In fact, the group's origins can be traced back to Los Angeles' vibrant pub scene in which Dublin natives Keith Roberts (vocals, guitar) and Paul O'Toole first met. Roberts was composing some Irish ballads at the time and thought a band might be in the offing. Assembling a rag-tag team of Irish transplants and like-minded American rockers, The Young Dubliners grew into a pugnacious music machine resulting in their debut, the Rocky Road EP (1994). It exhibited a hefty rock sound that made them a club favorite. Breathe followed a year later with the addition of Chas Waltz (violin, keys, harmonica, etc).
By 2000, the band had morphed into a septet without O'Toole and released the critically acclaimed Red. The presence of the band sky-rocketed: Gabriel Byrne requested the band to write the theme song for his television show Madigan Men and they spent much of 2001 touring Europe with Jethro Tull, and the US as headliners and as openers for acts such as John Hiatt and Robert Cray. The Young Dubliners also revved up the crowd at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. That same year, the band scaled back down to a five-piece - Roberts, Brendan Holmes (Bass), the returning Waltz (who had left the band in 1995), Bob Boulding (guitar) and David Ingraham (drums).
After going on a number of headlining and co-headlining US tours (Johnny Lang, Collective Soul, Great Big Sea and others), the quintet settled down to record Real World - an album influenced by their predecessors (Waterboys/Pogues/U2/Big Country) and most importantly, life on the road. From Irish-flavored anthemic rock to rowdy pub tunes, lead singer Keith Roberts voice is stronger than ever and the songwriting, performance, and production show a new maturity and artistic ambition.
Musing about the band's sound, Roberts sums up the Young Dubliner's approach to their music, be it Celtic, Irish, or just plain rock. "I like to think that our take on songwriting and performance makes the Young Dubliner's sound unique and original. Our band is made up of Irish and American natives who draw influences from just about everywhere. Our strength is in the sum of our parts. We play as a band, as one."
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