Celtic Music
The ROGUES – CelticFest Chicago*

by dianes on May.17, 2010 -- Fanrealm.com

Despite the frigid weather here in Chicago last weekend, Millennium Park and the Pritzker Pavilion were set afire and energized by The ROGUES, a combination CeltRock, folk, classical band performing a mishmash of high energy, soulful wail, classic and rousing traditional music, switching between each without missing a beat. They took to the stage enthused. Kilted, booted and marching to the pounding of drums and wail of bagpipes, their unique sound filling the venue and surrounding audience with anticipation of the performance to come. They did not disappoint.

They drummed, they piped, they fiddled, they strummed and for a few fun numbers even hauled out the old accordion. You know you’re in for a good time when the bands lead singer wears a kilt and totes an accordion. And, I don’t mean one of those wee squeeze boxes. This was a full fledged, mother of pearl, straps across the back, 50’s instrument. Gotta make you smile!! For the entire time they were on stage there was a sense of excitement and humor in everything they did and said. There were times I could swear I saw Nelson Stewart channeling Elvis; lip quiver, hip swivel and all. Nelson mugged and grinned for a lovely smiling woman at the corner of the stage taking pictures who he later introduced as his wife. Said she was an American and he stole her away and took her back to Canada as payback for NAFTA. Somehow it all works.

Experiencing this group live is something not to be missed if they tour in your area. The individuals make this band what it is both with their exceptional musical abilities and their charming anything for a laugh persona. For me personally the highlight of the evening occurred when the entire band took to the aisles, marching up and down between the audience playing Scotland The Brave to cheers and applause loud enough to compete with the bagpipes and drums. I loved this moment! I loved this show!

Look for The ROGUES version of the traditional tune Bonny Portmore, on their album Roguetrip, to be featured in the movie “The Irishman” being released Summer, 2010. The film, starring Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer and Vinnie Jones is the true story of Danny Greene, an Irishman who fought the Italian mafia in the 1970’s.

The ROGUES have been making music together since 1994, performing at festivals, theaters, highland games, clubs and pubs throughout America and Canada. They are:

Nelson Stewart: Lead vocals, piano, electric/acoustic guitars, accordion, mandolin, bass guitar, bodhran, tenor drums, doumbek, djembe.

Lyric Todkill: Vocals, highland bagpipes, whistles, electric/acoustic guitars, piano, bass guitar.

Corey Walden: Electric/acoustic fiddles, vocals.

Doug MacRae: Highland bagpipes.

Tyson Kipfer: Bass guitar.

Randy Wothke: Drums/percussion.

*In October of 2012 The Rogues split.  Nelson Stewart and other members continued to perform as The American Rogues.  Randy Wothke and other musicians continued as The Rogues.  

Note: Nelson Stewart and 5 other current American Rogues performed in Chicago as members of the Rogues.