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It's the night before I head out to the USA for the very first time. My luggage consisted of some clothes, hurleys and a guitar. The plan is to go and see for myself what Irish America is like. I reckon New York is the place. I'm going to head over for a few months, play what I'm told is a butcher's version of hurling in the Bronx and try to make a few quid playing guitar in Manhattan to keep the wolf from the door. I was finishing a book as the plane touched down in JFK and a passage from that book, that dealt intimately with New York City's music scene, gave me an expectation that was soon to be disappointed:

"I could never sit in a room and just play all by myself. I needed to play for people and all the time. You can say I practiced in public and my whole life was becoming what I practiced. I kept my sights on the Gaslight. How could I not? Compared to it, the rest of the places on the street were nameless and miserable, low-level basket houses or small coffeehouses where the performer passed the hat." - Chronicles: Volume 1, Bob Dylan, 2004

These "basket houses" were where folk legends like Dylan cut their teeth alongside a group far more accessible to me - The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. I'm not naive enough to think that it's going to be the same now as it was in their day but nonetheless, Greenwich Village is going to be my first stop. I expect to see some sort of scene or legacy to what happened there in the 1960's...

I did not.

NYC DEC 2017

Just like many Irish people that came to New York before me, I didn't realise I'd be here what is now nearly 8 years later. I spent my first few years here knocking around a different version of the basket house system. In doing so I've had the privilege of playing music with many many incredible people. Among them the members of this band. The name chosen for this project is a salute to the folkies of NYC that went before us.

 - Peadar Hickey, Band Leader


Here's an original song written for Peadar's godson Sebastian upon his christening.  This track features Matt on fiddle and backing vocal and Dan on bass

Words and Music by Peadar Hickey

Ups and Downs - Peadar Hickey

Crossmaglen (McVerry's Men)

Crossmaglen (McVerry's Men) - Basket House Band
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