It’s been another furious year of touring and music making for The Young Dubliners. But, The ‘Dubs’ promise to squeeze Colorado into their busy schedule to perform one night only at the Colorado Irish Festival on Friday July 13.
The ‘Dubs’ founder and frontman, Keith Roberts, recently spoke with the Celtic Connection about life in ‘Dubland.’
“This year has turned into another full year on the road in the US and Europe. We had thought it might be a bit lighter as we worked on the new album but the “Touring Gods” had other ideas and the offers flowed in. Sometimes it’s hard to turn down shows you really want to play. It has meant that work on the new CD has been slowed down but we are still juggling the time and moving forward every chance we get.”
The band will make and market their new CD independent of a record label this go around, a strategy Keith knows has both up and down sides to consider. “The big “up” to the approach is that you are no longer on a labels’ time schedule which can be very demanding. You also don’t have a “non band member” looking over your shoulder second guessing your every move. Over the years we have had A and R reps from labels try to lead us in the wrong direction and be quite forceful with their opinions. You can’t say much when it’s all their money so we had to bow down and deal with it. This time we are enjoying working with our producer and no one else.”
Independence and originality will hold true throughout the new CD according to Keith. “Its all original at this point. Maybe a cover song will find it’s way on but no plans for that right now. We are working on a title now but as the lyrics are usually the last thing we do it’s tough to settle on one just yet. I think the theme of the album is current issues. I tend to draw a lot on what’s going on around me at the time, both personal and world affairs. But don’t worry, it won’t all be doom and gloom. There’s still loads of funny stuff that gets my attention and I love to write about that too.”
On the logistics of raising funds for the expensive process of recording a CD, Keith developed a pledge system specifically for the band to partner with their fans. “We have the best fans in the world!” Keith enthused, “A few years ago when all our equipment was stolen we received over 40K in help from the fans to buy new gear and stay on the road. This time we developed a pledge system based on other ideas we have seen. We didn’t want to use an outside existing system like Kickstarter as its all about being independent this time. So I designed our version and right away we started receiving donations. Its truly phenomenal how much people get behind you on something like this. The pledges go from $10 for a digital album all the way up to $1000 for a guitar, tickets to shows, vinyl copy of the album, guitar lessons, dinner with the band and that sort of stuff.”
The fan support for the Dubs’ new CD highlights the fan loyalty the band has built over the years. Some folks might recall when the California based band first played Denver years ago. It was down at the original site of Nallen’s Irish Pub on California Street.
John Nallen had been playing the bands CD at the pub, turning a lot of people on to the sounds of Dublin native Keith Roberts and company. When the word got out that the band was heading to Colorado there was a good deal of excitement and a full house waiting.
However, there was a hitch. The Dubs were Nallen’s first touring band, understandably they assumed that the band was caring sound – but they weren’t.
The band gained fans without even playing a note with their ‘Stay calm and Hooley on’ attitude. It was quite a display of determination and technical ingenuity on the Dubs part. Somehow just enough equipment was rigged together to give it a go – and what a night of music! The energy and talent of the band and Keith’s abilities as a frontman, forever impressed their new fans. Since then they’ve been rockin’ up and down the Rockies building fans all the way.
The Young Dubliners will headline a high energy night of music when they return to the Colorado Irish Festival Friday, July 13th , where they will join friends, The Elders, The Brazen Heads, The Fighting Jamesons, and others. And, their fans should be thrilled to know that they can get in free if they arrive at the front gate between 5-6P – that could be the best musical deal in the country!
So will the Dubs give us a little taste of the new CD at the fest, or should we brace ourselves for the reload and fire of ‘The Irish Sessions’ album as they’ve done recently?
“It’ll be a big mixture of all the albums. We are already playing a few new songs from the new CD but the Irish festivals always bring out the Irish songs so ‘Sessions’ will be well represented. It’s great to be back at a festival in Colorado. Although we play at least once a year in the area most of our shows tend to be over 21. This gives us a chance to reach the kids and hopefully give our more “mature” audience a chance to bring the kids and share something as a family. We are looking forward to it!”
For more info on the Colorado Irish Festival go to www.ColoradoIrishFestival.org
For news on the Young Dubliners, including how you can trip with them to Ireland this November, go to www.youngdubs.com
Hear Keith Roberts live on KGNU (88.5FM/1390AM or stream KGNU.org) Seolta Gael show Wednesday July 11, 7-8pm, with Shay, Pat and studio guest John Nallen. Absolutely!! Count me in
June 2012 Celtic Connection PM www.CelticConnection.com