Four to the Bar O'Neill, Kelleher, Yeates, Clifford

Four to the Bar, the band that Joannie Madden of Cherish the Ladies calls "one of the best up-and-coming groups around," is composed of two Irishmen, David Yeates and Martin Kelleher, and two native New Yorkers, Keith O'Neill and Pat Clifford. Among them, they command an impressive arsenal of acoustic folk/Irish-traditional instruments that includes fiddle (O'Neill is a 1985 All-Ireland champion), flute, tin whistle, guitar, bouzouki, banjo, piano, bass, and bodhran (the hand-held goatskin drum).

Four to the Bar has been performing throughout the Greater New York area since 1991, with frequent excursions to places as far afield as St. Louis, Chicago, Cleveland, Boston, and Key West. The quartet's repertoire of classic and lesser-known folk songs and traditional ballads, often witty and always entertaining, as well as the strong songwriting talent that came to the fore on their most recent album, Another Son, has gained them a fan base of formidable size, and their modern treatment of Celtic jigs and reels consistently brings crowds of hundreds and thousands to their feet.

Four to the Bar with Pete Seeger
Four to the Bar has performed on numerous live radio broadcasts; they have played to crowds of thousands at events like the Chicago Irish Festival and the Irish Arts Center's Traditional Music Festival, where they have shared billing with acts such as the Kips Bay Ceili Band, Freddy White, Cherish the Ladies, and the Chanting House. In June 1992 the band earned the opening slot at one of Sharon Shannon's Boston shows, and at a 1994 benefit in honor of civil-rights activist Paul O'Dwyer, Four to the Bar had the distinction of performing on stage with folk-music legend Pete Seeger.

Particular achievements include: being picked to appear at the 1995 Daytona International Music Festival, where other featured performers include country-music singer Trisha Yearwood and the London Symphony Orchestra; and a standing-room-only crowd at the release party for Another Son on June 23, 1995.

Four to the Bar has three record releases to date:

  • A four-song EP (1993) (cassette only),
  • Craic on the Road: Live (1994; CD and cassette), and
  • Another Son (1995; CD and cassette).
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