James Keelaghan at Cellar Stage™ Timonium is happening on Friday, March 10, 2023 at 07:30PM EST at The Cellar Stage™ Timonium at Timonium United Methodist Church with tickets starting at $25.00
James Keelaghan at Cellar Stage™ Timonium Uptown Concerts requires that all audience members must be fully vaccinated. Proof is required. For everyones safety we require masks indoors, except when eating. CDC has once again said that masks should be worn when indoors in public places.
Doors open at 7:00 pm. General admission seating. Tickets are available at the door without service fee if paid by cash or check.
**THIS EVENT HAS A STRICT REFUND POLICY. No refunds will be processed by Brown Paper Tickets more than 12 hours after the time of purchase without the authorization of the producer.**
Contemporary folk songs, at their very best, offer an insight into the hardships, attitudes, and resolve of characters and events that shape our day-to-day lives. You can dress these songs up in inspired arrangements and intricate instrumentation but, at their very essence, the archetypal folk song is all about stories. Stories and people. Something such compelling songwriters as Eric Bogle, Si Kahn, Ewan MacColl, and Stan Rogers all understood and mined so effectively.
James Keelaghan, too, burrows into that same rich seam with equal ability and comparable conviction. To quote Eric Bibb, the award-winning American acoustic bluesman, after listening to Keelaghan perform: [Youre] a joy to hear, just beautiful. Reminded me of the best of the best of another time Liam Clancy, Tom Paxton etcetera. Less colourful but more succinct, Dave Marsh, the eminent Rolling Stone critic, simply described Keelaghan as Canadas finest songwriter.
Truly, throughout a career that now spans almost four decades, the Juno and Canadian Folk Music Award winner has created a repertoire of incalculable importance a unique body of work, either inspired by or drawn from the folk tradition. Ten solo albums flush with enduring lyrical relevance. Take the beautiful but heartbreaking ballad, Jenny Bryce, for example. From any point of view, its indistinguishable from the numerous traditional tracks covered on his disc A Few Simple Verses.
Whats more, various other originals from the Keelaghan cannon x must surely enter the domain of traditional folklore. Most notably, Small Rebellions (highlighting the 1931 slaughter of peaceful striking miners in Bienfait, SK); Hillcrest Mine (a prelude to the worst coal mining disaster in Canadian history); Kiris Piano (a triumph over adversity amidst the shameful, racist treatment of Japanese-Canadians during WW II); Cold Missouri Waters (a harrowing portrait of the 1949 Mann Gulch Fire in the mountains of Montana)
A relentless musical spirit, Keelaghan has surrounded himself with a variety of crackerjack companions down through the years that have largely included the late, innovative, free-spirited fiddler and composer, Oliver Schroer, the exuberant, Chilean, Latino-fusionist guitarist, Oscar Lopez (with whom Keelaghan made two albums under the banner of Compadres), or the ubiquitous, former Spirit of the West anchor and multi-instrumentalist, Hugh MacMillan. Scrupulous audiences from Alberta to Australia bared witness to the sum of these resourceful parts.
There have been several mouth-watering collaborations in the writing department, too. Celebrated names in the folk world such as Karrine Polwart, Jez Lowe, Catherine MacLellan, David Francey, Lynn Miles, Dave Gunning, Cara Luft and J.D. Edwards all contributed to notable Keelaghan releases.
I love co-writing, he says, its the spark that gets me motivated the fresh approach to a lyric or a different way of forming a melody for a song is so stimulating. Besides, its also a great impetus to finish the damn song.
James Keelaghan grew up in a bungalow in northwest Calgary, AB, with six siblings, an Irish father, and an English mum. His brother Bob would develop into a noteworthy guitarist with the excellent, but now defunct, Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir. From his father, Jim, James developed a love of history. The family record collection provided further inspiration. Traditional folk LPs by the likes of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, Séan Ó Riada, and Harry Belafonte certainly caught young Keelaghans ear. He still cites Belafonte At Carnegie Hall as a recording that changed his life at age six!
Incidentally, Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy would live in Calgary in the mid-70s where they recorded a weekly TV show that James and his father routinely attended.
They were stunning performers, says James. I can still hear aspects of Tommy Makems sound in my voice. He was a fabulous singer, fabulous.
And so, another link in a storied musical chain was forged. James Keelaghan, as they say, is a man you dont meet every day.