As second place finalists of the WIDR Battle of the Bands and winners of the Social Media Fan Favorite Award at Bell’s, Blarney Castle brings the sound of Ireland to southwest Michigan.
Blarney Castle is made up of six musicians who all bring something special to the table. The leader of the band is violinist and mandolinist Joel Tyrone Myers. Alongside Myers is violinist John Robey, flutist and vocalist EJ Schubkegel, pianist and cajonist Lukas Stanley, bassist and vocalist Kyle Pitcher and guitarist Patrick Hartson.
The band of six talented musicians is exclusive and holds a tight, family-like bond together, assuring each performance is consistent from one gig to the next.
“Since some of us have already graduated, we are literally spread all over the state most days of the week, and one thing about families is that even when they don’t always see each other every day there is still a bond, or a connection that holds you together,” Stanley, a music composition major at WMU said.
Often a lead sheet and melody are written out by individuals, usually Myers, however, the basic skeleton of a song is written collectively as a group.
“Everyone ends up putting their own individual touch on their part,” Stanley said. “And we sometimes give feedback and input on how to improve or shape the song.”
Within this process, members of Blarney Castle meet without a blank slate, as each individual brings their own thoughts to the table.
A passion for music is something Blarney Castle cannot live without.
“As a musician, you know that you are doing what you should be doing when the need to make music is as much ingrained into your human experience as eating or sleeping,” Stanley said.
Stanley believes that although sheer talent is integral to the work of an artist, so is marketing yourself or your band.
“Good musicians are experts at marketing - they have to sell their product to the world. I’ve seen talented musicians practice for hours and hours, and are really brilliant, but they don’t know how to go out into the world and get people to listen or make a dime for it,” Stanley said. “[As an artist] you have to be able to look down the road six months, one year, five years and envision where you want to be. Then you have to come up with a plan to get there, and dedicate yourself to making it happen.”
One of the many memorable moments for Blarney Castle was shooting their “Silhouettes Against the Soil” music video.
“This was a pretty special time for us. It wasn’t that every moment of it was fun, by any means. Some of the logistics of the project were incredibly stressful. But at the same time, it’s one of the craziest and most rewarding things that we’ve done as a group,” Stanley said in regards to creating the footage of digging the hole for a piano. “It must have looked incredibly strange to see six people dressed in 1920’s style working clothes, digging a hole in the middle of a field. But at the end of it, it was incredibly satisfying the push the piano in.”
Over the next several months, Blarney Castle has close to 20 shows lined up. Among those shows include shows at the Association of Irish and Celtic Organizers Festival Conference in Indianapolis this April and a concert the State Theater in Bay City, Mich., towards the end of the year on Nov. 25. Any upcoming events are always posted at least a month in advance on their website and Facebook page.
For more information about Blarney Castle, visit their website at www.blarneycastlemusic.com, by visiting their facebook page at www.facebook.com/blarneycastlemusic, searching for them on Spotify or through bandcamp at blarneycastle.bandcamp.com.