The Drowsy Lads originally formed in 2003. What began, as two brothers and a mutual friend casually playing together, has evolved into the Lads performing throughout Columbus, Ohio – a niche for traditional Irish music – and the Midwest. Fans of their music attest to the band’s talent, and the fun, which they bring to festivals and pubs. The Drowsy Lads capture the communal, relational nature of traditional Irish tunes and song, and invite all audiences alike to share in the ‘craic.’
John McKewen grew up in Columbus, Ohio with brother and band mate Daniel. In middle school, John learned to play the flute and then picked up the guitar. After over a decade of playing in rock and punk rock bands, John broke from his electric guitar, learned to play mandolin and formed the band The Drowsy Lads with Daniel and Bryan. John has since learned the Irish tenor Banjo and the Irish Bouzouki. He contributes greatly to the melody and rhythm section and leads the vocals for the Drowsy Lads.
Daniel McKewen, raised in Columbus, Ohio and brother of John, began his music career at the ripe age of 11. His first instrument, the drums, would carry him to many bars and through many bands until his first trip to Ireland in 2000. His roommate Bryan further exposed him to Irish music by playing Matt Molloy albums in their room. Daniel was hooked and learned to play the bodhran when The Drowsy Lads were formed. He then took over the guitar duties after only 6 months of playing and also learned to play the Uilleann pipes, or Irish bagpipes. Currently, Daniel is delving into learning the flute. Daniel has a deep love for Irish music and a passion for the complex rhythms it carries. He is the owner and creator of Seagull Bags
Bryan Brookes, born and raised in Columbus, long time friend of Daniel, learned to play the flute and tin whistle at age 10 after being inspired by attending a Chieftains’ concert. Bryan played concert flute and remained heavily interested in Irish music. On a whim, John and Daniel convinced him to help them start The Drowsy Lads. Since then, Bryan has learned to play the Irish flute, low whistles, various stringed instruments, and has newly acquired a concertina.
Josh Franck was destined to discover traditional Irish music. Born to a member of Columbus’ legendary Irish Brigade, the music was in his blood from the start. Of course, Mom and Dad spurred him along in more deliberate ways too. Knowing Josh was afraid of the dark, they hid the TV in the basement and spread instruments around the house, so his childhood brain turned to music, not mush. Watching his dad on stage from an early age, he developed an affinity for the communion of Irish music, and once Dad had invited teenage Josh and his bodhran on stage, a passion for performance was soon to follow. A year later, he adopted the button-box accordion, and by college he was spinning out reels with skill and flair. (He’s available for lessons, folks.)
Phil Franck is an energetic Columbus veteran of Irish music, having played with ‘The Fish House Band’ (bluegrass), and the legendary ‘Irish Brigade’. He still plays with Yankee Celtic Consort. He grew up in a musical family (parents were both in the Columbus Symphony), and has passed that on to his own sons Josh (a Drowsy Lad) and John (‘Attack! Attack!’), although it was actually Phil’s wife Renee who taught their boys their first chord on the guitar. Phil majored in music theory and composition at The Ohio State University. His main instruments are fiddle, 5-string banjo, bouzouki, and A/D/G button accordion. Secret delight: a shot of Jameson drizzled on his hi-fiber Cap’n Crunch in the morning. Power source and reason for living: Jesus Christ.
The album “Live at the Shamrock Club” provides a glimpse into a Lads’ show. It is replete with lively reels, jigs, song, and witty banter. Beware: listening to the album while driving has been known to cause excessive speeding! Be on the lookout for the Lads’ upcoming sophomoric studio release due early in summer 2010!