Earfull: The Fighting Jamesons

Fighting the Good Fight

The Fighting Jamesons bring their own brand of Celtic rock to town


As long as they’re still playing the music they love, The Fighting Jamesons (TFJs) feel at home just about anywhere the road takes them. Whether it’s on a large festival stage in front of thousands of people or on the dance floor of a pub, TFJs jump at any opportunity to deliver their blend of traditional Celtic and folk music with a dose of rock music (think Flogging Molly and The Pogues). TFJs take a night off from a week of playing theatres and music halls to take the stage at McGrath’s Pub and Eatery on Sunday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. Admission is $5 at the door.
TFJs play classic Irish and American folk songs, with their own rock twist as well as a number of their own original tunes. They’ve shared the stage with similar Irish rock acts such as the Dropkick Murphys, the Saw Doctors and the Young Dubliners. The Virginia Beach-based band, (Michael Powers on vocals, acoustic guitar and tenor banjo; George Bauman on lead guitar; Ryan Ware on bass; Timothy Robinson on fiddle; Miles Hoyle on accordion and Justin Conner on drums), was founded in 2010 with each of the band members laying claim to some Irish ancestry.
Powers caught up with electric city and diamond city earlier this week and he talked about TFJs plans for the new year and their in-your-face pub show coming to our area.

EC09EARFULL_JAMESONS_3_WEBThe band is hitting the road early in 2014.
Yes. We’re doing a week of shows to start off the year and, two weeks later, we’re doing a make-up show in Annapolis, Md. We’re starting off the year and rolling right into February to finish the new record. March is already looking to be pretty hectic with a lot of shows in the books. Now we’re just filling in the gaps.

Talk about the band’s live show.
I grew up in a time when the live show was the most important part of being in a band. Then we ran into a time when we were going to live shows and ended up being disappointed. I would say, “I could’ve just listened to the record.” There was a time when that was going on — go watch a guy stand around and play. It was almost a too-cool-for-school attitude. I never wanted to do that. I always wanted to go on the road and give people what they wouldn’t get on the record. I wanted to play with a more energy, a little faster and interact with the crowd. The best part of playing all the different kinds of venues that we do — from bigger festivals to smaller festivals and then being able to play a show at a pub — you get to live every situation and each ones different and unique in their own special way.

EC09EARFULL_JAMESONS_2_WEBYou’ll be playing McGrath’s Pub and Eatery in Dalton which is, at its heart, an Irish pub. Does the show differ in feel between a bigger theater shows and bars?
Yes and no. I enjoy it just as much. You can do things that you wouldn’t be able to do at a bigger venue or festival situation. Even down to the songs we play. There are songs that work in a pub — you get to interact with people right there, one-on-one. You can call somebody out real quick. (Laughs.) You can have them drinking right there on stage with you in no time flat. Each situation is different, but as far as the show energy, we treat it no differently going into a pub or playing a theater. When you break into a new city, you have to start right at the beginning and you have to get people out. You have to give them a show they want to go see in a bigger club or a bigger setting — a show they want to throw down their hard earned money to see. I look at it as an unbelievable opportunity to get out there and actually make new friends, make new fans and get one-on-one with people when we are playing a pub or a music bar. You don’t always get that opportunity at Irish or folk festivals. When you get off stage, there are a lot of people there and you cant interact with each one of them as badly as you want to. I think that’s such an important part of what we do. People are taking the time to listen to you and get away from their everyday bullshit. It’s nice to give them that one-on-one time. When you play a pub, it gives the opportunity to get to know your audience. Those kind of shows keep you honest. They’re the most fun because you get to talk to the people, because, at the end of the day, we’re not Kiss.

What are your plans for 2014?
We are going to finish the new record, Everyday Above Ground.  We put ourselves on a really strict deadline and we want to have that out by the middle of March.  — tom graham


If you go: What: The Fighting Jamesons
Where: McGrath’s Pub and Eatery, 112 E. Main St., Dalton.
When: Sunday, Jan. 12. 8 p.m.
Tickets: $5 at the door.