For this week’s playlist, Local Spins asked Michigan’s The Moxie Strings to unfurl a Top 10 playlist of Celtic tracks to serve as a St. Patrick’s Day celebration soundtrack.
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEOS AND THE PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY
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Hailing from Michigan (and currently from Nashville and Grand Rapids), fiddler Diana Ladio and cellist Alison Lynn have celebrated Celtic music across the state and across the country — not only as performers in The Moxie Strings, but as educators who offer diverse, entertaining and informative presentations to students and audiences eager to embrace their high-energy musicianship.
The Moxie Strings’ most recent album, “Breathe” — following on the success of previous recordings such as 2016’s genre-melding, “Outlet” — was a Top 10 classical crossover album and Top 20 classical album on Billboard’s charts.
Consequently, they’re the perfect choice to create this year’s St. Patrick’s Day playlist at Local Spins.
Ladio said this playlist “reflects some of my favorite Celtic musicians and friends from all over the world, and highlights how traditional melodies are now being fused with more contemporary sounds.”
As for the band’s performances following a mostly silent COVID year: “The Moxie Strings miss you all dearly! We have been enjoying our virtual shows and school performances, but we’re itching to get back on stage. Keep an eye out for summer shows, including an evening at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.”
Even though parties are less robust than usual due to COVID, several West Michigan bars and restaurants are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on Wednesday, including Smyrna Bar & Restaurant in Smyrna with the Conklin Ceili Band at 6 p.m., The Cottage Bar in downtown Grand Rapids with Daniel Pladdet performing at 6 p.m., Cedar Springs Brewing in downtown Cedar Springs with Toby Bresnahan at 6 p.m., Conklin Bar in downtown Conklin with live music, and downtown Rockford with various events and entertainment throughout the day.
THE TOP 10 ST. PATRICK’S DAY PLAYLIST: By The Moxie Strings
1. “Blue Lagoon,” Connla (2016) – Dear friends of ours from Northern Ireland. Amazing people and musicians.
2. “lllow the sun,” The Olllam (2021) – Michigan powerhouse players (My Dear Disco, Vulfpeck, Millish) join forces with a legendary Irish whistle player to create this amazing Irish-Mainstream fusion. The Olllam is one of Moxie’s all-time favorite groups.
3. “Farewell,” Talisk (2020) – The honorary Scottish band on the list. These Glaswegians put on a beautiful show with totally contagious energy.
4. “Country Cable,” The East Pointers (2019) – These guys are from Prince Edward Island, Canada, where the Celtic roots run deep. We’re obsessed with their traditional-meets-pop sound!
5. “Incredibow,” Crossbow (2018) – Michigan favorites! Fun fact – several of the members are former students of mine. And frontman Steve is on staff at The Moxie Strings corporation. 🙂 We love what they do.
6. “Bright Morning Stars Are Rising,” Runa (2020) – These beautiful souls are no strangers to the Michigan Irish Music Festival. This song is a tear-jerker will give you major goosebumps. It also features close friends of mine from Nashville: Ross Holmes and Caleb Edwards. I love how small the music world is.
7. “Hungry Man,” Millish (2005) – Amazing Michigan instrumentalists who have been inspirational to Moxie for years. Brad Phillips’ fiddle plying is ferocious and this track has become iconic in the fiddle world.
8. “Colours,” Elephant Sessions (2019) – More Scotsmen that I had to include. They combine rock and electronic sounds with traditional-sounding melodies. Great stuff and great guys.
9. “Trip to Pakistan,” Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas (2007) – This fiddle/cello duo was the original inspiration for The Moxie Strings. We love them and “borrow” their arrangements often. 🙂 This tune has such a great groove.
10. “Red is the Rose,” The High Kings (2017) -I had to include one for the traditionalists. These guys are considered some of the greatest Irish voices of our time and we’re lucky to call them our “band brothers” after playing many of the same festivals. We first heard this sung at 4 a.m. in a Muskegon hotel room after The Michigan Irish Music Festival. It was magical, and hearing it still brings me to tears every time.
THE ST. PATRICK’S DAY PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY: The Moxie Strings’ Top 10
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