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The Prodigals Biography

Last updated: 06/24/2003 09:49:13 PM

Gaining one of the fastest growing audiences of any Irish act while receiving critical acclaim throughout the world for their vibrant, jig-punk approach to Irish music, GRAB! Entertainment recording artist The Prodigals have kicked off their Dreaming In Hell's Kitchen Tour with a series of shows in cities across the U.S. and in Ireland, Canada and Europe.

For the fiery foursome from Ireland and New York City, the release of their new album, Dreaming In Hell's Kitchen, comes on the heels of a busy year that included headlining performances at major festivals and venues throughout the U.S., with the band frequently stirring audiences into a crowd-surfing frenzy and never failing to engage fans with their explosive brand of Irish music. "The music seems to translate extraordinarily well," explains singer/ accordionist Gregory Grene. "In all the new places we played in 2000, whether it was Milwaukee or Las Vegas or wherever, people from all backgrounds and ages have been incredibly receptive, and when you're out there playing a lot of new cities, it's a nice thing to get that kind of response."

Now, with 2001 here, The Prodigals are excited about the release of Dreaming In Hell's Kitchen, their third album and follow-up to the band's groundbreaking release, Go On. Grene and band members, who include acclaimed bass player Andrew Harkin, stellar drummer Brian Tracey and the inimitable singer/guitarist Ray Kelly, went into the studio in mid-December. Famed producer Johnny Cunningham, who has worked with top Irish groups such as Solas and Cherish the Ladies, produced the album.

"It was a great experience to work with Johnny on the new album," says Grene. "In addition to being one of the greatest musicians in the idiom, thus knowing this music from the inside out, he has also produced a great range of musicians ranging from intellectual rock like Fred Small to contemporary traditional like Solas - and with the latter's album, he truly created the sound for one of the top supergroups in our genre." Considering The Prodigals' unique sound, Grene saw working with Cunningham the perfect match. "He has an acute ear for the individuality of any given group, and that is what he brought out in working with us," Grene explains.

At their upcoming shows, The Prodigals will delight music fans with a number of the songs that appear on Dreaming In Hell's Kitchen, such as "Baggot Street Hotel", a song that the group wrote about living in Dublin. The new song, which combines a rhythm drawn from West African music with an Irish melody, is a great example of The Prodigals' sound which is rooted in Irish traditional but explores various rhythmic styles. "We have a rock-solid base in the Irish tradition - that's where the melodic source has been from the beginning and will remain - but we're constantly discovering and exploring new ways to express that source with a focus on maintaining the integrity of Irish music's organic expression and integrity", explains Grene.

Since forming just over three years ago, The Prodigals' impassioned approach has been met with enthusiasm from both Irish and non-Irish audiences. The band's quick impact in the Irish music world is evidenced by their headlining of major Irish festivals across the U.S., such as the world's largest, the Milwaukee Irish Festival, and receipt of such accolades as their #1 ranking by readers of the largest circulation Irish-American newspaper, Irish Echo, beating out acts such as U2, the Saw Doctors, Black 47 and Van Morrison. Away from the Irish front, The Prodigals have been a hit on mainstream radio stations in a number of cities and at premier music events like Music Midtown Atlanta, where they performed side-by-side with some of today's hottest acts.