Rant, Rave, Lose Pants
Aren't you just crazy about hearing "Yankee Doodle" played on a jaw harp? I mean, if you're an American, you just eat that up, right? It's a safe bet that tons of Irish people are equally uninterested in jigs and reels, tin whistles, bodhrans and all that crap. But would they hate Ceann? Tough call.
The semi-local "Yankee-Irish" band does throw a little traditional instrumentation into the mix, sure -- whistles, banjos, fiddle -- but the rest of it sounds more like The Barenaked Ladies, The Waltons and They Might Be Giants getting drunk on green beer and being Irish for a day. And that's not necessarily a bad thing -- if you're sick to death of The Chieftains already.
"Last One Standing," like many of Ceann's songs, celebrates the band's ambiguous relationship to Irish heritage: "I think we're tired of this notion that we're being somethin' we're not / I'm sorry Grandpa crossed the ocean, but Grandma started humpin' a lot / Now I've got hundreds of cousins, O'Briens and Kellys and Sheas / We're a motley collection of stereotypes and Irish clichés."
At times, vocalist Patrick Halloran seems like he's using humor to say something meaningful about roots and origins. But much of the time it's straight comedy, and thus naturally "Pittsburgh Makes Me Drunk" is a 'DVE fave. No matter what you think of Ceann's oeuvre, the band is a Pittsburgh export that's become a full-time touring act since the release of 2005's Almost Irish. For that, if nothing else, raise a glass.
Ceann CD Release. 9 p.m. Sat., June 16. Mullaney's Harp & Fiddle, 2329 Penn Ave., Strip District. 412-642-6622 or www.harpandfiddle.com