Here Come The Chieftains

Hail to the Chieftains (l-r): Paddy Moloney, Kevin Connef and Matt Malloy.

Chieftains tin whistler and Uilleann pipe-master Paddy Moloney is either the easiest interview in the world or the hardest. A simple "How are you?" and he's off to the races about his Houston-dwelling son getting his Ph.D. in nanotechnology at Rice while working on NASA's Mars project ("the first Irish rocket scientist"); late, great Houston Post music critic Bob Claypool; attending a New Year's party with "the boys" at Dublin neighbor and U2 manager Paul McGuinness's house; and the similarities between Mexican and Irish music, which the group he founded in 1962 — and has since won six Grammys — will explore on its next album alongside guests Willie Nelson and Linda Ronstadt.

Thirty-five years after the Chieftains first hit U.S. shores — Moloney, of course, has a memorable, rambling tale about playing Austin's Armadillo World Headquarters the group's first time in Texas — the worldwide ambassadors of Celtic musical lore return minus fiddler Sean Keane but with an entourage of Irish harp soother Triona Marshall, step dancer Cara Butler, acrobatic Canadian brothers Jon and Nathan Pilatzke, Nashville singer/guitarist Jeff White (Lyle Lovett), country/bluegrass fiddler Deanie Richardson (Vince Gill) and Scottish vocalist Alyth McCormack. Whew.

Chatter reached Moloney last week while he was relaxing in Naples, Florida, and didn't even try to get a word in edgewise. See much (much) more of our conversation with the loquacious Irishman at


The Chieftains

8 p.m. Wednesday, February 25, at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, 713-227-4772 or

Chatter: Why do you think Irish music has such a universal appeal?

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Paddy Moloney: First of all, it's a vast repertoire of different rhythms, different music to do with events that took place. It's been described in one of the old manuscripts as the greatest folk music in the world. I wouldn't go that far, because I have great respect for all folk music and traditional music from different countries, but it's so melodic that you don't have to be Irish to appreciate it. I remember going to Milan in the '70s. We did a tour there, and [the audience] didn't understand a word of the garbage I was pouring out, but the minute you struck up a tune there was a great response.

C: Why does Irish music combine so well with other styles?

PM: There's so much there. You think about the Who — what made Roger Daltrey come to the party and join us [on 1991's An Irish Evening: Live at the Grand Opera House, Belfast], or Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones singing "The Rocky Road to Dublin." There is within our music this melodic business, and I've had the God-given gift since I was a child of just picking up tunes. There's a huge register up there in my head somewhere — the minute I hear something, I can connect.


The Skyline Network (, one of the local music scene's primary online resources for news, reviews and gossip, suspended operations last week after Webmaster Ryan Clark — known online as "adr" — decided to pursue other projects, namely reading and writing post­apocalyptic science fiction. "While there's still electricity, I'd like to work on making music rather than writing about it," he said...At long last, South by Southwest announced the complete lineup for the 2009 Music and Media festival March 18-22 in Austin. Congratulations to the following Houston artists who were accepted: Balaclavas, B L A C K I E, Kam Franklin, Homopolice, Indian Jewelry, Solange Knowles, Magno, Perseph One, Rusted Shut, Sings, Tontons, Tre9, Von Won, Wild Moccasins and Young Mammals. See more at


Top Sellers
88 E. Crosstimbers, 713-694-6800

1. Anthony Hamilton, Point of It All

2. Bobby Valentino, Rebirth

3. DJ Rack$, Big Bucks and Styrofoam Cups

4. Boney James, Send One Your Love

5. India.arie, Testimony 2: Love & Politics

6. Ms. Jody, It's a Ms. Jody Thang

7. Syleena Johnson, Chapter 4: Labor Pains

8. Donald Lawrence, Law of Confession 1

9. Various Artists, Swisha House:

Final Chapter 2K8

10. Chamillionaire, Mixtape Messiah 6


KPFT (90.1 FM), Tuesdays 2-5 a.m.
Selections from Jason Beck's February 9 playlist

1. Agnostic Front, "Victim in Pain"

2. Violent Arrest, "Liars"

3. Wolfbrigade, "The Race of Wrath"

4. Rusted Shut, "Godstrike"

5. Brutally Normal, "One Dead Cop"

6. The Cramps, "Haulass Hyena"

7. The Hates, "Big Brother"

8. Killing Joke, "Another Bloody Election"

9. Flipper, "Life"

10. Bauhaus, "Silent Hedges"

(lists compiled by Chris Gray)

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