It’s been nearly a decade to the day since Xpress spoke to L.A.-based Celtic rockers Young Dubliners. Back then, they were on the Uprooted Tour with fellow Celtic rock acts Great Big Sea and Seven Nations. Back then, Roberts told us, “We didn’t pioneer Celtic rock, but we sure as hell kept it going and didn’t give in to the critics who said, ‘They’re not Celtic enough.’” (Read about that show, held at the now-defunct Asheville Music Zone, here.)
At that time, the Young Dubliners (called The Dubs by their fans) had already been together for eight years, which was an impressive-enough tenure in band time. Now the group is pushing 20 years as a band — though there have been some lineup changes.
Singer/guitarist Keith Roberts (who was born in Ireland) is still in the band, as is violinist/keyboardist/vocalist Chas Waltz (who got his start in the same LA circle that bred Dave King of Flogging Molly). Guitarist Bob Boulding is a more recent addition. He grew up in Orange County and played in bands with former Dubs drummer Jon Mattox, who brought Boulding into the fold. Mattox has since been replaced by Dave Ingraham. Bassist Brendan Holmes rounds out the quintet.
Young Dubs return to Asheville this Sunday, playing Jack of the Wood in support of new album Saints and Sinners. A bit about the record: “Beginning with the raucous title track, Saints and Sinners continues in the spirit of that dual mindset as the Dubs mix free-wheeling party rockers like ‘Howaya Girls’ and the vocal harmony-laden jam ‘Backseat Driver’ with anthemic and politically charged tunes like the 80s vibing ‘This Time.’ While ‘This Time’ taps into the raw frustration of the past eight years, the band saves its most biting commentary for the U.N.s inaction on giving aid to ravaged places like Darfur and not adequately addressing global poverty on the acoustic ballad ‘In the End.’”
Watch Young Dubliners here, in a performance at last summer’s Dublin Irish Festival in Ohio: