You’re familiar with the Boston Celtics’ Big Three in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. But have you heard about Ireland’s new musical super trio, The Teetotallers, an outfit featuring three of the best performers Ireland has to offer?
If not, you’ll get the chance to experience the threesome’s traditional Irish tunes in concert at the World Café Live at the Queen on Thursday, May 31, as part of their 10-gig United States tour.
Teetering with greatness
The Teetotallers — comprised of Kevin Crawford (flute), Martin Hayes (fiddle) and John Doyle (guitar) — have been generating more buzz than a chainsaw since they officially formed in late 2011, securing high praise from media outlets like The Wall Street Journal and The Huffington Post.
Considering each of the members had already made a name for themselves prior to starting the group — (Crawford is a member of Lúnasa, one of Ireland’s most celebrated instrumental bands; Hayes is a six-time All Ireland Fiddle Champion; and Doyle’s 2010 collaboration with Irish folk-singer Karan Casey on “Exiles Return” won him critical acclaim) — the consolidation of their talents result in a dynamic blend of harmonious voices meshed with eclectic tunes that highlight each musician’s individual strengths.
Hayes (who’s the Kevin Garnett of the group, since he’s more acclaimed than his fellow bandmates) is the master of manipulating the heartstrings of the listener.
“He knows the real power of expression is in finding that sweet note,” said Crawford, 43, of County Clare, who added, “and the way you can land on a note” to the point where “it does everything for you.”
Doyle (like Paul Pierce) brings a “powerful” and “rhythmic” style of guitar to the table, while Crawford (the Ray Allen of the group) excels in delivering an “energetic flute style,” Crawford said.
Coming to America
Though the guys in The Teetotallers are each veterans of touring throughout the U.S., their ongoing tour in The States marks their first time doing so as a group.
“It should be real fun,” Crawford said of performing at The Queen. “I heard great things about the venue. I know a lot of people around there. I’ve been to The States with Lúnasa and other outfits for about 15 years.”
Often times you hear stories of American artists who say audiences overseas respond to their concerts with more glee and gratitude than American crowds. From Crawford’s experience, he says the same can be said about Irish artists who venture to the U.S.
Page 2 of 2 - “It’s possibly my favorite place to play in the world,” he said of performing in America. “They’re a knowledgeable audience and are really into what you’re doing and they appreciate that you’ve traveled [to see them]. The audience appreciates people having gone out of their way to play music for them.”
Wrapping up his thoughts on playing in The States, Crawford added, “Unless you do something drastically wrong, you’re a winner.”
The Big Three
And speaking of America, Crawford doesn’t follow the Boston Celtics, let alone the NBA — unlike Hayes and Doyle who are fans of American sports, and who have both lived in The States. Crawford says he has a pair of Celtics shorts, but that’s about it.
Unaware that Boston is now comprised of three respected veterans who united to secure a championship, which they earned in 2008, Crawford was ecstatic to hear that the makeup of The Teetotallers shares commonality with the Celtics.
“I like that analogy,” beamed Crawford, when asked about his thoughts on having formed a musical version of the Big Three. “That’s brilliant!”