I’m originally from Wisconsin which is not a place that’s high up on the list of states to visit as far as I know. But in the grand scheme of things Wisconsin is known for a few things, albeit cows, cheese, beer, and massive amounts of drinking. Oh and also having the greatest football team the world has ever known. And it also snows a lot there too. But football is what we’re concerned with here.
The point about football is that I’ve been to a lot of other places around the United States and it is well known that there is a Packer’s bar just about everywhere you go. It’s true. It has to be if there is in fact a Celtic folk/rock band based in Kona, Hawaii. This latter statement is also true. They’re called The Kilt Lifters and they were formed by front man/cross-cultural music pioneer Chris Carr, who after he came to the Big Island and found there were no Celtic bands around (not surprising but…) decided to start one.
Since then The Kilt Lifters have played local pubs on the Big Island and done shows at St. Patrick's Day festivities in Hilo, and also on Oahu, where they played the Scottish Festival and Highland Games last year.
The Kilt Lifters debut offering, the four song EP Jack in the Green, was written primarily by Carr who was influenced by the works of Ian Anderson. It’s a cross-cultural record of sorts with Carr wishing to emulate a “dance through the seasons.”
The Ep’s opener is “Come Out Ye Black and Tans” a shot at the Britt’s who for so long had held power over the Ireland which most Americans don’t visit. In a sing song yet serious voice Carr pulls no punches with history, sticking it to the cowards who tormented the innocent. The title track “Jack in the Green” is a slow and symphonic dirge that is hard to avert your ears from. It unfolds like a tale sung by an ancient minstrel and gets down to the bone with the lyrics, “the cycle of life is a part of us all.” The EP gets bouncy and poppy with “Green Grow the Rashes” which is rich with drippings of that well fiddle but also some pretty tasty bass licks
Traditional Irish music for most people seems to be relegated to one day in March although it really shouldn’t be. Listening to Jack in the Green reminded me of the power of one’s home and that ancestry and history are in our bones, no matter what the world around us would try and have us believe.
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