By: David Schultz
Brooklyn denizens who like a little Irish music mixed in with their classic rock are quite familiar with The Canny Brothers Band. Dating back to the days when every band from Brooklyn didn't generate a maelstrom of indie-buzz, The Cannys have long been a fixture of the bar scene and a veritable institution at every local Irish Festival. Tom Canny (guitar), Michael Canny (guitar/mandolin) and Stephen Canny (bass/banjo) not only give the band its name but their versatility, along with lead singer Keith Fallon’s acoustic guitar, allows the CBB to generate a powerful folky sound that works exceptionally well with Irish standards as well as their classic rock inspired jams.
Although every band wants to have a fresh and new sound for their debut album, it’s not uncommon to look back to prior eras: for Hot Fuss, The Killers looked back to the Eighties; on Wolfmother’s debut they immersed themselves in Seventies hard rock and heavy metal. On their self produced, self-titled debut, The Cannys one up everyone by looking back to another century, bringing a selection of Irish folk ballads and pub songs into the 21st century. Fallon keeps the roguish charm and rebel spirit alive in traditional standards like “Whiskey In A Jar” and “Wild Rover,” while The Cannys nicely keep things fresh by refusing to slavishly adhere to ancient arrangements, turning “Swallowtail Jig” into a slow-burning instrumental romp. Drummer Dean Russo admirably works within the confines of the Irish standards but really gets a chance to stretch out on the disc’s three original compositions. The Fallon-written songs feature The Cannys adeptness at easy-going rock and roll with “Sunshine Breaking Through” coming from the same bouncy mold as The Grateful Dead’s “Sugar Magnolia.”
In the era when some of these standards were written, you would have to travel to Ireland to hear The Canny Brothers Band play them. Fortunately, in this modern age of easily accessible recordings, you can not just listen to the album, you can obtain a copy by clicking here.