Music Lists

Here’s a List of Irish Artists to Add to Your Playlists For St. Patrick's Day

Celebrate St. Paddy's day indoors with some Jameson and these great artists.

The parades may not be happening, but not all is lost.

Ireland's treasures extend much further than a yearly parade, infinite green fields, and a superior pint of Guinness. The Emerald Isle has bred an impressive amount of talent in the realms of poetry, acting, sport, and, of course, music.

For an island that occupies such little space on the planet, it has had an immeasurable impact on culture. Enya, a musician born in Gweedore, a district in Donegal with a population of 4,500, went on to sell 75 million records, win four Grammys, and earn a nomination for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. U2, Van Morrison, and Sinead O'Connor, whose legend-status speaks for itself, are just a few other iconic Irish musicians.

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Music Features

How the Inspiring Irish Spirit of Resilience can Guide us all Through These Challenging Times

Irish playwright Honor Molloy opens up in an open letter to Irish New Yorkers.

These are strange days of quarantine – strange days, indeed.

With Ireland and the United States separated by travel bans and COVID-19, we're all indoors keeping it safe. That's what we do. We're New Yorkers. The city knows endurance. When life gets tough, New Yorkers get tougher. It's easy to feel unmoored, but music can be our anchor – it unifies cultures and countries, blending melodies, harmonies, rhythms from Mozambique to the hollers of West Virginia to the Fields of Athenry.

In troubled times music soothes souls and raises spirits. What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and the indomitable spirit of the Irish, here and abroad, than with a bit of song?

Here's great piece on Sinead O'Connor, and don't forget the mighty, mighty Pogues and the revolutionary Shane MacGowan which you can read about in "Reflecting on the Life and Music of Shane MacGowan after turning 60 this Christmas", "Congratulations to the Pogues, Your Favorite Irish Punk Band of All-Time," and "Saint Patrick's Throwback: Spider Stacy & Lost Bayou Ramblers Perform in the Boardroom."

Styker Jones has pulled an excellent long pint. "Everything" is a canny mixture of old and new. Dexy's Midnight Runners stand strong in a meld of virtuoso fiddling from the auld sod, Jone's trip-hop beat and his epic take-down of those who "can't separate want from need" – whether they're Johnny-Depp-famous, "Bill-Cosby-and-the-Milk-of-Amnesia"-infamous, "all those motherf*ckers do it for the payoff / points on the back end / spin from the kick-off."

The legend of Stryker Jones first came to prominence in The Dunning Man, published by Lavender Ink. Shortly after the books release, it was adapted to an award winning feature length film, available on Amazon, iTunes and more.

So, pour yourself a shot of Jameson. Amp up the volume. Music unifies the world, starting here in the city that never sleeps – and never gives up.

In this time of global distress, it's important that everyone stay positive and safe, while also maintaining an open heart towards those less fortunate - those with even less security and access to healthcare. With that in mind, we at Popdust highly recommend you visit Concern Worldwide, and consider contributing. Born in Ireland, Concern Worldwide is one of the most highly rated charity organizations, dedicated to helping impoverished communities in the most devastated and disadvantaged communities on Earth. For over half a century they have fought to bring the resilient spirit of Ireland to all people struggling.

Together we rise.

It's no secret that the Irish have a rich musical heritage.

For a country of just under 5 million people, the Emerald Isle has produced a proportionally high percentage of the world's greatest musical story tellers, from Ed Sheeran and Hozier to U2. But not all of Ireland's favorite acts have secured phenomenon status overseas too—yet.

Enter Picture This, an Irish band who played 5 sold-out nights at Dublin's 13,000 seat 3Arena in March, whose music has garnered hundreds of millions of plays across platforms and who's sent the country of Ireland into an enamored frenzy since their debut in 2015. The duo, comprised of singer Ryan Hennessy and drummer Jimmy Rainsford, came to fame largely by chance. Though the pair were childhood friends, they didn't begin their musical collaboration until October 2015, when Hennessy uploaded a video of "Take My Hand" on Facebook, where it eventually garnered over a million views. Impressed by the song, Rainsford reached out to Hennessy to discuss collaborating, and Picture This was born.

Now, the band has finally brought their cinematic song writing and infectious beats to North America, where they performed 17 shows from Toronto to LA. Before their New York show at Irving Plaza, the group stopped by Popdust to talk with Editor Brooke Johnson about The Phantom of the Opera, the missing letters in the title of their new album, and whether or not they would kiss Post Malone.

Popdust Exclusive | Picture This

The Magic Box with Picture This

For more from Picture This, check out their Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Website!

Music Features

Maverick Sabre On His Renewed Mental Strength

The artist talks about his new album, his friendship with Jorja Smith and more.


As a singer, songwriter, and rapper, 28-year-old Maverick Sabre has had an arduous journey finding his creative voice. "I look myself in the mirror and make sure I'm there for myself as much as I can be," Sabre said over the phone. "I'm here to be vulnerable." Sabre was born in London to an Irish family, and at age four moved to a small county in southwest Ireland where he grew up. Sabre's father was a local musician who constantly performed and recorded in the house. "There was always loud music around me, so whether it was going to my dad's shows or watching him rehearse, I was around live music quite a lot." While Sabre's father exposed him to Blues and traditional Irish music, it was his older sister who gave a teenage Sabre his first taste of Hip-Hop. "There was a small Irish Hip-Hop scene in my community at the time, so in my early teens I just started spitting," Sabre said. Since Irish rap was still a reclusive, underground scene, Sabre supported acts like The Game, G-Unit, D12, and Plan B in his formative years. "Because the community was so small, I got wicked opportunities for a young kid that was still finding myself."


The singer's 2012 debut, Lonely Are The Brave — an immersive concoction of Hip-Hop, Soul and Reggae which critics called "brutally opinionated" and "unnervingly honest"— debuted at #2 on the UK Album Charts. With recognition and fame came new-found anxieties. "I was paranoid, untrusting of the world, and I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel but I couldn't see it," Sabre said. After a tumultuous three year period of self-reflection, Sabre's second record — which was fittingly titled Innerstanding and featured collaborations with Joey Bada$ and Chronixx — blossomed out of the singer's personal understanding of mental illness. "I'm lost in the moment, my mind state keeps me broken, and I'm feeling so hopeless, but something's telling me to hold on," Sabre croons on the album's opening track. "I think as human beings we all have little moments that we learn from, and we're growing all the time," Sabre said. "But for me, the big thing was keeping the energy of the people around me correct." Now as an independent artist, Sabre says he's the strongest he's ever been. "I feel like I've woken up."

Sabre's upcoming project When I Wake Up is set for release on March 22nd, and is the artist's grittiest work to date. The album's lead single "Her Grace," which also features Chronixx, engulfs the listener in a sweeping amalgamation of Reggae and Soul, and demonstrates both artists musical versatility. "I want this album to be a soundtrack to where my head's been at the last two years," Sabre said. "In a way, it kinda feels like a brand new debut." In addition to gearing up for an album release, Sabre also collaborated with Rudimental on their latest single "They Don't Care About Us," and worked closely with Jorja Smith on her Grammy-nominated album Lost & Found. "A friend of mine introduced me to her music when she was only 16, and I fell in love with everything she was about," he said. "We started writing together shortly after, and it's been beautiful to watch her grow." As international recognition creeps closer to his doorstep, Maverick Sabre is determined to remain focused, calm and collected. "As human beings, nothing is ever perfect, and the judgments from yourself and from the world are naturally gonna tink your armor a little bit," he said. "But it's important to take time and do things for yourself because you love it. Finding that balance is precious."

Mackenzie Cummings-Grady A creative writer who resides in the Brooklyn area, Mackenzie's work has previously appeared in The Boston Globe, Billboard, and Metropolis Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @mjcummingsgrady.

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Reflecting on the Life & Music of Shane MacGowan with 60th Birthday Concert

Pogues' frontman is celebrating his 60th with an All-Star Birthday Concert

The bonds that his music has forged will only grow stronger with time.

Shane MacGowan will be honored at the National Concert Hall on January 15th, with a long line of celebrities eagerly anticipating this momentous event. On Monday night, the NCH rolls out the red carpet to celebrate MacGowan's 60th birthday. He lived hard, but the songs he wrote hit home. Considering his life of excess, it is amazing he has lived as long as he has. An enigma. A God among men. Even if he doesn't outlive Kieth Richards, it is clear his songs will continue to capture the hearts of music lovers long after Shane is gone.

Produced and curated in collaboration with Shane, this concert sees his collaborators, friends, artists who admire his work and those who have been influenced by him come together to sing these great songs. Joining them are a newly created band naturally featuring members of The Pogues led by Musical Director Terry Edwards. Hosted by John Kelly. Some of the big names to participate are Nick Cave, Johnny Depp, Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, Glen Hansard, Camille O'Sullivan, Cerys Matthews, Carl Barat of The Libertines, Lisa O'Neill, Finbar Furey, when young, Glen Matlock of The Sex Pistols, Clem Burke of Blondie with Cáit O'Riordan, Spider Stacy, Jem Finer and Terry Woods of The Pogues. MacGowan is recognized as much for the poetry of his lyrics as for the power in his songwriting.

MacGowan was born on Christmas Day in Pembury, Kent in 1957. His father worked at a department store, but he shared more in common with his mother. She was a singer and Irish dancer, having also worked as a model in Dublin. After MacGowan earned a literature scholarship to Westminster School, but he was caught with drugs and expelled after less than two years.

MacGowan got his first taste of fame in 1976 at a concert by British punk band The Clash, when his earlobe was damaged by Jane Crockford, later to be a member of Mo-dettes. A photo of him covered in blood made the papers, with the headline "Cannibalism at Clash Gig". He then began "The Nipple Erectors". In 1981 the post-punk band, now called "The Nips", released a single called Gabrielle, its swagger and edgy romantic lyrics gave the first inkling of what was to come.

In 1982, The Pogues were formed! A Celtic punk band that was fronted by Shane MacGowan. Their politically tinged music was influenced by MacGowan and Stacy's punk roots, but used traditional Irish instruments. Many of his songs are influenced by Irish nationalism, Irish history, and MacGowan's experiences in London. He attributes 19th-century Irish poet James Clarence Mangan and playwright Brendan Behan as major influences.

Between 1985 and 1987, he co-wrote "Fairytale of New York", which he performed with Kirsty MacColl. In the coming years MacGowan and The Pogues released several albums. The band was most active in the 1980s and early 1990s. As with many prolific song writers, his addiction got the better of him. MacGowan was forced to leave the band in 1991 due to his problems with drinking. The long years of indulgence had dulled both his songwriting skill and ability to perform.

In 1997, MacGowan appeared on Lou Reed's "Perfect Day", covered by numerous artists in aid of Children in Need. It was the UK's number one single for three weeks, in two separate spells.

On Monday evening, his miraculous powers of survival, will be recognized, as a host of fellow performers including Gillespie, Nick Cave and Cerys Matthews will grace the stage in Dublin to sing his songs backed by a band that will include a few ex-Pogues as well as the Hollywood actor Johnny Depp on guitar. Like Cave, Depp is a close friend of MacGowan's who directed and appeared in the video for That Woman's Got Me Drinking, and considers Shane "... a special being and one of the most important poets of the 20th century".

"I regard Shane as easily the best lyric writer of our generation," says Nick Cave. "He has a very natural, unadorned, crystalline way with language. There is a compassion in his words that is always tender, often brutal, and completely his own."

"Shane always seems to be channelling something when he sings," says Cave. "Some kind of energy that exists beyond himself. I saw him at a soundcheck at a festival in France, and he walked up to the mike and stood with his hands in his pockets and sang A Pair Of Brown Eyes, and for the few of us that were there time stood still. There was so much emotional power coming out of him, without him doing a fucking thing, that you had to question your ideas of divinity." 5 hours later, though, MacGowan was unfit to perform. "That is the other side of him, of course," says Cave. "But we love that too."

It has been a long time since MacGowan played a live show. Partially due to the fact he is in a wheelchair most of the time, after a heavy fall damaged his back a few years ago. He is currently focused on his health, so he has given up alcohol ...and is now committed to only drinking wine.

Listen to this classic album on Spotify and think of the poetic 'Punk of Irish' that just couldn't help himself, and yet somehow he has survived.

Follow The Pouges & Shane MacGowan

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