Photo by Brian Dalthorp
Sometimes described as “Celt-grass,” We Banjo 3 is a fun and energetic blend of Americana, Bluegrass, and Celtic influences. The quartet consists of two sets of Irish brothers. So there are actually four members, not three as the name implies.
All four members are musical virtuosos. David Howley is the lead vocalist and guitar player, who has a commanding voice and the unique ability to strum rhythm and play the bass line on guitar at the same time. Mandolist Martin Howley holds seven “all Ireland” titles, and is the first Irish banjo player to play at the Grand Ole Opry. Fergal Scahill plays fiddle and percussion, but is a highly sought musician who has played on over 40 albums and performed in 30 countries in numerous bands. Enda Scahill primarily plays banjo in the band but is a 4-time national champion on banjo and mandolin.
Together, they will be bringing their Irish-infused party to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Friday, March 18th as part of their 2022 spring “Awakening” tour. The “Awakening” tour marks the band’s 10th year making music together, and according to the band’s press kit, these live shows will lend themselves to reflect on what’s been, celebrate what’s ahead, and honor life’s always evolving and ever-renewing rhythms.
“Our music is focused around hope and bringing people together,” lead vocalist David Howley said in a 2021 interview with American Songwriter. “We feel our role as musicians is to create a space for people to congregate and come together, despite the current circumstances.”
We Banjo 3 are known among fans not just for the energy of their live performances, but also for their unique covers of popular songs. Google their modern bluegrass version of the blockbuster “Ghostbusters” theme song, for example. Or check out their latest single, “A Lovely Day,” which offers a fresh take on Bill Withers’ classic.
But to get a feel for what you might experience at a live show, check out their videos for “Light in the Sky” or “Haven,” which has 1.7 million streams on Spotify alone.
The band formed in 2012 and quickly became festival favorites with performances at ROMP (2018), Merlefest, Summercamp, Wintergrass, and more. With a solid core of banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and percussion––lead singer David Howley’s voice cuts through until the band crescendos into catchy choruses with pitch perfect harmonies. Their infectious energy on stage has earned enthusiasts of almost every genre of music.
You can find out for yourself at their show March 18th.