Arts

The Nashville Celts Are ‘Celticizing’ Traditional Irish And Scottish Music

The Nashville Celts mix Irish, Scottish, Americana and country to create their unique version of Celtic music. Maggie Lander, left; Ric Blair, right; and Fiachra Sean O' Regan showcased the sound on “City Lights.”
The Nashville Celts mix Irish, Scottish, Americana and country to create their unique version of Celtic music. Maggie Lander, left; Ric Blair, right; and Fiachra Sean O' Regan showcased the sound on “City Lights.”
Credit Summer Evans / WABE

The Nashville Celts combine traditional Irish and Scottish music and give it an American twist, which they classify as “Celticized.”

Founding band member Ric Blair joins us with his bodhran, a traditional Irish drum. Alongside him is singer/songwriter Maggie Lander on the fiddle and Fiachra Sean O’ Regan on the uilleann pipes.

Their new record “Sons of Sailors” was recently released and combines a fun uptempo foot-stomping with vocals and instrumental tunes — a mix of Americana, Irish, pop, classic country — and the unexpected.

Blair is American-born, but has both Irish and Scottish roots. One evening while he was in college at a bar, he discovered the magic of Celtic music, and he fell in love with it.

With its upbeat, foot-pounding sound, and cheery audience dancing on top of tables, he knew that was the kind of music he wanted to play for the rest of his life.

The band consists of various performers who join in during the touring season. Lander is a solo artist who recently released her 2018 “Old Flame.” She plays the fiddle and guitar and sings.

O’Regan was born in Roundstone, Connemara (west of Ireland), where he was immersed in traditional Irish music at an early age. He began by playing the tin whistle at 11 years old and graduated to the banjo and uilleann pipes in his teens. He released a new album called “Portraits” with two other artists. The trio blends traditional Irish and Quebecois traditional music with new compositions.

The Nashville Celts are performing Friday at the Red Clay Theatre in Duluth and Saturday evening in Athens at The Foundry.