REVIEW - 9 CASTLE CLOSE EP Self-released (2011)

9 Castle Close EP Self-released (2011)
Release date: 29 July 2011
Running time: 11:51, 3 tracks

I love Celtic rock. But, at the same time, I must admit that often some of the Celtic rock bands follow the same clichés: kilts, pipes, good set of tunes, a lot of standards and some poor self-penned songs. Even if a few US bands are very popular, I feel that the best bands come from Canada: Mudmen and Enter the Haggis.

Last year I bought an album from a band from Central Ohio, Homeland. After some line-up changes, the band has added a piper. “Bridge” was a very good album. The band did a fine job; however, some of the original songs were a little bit irregular. Anyway, "Bridge" was the evidence that something was changing in the US pipes/Celtic rock scene.

9 Castle Close also come from Ohio, from the Dayton/Columbus area. The band members are Kevin Maloney (vocals, guitar, banjo, bouzouki), Patrick Disney (guitars, keyboards, vocals), Mike Thomas (bass, vocals) ,Ryan Gross (drums, vocals), Beth Hicks (flute, Irish whistles) and Stuart Brand (Fiddle). When I look to the band’s pictures and videos I see no kilts. And the line-up has no piper. But, who needs kilts and pipes to play the best Celtic rock around when one has the right balance between energy and musicianship?

Yes, 9 Castle Close has no pipes but they sound better than many bagpipes rock bands. Excellent whistle player and fiddler fit perfectly with the great rhythm section and guitars. Everybody knows the song formula, to blend traditional tunes with rock instruments and new lyrics. It seems easy, but most of the bands fail. However, 9 Castle Close has succeeded with this 3 track EP.

The expectations for the debut album are high. Taking into account that the air from Ohio (or maybe the local beer) has had good effect on other bands from that state (Homeland, The Bloody Irish Boys and Craic), I’m sure that I won’t be disappointed.


1 - Belfast Town 4:17
2 - Say It 5:05
3 - Hare in the Heather 2:29!/NineCC

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Review by Kinksmarkham



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