The Chieftains (@Barry McCall)

How It’s New York:  The Late Show with David Letterman  is filmed in New York, and the Chieftains will appear at Carnegie Hall on St. Patrick’s Day, to close out their tour.
How It’s Irish:  The Chieftains are Irish, and play Irish music– albeit sometimes with rock and rollers, or Japanese singers, or country singers, or Indy rockers.   Still, it always sounds like the Chieftains!

The Chieftains new album Voice of Ages celebrates their 50th year together.  It’s not a “best of,” because, as Paddy Moloney told me, “The Essential Chieftains already exists.”  Instead, inspired in part by producer T. Bone Burnett, they reached out to younger Indy and Bluegrass and Roots artists, including Lisa Hannigan (read our interview with her here); Imelda May (on our very first podcast ever, download it here!); the Decembrists, Bon Iver, Carolina Chocolate Drops.

Fresh off being awarded the National Concert Hall Lifetime Achievement Award, in association with the American Ireland fund in Philadelphia, which recognized their “tremendous contribution to the music industry worldwide and the promotion of the best of Irish culture” on March 8, the Chieftains appear on Letterman tonight.

You can also catch them on CBS Sunday Morning March 18th, and NPR will be streaming their music at 6 p.m. on Friday the 16th!   You can also hear Paddy on NPR’s Morning Edition,  and on PRI’s The World.

And very shortly, you’ll have MY exclusive interview with Paddy for the podcast!

  The Carnegie Hall date is sold out, but you could stand outside for a return.  You’ll want to if you watch Letterman tonight.

I saw them at NJPAC this Saturday (an extremely comfortable place to see a show, y’all, with a full bar in addition to concession stands, comfy seats, great sightlines, easy parking) and I’m here to tell you, they put on a great show.  My Inter-Review (I just made that up!  But from now on that’s what I’m calling my interviews, such as the one with Kevin Crawford of Lúnasa, that also tell you about the new CD, book, etc) with Paddy will be in Irish Examiner USA this week.

Don’t you love March?  Sure, as Kevin  says, “we’re all mental in March.”  But on the other hand, it’s great to see Irish music on Letterman and even on the Today Show: Caitlin Warbelow and friends were shown in a jokey segment this AM, attempting to teach Sara the anchor about the Uillean Pipes– at Dempsey’s!   

We love that!  The Chieftains will be performing tonight with the Low Anthem (they’re on the album too, and will be at Carnegie Hall).  

Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.