St. James's Gate
Modern Irish Music in the Celtic Tradition
A staple in the northwest Celtic music scene; St. James’s Gate brings their fifth release for this Portland, OR quartet; Happy Life. Following a series of ten successful performances at the Galway Bay Irish Festival, performing both with international artists and groups from around the Northwest, the band felt the time was right to return to the studio. Warmed up and ready, it wasn’t the path anyone had expected just two years prior.
Following the successful reception of StJG’s last effort: Sessions: Live from the Shamrock Run and the Rock n’ Roll Bn’B; the band traveled in support of that effort. Along the way, the then quintet, reduced to a quartet and all involved were questioning the band’s next steps. Revamped and ready, the band rediscovered itself. Approached old songs in new ways - expanded its range of original music and performed often. Keeping within Celtic traditions of jigs and reels, the band expanded styles as diverse as cajun, bluegrass and the blues. From pub rockers to gentle ballads, St. James’s Gate was happily weaving great music and developing a strong set of original material.
Recorded and mixed at the Map Room in Portland OR., the quartet spent over a year fine tuning songs, layering ideas and bringing fun to songs like the title track, “Happy Life,” a joyful reminder needed so badly today. The band revs up for the trad rocker, “DeTune,” bringing a new voice to modern Irish music. Songs such as “For the Very First Time” and “Hot Toddy” showcase the band’s harmonies and musicianship which speaks for itself with the passing of each track. The songs are all handled with care, but you are invited to join the ride.
Happy Life is a sonic joy to listen to and showcases the many personalities and talents of everyone in the band. Both joyful and introspective, these experienced musicians have left us with a musical gift to share with everyone.