Happy St. Patrick's Day! If there’s one musical genre that doesn’t get a whole lot of media attention, it’s Celtic rock. In fact, I'd bet that some of you reading this aren't 100 percent sure what Celtic rock is, so here's the gist: it's a blending of traditional Irish and Scottish music which utilizes bagpipes, fiddles, tin whistle and other Celtic instruments with modern rock melodies.
If you haven't heard a lot about the genre, you shouldn't write it off; many Irish-inspired punk and rock groups have decade-spanning careers and die-hard fan bases. Some bands have even ventured into mainstream success, like Flogging Molly and The Dropkick Murphys (“Shipping Up to Boston” exploded when it essentially became the theme song for The Departed), or like The Pogues, inspired countless bands outside their genre, proving that the audience for Celtic rock goes beyond Hibernophiles.
If you need another push, let me remind you of a little British band called Mumford & Sons—they explore a traditional folksy sound, utilizing banjo, mandolin, dobro and even accordion, yet they still made it to number two on the Billboard 200 chart. So, are you ready to expand your musical mind? Sit down, grab some haggis, and take a look at these eight notable Celtic rock bands below.
Did you watch Titanic and think, “Wow, steerage looks like a lot more fun than first class since they get to dance to jaunty Irish music?” If so, this first one's for you. The band playing in that scene is Gaelic Storm, one of the biggest names in contemporary Celtic music. Ever since forming in a Santa Monica pub in 1996, Gaelic Storm has been producing high-quality traditional Irish music with a modern slant. Gaelic Storm’s 12th album, Matching Sweaters, came out in 2015, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. “It’s not a fad,” band co-founder Patrick Murphy said to Rambles. “It’s not like Irish music is popular for two or three years and goes away. It’s always there.”