifred Horan (violins, vocals), Solas is rounded out by Mick McAuley (accordians, low whistle, concertina, vocals), Eamon McElholm (guitars, keyboards, vocals), and newest member and lead singer, Niamh Varian-Barry. Through fresh and unexpected arrangements of age-old tunes, compelling and topical originals and covers, and unparalleled musicianship, Solas continues to define the path for the Celtic music world and drive the genre forward.” (

There’s “no slushy sentimentality here” just a “gritty authenticity” performed by the peerless musicians of Solas as they explore the roots of Irish American heritage at the 1892 Opera House this Friday, September 19th.   Tickets are available online or by calling EOH at $25, $23 EOH members, $20 students. Premium seating applies in the first 4 rows. The EOH Theater is wheelchair-accessible with a ramp and a lift. For more information, or to reserve your seats, call 315-691-3550 or order online at The Opera House is located at 18 East Main Street, in Earlville, NY.

EOH events are made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and through the generosity of EOH members.

2012_solas r

Additional info: An overview of the band lineup of SOLAS by Paul Keating, IrishCentral (excerpt):

“Seamus Egan and Winnie Horan were founding members of the band. They remain the guiding directors enduring cast changes over the years, but still managing to record and tour and remain in the top tier of touring choices for gigs around the world.

“Since accordion player Mick McAuley and guitar/piano accompanist Eamonn McElholm have been with the group for more than 11 years, there is a real stability and defined sound emanating from the busy band which has adapted to a number of different singers over the years, with Karen Casey, Deirdre Scanlan, Mairead Phelan featured on past recordings.

“A couple of years ago Niamh Varian Barry from Cork joined the ensemble. Her distinctive voice, delivery and energy have solidified this current version of Solas once again.”

SHAMROCK CITY ~new release by SOLAS

“Last year they under took a very ambitious and personally meaningful project to uncover more about the Irish American immigrant experience in Butte, Montana, the one-time very prosperous copper mining town in Big Sky country.

“The demand and opportunity for much needed work toiling in the minefields was a lure for hard-pressed Irish Immigrants around the turn of the 20th Century in the early 1900s.

“One of Egan’s distant relations, Michael Conway, was encouraged to make his way straight to Montana “without stopping in America” to find work in the Boomtown Butte. Conway’s story and many other gripping and historically intriguing details of life in that part of the West as America was still evolving into the powerhouse of the 20th century…” IrishCentral (excerpt)


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