It is time to introduce the Barleycorn Bards Band. Show me a better collection of musicians playing bawdy Burns music in Pittsburgh on January 24 and I’ll give you my share of the haggis.
Ryan Macel – Ryan is the son of a founding member of local Irish music heroes Red Hand Paddy and is now a member of that band. Celtic music is in his blood, he was listening to Celtic music in the womb . . . yada yada yada. The real point is “yeah, the boy can play.” Ryan is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and the leader of the Barleycorn Bards. He has a quite nice beard also.
Nick Haberman – Nick is a high school social studies teacher and in-demand percussionist at large. Currently plays with Millvin and the Etnoidsand The Act 80s. Former member of Akrasia. Nick has graciously allowed the Bards to practice at his house and has helped Ryan keep everything straight logistically. Thankfully he lost all that blue hair he had when he first starting dating my daughter (now his wife).
Danny Rectenwald – Bastard Bearded Irishmen. Need I say more? How about classical guitar instructor at the Center for Young Musicians? Danny was the first official recruit for the Barleycorn Bards, I snagged him at my 4 year-old granddaughter’s first violin recital. Had Danny said no, we likely would not be doing this at all. So blame Danny. One of Danny’s responsibilities is teaching the rest of the band the delicate skill of rocking out in a kilt.
Liz Cherry – Future aeronautical engineer and our award-winning bagpiper. When I asked around the local bagpiping cognoscenti for a young piper who both could play and would enjoy playing uptempo/punky versions of classic Scottish tunes, Liz’s name kept coming up. You will hear why. Fast and loud works with this band.
Terry Schiebel – Director of Music at Holy Spirit Parish in Millvale. Piano tuner. Piano and guitar instructor. Proficient at accordion. Fluent in German. Grade school Spanish teacher. And, of course, playing Scottish music on upright bass for the Barleycorn Bards.
Chris Klehm – Late of Devilish Merry and Callán, Chris brings 35 years of Celtic music experience with his strong driving rhythms, vocals and unique approach to the music. Currently Chris plays mandolins and bouzouki with Maddie Arnold and Friends. Chris is the elder statesman of the Bards, having more years of playing experience than most of the other members have years, period.
Guy Alexander Russo – Guy is a former member of the folk duo Broken Fences. He is currently writing and performing as a solo artist, and also works as a piano smith. Guy will be playing guitar and plying his beautiful voice for the Bards. It will be fun to hear Guy performing happy music.
Dr. Michael P. Buric – Left-handed banjo player, professional whiskey jug tuner, lead guitarist for Akrasia, and laser scientist (really). Guidman (husband) to our bawdy lassie vocalist, Amber.
Amber Buric – Paralegal supreme and former standup/improvisational comedienne who occasionally performs under an alternative music personality as the blues singer Queenie B. Guidwife of Dr. Buric. Amber claims to not be the reason that another word for “husband” in Scottish Gaelic is “fear”. But I’d ask Mike.
Aaron Chapman – The “Chairman” of our event, Aaron will also be joining the band for a tune or several on octave and penny whistles. Aaron hails from Vancouver, BC where he is a best-selling author, journalist and humorist. But before he lost his way he was a founding member of the Canadian Scottish folk-punk band The Real McKenzies, and a long-time member of the “West Coast Celtic” band The Town Pants. Maybe we can get Aaron to wear his famous white suit.
Mitch Stivason – Mitch is a talented guitar player and harmony singer and is also a member of The Act 80s along with Nick. Mitch is running sound for this event. Without Mitch, the only instruments you would hear would be Liz’s bagpipes and Nick’s drums. Having heard the band practice, I am fairly optimistic that amplification will be a good thing.