The Elders may be based in Kansas City, but you'd never know it to hear their music, which is full of references to Irish history and myth. The sextet has a rock-based sound played on amplified instruments, with Steve Phillips' electric guitar prominent in the mix. But the pennywhistles, mandolins, and accordions are never drowned out. The Elders are more traditional than, say, Black 47, as expatriate Irish bands go, but they play original songs, mixing in part of a traditional tune here and there. Lead singer Ian Byrne (the only actual native of Ireland in the band) uses his slightly husky, Irish-accented tenor to bring out the sentimental, descriptive lyrics, which are full of mountain and sea imagery, and soaked in whiskey and stories handed down through Irish history. Early on, he is content to tell of the sailor's life in songs like "Racing the Tide" and "The Story of a Fish," but he turns passionate in recounting Irish political history in "Ever Be a Nation," a tale of British oppression that concludes, "A hundred bad years later and the struggle still goes on/A hundred bloody Sundays and their funerals come and gone/No victors only victims and survivors left to mourn/Our children need to know this Island is their home." As this suggests, the group is humorless at its best and somewhat histrionic at its worst, but it's hard to believe its music could fail to stir a crowd of Irish-American descendants even in Kansas City, especially if the bar was open.
Performance CreditsElders Primary Artist
Norman Dahlor Banjo,Bass,Vocals,Group Member
Stan Kessler Trumpet,Guest Appearance
Joe Miquelon Keyboards,Group Member
Dave Marsh Accordion,Guest Appearance
Dave Shaughnessy Bodhran,Guest Appearance
Ian Byrne Percussion,Vocals,Human Whistle,Group Member
Brett Gibson Accordion,Guest Appearance
Brent Hoad Fiddle,Mandolin,Vocals,Group Member
Doug Sparling Human Whistle,Guest Appearance
Technical CreditsNorman Dahlor Composer
Ian Byrne Composer
Steve Phillips Composer,Producer
Brent Hoad Composer,Producer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Racing the Tide, the newest release from The Elders, shows off all the immaculate musicianship, strong songwriting and story telling skills of this Kansas City based Celtic rock band. Formed in 1998 The Elders have been rocking Kansas City and Celtic festivals across the country for the last 7 years. County Wicklow native Ian Byrne fronts the band, lead singer, bohdran and battle drum, with Steve Phillips, guitar (formerly of The Rainmakers), Brent Hoad on fiddle, Norm Dahlor on bass, Tommy Sutherland - drums, and relative newcomer to the band, Joe Miquelon on keys. Foot tapping, sing-along beckons as the Cd opens with Send a Prayer. The band are well known for telling "true stories" at their live shows, and the first track is followed by some of these true stories... Uncle Charlie, Story of a Fish and Bad Little Irish Boy (could this bad little irish boy be Ian we wonder?). The title track Racing the Tide is my favourite cut on this CD, wonderful harmonies. Brent Hoad's incredible lyrics are showcased in Dear God, St Brendan Had a Boat (another true story if legends are to be believed). The track Australia is a departure from the majority of the Elders tunes, putting one in mind of a 1920's speakeasy. You'll rock out with Gonna Take a Miracle, and Right with the World. I strongly encourage you to buy this CD.... and see The Elders live if you ever get the chance - you won't be sorry.