2022 MCIF Headline Bands
The Druids are an award winning Irish folk band based in County Kildare Ireland that sing the history of Ireland with tight harmonies and wonderful musical arrangements. From historical Irish songs and stories to high energy sing a long pub songs, The Druids will have you on your feet and on the dance floor.
The Fitzgeralds are a family group consisting of fiddling and step dancing siblings – Tom, Kerry & Julie Fitzgerald. These siblings, from just outside of Canada’s renowned Ottawa Valley, have come a long way from their small town roots. Featuring 3-time Canadian Grandmaster Fiddle Champions and Ontario Open Step Dance Champions, this unique act features high-energy fiddling and mind-blowing step dancing. It is the rare combination of exceptional musicianship, incomparable step dancing, audience interaction, evident love of performing, and genuine sibling connection that resonates with audiences of all ages and sets this group apart.
Blackthorn welcomes you to the rich tapestry of Celtic music. Traditional songs of emigration, sea shanties, lively jigs and reels, and ancient airs combine with some of Ireland’s best contemporary songs for a musical experience that captures the history and legend of Ireland and its people.
What makes a Blackthorn show unique is the variety of tunes, tempos and textures. Each member of the band plays multiple instruments, including wooden flute, accordion, tin whistle, five string banjo, cittern, bones and more. These instruments complement the lead vocal of Belfast native Richard McMullan and the band’s tight blend of four part harmony.
Blackthorn has played throughout the Great Lakes region since 1984. Based in Detroit, they can be found regularly at O’Mara’s Pub and Restaurant in Berkley. Other venues include concert halls, universities and festivals, including main stage appearances at the prestigious Michigan Irish Festival and world renowned Milwaukee Irish Fest.
Metro Detroiters fondly remember Blackthorn’s annual appearances on J. P. McCarthy’s St. Patrick’s Day show on WJR radio in the 1980s and 1990s, and later with Paul W. Smith. They have released seven CDs, and have performed with guest musicians such as members of the Michigan Opera Theater and the Motor City Brass Band. In 2010, Blackthorn was voted “Best Folk Band/Artist” by the readers of The Detroit Metro Times.
From large festival, to pub, restaurant or intimate performing arts center, Blackthorn provides time tested entertainment. Chuck Ward of the Milwaukee Irish Fest says this about the band, “Blackthorn was very well received at Milwaukee Irish Fest, they impressed everyone with their strong and well blended songs. They are strong ambassadors in their commitment to continuing the Irish ballad tradition and a crowd pleasing addition to any festival.” Blackthorn website
2022 Irish music bands!
Bill Grogan’s Goat combines solid Detroit rock with traditional Celtic melodies to produce a truly unique sound, tightly combining traditional songs with reels, jigs, and hornpipes at a pace that will challenge the Lord of the Dance himself.
Highland pipes, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, bouzouki, and penny whistle, accompanied by rock and roll bass, guitar, and drums, breathe new life into time-honored songs of love, war and whiskey. Kick out the Celtic jams!
Bill Grogan’s Goat – website
Named after a Scottish ne’er-do-well immortalized in the ballad “Outlaw Murray,” Black Murray formed as a rag-tag crew with four songs and a borrowed fiddler for the 2017 Michigan Renaissance Festival. Since then, the band has evolved into a tight and energetic acoustic quartet specializing in Irish folk songs, radio classics, and original material. In addition to the Michigan Renaissance Festival, Black Murray has appeared at a variety of festivals including the Motor City Irish Fest and Arts, Beats & Eats, as well as Irish-American clubs, taverns, and private parties all across the Midwest—even Canada. Find Black Murray online on Facebook, Instagram, and their website
Black Murray – website
When Bold O’Donohughs began making music in early 2010, they knew they’d found some magic. Since, they’ve played many St. Patrick’s gatherings, bar venues, and summer festivals in Southeast Michigan. Venues include: The Michigan Renaissance Festival, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, The White Lake Music Jamboree, The Kelley-Fisk Farm Festival, St. Patrick Parish Summer’s End Fair, St. Patrick Parish Irish Sing-along, and various pubs. They’ve even traveled to Kentucky to play the Bowling Green International Festival.
Bold O’Donohughs – Website
Hailing from Detroit—and damn proud of it—Brother Crowe has hammered through over 100 shows in a year, sometimes playing three gigs in a day. But now is their time to shine. The band consists of two brothers, Derek (vocals/harmonica/bodhran) and Paul (guitars/banjo/vocals). Brother Crowe’s purpose, is honing in on a New Country/Indie Folk sound that still possesses a somewhat traditional Celtic style. Paul, who along with his brother was influenced by his father’s love of Folk and Celtic music, is dubbed Brother Crowes’ main songwriter. The duo works on music together, jamming out the skeletons of tunes until they’re finished. “Derek will then fine tune some of the melodies and the lyrics a little bit, “Paul says. “He’s the one singing them. There are a few things that he’ll truncate or maybe he’ll change a phrase up, add a half verse or a full verse from what I originally wrote. The songs definitely go through an element where we pound them into shape.” The focus for Brother Crowe has been on original music, while trying to branch a tad outside of the box. This is the time for Brother Crowe, with the influx of indie folk acts on the radio. “People like Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers come out and they have these different instruments in bands that people don’t know about and they’re making it mainstream,” Derek says. “It’s nothing to turn on the radio and hear a banjo, a harmonica, a mandolin, or even a fiddle.” Their music is going down favorably at local venues as well as well-attended festivals. That’s where Brother Crowe is at their finest. “There’s an element of spontaneity at festivals,” Derek says. “We really engage the crowd. It’s really fun that we don’t ever play the same stuff twice when we do the gigs. People love it and we love it.”
Brother Crowe – website
The Codgers are an Americana group from Detroit, Michigan. They got together in the Corktown neighborhood in 2006 and cut their teeth playing Irish pub favorites on the city’s west side. Their original tunes are about ordinary working folk and places across the Great Lakes region. Acoustic guitar, accordion, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, bodhrán, bass, and vocal harmonies all mix into a unique Celtic-tinged Americana sound. The Codgers – Facebook
After nearly two years of upheaval in the world of live music, CrossBow is thrilled to be returning for their sixth year at the Motor City Irish Festival! This year marks an important milestone for Michigan’s premier high-energy Celtic band, as they continue to celebrate their decade of music-making with their first transatlantic trip. This August, CrossBow will travel to, and perform in, bonnie Scotland!
From a casual jam session, to becoming a festival favorite across the Midwest, and their music heard and played around the world, CrossBow has been humbled and excited by every turn on their musical journey. Like a fine whisky, they filtered, honed in on and matured the essential pieces, and are now ready to share their best version yet. And they’re just getting started! To date, CrossBow has performed in every major Celtic, Scottish and Irish festival in the state, and has been featured in festivals and venues in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and New York.
By incorporating pop, rock and folk sounds into their set list, CrossBow delivers a distinct, eclectic vibe that still remains true to their Celtic roots, appealing to audiences of all ages. Much of the thrill in experiencing a CrossBow performance actually transcends the music itself. This excitement stems from the contagious joy and camaraderie shared between the players, and communicated directly with their audience. Apparent from the moment they hit the stage – these high- energy musicians naturally feed off of one another, creating a toe tapping, shenanigan-filled, dynamic, wholly unique performance that shouldn’t be missed.
CrossBow – website
Irish folk singer and songwriter Enda Reilly carries his hometown of Dublin with him through his songs. He has performed on the streets, in the pubs, libraries, schools, theatres and festivals of his hometown, Dublin, Ireland and is now finding his feet in the USA having performed at Motor City, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh Irish Fests 2021.
As a songwriter Enda is a winner of the prestigious IMRO Christie Hennessy Songwriting Competition and co-wrote many songs with Aoife Scott including “All Along The Wild Atlantic Way”, which got to no.1 in Ireland and the title track from her current album “Homebird”.
As a singer and guitarist Enda produces his own albums from start to finish cottage industry style including his contribution to keeping the Irish language alive “Amhráin Nua i nGaeilge – New Songs in Irish” ; “Whorls” songs which bring the poetry of WB Yeats off the page and into the ears; climatechangesongs.com, songs which explore our interaction with the environment ; “Where The Sweetest Waters Flow” a mini best-of Enda in English ;The next installment is “Whisperings”, simple fresh arrangements of classics including The Lakes Of Pontchartrain, Danny Boy, The Foggy Dew, Caledonia and Red Is The Rose.
Enda has performed guitar with many of Ireland’s foremost gaelic poets and has shared the stage with Téada, John Spillane, Liam O Maonlaí, Kila, Sive, InniK, Aoife Scott, Shane Hennessey, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh (Altan) and Séamus Begley, among others. Check out the Enda Reilly Live Stream online and listen to his music over at www.endareilly.com
Enda Reilly – website
Ironwood is a Celtic folk, husband & wife duo from Troy MI, featuring fiddle, mandolin, guitar, electric bass and more. They are mainly dedicated to creating a repertoire of original tunes, heavily inspired by the Celtic genre. They play fast fiddle tunes, slow love songs, hoppin’ Folk, traditional Celtic songs, and more. Ironwood’s lively music will have you on your feet!
Ironwood – website
Jamrocks are a Detroit-based music group dedicated to playing traditional Celtic tunes and songs. We have been playing together since 2008 at various venues around the Detroit area, including the Motor City Irish Fest and the St. Patrick’s Senior Center annual fundraiser. We also enjoy playing for private parties around town. We have played at the Michigan State Fair and were regularly featured at the Claddagh Irish Pub in Livonia prior to its closing in 2019. We are currently in the process of looking for a new venue so that folks can continue to enjoy listening and dancing to our music.
Jamrocks – Facebook
Kish Celtic Band is a family Celtic band that plays Irish folk music and will have the audience singing along to classic Irish songs. The Kish Celtic Band will be playing Friday night at the MCIF. Members are:
McLaughlin’s Alley is a vocally-focused ensemble that performs Irish favorites, pop covers and Americana folk-rock with an indie edge. The band has performed in venues and at events all over southeastern Michigan and is thrilled to be back at Motor City Irish Fest. McLaughlin’s Alley consists of Tina Paraventi (vocals, guitar), Maureen Paraventi (vocals, flute), Norm Andresen (vocals, bass, guitar) and Stuart Tucker (drums), Connor Fischetti (violin) and Rebekah Poxson (vocals, ukulele). We also have an acoustic trio version. You can find the band online at McLaughlin’s Alley band and on Youtube.
McLaughlin’s Alley – website
McSpillin – Facebook
The Metro Detroit Police and Fire Pipes and Drums honors police officers and Firefighters killed in the line of duty by playing music at funeral services free of charge. The corps was founded in 2002 after the death of Hazel Park Police Officer Jessica Nagle-Wilson. Today, Metro Detroit Police and Fire Pipes and Drums pay tribute to and honor fallen officers and firefighters throughout Michigan upon the request of their families, law enforcement agencies and fire departments.
Metro Detroit Police & Fire Pipe & Drum Band – website
New Brigade is the latest Irish musical creation from Connor and Brendan O’Donohue. These brothers from Grand Rapids, Michigan have been playing Irish music together for over 5 years and have performed on stages big and small all across the state of Michigan. They play an energetic traditional Irish set. Their vibrant vocals accompanied with a mix of violin, guitar, accordion, bodhran and mandolin keep the crowds clapping, dancing and singing along.
The New Brigade website
Roane – With a driving acoustic sound and soaring vocal harmonies, Roane’s unique twist on the traditional and original compositions have earned them a devoted following. Roane began in 2012 when two vocal performance majors discovered their shared love of all things Celtic. A few friend and family members later and Roane was playing festivals and events all over Michigan. From Flint’s Capitol Theater, to the Dow, The Michigan Renaissance Festival, Tall Ships Celebration Bay City, the Performances with and for the Flint Scottish Pipe Band and on to Pubs at home and in Ireland, Roane’s audiences agree that their shows “spark joy”. One fan writes, “Roane is my favorite. I could stand in the pub and listen to them all day.” Along with the Motor City Irish Festival, catch Roane at the Indigo Farms Lavender Festival, Michigan Medieval Festival, Irish Night at Jimmy John’s Stadium, Thumbfest and more. Look for their latest album, Slan Abhaille (Safe Home) coming in summer 2022.
Roane – Facebook
Shamrock Shore is one of Detroit’s premier Irish bands and has been playing around the metro Detroit area for over 30 years. The group enjoys playing traditional sing-a-long songs as well as adding a Celtic rock flair to jigs and reels.
Shamrock Shore – Facebook
Wakefire – Whether they’re putting their own spin on traditional and modern celtic tunes, or weaving enchanting stories with their own original material, Wakefire is sure to put on a tight, high energy show. Formed in 2017, Wakefire has appeared at numerous events and festivals around the state of Michigan and beyond including the Michigan Renaissance Festival, Highland Celtic Festival, Irish on Ionia, and of course, the Motor City Irish Fest. They have released three albums: To a Distant Shore in 2017, Midnight Circus in 2018 and their latest, Meaning of Life in 2021. Wakefire’s music will put a smile on your face, get you up and dancing and have you humming the songs long after the show!
Wakefire – website