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Young Dubliners band together on latest CD

Leslie BrefeldSummit County correspondent
The Young Dubliners will perform at the Belly Up on Sunday at 10 p.m. Tickets are $17 in advance, or $20 at the door. (David Safian)
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It wasn’t until coming to the United States that Keith Roberts, lead singer for the Celtic rock band Young Dubliners, connected with his Irish musical roots.”Growing up in Ireland I was far more exposed to English rock and American stuff,” Roberts said. “Irish music was for the old guys in the pub. But when you leave Ireland, homesickness comes out in different ways.” Missing home, he said he began singing Irish ballads in bars, something he’d never done before.Roberts’ plan before leaving Dublin was to take his degrees in politics and sociology from University College Dublin and become a journalist. He said after his arrival in the late ’80s he quickly learned through an internship at PBS it wasn’t the right calling for him. He did, however, find another way to bring the news as he saw it to the public.Of the band’s latest album, “Real World,” Roberts said, “I write about the political and social situation I find myself in, while writing lyrics. If there’s any journalism left in me, that’s where it comes out.”

“Real World” is the Young Dubliners second album in a row with all the same members. “It’s the most collaborative effort we’ve ever done,” Roberts said. “In the past I’ve written most of the music and lyrics, but this time I opened it up wider to the band.”The Young Dubliners will perform Sunday, June 18, at the Belly Up in Aspen.Roberts grew up with bass player Brendan Holmes, the only other Ireland native in the group. The Americans rounding out the band include Bob Boulding on guitar, David Ingraham on drums and Chas Waltz on violin.Roberts said they call Waltz their utility man because he also plays mandolin, keyboard and harmonica.

“It allows us to create musical vibes for each song,” he said.”Last year the album was just out and we focused on hitting up radio,” Roberts said. “This summer we tried to pick open-air events and festivals – more the fun stuff.”In August the band will make its annual trip to Ireland to perform. They’ll also be taking about 120 fans along on the tour. People can book a holiday with the band (the itinerary and ticket options are on their website at http://www.youngdubliners.com) and stay at the same hotel as the Young Dubliners and catch the four shows they do on the Emerald Isle.”We try to give people as much of a holiday as a tour,” Roberts said. The band takes the fans with them sightseeing and, of course, on pub crawls.

“One of the things we hadn’t thought about was that European bars stay open until the last person drinking in the hotel is done,” he said. “We’d come back after the shows, getting ready to go to bed, and there’d be 100 people in the bar drinking.” However, he appreciated the time it gave him to spend with fans.”A lot of these people over the years have seen us play at bigger venues, and it’s tough to hang out when we’re on the road … By the end everyone knew everybody there.”The Young Dubliners have a busy Colorado schedule, but may still make some time to spend in towns, particularly at an Irish bar.”If there’s one there, I’ll find it,” Roberts said.


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