The Abbey Pub
The Drovers Reunion! - 7pm & 10pm3420 W. Grace Chicago IL 60618 USA 773-478-4408
For more than a decade after they were formed, on St. Patrick’s Day 1988, the Drovers were synonymous with Chicago’s annual celebration of all things Irish. The group went on a self-imposed hiatus in 2002, but will reunite onstage for one night only at the Abbey Pub, Friday, March 15 to mark the 25th year since they began their unique odyssey.
The Drovers also plan their first music release in over a decade, on iTunes.
The Drovers blended rock and traditional Irish music to stunning effect with their seminal 1992 release, World of Monsters, and went on to appear in two major feature films,Backdraft and Blink, the latter of which opens with a performance of their regular concert centerpiece, "The Boys and the Babies."
The song was one of many highlights from World of Monsters that would continue to define the group even through its later detours in psychedelic experimentation: Kathleen Keane’s bracing flute and tin whistle performances dominated the record, while her direct vocal readings of Mike Kirkpatrick’s original songs breathed fresh air into the genre of Irish contemporary. Drummer Jackie Moran’s traditional Irish bodhran gave the music its signature ebullience, combining with singer Dave Callahan’s bass to create a rhythmic approach that defied categorization.
The album was declared one of the best of 1992 by Chicago Tribune rock critic Greg Kot. The breakout track, "Book of Songs"," which was placed in regular rotation on WXRT-FM, perhaps summarizes what made the Drovers a memorable live act – ferocious drumming, mind-bending whistle solos, and keening vocals, carried along by expansive 12-string electric guitars.
After Keane’s departure in 1992, the band went on to release two more discs. Their droning psychedelic masterpiece, "She’s As Pretty As Brian Jones Was", was featured alongside the folky favorite, Thanks for the Ring, on the 1993 Kill Mice Elf EP. Two years later, they teamed up with Steve Albini to produce the full-length Little High Sky Show, a sweeping collection of psyche-folk that showcased the breadth of the band’s craft – from the jaw-dropping 20-minute suite, "The Bag", to concise folk pop nuggets like "If You Cry Elizabeta."
The four musicians, Keane, Kirkpatrick, Moran and Callahan, will be joined at the Abbey by Irish fiddler Chris Bain, who first joined the band in 1999.
“This show is something we’ve been talking about doing for several years, and it’s amazing that it’s finally going to happen,” says Callahan. “I’m tempted to say it’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime event, because it probably will be.
“But you never know.”
David Callahan - Bass, Mandolin, Vocals
Kathleen Keane - Fiddle, Tin Whistle, Flute, Accordion, Vocals
Mike Kirkpatrick - Guitars, Vocals
Jackie Moran - Drums, Percussion
Chris Bain - Violin, Viola, Bouzouki