MEET THE BAND: Patrick Mulloy (vocals, guitar), Michael Crawley (vocals, guitar, bagpipes), Mark Whalen (percussion), Matt Sofranko (vocals, bass, guitar), Brent Hopper (vocals, mandolin, banjo, guitar), Tessa Thistlethwaite (fiddle)
MIXING WITH IRISH MUSIC ROYALTY: The band formed back in 2009 when Mulloy, Crawley and Whalen got together to perform at a local Irish festival. The group then cut its first record, Live in Ohio City, which it followed with an EP and a full-length. Two years ago, it recorded a two-song session with Martin Furey, the eldest son of Ireland's "Prince of Pipers," Finbar Furey. Mulloy refers to him as "Irish music royalty." "He heard us play when he was in town and really liked one of our songs and approached us about collaborating," says Mulloy, who adds that they recorded their session locally at Bad Racket Studios. "We really lucked out. We didn't know him beforehand at all."
AIMING TO CROSS OVER: Produced and engineered locally by Michael Seifert, the band's latest album, Wild Unknown, shows just how much the band's song writing has evolved. "We loved having Michael at the controls — he got our best sound yet," says Mulloy. "I hate being pigeonholed in the Celtic scene. We wanted to do a crossover record. We like outlaw country and good alternative pop-rock music. It's kind of a crossover. We have the requisite drinking songs that we have to have, and we have some country songs that we love too."
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: Wild Unknown is the band's most accomplished album to date. "Dead Man Walking," the rowdy opening number, features a riveting fiddle solo and gruff vocals. Mulloy wrote the song about a crisis of faith. "When you play the Irish circuit, a lot of the songs get into religion," he says. "I've been on sabbatical from the church for a little bit, so it's about that. We thought it mixed both Celtic and crossover-type stuff." "Petronilla," a song about a woman who was burned at the stake in Ireland, features a beautiful mid-song mandolin solo that makes the moody song really resonate. Ballads such as "Last Gift" are so well crafted, they sound like standards. Mulloy says the band approaches song writing as a collaborative process. "We sit around a kitchen table and crack open a few beers and present the songs and go with what works," he says. "We really tried to branch out this time around."
WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: maryslane.com
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Marys Lane performs at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17, at PJ McIntyre's.