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Welcome to Pub Songs & Stories, the virtual Public House for Celtic culture and change through music.

I am Marc Gunn. I play Sci F'Irish music. I want to take you on an adventure. I'll share the stories behind my songs as we explore pop culture media through the lens of Irish & Celtic music. You will have fun and sing along, and maybe get a far too real glimpse of yourself.




Feb 15, 2021

We’re counting down the top 10 Celtic bands you want to listen to for St Patrick’s Day 2021. Plus music from We Banjo 3, Lissa Schneckenburger, Screaming Orphans.

Welcome to the Pub Songs Podcast, the Virtual Public House for Celtic Geek culture. I am your Guide. My name is Marc Gunn. Today’s show is brought to you by my Gunn Runners on Patreon. Subscribe to the podcast and download free music when you sign up at


0:26 - SONG: “Donald MacGillivray

3:57 - WELCOME

-- Post a review in Apple Podcasts. If you enjoy this show, please subscribe or post a review on Apple Podcasts. I’d love your feedback.

-- A short story of what’s new with The Celtfather.

-- St Patrick’s Day CD

-- Listen to the show on how I’ll send you 3 MP3s from the St Patrick’s Day album. Now on sale.

6:25- SONG: “Danny Boy… For Cat Lovers” from Whiskers in the Jar


Every year, I take a small group of Celtic music fans on the relaxing adventure of a lifetime. We don't see everything. Instead, we stay in one area. We get to know the region through its culture, history, and legends. You can join us with an auditory and visual adventure through podcasts and videos. We’re going to Scotland in 2022. Join the invasion at



St Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. I love to read blogs and articles about Celtic music around St Patrick’s Day. But every year, it’s the exact same songs. IrishCentral is notorious for publishing a blog about the top 10 Celtic bands for St Patrick’s Day. It’s the same ones as always: The Dubliners, The Chieftains, The Clancy Brothers, The Pogues. All are great, but then they throw in U2, The Cranberries and Van Morrison.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy all of that music as much as the next Celtic music lover. But they will write for 2021 and use bands from 1968. I’m sorry. But times change. There are so many great Celtic bands. I think it’s a shame to settle on those bands when I’m gonna share with you my pick of the Best Celtic Bands FOR St Patrick’s Day 2021.

As you probably know, I also host the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast. It’s an hour-long show of Celtic music by the best independent Celtic bands online. Every year, I make MY PICK of the best Celtic bands based primarily on how much I played their music in the podcast.

You can read my pick in a blog on my website of the Top 10 Celtic Bands of 2020.

Let’s get started.

#10 Runa

RUNA continues to push the boundaries of Irish folk music into the Americana and roots music formats. Interweaving the haunting melodies and exuberant tunes of Ireland and Scotland with the lush harmonies and intoxicating rhythms of jazz, bluegrass, flamenco and blues, they offer a thrilling and redefining take on traditional music. They've been a favorite of mine for many years now.

And I highly recommend their album TEN: The Errant Night. What a great album!

#9 Skeleton McKee

Skeleton McKee brings the best of rock and rollicking Celtic roots/folk/rock, pub songs, and a wee bit of trad, blues and Americana. This band keeps your toes tapping and your hands clapping with a dose of humor on the side. Skeleton McKee has made a big impact on the DFW Celtic music scene, with Celtic infused entertainment featuring great vocal harmonies, precision instrumentation and intricate rhythms. Skeleton McKee comprises jovial, experienced musicians who combine impressively diverse backgrounds to deliver the cream of the Celtic tradition. Once you experience a live show, you’ll know why their slogan is: “All For Fun and Fun For All!”

#8 An Lar

An Lár (the center in Irish Gaelic) is one of the most vibrant Celtic Folk bands in Switzerland. They play original songs and tunes inspired by folk music from Ireland and Scotland and one can also note influences from places like Asturias and Brittany. Exciting arrangements, strong lead vocals and considerable skill on a wide range of instruments are typical features of the band.

#7. Lissa Schneckenburger

The down beat slams your body as the song grabs you and surges forward. You lean in to hear every word, as Schneckenburger’s voice sweetly sets the scene and then brings it to a boil, careening around each detail. The song ends before you’re ready, leaving you breathless with your heart thumping in your ears. You reach forward and hit repeat.

Raised in a small town in Maine and now living in Vermont, Schneckenburger grew up with music. She began playing fiddle at the age of six, inspired by her parent’s interest in folk music. In 2001 she graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music with a degree in Contemporary Improvisation. She has been performing and teaching music around the world ever since.

One of the things that I love so much about Celtic music is the diversity of people. In case you didn’t know, Schneckenburger is not an Irish or Scottish name. But who cares. Because every time I start looking for great Celtic music, I end up picking her.

14:57 - Lissa Schneckenburger “Lamplighter's Hornpipe / Suffer the Child” from Dance

17:41 - TOP TEN (cont.)

#6 Barleyjuice

With six studio albums and a double CD collection in their sporrans to date, Barleyjuice have made themselves one of the most beloved celtic rock bands in the US.

Frontman Kyf Brewer pens the majority of the group’s originals and lithely covers lead vocals, guitar, accordion, harmonica, mandolin, bouzouki, piano and bagpipes. He originally piped in the Loch Rannoch Pipe Band, and performed in Edinburgh’s Millennium March for Prince Charles.

Backing Brewer is a mad quartet of characters: guitar virtuoso Chris “Shep” Shepherd handles mandolin & conventional electric & acoustic guitars with his trademark flair and panache; captivating fiddler Kyle Blessing’s classical roots stray to bluegrass and country in the middle of the most authentic jigs & hornpipes; drummer Bogi Trifunovich is a powerhouse of driving decadence, while hopping bassist Eric Worthington is the musical snake-charmer of the deep and dulcet.

The ayes have it – Barleyjuice is a grand group of talented tunesmiths and prodigious performers, and the absolute best time you can have at a concert without removing your kilt.

#5 Ockham's Razor

Ockham's Razor creates a musical experience, not just a gig. They are a young, energetic band with Celtic roots that blends rock, bluegrass, gypsy, classical, pop and punk influences throughout their music. They include the audience in the show by getting off stage, into the audience and getting them dancing, singing along to the songs and breaking down that 4th wall that many bands put up between themselves and the audience. This creates a memorable experience for the audience instead of a forgettable evening of “Who was that band?” The Yakima Folklife Festival described their sound as “Turbo-Celtic” and “Ethno-Punk”.

Interview with Kris of Ockham’s Razor on Irish & Celtic Music Podcast.

#4 Screaming Orphans

Screaming Orphans are four sisters with the good fortune to have been raised in the magic of Bundoran in County Donegal, Ireland.  There is a great tradition of music to be found in Irish homes especially in the Gaeltacht or Irish-speaking areas which have produced the likes of Clannad, Enya and Mairead, Micheal and Triona Ni Dhomhnaill. Their home was no exception. Since they were young, they’ve been singing and playing traditional Irish music but when they hit their teenage years they knew it was time to start their own pop rock band.

21:25 - Screaming Orphans “Every Woman Gardens” from Sunshine & Moss

24:28 - TOP TEN (cont.)

#3 The Selkie Girls

Originally formed in 2013, The Selkie Girls have firmly established themselves as a mainstay in the North Texas folk music scene. With dozens of music and art festivals under their belt, as well as numerous television appearances, the band has toured throughout the States, never failing to captivate audiences with their unique instrumentation, lush harmonies, and dynamic arrangements. The band (Alli Johnson: vocals/guitar, Jaycie Skidmore: vocals/flutes/penny whistles, Dave Ervin: vocals/guitar/mandolin, Joel Black: upright and fretless acoustic bass, Martin McCall: percussion, and Linda Mudd: harp) draws upon a vast repertoire of ancient and contemporary ballads, traditional Irish and Scottish songs (often sung in the native tongue), and foot-stomping jigs and reels, creating a truly eclectic and affecting musical experience.

#2 Jiggy

Jiggy continue the tradition of their musical ancestors while bringing a whole new exotic flavor to the table, more of a collective than an orthodox band, Jiggy’s mercurial line up mixes and melds Irish traditional music, world rhythms and cutting-edge dance grooves. Jiggy took the internet by storm with their video ‘Silent Place’ celebrating the global togetherness of dance and to date it has clocked up more than 35 million views. This has introduced the band to a brand new audience worldwide and their debut album TRANSLATE went to number 1 in the world music charts in Ireland, United States, Canada, France, Australia, Poland & UK and they are now a big hit with festival audiences across the globe.

#1 We Banjo 3

Debuting in the U.S. in 2012, We Banjo 3 has since emerged as fast-rising touring darlings in the country that two of the members now call home. The Galway, Ireland, and Nashville-based quartet––comprised of two sets of brothers, Enda & Fergal Scahill and Martin & David Howley––continually push musical boundaries while maintaining an unwavering devotion to the essential audience experience.

WB3 seamlessly converge the shared and varied traditions of Americana, Bluegrass, and Celtic music with pop-sensible songcraft to create a truly unique and gratifying signature sound. Brilliantly commanded instruments––banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and percussion––effortlessly elevate lead singer David Howley’s propulsive voice. Live on stage, their songs carry the listener along until, at the perfect moment, the band crescendos into catchy choruses with pitch perfect harmonies. We Banjo 3 deliver their music with such palpable rapport, stunning precision, and infectious energy, it’s impossible to pigeonhole what kind of listener might suddenly consider themselves a WB3 fan.

28:45 - We Banjo 3 “Happiness” from String Theory

-- New Irish & Celtic Song Lyrics. I updated the lyrics for all of the songs I sing in this show. You will find lyrics and chords so you can play along with me. Just click the song title to find the lyrics or follow the link in the shownotes to find more Irish & Celtic song lyrics.


THURS: Coffee with The Celtfather on YouTube @ 12:00 PM Eastern

FEB 18: Celtfather Live on YouTube @ 8:00 - 9 PM EDT. Tickets $8.

MAR 11: Celtfather Live on YouTube @ 8:00 - 9 PM EDT. Tickets $8.
MAR 13: Ironshield Brewing in Lawrenceville, GA @  7:00 – 10:00 PM.
MAR 14: Tucker Brewing Company in Tucker, GA @ 3:30-6:30 PM CANCELED 
MAR 17: The Lost Druid Brewery in Avondale, Estates, GA @ 4:30-7:00 PM. Birthday Party!


If you enjoy the music in this show, please show your support. Buy music or Merch from me or our guest. Follow me on streaming. And tell a friend.

But the best way to support me is to Join the Gunn Runners Club on Patreon. Patreon funds my songwriting and more. Your support pays for the production and promotion of my music and this podcast. Follow the link in the shownotes.

You can listen to my music for free in my Mage Records store on Bandcamp. Then email me or Chat in the Celtic Geeks group on Facebook to let me know what you think of the album.

34:27 - SONG: “Wild Mountain Thyme” from The Bridge

Pub Songs Podcast was produced by Marc Gunn. The show is edited by Mitchell Petersen with graphics by Miranda Nelson Designs. To subscribe, go to Apple Podcasts, Spotify or to my website where you can subscribe to my mailing list. I’ll email you regular updates of new music and podcasts, special offers, and you’ll get 21 songs for free. Welcome to the pub at!