Solas Shamrock City named one of the Six Best Irish-American Albums of the Year!
2) Solas -- Shamrock City (THL Records) 2012
This is the most ostensibly “Irish-American” album on the list for sure. Set in the mining town of Butte, Montana, home to a long history of Irish miners and immigrants, Solas taps into the rough-and-tumble story of bandleader Seamus Egan’s Butte ancestor, Michael Conway, who emigrated to Butte for the mining and the illegal boxing rings, but died a tragic death at the hands of the local police over a boxing dispute in 1910. It’s a rough story that Seamus Egan grew up with, and that they tackle in the beautiful song “Michael Conway.” Shamrock City itself is a long meditation on the Irish experience in America, the liner notes sprinkled with quotes from old folks in Butte and the band members drawing from their own family backgrounds to look at the experience of the Irish diaspora. As Egan says, Butte at the time was one of the safest place for Irish immigrants to go, with many other cities locking out Irish from key jobs and a prevalent atmosphere of prejudice throughout the nation. Check out our interview with Seamus in No Depression to learn more about the album.