From their bio we learn: Castletown is comprised of a unique collection of talented musicians whose varying musical backgrounds blend together to create a sound unlike any other Celtic band around. With flavors of blues, jazz, rock ‘n roll, and even classical, Castletown’s style of AmeriCeltic music has something to offer every listener. More information is available on their Facebook page and this Portland Notes article Kelly Jones posted last year.
Last Saturday was as far away from St. Patrick’s day as we can get, so McMenamins Grand Lodge decided to have a “Half Way to St. Patrick’s Day” celebration and invited several Celtic bands out. The weather was perfect and this was a great excuse to gather on the lawn, wear something green, and hit the dance floor. I wasn’t planning on shooting any video, but Castletown was so captivating, I grabbed my phone and captured one of their new songs for you. From the Fired up Folklore CD released this year, here is “Jerusalem Ridge / The Gale”.
A band so unique – they’re in a genre all their own! Castletown has appropriately coined the term “AmeriCeltic” – and that is exactly who they are. A band who combines classical skill with the ancient Celtic folk tradition of gifted storytelling…then takes their American rock and roll roots and creates a sound that is fresh, exciting, and completely danceable. The music creates an atmosphere of celebration and community – no wonder audiences all over the Northwest are asking Castletown back again and again!
I was so grateful to be able to meet the entire Castletown group right as they began to prepare to pack for their “Reelin’ Down the Coast” Tour.. Having just come back from gigs in Seattle and Tacoma, the band was moved and encouraged by the audience responses they had received – it looks like Celtic joy is spreading from their voices and hands to our hearts and minds! This band is all about relationships – within the band, with their audiences, the venues, and with the history of the stories they are portraying through songs.
I loved this audio interview – you can hear how much these band mates enjoy each other’s company. You can also tell how well they work together – politely recognizing who is the appropriate member to answer a question, and giving credit to each other where it is due. Each player is a vital part of the group, and also active in other ways within the Portland music community. Robert Richter plays guitar and sings, but he also professionally manages the band and is an active supporter and promoter of all local music. Fiddle player and vocalist Katie Lubiens is a violin instructor extraordinaire at Kennedy Violins . Bass player Willi Jaam and drummer Casey McBride have another amazing project of their own, an instrumental duo of epic precision – check out their band Anchors of Ascension.
This AmeriCeltic music is impossible to describe with mere words – there are elements of emotion and movement deeply embedded in the composition, brought to life with the instruments and vocals. I highly recommend seeing them live, as the visual aspects of their performance speak so strongly to the core and origins of the Celtic tradition. The lovely red-haired Katie Lubiens choreographs her fiddle playing and dancing, and has drastically evolved the band with her classical improvisation – two elements that you don’t normally find together in music. The band gives great credit to Katie for bringing the buzz!
Listen to the audio interview to learn the origins and development of the Castletown band, and as always – get an insight into their musical influences and writing style. Each member is a lovable character, and the combination of their personalities and skills has created a sound that is energetic, vibrant, and uniquely their own. Follow them on Facebook, and give them a like to send them off on their November tour! To listen to their recorded live music, you can check out their webpage or Reverbnation.
Tomorrow night, June 8, offers an amazing opportunity for Portland musicians and music fans alike! Local musician/manager/marketer/media expert Robert Richter hosts 2 music-related events at the Alberta Street Pub. I was able to catch a quick interview with him – catching some creative marketing ideas drawn from his professional experience and his personal story with his current band Castletown. Every listener will take different advice to heart, I am sure – in the interview, Richter touches on seemingly lighthearted subjects ranging from throwing a good party to wardrobe choices…but he also talks about the three things that every successful entrepreneur must possess… (intrigued?) His best advice, of course: be at the Alberta Street Pub tomorrow night 5:30 until we shut the place down!
From 5:30-6:45, Richter will deliver his informational seminar about the best methods to get booked in Summer festivals. The seminar cost is $5, and includes the lecture, Q&A, an informational handout, and the chance to network with fellow musicians and industry personnel. Robert Richter and Kelly Jones will be creating an email list so that attendees will remain updated on new festival information. When I attended the last festival booking seminar, I was surprised at how little I understood about the vast differences between festivals and local venue shows.
I always enjoy a conversation with Robert Richter – he’s not afraid to share the secrets of his success with all of us. With that in mind, join us tomorrow with your questions about festival booking at 5:30, then stay and be one of the first to see the next team of local singer-songwriters who will be on the front lines of music in the coming months.