seamus egan wall

by Cindy Reich

If you ever wanted to be music mogul, now’s your chance! Solas are embarking on a new multi-media project and are inviting anyone and everyone to get involved. Through the “Kickstarter” website, , they are hoping to raise the money needed to fund this project.

The beauty of Kickstarter is that there is a finite period of time to raise the money and if the full amount isn’t committed, no one pays. You only pay if the money has been raised by the deadline. You can contribute any amount from one dollar on up, and there are special premiums you will receive, based on your donation. For as little as $10, you will get a pre-release digital download of the new album. And it goes up from there, all the way to a Solas house concert ($10,000). In between are signed copies of the album, tickets to upcoming gigs, meet and greet at gigs, t-shirts, a custom-made bodhran and more.

The project is called “Shamrock City” and is based on a story from Seamus Egan’s own family history. The title comes from the name once used to describe Butte, Montana. “I remember my father telling us about a relative that came over from Ireland to Philadelphia, but then went on to Butte, Montana”, says Seamus. “The story was that he was a bare knuckle fighter and that he fought his way across the country and ended up in Butte—and died in Butte, Montana. He had been murdered, because he was supposed to throw a fight and he didn’t. So the person who had bet on the other fighter—and lost, had my relative killed. So this was all in our family lore.”

“A few years ago, we had the chance to play at the Irish festival in Butte, Seamus continued, “and it got the ball rolling. I started doing a lot more research on my family history there and through that began to learn more about Butte itself. Butte has a remarkable history and it seemed the more I looked into it, the more intriguing it became.” (Note—at one time, due to the mining in Butte, in the 1800’s there were more Irish per capita than any other town in the USA including New York, Boston, etc.—cr)

“When the copper mining kicked off in Butte, one of the mines was run by an Irish fellow, Marcus Daly, and it was well known that if you could make it to Butte, you would be guaranteed a job in his mine if you were Irish”, Seamus said. “I saw a great quote in my research from a letter that an Irishman working in Butte had written to his brothers back in Ireland. He said, “Come directly to Butte—don’t even stop in America!”

This project will have a wealth of new material that is being written for the project and the biggest problem, according to Seamus is how to limit the material, as there is so much of a story to tell. They will also be doing filming in Butte, so it promises to be both a musical feast as well as a visual telling of the tale. “We aren’t doing the History Channel, Seamus says, laughing. We are trying to weave a story together that weaves a personal family story along with a larger story of a place and a time and what that meant in American history. It isn’t just about the Irish. People from all over the world ended up in Butte.”

Check out the “Shamrock City” project and the Kickstarter campaign on the Solas website:

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