FAR FROM FOLK
By Simon Weedn
Many people out there might be surprised that a band called the Young Dubliners actually have their beginnings and roots in Los Angeles, although there’s a lot about the Young Dubliners (or Young Dubs as they’re affectionately called) that’s surprising. While their name might imply that the band is just another Irish band, performing only the most well known of Irish folk ballads, the Young Dubs are, in fact, a great deal more than that. The band performs a very distinct brand of rock and roll which they describe as, “rock with Irish influence,” as opposed to the more popular genre title of Celtic rock.
When asked about the Young Dubs’ unique sound, vocalist and guitarist Keith Roberts explains, “The influences on this band were not just The Pogues. I mean, The Pogues were an influence on us, but we were also influenced by The Waterboys, Big Country, Thin Lizzy, and The Horselips, who were early Irish prog-rock which started using Celtic riffs on electric guitars that I heard when I was growing up. Also, the Americans in the band grew listening to all types of American and English rock. So when we play there are vastly different influences coming together to make what we are.” The result is a sound that is both catchy and interesting, delightfully diverse, and one that has kept the Young Dubs touring constantly and recording prolifically for nearly a quarter century.
Most recently the band used crowd funding to record and independently release their ninth studio album, appropriately titled, 9. “We wanted to try and see if we had another one in us,” says Roberts. “We fall into the category of being our own worst critics so we just thought ‘This has got to be good, we cannot just throw something out to sell at the merch table.’ So we really worked hard on it and I’m proud of how it came out.”
For the first time the band had total freedom to write and record an album on their own terms. In doing so the band was able to try out a few new things in the studio and really take their time crafting and re-writing pieces until the band felt they were perfect. “This time we did things differently in that we recorded a lot of the music before I’d written lyrics, sometimes even before there were melody ideas for the songs,” explains Roberts. “We started getting the music together and I thought, ‘Wow, what would it be like to write to a really polished sound for these songs.” As the band would learn, this approach would have its drawback in necessitating complete re-records and re-writes of much of the material that would later comprise the record. However, the pros definitely outweigh the cons when it adds to yet another awesome record to an already solid legacy of work. Though 9 is already available to those who participated in it’s funding, as the Young Dubs were anxious to give back quickly to those that had supported them in the endeavor, the band is pleased to announce that the album will be available to the rest of the world come February, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
Gazing into the New Year, the Young Dubliners have a great deal to be excited about. 2014 sees the group hitting the road right out of the gate into the many nooks and crannies of the United States, some places of which they’ve never played before. The band is particularly excited for their upcoming appearance at The Glasshouse as it gives them the opportunity to play in a new area so close to where they started. “The Pomona gig is actually a fun show for us because it’s a place we’ve heard about from all the bands that are coming up that are, sometimes, opening up for us. It’s always exciting for us to play new places.”
At twenty-five years, a lot of bands might be content with resting on their laurels for a bit and slowing down. Yet the Young Dubliners seem ecstatic with staying just as busy as ever. With the spirit of adventure in their hearts, the Young Dubs are heading into the New Year striking out to new venues and markets, excited to be sharing their music to new and old fans alike, and ready to work hard to keep their band well-oiled and running strong.
The band was slated to perform at The Glass House but the show was canceled.
Young Dubliners at The Glass House, 200 W. Second St., Pomona, (909) 865-3802; www.theglasshouse.us. Sat, Jan. 11. 7pm.