When I was visiting Ireland in the late ’70s, I was quite surprised by their love of American country & western, even more than traditional Irish music. In a fitting reversal, the Wild Colonial Bhoys hail from Minnesota and their live, raucous sound is based on Irish traditional music filtered through American rock. Also fittingly, they’ve performed their unique hybrid genre in Ireland and Scotland, as well as Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar and closer to home in Las Vegas and New York. Their new album is called Remote Ruaille Buaille (Irish for “commotion” or “good fun”) and it features 10 tracks of both brand new songs and Irish pub classics. My Irish pal John says “They’re a sober version of the Pogues and made a nice clean recording!”
As memorialized on the album cover, this band that’s known for fifteen years of live performances actually stitched these songs together from five different digital systems, with each member playing separately at home. During Covid, remote recording has become the norm, but this is really pushing the digital envelope! How they pulled it together I can’t even imagine. By now it’s a cliche, but you would never know these guys aren’t rocking out in the same studio. Not only that, but the collection was mastered far away in Reading, England by Ben Holmes.
Festivities start with a new original titled “Red Haired Lass,” an upbeat rockabilly number with great, hard-edged vocals by Adam Coolong. Tommy Comeau’s fiddle adds the Celtic influence for this tune with solid backing provided by Cole Mickelson (guitars), Andy Shuster (bass) and Colin McCowan (drums). “Rocky Road to Dublin” is the first traditional Irish tune and is given a hard rock treatment similar to the old Irish band Horslips. It sounds like some of the other boys join in on the chorus, which really fills out the song. Again, much attention is drawn to Comeau’s fiddle as it really provides that classic Irish sound. I’m always amazed how many lyrics these old songs contain and how well they cycle back to the choruses.
“Point of No Return” is another original with another fast one-two rockabilly beat. It’s always exciting to hear guitar riffs played like mandolin runs, somewhat the way Big Country used to approximate bagpipes. I especially love the full-voiced, yearning choruses on this one. “A Vivid Memory” is played in a more folky acoustic style with an earnest Coolong vocal that recalls Glen Hansard. “Homes of Donegal” is a traditional tune that’s special to me, as I myself had a home in Donegal, if only for a few weeks. Heartbreaking melodies and yearning imagery bring this song to life.
“Tragedy At Duffy’s Cut” returns us to Horslips harder rocking territory; it’s another original that sounds traditional. “Schoolday’s Over” is an amiable standard with a sprightly walking beat and a fresh, acoustic mix. I love the inclusion of what sounds like a banjo picking away. The boys then cycle back to another original rockin’ anthem “Queen Without A Crown” (“She’s a queen without a crown / An Irish woman won’t back down / Standing tall and strong and proud / hear her roar / shout it out loud!”). The final original “Aoife” has a definite Neil Diamond quality in the best way. The last, traditional track “The Auld Triangle” has fine fuzz guitar and fiddle riffs weaving throughout the song, plus thundering Big Country drums and vocals that provide a strong, anthemic conclusion.
Fans of Irish music, melodic rock or any combination of the two should really enjoy this album. Clearly these guys know what they’re doing and this album is yet another gleaming trophy in a long and productive career.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook