By Rick Coates
Celtic rockers, The Young Dubliners, (Young Dubs) love Traverse City.
While most touring acts hardly know what day it is, let alone what
town they are in, The Young Dubs have their favorites and Traverse
City ranks right up at the top.
Anytime I see we have a show booked in Michigan I call our agent and
say we have to play Traverse City, said Keith Roberts, founder, lead
vocalist and guitarist. Traverse City was one of the first places to
get behind us. Terri Ray at WKLT put a couple of our songs in rotation
and the people up there just got behind us. I think this will be our
eighth show there in the past 16 years. I think we have played just
about every venue.
The Young Dubs will perform a special early show at the Loading Dock
in Traverse City on Sunday October 24 with a 7:30 p.m. show time. A
special Irish Happy Hour will start at 6 p.m.
For Richards and his mates, bassist Brendan Holmes (theyre the only
two members from Ireland), violinist Chas Waltz, guitarist Bob
Boulding, and drummer David Ingraham, it has been somewhat of a rocky
road from Dublin.
We are keeping our head above water, but it has not been easy -- this
business seems to be changing daily, said Roberts. But it is that
way for everyoNE: the bands, the venue, the club owners. From the
economy to the Internet, we are in a different world right now. For
the first time, we have had a few club owners and festivals coming to
us and saying they just didnt have the money to pay us in full.
Fortunately those have been few and far between.
Clubs and venues are learning like bands are that you have to take a
different approach to promoting yourself, said Roberts. Every show
has to be promoted differently from a venue perspective and as a band
we approach our marketing of our tour based on each show as well.
Despite a challenged economy, 2010 has been a great year for The Young
We were very busy this year and in particular in the Midwest. We just
left our equipment in Chicago all summer and would fly home. In
September we had gigs every night but three. We spent a great deal of
time on the tour bus and had a great tour in Europe as well, said
The Young Dubs fuse a traditional Irish musical sound with modern rock
to create celtic rock. They have built a worldwide following by
gigging hard for the past 16 years, touring with Jethro Tull, among
others. Their CD, Red, was produced by Bernie Taupin (Elton Johns
songwriting partner) and the band has built a following in Hollywood,
with the likes of Rod Stewart claiming the Young Dubs as one of his
So is there a new CD in the works?
Yes actually a couple, sort of, said Roberts. We are going to do
our version of a greatest hits album. Since we do not have radio
number one hits we are going to ask our fans via our website to select
those songs. We will release that and go out on the road playing our
fan favorites next year.
But we are also writing new songs and what I like is that everyone in
the group has a feel for our music, so I no longer have to shoulder
the songwriting burden completely, he adds. Everyone is taking
ownership and it is really cool. Its not that these guys were not
capable -- I was the guy with the vision for this band and the sound
-- so now everyone sees that same vision.
The Young Dubs find themselves without a label as they go into the
studio, but this time it is by choice.
It is just one of those changes, and for bands like us -- we are
better off with the technology out there to release our own stuff,
versus paying a label. In fact, a lot of bands are finding that they
are able to do a better job than the labels in this area now, said
Roberts. Downloading is where it is at, and touring, so we have all
the equipment to record and press out CDs to sell when we hit the
road. In fact we are looking at releasing our next CD of originals one
song at a time on our website, Itunes and Pandora.
So it has been a rocky road from Dublin for Keith Roberts and his
bandmates but they would have it no other way. Catch them this Sunday
night at the Loading Dock in Traverse City. Tickets are $15 at the
door and bring your dancing shoes. Members of local Irish and Celtic
organizations are gathering at 6 pm for an Irish Happy Hour. To hear a
sampling of their music go to YouTube or visit www.youngdubliners.com.