Leahy celebrates Canada Day at Stone Crop

MORRISBURG – Just in time to make this Canada Day 2022 a truly memorable one, the fantastic band Leahy is coming to Stone Crop Acres, courtesy of Harmony Concerts.

July 1, this triple Juno Award winning, fan-favourite band, entirely made up of the members of one Canadian family, will be presenting a concert Friday evening, 7 p.m. at the Winery. Critics and fans alike rave about Leahy’s distinctive sound, their passionate vocals, their brilliant instrumentals, their thrilling, live, on-stage performances. It was a pleasure to talk to dancer/singer/musician Erin Leahy about her family and their music.

With no fewer than 11 family members performing in Leahy since the band first came on the scene in 1990, I had to ask Erin if there was some kind of special “musical gene” being passed along. “Well, maybe,” Erin said. “Our parents were both very musical. Dad was a fiddler, Mom played piano, sang and danced. They always had a band together, performing locally. We kids were all introduced to music very early on – and there was always music in our lives and in our home. Frankly, we grew up believing a house full of music was completely normal: music was a culture and a lifestyle both. Eventually our parents took us with them on tours,” she added, “and began to present my older siblings in their shows, singing and dancing. Now we appreciate how they created this very special, unique environment for us. It was just a wonderful life.”

Leahy’s music crosses a lot of musical genres from Roots to pop and rock. However, the band’s foundation “is in Celtic Roots.” Exposure to a wide range of musical styles was part of Leahy family life: performing members have always been ready to explore different approaches in their work. (Erin herself plays a lively Ragtime Medley on one of their albums). “But the music we create and arrange has developed its own original sound,” Erin explained. “We each have different tastes, and we each bring those special tastes and interests to the table when we create. It really is hard for us to ‘label’ our music. Our music may express itself in a variety of forms, tied to what we find inspiring.” However, Leahy’s roots-based music grows out of the performers’ unique sense of rhythm, their wide variety of instruments and their distinctive voices. “After all,” Erin added, “artists share what is inside of them, even if, ultimately, the music’s source remains something of a mystery.”

Leahy’s music is a mixture of traditional pieces and original works. Their album, ‘Clearwater,’ which topped country music charts at number one in 1997, was entirely original. “Clearwater was vocal-centred, based on a body of material, written over a long period of time. We saw patterns and common themes that ultimately evolved into songs.”

However, it is Leahy’s passion for traditional music, for Roots music, that also continues to strongly resonate with audiences. “Roots music is joyful, it’s expressive,” Erin said. “And dance is part of the Celtic heritage, of Celtic culture. People love that we step dance on the stage. I think people look for that feeling of joy, that sense of community and of people coming together which is part of traditional Celtic roots and a part of our music. I think they can see how happy we are to perform together; audiences want to share in that joy.”

Canadian band Leahy is looking forward to the Canada Day concert at Stone Crop Acres. COVID has meant a gradual “on the road again” recovery for this band as it has for so many performers, and the return to normalcy is slow. But the July 1 concert at Stone Crop Acres will be a “joyous, exuberant evening,” Erin said. “Six core members of Leahy will be on the Winery stage and we have some nieces and nephews joining us, budding musicians and dancers. We plan to do a mixture of original and traditional pieces,” Erin Leahy said. “I love live performances. In the musical cycle, you write, you arrange, you record, you perform, and then you share that music with an audience. It will be wonderful to have the audience with us.”

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