Music Influences and Inspirations

I found this old blog post in html format on my website. I thought I'd reshare it now. It already seems a little out-dated, but oh well. I'm not entirely sure when this podcast was first published..

As you may have realized by my strange pick of instruments, the autoharp, I was late bloomer to the Celtic music world. Before I fell in love with Celtic music and culture, my musical tastes ran the gambit though formed solidly around modern rock. As a result, I sometimes refer to my musical style as Fringe Celtic, the type of music that is not mainstream traditional music. Instead, it is strongly fused with a mix of old and new music with a of heart through and through. The music is Celtic American through and through.

Musical Influences

Below is a list of my musical influences. It is far from complete. I'm still building it up. So please be patient and check back every now and then.

  • Elvis Presley. By far was my biggest musical influence growing up. I listened and sang-along to vinyl records of his music almost non-stop. Well, I say “sang-along”, but admittedly, I didn't understand half of what he sang. It's taken years… and the internet to translate some of the lyrics. As a result, I don't always pay attention to lyrics to songs I listen to today. I love vocal melodies.
  • My Dad. He played every folk instrument under the sun, it seemed. But the instrument that makes me think of him most is the banjo. I'm still trying to get him to record “Cripple Creek” with me. He also had a bizarre sense of humour inspired by Roger Miller and some of the comedic artists out of the 50s and 60s. It was from him that I really learned parodies early on, and he also brainwashed me into loving American folk music by taking me to frequent folk music clubs while growin up. Oh! My dad gave me my first autoharp.
  • My Mom. My mom played piano and sings with a definite jazz and Broadway feel to the songs I remember most from her. Songs like “Devil Moon” stand out firmly and my mind. And it was she, I believe, who introduced me to musicals.
  • Fabrizio de Andre. I found his music in college while taking an Italian class. As I said, I like vocal melodies. Fabrizio was brilliant at them. I still don't understand half his lyrics, but I love his voice.
  • The Wolfe Tones. When I first started learning Irish music, a fan at the University of Texas at Austin gave me a cassette to learn from. The Wolfe Tones were one of the artists on the cassette. The power of the songs they sing and the quirkiness of their voices made me fall in love with their music.
  • The Irish Balladeers. The other band that I fell in love with from that UT fan's cassettes. The Irish Balladeers had a nice working-class Irish American feel to their music that struck home.
  • Ed Miller. Ed Miller sings “Songs of Scotland”. As a musician, folk singer, and ethnomusicologist, I love learning about the origins of the many folk songs he sings. He has a brilliant voice, and a wonderful musical niche which draws me back to his albums time and time again. Live at the Cactus Cafe is one of my favorite albums of his as it captures his live performance.
  • Bryan Bowers. I heard about Bryan Bowers a lot growing up, but I don't remember hearing his actual music until I first started learning the autoharp. Then I learned he was the autoharp God. His first album, Home, Home on the Road is fantastic which features the recording that made “The Scotsman” song famous.
  • “Weird Al” Yankovic. While my dad was the man who really trained me to parody songs, it was “Weird Al” who brought that love to the forefront of my being. He is an immensely funny musician.
  • David Garza. David Garza is an alternative rock musician out of Austin, Texas


Some Favorite Musicians

  • Enya
  • Angelo Branduardi
  • Leonard Cohen
  • Johnny Cash
  • Black 47
  • Clannad
  • The Corries
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Christy Moore
  • Cat Stevens
  • Jackopierce
  • Radiohead
  • Clandestine
  • Ceann
  • Joni Minstrel