"Irish America's most influential band." - NPR
"Shamrock City is a deeply thoughtful, imaginative collection of songs which grapple with the wealth of ideas and emotions inherent in the immigrant journey". - FOLK ALLEY
Solas is the quintessential Irish-American band recording and touring in the US today. Fifteen years ago, in a manner befitting their name (Gaelic for "light”), Solas burst onto the Irish music scene and instantly became a beacon – an incandescent ensemble that found contemporary relevance in timeless traditions without ever stooping to clichés.
Anchored by founding members Seamus Egan (flute, tenor banjo, mandolin, whistles, guitars, bodhran) and Winifred Horan (violins, vocals), Solas is rounded out by Mick McAuley (accordians, low whistle, concertina, vocals), Eamon McElholm (guitars, keyboards, vocals), and newest member and lead singer, Niamh Varian-Barry. Through fresh and unexpected arrangements of age-old tunes, compelling and topical originals and covers, and unparalleled musicianship, Solas continues to define the path for the Celtic music world and drive the genre forward.
With ten albums under their belt, Solas' band leader Seamus Egan was inspired by his family history to create Shamrock City – their most ambitious project to date. Shamrock City tells the story of Butte, MT, a mining town at the turn of the 20th century, as seen through the eyes of an Irish immigrant and Seamus' great-great uncle, Michael Conway. In 1910 he sailed from Cobh, Co. Cork in Ireland to Philadelphia and then made his way to Butte to work in the copper mines. Six years later, at the young age of 25, he was dead from a blow to the head. Shamrock City seeks to not only uncover the life and young death of Conway, but to also illuminate life as an immigrant during the Industrial Revolution.
Although Shamrock City is seen through the eyes of Michael Conway, it really tells the story of the thousands of young men and women from all over the world who left behind their homes and families to follow their dreams in America. It reveals their spirit, tenacity and humor, but also the hardships they faced: discrimination, corruption, an unknown and unforgiving land, a system that valued the few over the many. One hundred years later, it's their story, but the struggles of the working class and immigrants are the same. Shamrock City is for those then and now that believe in a better life, and are willing to risk it all for a chance at something more.
Solas have never been hindered by genres - special guests on the album include Rhiannon Giddens of GRAMMY Award winning Carolina Chocolate Drops & Aoife O'Donovan of nu-folk trailblazers Crooked Still.