Sean Daly grew up during the troubles and from an early age was inspired by music that championed freedom. He listened as the Wolfe Tones sang songs about Ireland, and the Irish Brigade sang songs about the ten. At thirteen he sang “Joe MacManus” in front of more than a thousand comrades. He carried those songs with him through his life, across the ocean where he finally settled in San Francisco. He played cover songs, rock and roll, but he longed to sing songs of freedom, he longed to champion his homeland through song, story, and action. When he moved his family back to Donegal he began to find his songs again. The Shams toured throughout Europe and sang Rebel Songs, Sean knowing every word by heart, singing them from his memories as a young boy, and living the music as a homage to what the ten suffered in the H Block cells.
Tiocfaidh Ar La! Up the Ra!
But fortune called him back to the United States. He moved to Portland Oregon where he collected musicians of similar ilk. The first was an eccentric punk rock bass player who has more skin covered by tattoos than not. Johnny and Sean immediately connected, Johnny, bringing a deep love for the Pogues to the project. It was a great fit, but Sean didn’t stop there.
Naturally Irish he made friends everywhere he went and one day in a pub in Portland he ran into a Scotsman named Lou. Lou loved Rebel songs, all things Celtic, and they hit it right off. Lou was instrumental in introducing Sean to Matt Finn, an American Irish kid from Jersey. Matt grew up singing rebel songs with his father. He knew them all and immediately joined the project.
The Shams stalled for a time, bringing in some lead players, and a drummer. The drummer stuck, and the band started to take shape. Ian brought years of road touring, unrivaled drum chops, and a touch that complimented the band. As good as Ian was, they still needed that finishing piece. Then out of the blue, Gary another Scot called Sean. He had a mandolin player who could sing and would be a good fit. Troy came to the band with more than twenty years of touring and road experience and as the frontman of an American Irish pub rock band called The Humble Hooligans. He was looking to do something different and was ready to step in as the mandolin and whistle player that Sean was looking for.
The boys immediately got to work, learning more songs, creating original arrangements of classic rebel music, and keeping the spirit alive. In early 2022 they burst onto the West Coast Irish Scene playing gigs from San Francisco to Portland and have tours and recordings on the calendar for 2022 and 2023. Their passion for the music is evident, and their desire to honor the heroes of Ireland is crystal clear. They represent the next generation of Irish bands to carry the torch.