How many Celtic bands can boast the fact that three of the members have played bagpipes for royalty - one at the New Year’s Eve extravaganza in London, two others in the Millenium Pipes March in Edinburgh, and for Prince Charles and his Marie Curie Cancer Fund? Barleyjuice, the Philly-based group with a penchant for all that is “trad-rock” can, and are presently garnering affection and respect in the New World.
They recently released a fantastic new album titled ‘The Old Speakeasy’. This release sets the bar higher in terms of excellence and originality, pairing the act’s penchant for quality performance, with a unique approach in terms of audience engagement and excitement. The album features 14 songs, including the title track itself, which feels like a perfect introduction to this release. There are many excellent tracks here, but perhaps our personal favorite is ‘A Winter Toast’, because it matches the seaonal winter mood (goes well with a winter lager in hand). The song has a good production and a perfect execution, showcasing the chemistry of the band. With a timeless approach, this song really sets the bar higher when it comes to performance. It makes us think of classic acts such as ‘The Pogues’ as well!
‘Don’t Call Me A Pirate’ is yet another one of our favorite songs on this release. It combines folk melodies with rock and blues influences, at times even reminding us of iconic acts such as ‘The Rolling Stones’, or ‘Lou Reed’, just to mention but a few. ‘A Fine Lass’ is another top notch track, bringing a distinctive flair to this entire album. We love the mid-tempo groove and the catchy melodies. The lyrics are relatable and diverse, making us think of artists as diverse as ‘Cory Brennan’, ‘Drag The River’, or ‘Lucero’, only to mention but a few. This is a nostalgic song with a romantic twist, and it suits the aesthetics of this beautiful release.
These are only some of the highlights here, but this album has got so many amazing features to enjoy! It is a timeless piece of music with a distinctive feel, and it has a retro charm, which actually reminds us of some the older records, particularly in terms of warmth and sound. We love when an artist’s performance is not too overproduced, and this definitely appears to be the case here. You should certainly give this one a go if you are a fan of Irish music and even rock! In fact, if you are as much of a Barleyjuice fan as we are, you should head right over to the Barleyjuice website right now and pick up your copy!
5 Stars from Celtic Radio.