GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - The Young Dubliners did not set out to be a Celtic rock band when the group started up in the early 1990s, but the Irish influence just sort of seeped into their sound, singer and guitarist Keith Roberts said.
The group was playing Celtic rock before the genre was coined as such, or became popular in America, said Roberts, who's a native of Ireland.
The band also includes fellow Irish native, Brendan Holmes, who sings and plays bass, plus Americans Bob Boulding on guitar, Chas Waltz who plays violin, keyboards, harp and mandolin, and Dave Ingraham on drums and percussion. Boulding and Waltz also provide vocals.
"No other band was doing what we were doing," Roberts said. "I wanted to be a songwriter, and I put a little Irish touch into it - more out of my homesickness."
Despite the name, the Celtic rock label applies only to part of what they do. They're basically a folk-rock band, Roberts said.
The group formed in Los Angeles, intending to play a regular gig in the bar that Roberts owned there, but after they secured their first record deal in 1993, other opportunities opened up.
"I had to make a choice, the band or the bar," Roberts said. "Here I am, nine records and a million miles later."
The band tours constantly, including a trip to Ireland each year ("my mum's there anyway," Roberts said).
"We bring a bunch of Americans, fans - some known, some we've never met," who sign up for the 10-day tour, that includes four Young Dubliner gigs in Ireland.
"It's great fun," Roberts said. "It's an unusual way to bring the band and its supporters together."
The group is currently working on a new CD which they hope to finish sometime this spring. The 11- or 12-song collection includes a piano piece by Waltz with Roberts singing "a real ballad."
They decided to release the CD independently to retain complete creative control over the record, Roberts said. Funding for the recording was obtained by pre-sales of the CD, as well as tickets to shows, Roberts said.
"We have the best fans in the world," he said.