by Luke Levenson

Five years ago, illustrious Irish folk music heroes The Chieftains released their 50th Anniversary album Voice Of Ages, which plugged the group’s signature Celtic tradition into a furnished Americana movement in the States and in Europe. Ages, a collaboration album including features from Punch Brothers, Bon Iver and The Decemberists, was followed by an ongoing world tour which hits The Schermerhorn March 9-11 (7 p.m. March 9, 8 p.m. March 10-11).

Known for its exciting live shows which incorporate clogging, special guests and over half a century’s worth of original songs, the band has a show in store that “won’t give you time to blink.”

“There’s quite a bit,” Chieftains founder/front man Paddy Moloney told Nashville Arts Magazine. “We have some of the old pieces, as well as the orchestral pieces and some compositions I’ve put together representing Scotland.”

Pipers and drummers from the Nashville Symphony will feature in several parts of the performance, as well as several local step dancers. Moloney looks forward to visiting Nashville again — he’s been here before on work with banjoist Bela Fleck and guitarist Jerry Douglas.

“For me it’s like going home again,” he said. “I tell you, you go to Nashville and you start playing, and everybody just knows the tunes. It just happens so naturally, musicians there are absolute geniuses. It’ll be a great joy to go back to Nashville.”

The band’s eclectic list of notable collaborations includes songs with The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell and Allison Krauss.

“With these collaborations, we usually pick pieces that have an Irish connection,” Moloney said. “And then we fuse something into the new song that represents an Irish melody. That Bon Iver song ‘Down In The Willow Garden’ is a similar melody to ‘Men Of The West,’ a 150-year-old rebel song from back home, and we actually played that melody in the breaks of that song.”

The show will begin with six minutes of video clips of some of the band’s collaborations before The Chieftains take the stage. At some point, the audience will witness the debut of Moloney’s newest piece, which he’s been working on for six years.

“I started writing it when my grandson was born and I’ve just finished it. The first time it’s going to be performed is in Nashville.”

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Paddy Moloney



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