Celtic music Storm is brewing

Tonight isn't the first time Gaelic Storm has played Tacoma, but you can be sure every Celtic music fan in town is glad they're here.

The group that rose from California pub gigs to instant fame as the steerage band in the movie “Titanic” not only has a track record of sell-out gigs such as the Milwaukee Irish Festival (the world’s biggest) and the Rock Boat, but seven CDs and a DVD under its belt. “What’s the Rumpus?” – the group’s most recent CD – topped Billboard charts in 2008.

The Gaelic Storm sound combines traditional Irish music with world rhythms and percussion. It has been called everything from “exuberantly Irish” to “a whirlwind ruckus.” Taking time off from the band’s hectic-as-usual touring schedule, guitarist Steve Twigger explained why:

If you and violinist Jessie Burns are English, your singer Patrick Murphy is Irish, drummer Ryan Lacey is American and piper Pete Purvis is Canadian, how do you get an Irish sound?

Well, it’s not particularly Irish, but part of it would be our love of the old troubadours and balladeers of Ireland, the rovers, and their spirited presentation of traditional music. It’s sort of where we started – playing in pubs, that style.

Yet the Gaelic Storm sound has also been described as “eclectic Celtic.”

I think we are. We have a world percussion sound, with lots of pop, rock and folk influencing the traditional Irish.

How do you come up with songs?

I get together with Patrick and the others, we have a few beers, tell stories and write songs. We also pick up one or two of the old traditional pieces and blend those in.

Is there a new CD coming soon?

Yeah, it’s pretty much in the can right now. We’re busy doing final mixes and decisions, and it should be out this summer.

It seems like, despite the band’s success, you guys don’t take yourselves too seriously.

No, it’s definitely a lot of just playing and being together. We made a pact when we first set out that if we weren’t enjoying it, we’d stop. Now here we are, 13 years later, still enjoying it. We don’t have a soap-box stand; no message other than enjoying the music. We just like to take people away from their troubles for a while.