There are bands that transcend time, with a sound that appeals to a multigenerational following. Formed in 1963, contemporaries of The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, this band has been going strong since their inception.
Cutting their teeth in the pubs of Dublin; singing Rebel songs of Irish resistance, with their albums going gold, platinum, and then double-platinum as they delivered their message in a story-telling style to crowds in New York, London, Paris, Sydney, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and here in the Hudson Valley. The Wolfe Tones will be performing at Sweeneys Pub Restaurant on Sunday, March 4.
Although probably best known for their song Irish Eyes, the Wolfe Tones have risen as a specter to the establishment of British-controlled Northern Ireland, as the four original members put the spirit of their ongoing cause to words. From their inception, The Wolfe Tones have been known as an Irish Rebel Band. Taking the name of their band from one of the leaders of the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the Irish rebel and patriot Theobald Wolfe Tone is the namesake of this band. Symbolizing the rebellious spirit of Northern Ireland with songs dedicated to the memories of former rebel leaders such as James Connolly and Joe McDonnell, The Wolfe Tones have immortalized rebellions from the Easter Rising of 1916, to the hunger strikes of the 1980’s.
Since their inception more than 50 years ago, these musicians have written and performed Irish rebel songs of alienation, oppression, and rebellion, protesting British rule.
Why is the band playing in pubs, firehouses, and union halls after they’ve played in venues such as Carnegie Hall and The Royal Albert Hall?
“It’s very important not to leave people and places out of the picture just because it’s a small venue,” says Band member Brian Warfield, “which is much more intimate than a large impersonal place holding thousands. In a small venue you can reach out to the audience in a very special way.”
Brian also went on to emphasize the personal connection that a smile will give back to the band in a small venue.
Gary Sweeney, owner of Sweeneys Pub Restaurant, can relate. Since immigrating to the United States in 1989, Gary has worked a variety of jobs. From a swimming pool attendant to a bus driver and everything in between, Gary did not work in a bar or restaurant until purchasing Sweeneys Pub Restaurant in 1997. Moving from one side of the bar to the other was particularly challenging since Gary kept his full time job as a bus driver in Yonkers while running his pub restaurant business in Walden for some time. Now concentrating only on his business, Gary is celebrating the 21st anniversary of Sweeneys with next weekend’s musical guests. Although hosting many local bands such as The Parting Glass, Firefighter McPadden Pipes & Drums, and Kevin McElroy, Sweeneys has not been a stranger to big names, having hosted the Dublin City Ramblers and Dropkick Murphys as well.
This will not be The Wolfe Tones first show at the pub. After their successful sold out performance on March 7, 2017, The Wolfe Tones contacted Gary to book an encore performance.
With The Wolfe Tones current three-week tour of the East Coast which will include stops in New York City, Toronto and St. Johns Bay, Gary anticipates a sold-out crowd once again. As he doesn’t like to turn people away at the door, Gary recommends that the cash sale tickets be purchased in advance. For about the price of parking in New York City on a Saturday night you can see this world-renowned band right here in the Hudson Valley.
By Matt Barbero