Live Music Preview: Kilkenny Rhythm & Roots // Southern Gothic Festival Cork

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It’s always the way isn’t it? You wait fifty odd weeks for an americana/alt-country festival to appear and then two come along at once…on the same weekend. Both the Kilkenny Rhythm & Roots and the Southern Gothic Festival feature some amazing bands that you would rarely get to see in Ireland and now they are all coming…on the same weekend. Still if you can’t attend either festival there is some great music below to get listening to. The artists featured here are the ones I have picked out to see. Whether you agree or disagree, I’m sure you’ll find something at either festival to enjoy. KILKENNY RHYTHM & ROOTS
Where: Kilkenny; various venues
When: 3rd-6th May
Cost: Varies €10- €20 for paid gigs with loads of free gigs over the weekend
Website: Kilkenny Roots
The Kilkenny Rhythm and Roots is the principle alt-country and americana festival in Ireland. The festival has been going since 1998. The artists previously featured in the festival are of exceedingly high calibre. These include Ryan Adams, Son Volt, Calexico, Guy Clark, Ray LaMontagne and The Alabama Shakes. This year the quality is just as good.

The Deep Dark Woods
Hailing from Canada, The Deep Dark Woods are a 5 piece creating beautiful soft melodies. Their music feels most at home on the roots side of americana. One of the few international acts whose gig is not sold out, they play Kytelers Inn on the Sunday at 9pm.
The Quakers
A band from Sligo that I have never heard of before. Having listened to a few of their tracks, they sound like something worth checking out. Sort of putting the pop into old-time country. I’m sure someone has done that before? But I like what these lads are doing. They are playing Shems Bar Saturday night and Billy Byrnes Sunday night.
Have mentioned Phosphorescent on the blog recently. The album “Muchacho” is an intriguing mix with an otherworld feel to it. This album pushes of the edges of alt-country and that is worth hearing live. Phosphorescent plays Set Theatre on Sunday evening at 7pm.
John Blek and the Rats
Currently gaining a profile for their brilliant alt-country melodies, John Blek and the Rats are about to release their début album (‘Leave Your Love at the Door’) this coming Friday. So take their gigs at Kilkenny as an opportune time to hear the album live before you buy it. They play Billy Byrnes at half 3 on Sunday afternoon and then Cleeres that night at 10. Also playing that readers of Eirecana will be familiar with are Paul Creane and The Changing Band, The Needables, Joe Fury & The Hayride and The Midnight Union Band. All worth checking out. SOUTHERN GOTHIC FESTIVAL
Where: Cork; Crane Lane theatre and various venues
When: 3rd – 6th May
Cost: FREE
Website: Southern Gothic Cork
On a parallel path as the Kilkenny festival, the Southern Gothic festival in Cork which is in its fourth year offers the opportunity to see some artists that would rarely grace these shores. However the line-up incorporates some wider genres than Kilkenny with everything from blues, country, antifolk (a new one on me), hillbilly punk, and soul likely to feature. As far as I can make out all the gigs are free and the bill of arts is stellar. Hiss Golden Messenger
I went on about Hiss Golden Messenger last week here. The more I listen to the album, the more I enjoy it. The lyrics are parcelled together perfectly with musings on family, home and place. It is a beautiful record. Hiss Golden Messenger along with William Tyler plays the Crane Theatre on Bank Holiday Monday at half 4.
The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
Strangely I recently purchased Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band fifth album “Between The Ditches” without releasing that they were on their way to Ireland. This is the second of two gigs they are playing in Ireland. The songs of the Reverend’s Big Damn band are a mix of southern melodic blues and americana. They play the Crane Theatre on Monday at 9pm.

Mama Rosin
Playing at Kilkenny as well this weekend, Mama Rosin are a Swiss group producing a mad blend of Cajun and blues. Its mad stuff but really enjoyable. Their latest album (“Bye Bye Bayou”) was interestingly produced by blues-rock legend Jon Spencer. If you have been watching Treme (the tv show set in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina) and liked the music on it, you’ll like these guys.
Also playing at Cork worth checking out are The Vincent(s), Ha Ha Tonka, Morgan O’Kane and Marker Starling. So that’s it, if you don’t have some new favourite artists after this weekend, then there’s no hope!

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