How it’s New York: Solas was founded in New York in the ’90s.

Solas playing from “Shamrock City” at APAP two years ago

How it’s Irish: They are an Irish-American band.

Solas are a much-beloved Irish-American band… in fact’s section on Irish music  lists a lot about them and its members.

It seems like a second ago they were making a 15-year CD, and a great one at that, “Reunion: A Decade of Solas”… and now they’re making a 20-year CD. And they need some help funding it. All of us should be contributing to their Kickstarter campaign… I know I will… because this is a CD we NEED TO HAVE! If all the readers of this blogs gave $1 each they’d be well over the goal.

I spoke to flutist/guitarist Seamus Egan recently (we’ll have this up as a podcast soon)solas and he told me this CD will not be, like “Reunion,” a kind of revisiting of greatest hits, but an album of all new material. They will be recording with all of the members of the band, past and present, at different times and different places… and that’s expensive. These days, so many reputable artists self-produce… including Freedy Johnston, among others.

Current line-up is:

Seamus Egan – flute, tenor banjo, mandolin, tin whistle, low whistle, guitars, bodhran
Winifred Horan – violins, vocals
Mick McAuley – accordians, contertina, low whistle, vocals
Eamon McElholm – guitars, keyboards, vocals
Moira Smiley – vocals


Karan Casey singing with Solas at City Winery, ©Ray Foley

Past members include Karan Casey, John Doyle, John Williams, Deirdre Scanlan, Mairead Phelan, Niambh Varian-Barry.

The album is titled “All These Years,” and donations bring perks, of course, including early downloads, signed copies, t-shirts, concert tickets, skype lessons, and my personal favorite, a tune commissioned for you. Being a journalist I am basically broke, but surely someone somewhere likes the sound of “Jirish Girl” as a tune, no?

Ah, well. If there were no perks at all it would still be well worth it. The band’s last CD, “Shamrock City,” a concept album (remember those!) based on Seamus’ great-great uncle Michael Conway’s experiences in Butte, Montana. Rumor has it this is going forward as a stage-play. Being a “theater geek,” I can’t wait. Need a dramaturg, fellas? I’m so there.

Read Seamus’ email after the jump!



Hey Everyone,Well, that went fast! We’re entering the final week of our Kickstarter campaign. And although we haven’t yet reached our goal, plans are going forward to begin recording at the end of the month. We’ll be gathering at the beautiful Grouse Lodge Studios on May 25 and can’t wait to get stuck in and start making music.We’ve also decided to film the gathering! We were talking the other day and realized that this is something that may never happen again. I think we would kick ourselves if we didn’t get it on film. So, as if we didn’t already have enough to do we’re going to film the making of All These Years!

Gwen Orel
About the Author

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