Irish Folk Music Legends The High Kings Return to the Lincoln March 8
Posted: January 31, 2019
The true heirs of Ireland's folk heritage, The High Kings are internationally acclaimed singers and instrumentalists with a unique brand of high-octane balladry and folk that has won them numerous accolades. Their 10th anniversary album, Decade: Best of The High Kings (2017), received rave reviews and record sales figures with the band again topping the Irish album charts and returning to the Billboard world music charts. With the departure of original member Martin Furey and the arrival of young gun George Murphy, The Decade World Tour promises a joyous trip down memory lane performed in a contemporary style and arrangement which still remains true to the original.
CAPA presents The High Kings at the Lincoln Theatre (769 E. Long St.) on Friday, March 8, at 8 pm. Tickets are $36.50 and can be purchased in-person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.capa.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. Almost 10 years ago, four Irish singers, performers, and songwriters decided to take a calculated risk. Finbarr Clancy, Brian Dunphy, Martin Furey, and Darren Holden each had a wealth of history in the music business but knew that in order to maintain any level of creative interest they would have to boldly go where no other Irish ballad group had gone before.
Within months, the four had clicked as a creative unit as well as friends. The self-titled debut album, released in 2008, reached an impressive number two on Billboard’s World Music chart. However, it was during The High Kings second US tour in 2011 (having graduated from playing small venues to larger halls as they promoted their follow-up album, Memory Lane, which also crashed into Billboard’s World Music chart), that everyone involved realised the fanbase was growing into something that no one had predicted.
Subsequently, the group’s tour of Ireland sold out within hours. The High Kings had achieved what many thought impossible—they were moving the Irish ballad tradition into the here and now, carrying along with them the steadfast older fans while simultaneously bringing it to a new audience.
In 2013, The High Kings stepped out of the shadows with their third studio album, Friends for Life, taking the original song writing route and showcasing their own songwriting talents.
The development of original songwriting – ballad-style but with contemporary touches – from each member of The High Kings continues apace, but balance must be maintained. To a degree, expectations have to be met while still moving specific creative elements forward, which is why the group’s fourth studio album, Grace & Glory, took them back to the essentials that kick-started their career in the first place.
2017 saw the band continue with intensive touring of Ireland, the UK, and US in tandem with a rapid growth in their digital and online profile. It is also the year that the band reached its 10th anniversary, marking it with a very special compilation celebrating a decade of outstanding songs and performances. The departure of original High King Martin Furey and the arrival of young-gun George Murphy has brought a new hunger to the High Kings and their audiences. The November 2017 release of Decade: Best of the High Kings was received with rave reviews and record sales figures as the band again topped the Irish album charts and returned to the Billboard World Music Charts once again.
To say The High Kings are charting a new course for Irish ballad music – equal parts rousing and reflective, energetic and insightful – is an understatement. They are essentially marking out a bright, new era for Irish folk music, and aiming to bring a broad demographic along.