Chieftains celebrate 50 years of Irish music
In this April 2, 2012 photo, Irish musician Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains, holds up a tin whistle at his home in Naples, Fla. Moloney collaborates with musicians, Bon Iver, the Pistol Annies, the Civil Wars, the Secret Sisters, the Carolina Chocolate Drops on The Chieftains' 50th anniversary album, "Voice of Ages." (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
NAPLES, Fla. (AP) — When Paddy Moloney started considering possible collaborators for The Chieftains' 50th anniversary album, he knew the kind of artists he didn't want: Mick Jagger, Sinead O'Connor, Van Morrison.
He'd worked with all of those stars in the past: "I didn't want to go in that generation," he explained.
"I wanted a newer generation; new kids on the block, you might say. Great indie contemporary stars of music."
Still, the 72-year-old Irish music titan admits to being a bit nervous about bringing young musicians into the Chieftains fold.
"I was 50-50 about doing it," he said. "Because I haven't been happy about what I've been hearing over the last 20 years, the music that's been coming out. I just wonder, is it music at all, you know? It's all commercial."
Here's who Moloney ended up with on "Voice of Ages": Best new artist Grammy winner Bon Iver, the Pistol Annies, the Civil Wars, the Secret Sisters, the Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Decemberists — to name a few. It was the band's first real collaboration with indie rockers, and Moloney couldn't be happier with the results.
"These younger bands, I could hear what I would call the revival of the bands of the '50s and '60s," said Moloney. "The music and the great songs and the lyrics."
Laura Rogers of the Secret Sisters said they were initially asked to collaborate with Moloney by mutual friend and record producer T Bone Burnett.
"A lot of the American music we love has a strong Irish influence," she said. "We grew up with folky Appalachian bluegrass music. Those styles of music have a lot in common."
In this April 2, 2012 photo, Irish musician Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains appears at his home in Naples, Fla. Moloney collaborates with musicians, Bon Iver, the Pistol Annies, the Civil Wars, the Secret Sisters, the Carolina Chocolate Drops on The Chieftains' 50th anniversary album, "Voice of Ages." (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Working in the studio with Moloney on the Irish folk song "Peggy Gordon" was exciting and comfortable, said Rogers. She also called him "sweet and encouraging."
Moloney and The Chieftains recently finished a month-long U.S. tour that ended on St. Patrick's Day at Carnegie Hall. He spends his down time, about four months of the year, resting up in Naples, Fla., at his sun-filled home with his wife, children and grandchildren. There's a grand piano in the living room and about a dozen tin flutes and other assorted instruments.