WILMINGTON — The Drowsy Lads roared into the Irish music scene in Ohio in 2006 and the five-man group hasn’t stopped since, becoming favorites at pubs, clubs, festivals, universities and concert halls.
And Saturday night they bring their “Spirit of Irish Music in the Midwest” back to the Murphy Theatre for a return engagement.
Ohio brothers John and Daniel McKewen, father and son Phil and Josh Franck, and lifelong friend Bryan Brookes bring to the stage a concoction of “we dare you to hold still” Irish dance tunes as well as a full emotional gamut of songs. They’ve won the affections of audiences ranging from casual music-lovers to those steeped in hardcore Trad while lighting up Irish festivals including in Milwaukee, Dublin, Dayton, Cincinnati and Louisville.
Phil Franck’s history with Irish music has its roots back in his years of playing bluegrass when he was asked to be the instrumentalist in an Irish band.
“I just fell in love with music and the culture. I then passed on that passion to my son Josh,” said Franck.
The same passion was in the blood of the McKewen brothers and Bryan Brookes, and the group has been performing since.
Each Lad is a multi-instrumentalist, and the combined lineup includes fiddle, button accordion, tenor banjo, flute, whistle, guitar, bouzouki, Uilleann pipes, five-string banjo, concertina and bodhran.
The group’s return to the Murphy Theatre has them excited because of the history and design of the venue.
“We love playing it because it’s a slice of history and grandeur. We’re looking forward to reveling in the old theater,” said Franck.
But the show won’t stop at the Murphy. After the show they’ll be doing some singing at the pub at the General Denver.
“That’s the proper setting. If you go to Ireland that’s where bands perform,” said Franck.
For tickets, stop by the Murphy Theatre box office 10 a.m.-3 p.m. through Friday, visit firstname.lastname@example.org or call 937-382-3643.