Blending traditional Celtic playing skills, power-pop accessibility, and straight up rock n’ roll hooks, The Killdares have created a fresh new sound that’s blended with enough commercial edge to be instantly recognizable, always engaging, and appealing to fans of all ages. Their live shows are filled with an infectious energy so powerful that it has been known to move people to tears. Even die-hard fans of purely traditional Celtic music have embraced the band’s powerful genre-bending sound.
Expanding the definition of “Celtic,” the band uses the unconventional pairing of screaming, fire-driven fiddle and bagpipes with the wail of electric guitar, bass and drums to create brilliant arrangements of traditional tunes and original compositions. This distinctive sound combined with the band’s incredible stage presence is nothing short of awesome.
“I love the idea of combining something as beautiful and melodic as a traditional fiddle or bagpipe with crunchy American rock n’ roll guitar, and having it work,” says founding member Tim Smith.
Joining the likes of Don Henley (The Eagles), Phil Collins (Genesis) and Fred LeBlanc (Cowboy Mouth), Dallas native Tim Smith handles lead vocals and drums with amazing nonchalance, while locking in beautifully with the melodic bass grooves of Gary Thorne and the expressive electric guitar playing of Mike Urness. Add to this the 6-time National Fiddle Champion, Roberta Rast, and competition piper Matt Willis on the haunting Great Highland bagpipes, and you have all the right ingredients for a truly amazing Celtic Rock / World music / AAA / Rock-and-Roll extravaganza!
Since first appearing on the music scene over 10 years ago, The Killdares have gone from local pub performers to national touring headliners, sharing stages with an incredibly diverse range of national and international artists.
In 1998, the band released their self-produced debut CD, Broken With A Word. Their 2001 follow-up, A Place To Stand, contained a higher energy that caught the attention of producer Chris Bell, who has worked with Erykah Badu, and also with other prominent acts such as U2, Kirk Franklin, Polyphonic Spree, and most recently The Eagles. A Place To Stand would be submitted in 2001 for Grammy® nominations in 5 categories.
The Killdares released their third CD in the middle of the following year. Simply entitled LIVE, this album is a snapshot of their broad live set list, and in 2002 was also submitted for Grammy® nominations. Over the course of six albums to date, the band has delivered top-notch original numbers, and introduced fans to a wide roster of influences. From their signature instrumental jams, to their radio-friendly pop-rock songs, The Killdares continue to solidify their reputation as a great live band.
In 2005, the band teamed up with producer Ronan Chris Murphy (King Crimson, Terry Bozzio, Tony Levin) to create the full-length recording, Any Given Element. The partnership was so successful, that in 2008 they enlisted Murphy again to produce their 5th album Secrets of the Day. More experimental than previous ones, this release showed exceptional growth and maturity in their song writing, and combined electronic, acoustic and other unique instrumentation to create an exciting new sound for the band. The Killdares continued to expand their tour schedule all over the U.S. playing hundreds of shows a year, and building thousands of new fans throughout the nation.
Finally, in 2010 The Killdares reached new heights by recording and filming their always energetic and entertaining live show at the historic Granada Theater in Dallas, TX. The result is the band’s 6th album to date, Up Against The Lights, and was released in November 2010 as a three-disc package (2-Audio CDs/1 DVD) concert collection. Capturing the true “experience” of The Killdares, this pivotal independent release features 21 of their original and cover fan favorites, including the brand new single “The Undertow,” the traditional Celtic showstopper “Whiskey In The Jar,” and an enthusiastic version of The Ramones’ classic anthem “Blitzkrieg Bop.”
Presenting a perfect blend of rock, pop, and Celtic, The Killdares have established themselves as a unique team of musicians – stretching the boundaries of independent rock n’ roll, while bridging the gap between the traditional and the cutting edge.
Experience The Killdares—the best alternative Celtic Rock band in the world – just ask their fans!
(Above, The Killdares live at Iowa Irish Fest)
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