Spotlight Artists: Jameson’s Revenge

Our next spotlight artists are the music collective known as Jameson’s Revenge. I first met the guys in Jameson’s Revenge in East Durham at one of the legendary Memorial Day weekend Irish festivals. Denis was performing with Shilelagh Law, and Brian & Andrew were in Sullivan’s Jack. We have since become friends after seeing them at numerous gigs over the years gigs. Denis answers our questions below.

Photo by Elizabeth Leath

Band Lineup:
John Walsh (guitar, vocals)
Andrew McCarrick (flute, tin whistles)
Brian McCarthy (bodhran, percussion)
Denis McCarthy (fiddle, tin whistles)

How long have you been performing?
John, Andrew & Denny all got into learning Traditional Irish music at an early age (between 8-12 yrs old) while Brian started playing the bodhran relatively late at about 19. As a “group” we kind of started to get things off the ground around 2006 but it’s really been only the last few months that the band has steadily featured the four of us.

How did the band’s name come about?
Mexico has Montezuma’s Revenge, India has Ghandi’s Revenge (the Delhi Belly)…we just felt it was time to put a name to the “day after” effects of playing tunes until the wee hours of the morning …hence JAMESON’S REVENGE…it’s purely a self-inflicted wound.

Past lives (i.e., previous bands, your early years, etc.):
When not ripping into the jigs & reels with J.R. Denny can be seen jumping around with the popular NYC based Irish band Shilelagh Law. Andrew & Brian enjoyed a good deal of success a few years back with a band called Sullivan’s Jack, and John is regarded by most (especially us) as one of the best Celtic guitarists in North America touring and recording frequently with many of today’s top Irish musicians, most notably, Paddy Keenan of The Bothy Band.

Favorite venues to play:
There are so many great venues in and around the NY/NJ/CT Tri-State area that are brave enough regularly host live Irish music. These places are just as important as the musicians themselves for “Keeping the Tradition Alive” and making the Irish music scene around these parts as vibrant as ever. We have been fortunate enough to have performed in quite a few of these venues, but if we had to list a few spots around town they would be (in no particular order): An Beal Bocht Café (Riverdale, Bronx), Rocky Sullivan’s (Red Hook, Brooklyn) and Connolly’s (45th St, Manhattan) because of the intimate rooms they provide to enjoy the shows. We also cannot go on without mentioning The Rambling House (Woodlawn, Bronx) which is gracious enough to host a weekly open Trad-seisiun every Sunday evening that we we frequent often to practice our chops, try out new material & play with many other fantastic musicians from the area.

Musical influences:
Too many to mention. We’ve been under many. Denny was taught fiddle by Martin Mulvihill. Andrew was taught the flute by his Dad (we call him Mr. McCarrick). Brian can thank Tito Puente and Run DMC for his style of playing drums and John is from another planet. We all grew up in the Bronx so naturally we were influenced by the multi-cultural neighborhoods we grew up in. That’s unavoidable. There are plenty of contemporary musicians we enjoy listening to but we really try to concentrate on writing our own stuff and putting our own stamp on the tunes. This may annoy a few of the more “Traditionally-entrenched” folks on the scene but we believe the music is a living, breathing thing. If we all played the tunes the same what fun would that be.

Blatant self-promotion: What would you like to plug?
We are currently putting the finishing touches on a new CD (tentatively titled: “While y’er up”) featuring all original tracks of tunes we’ve recently written together. No solid release date yet but we’re looking at sometime in the early Spring of 2011.

facebook: Jamesons-Revenge

Where can we buy your music?
At live shows/ I-Tunes/digital downloads:

Tell us a story or anecdote about performing live in NYC.
Because of the statute of limitations we really can’t talk about many of the things that have happened at a few of our shows but we will say this: Playing in NYC has given us the opportunity to play along with some of the best “Trad-Irish” musicians/ bands on the scene today (even if they won’t admit it). We are blessed to have the opportunity to listen & play at any number of seisiuns around town 7 nights a week and we’ve even been lucky enough to get our own gigs from time to time and not get booed off stage.

Any advice to someone just starting out?
Patience. Anything worth doing is going to take time. If you’re not enjoying what you’re playing don’t play it. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing you not going to convince anyone else either. Don’t try to make everyone happy…it ain’t gonna happen. They’ll get over it eventually. One last thing: Have fun…lot’s of it. We’re here for a good time, not a long time.

Can you recommend any other local act(s) we should feature on MurphGuide?
Bands just starting out that are fun:
The Cousin’s Moran (Nyack, NY), The Narrowbacks (Pearl River, NY), Girsa (Pearl River, NY)
[Update: Girsa was featured here February 23, 2011.]

Upcoming gigs:
Jameson’s Revenge will have a busy month in March, the “holiday season” for Irish bands:

Saturday, March 5th, 2011
Rockaway Rugby Club – 3pm (post Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day parade)
and then…
Saturday, March 5th, 2011
Katie Mac’s
March Madness – 8pm 30 East Main St., Mount Kisco NY
Sharing the night with Connecticut’s Premiere Irish-Rock band The Mighty Ploughboys.

Sunday, March 6th, 2011
The Glenrowan
Yonkers St. Patrick’s Day parade – 2:30
606 Miles Square Road, Yonkers NY

Saturday, March 12th, 2011
White Plains St. Patrick’s Day parade – 12pm
171 Main Street, White Plains, NY
Playing with Shilelagh Law

Sunday, March 13th, 2011
The Wicked Wolf
4029 East Tremont Ave., Bronx, NY

Thursday, March 17th, 2011
Connolly’s Klub 45
St. Patrick’s Day – 12pm
121 W. 45th St., New york, NY
Playing with Shilelagh Law

Sunday, March 20th, 2011
5pm – 108 Main St., Nyack, NY

Saturday, March 26th, 2011
An Beal Bocht Cafe
9pm – 445 W. 238th St., Bronx NY

Saturday, May 28th, 2011
The East Durham Irish Festival
Playing with some of today’s top Irish/American entertainers including Shilelagh Law, The Whole Shebang & many more.

Below is a demo of a Jameson’s Revenge original: “While Yer Up”:

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