Rare Ould Times
We take making crowd-pleasing music seriously, but not ourselves.
It’s best to note this right up front: don’t ask Kevin to sing “The Unicorn.” Like much about Kevin, the origin of his aversion to this song is shrouded in mystery. It is believed, though, that it has something to do with an unfortunate encounter he had with a narwhal a number of years back. Or perhaps he just can’t bear the sight of people posing as “humpty-backed camels.”
This one caveat aside, Kevin loves requests. In fact, he is a human jukebox. He readily recalls and performs a wide variety of songs from numerous genres. He’s been known to throw in a reggae song or two in the middle of a set of Irish ballads and rebel songs. He’s great at engaging with an audience. He reads the room exceptionally well and delivers crowd-pleasing entertainment.
Kevin, or “Irish Kevin” as he is known throughout Cape Cod, is a native of County Armagh in Ulster. Kevin also spent a number of happy years in Ardara, County Donegal (“Up Donegal!” as Kevin is fond of saying). Kevin performed in venues throughout Ireland with his former band, The Black Stuff.
Kevin is a gifted musician and songwriter, with a rich voice and a sharp wit. His version of “Carrickfergus”, which he learned on his Mammy’s knee, is truly something special, but so is Kevin’s own rousing composition, “It Never Rains in a Bar.” Kevin is an accomplished guitarist and a skilled mandolin and bodhrán player, as well as a Pac-Man master.
In contrast to his legitimately Irish band mate, Jack is a poseur. He hails from County Worcester.
His vocal skills, such as they are, were first put to use in second grade in church choir. It was there, under the expert direction of Miss Maureen Egan (God rest her soul), that he learned The Minstrel Boy. Thus began Jack’s love of Irish music.
Jack went on to perform (as part of large choruses, of course) with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. For decades since, he has been trying mightily (and largely unsuccessfully) to sound less “operatic” when he sings Irish songs.
As for his bloody bodhrán beating, what can be said… Jack spent many grueling years in innumerable pubs in dedicated study of the technique of real players. It’s a shame he didn’t refrain from drinking at the time.
The lads tolerate Jack’s operatic warblings and his wretched thumping because he’s not bad at getting gigs for the band, he brings the P.A. gear, and he often serves as the designated driver.
OK, he's really not a bad singer or bodhrán player. He has recently taken up the Irish bouzouki as well. Saints preserve us!
Rare Ould Times is blessed to have two very talented fiddlers who perform regularly with us. Amy Larkin learned folk music at her daddy's knee, he being a fifer in the Lincoln Minute Men. (Granted, this isn't Irish. On the other hand, the Minute Men were a bunch of rebels whose battles against the British eventually led to independence. That works for us.)
Amy has been playing for New England Contradances all over the US for many years. This may not be Irish either, but Amy married a lad named Larkin, and now plays Irish fiddle whenever she can. Like Kevin, she has a vast repertoire. Amy plays hundreds of tunes and plays them very well.
Tim Kane, our other fiddler, was born in Portland, Maine, but moved to Massachusetts at a very young age. To the extent that he grew up, he did so in Quincy, MA. Tim was inspired to become a Celtic fiddle player at the age of 37, while attending a session at Malachy's Pub in Quincy. He began by playing a few tunes there and eventually became an accomplished stage musician. Tim is a man of few words (or facial expressions, for that matter) on stage, preferring to let his fiddle speak for him. He sports the best haircut in the band. Typically, he is the best-dressed as well, attired in well-loved old t-shirts and worn out sneakers. When not playing out or working his day job, Tim is an avid boater, exploring the waters and islands around Woods Hole.