Meet the Band

The Sound of Celtic Routes

Picture yourself in a small in a town somewhere in Ireland, when a group of local musicians start playing and singing some traditional tunes in the corner. They’re sitting around a few tables, most likely with a few pints Guinness within reach. Or, maybe you’re strolling down the street in Glasgow or Inverness, or anywhere else in Scotland, and you’re drawn in by the sound of music and song emanating from a local pub. Or, perhaps, you’re somewhere in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or New Brunswick, and you’ve stumbled on to an east coast kitchen party, where local tunes are ringing out well into the evening.

If you envision yourself in one of these settings, you’ll be hearing and singing along or tapping your feet to the music that you’ll find at a Celtic Routes concert or pub night. Celtic Routes – we’re excited and proud to be sharing the music, songs and stories from Ireland, Scotland and Canada’s East Coast.

Celtic Routes History

Celtic Routes, a Lethbridge-based Celtic music group formed in 2017, when a group of local musicians who share their love and passion for Celtic music decided to band together. While the group is only 3 years old, the members have all been enjoying and performing various genres of music, ranging from dance hall, country, bluegrass and Celtic, for numerous years.

Consisting of Anna Linville on fiddle and vocals, Don Breuer on bass and vocals and John King on guitar and vocals, Celtic Routes have been impressing audiences with their own brand of Celtic music, including Irish, Scottish and Canadian East Coast music, songs and stories. They have performed at the Water Valley Celtic Music Festival, are regular performers at Lethbridge Folk Club events, and can often be seen at various other venues in southern Alberta. Their brand of high energy, hand-clapping, toe-tapping, and sometimes heart-tugging shows is their way of sharing the rich culture of Celtic music with the community!

In December 2018, Celtic Routes completed their first recording, called, “Sailing Home” which showcases their range of songs and stories, and is always available at their shows or through any member of the group.

If you like Irish, Scottish and Canadian East Coast music, or are just curious, you’ll never regret attending one – or many – of Celtic Routes’ performances!

Anna Linville

fiddle, vocals

Anna hails from the UK and has lived in England, Wales and Scotland and spent time in Ireland. Classically trained, the Scottish ceilidh scene turned her into a fiddler and she’s never looked back. Playing in Edinburgh ceilidh bands of all sizes ranging from 4 to 15 pieces, her first love is jigs and reels, as well as strathspeys and airs, but she also adds ethereal vocal harmony to the Celtic Routes sound.

Anna is definitely our own, “Scottish influence”, in our music selections and performances! With her enthusiasm towards Celtic music, she has greatly expanded our Scottish repertoire, as well as our Irish and East Coast selections.

Don Breuer

bass, vocals

Don started playing guitar when he was about 18, just playing three chord party tunes. That wasn’t very satisfying after a while so he started looking for something else.

When he was about 40 he discovered the Dobro and fell in love. He became a reasonably good dobro player and formed “Country Grass”, a four-piece band which included his wife on the autoharp, son on bass, and a guitar picker. They played grass roots country/blue grass music all over southern Alberta.  After his son quit playing his bass, Don bought it and learned to play that instrument, joined a Pattern Dance band for a couple of years and became a bass player.

In 2004 he moved to Coaldale and formed “The Old Man River Boys”, a bluegrass band and played stand-up bass, singing bass harmony. During one of the jams he attended in 2017, he met and played with a Celtic troubadour (John King) and realized he enjoyed playing that style of music. John liked singing with a bass behind him, so they decided to join forces, became a duo, and grew into a three-piece Celtic band, called Celtic Routes.

Don still lives in Coaldale and enjoys the different music scenes.

John King

guitar, vocals

Born the grandson of Irish immigrants and growing up in the Montreal and Ottawa Irish communities, Irish music and culture has always been part of John’s life. When he first picked up his guitar as a teenager, instead of playing rock and roll, he concentrated on songs from the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, Irish troubadours, largely credited with bringing traditional Irish music and songs to North America in the 1960’s.

While living in Saskatoon several years later, John noted that there were no Irish music groups in town, so he formed the music group, “Tipperary” and joined the Saskatoon Association for the Promotion of Irish Culture. Tipperary later became, “Tipperary Creek”, and for 15 years, the band performed all over Saskatchewan at festivals, pubs, conventions, private parties, etc.

In 2015, John made his first ever trip to Ireland, and the music, songs and stories that had somehow faded away while life happened, were reborn in him. Since then, John has regularly been performing Irish, Scottish and East Coast music in Lethbridge and the surrounding area. By 2017, he joined forces with other local musicians who share his love and passion for Celtic music, and Celtic Routes became a reality.

Photos

Sailing Home

Our first full-length album, featuring 15 Celtic favorites.
Purchase directly from Celtic Routes at one of our live shows.
Purchase from The Scottish Shoppe
106A 10 Street NW Calgary
1. Boys of Killybegs. (Tommy Makem).
“There are wild and rocky hills on the coast of Donegal”. For sure, the cliffs of Sliabh Liag (Slieve League) are some of the highest Atlantic cliffs in Ireland. This song is dedicated to the fishermen from the beautiful County Donegal fishing town of Killybegs who “fight to make their living from the sea”.
2. Sailing Home. (Dermot O'Brien).
This sailor’s wandering days are over, and he can’t wait to get back home to Dublin to the girl he loves.
3. Fields of Athenry. (Pete St. John).
The Famine was a terrible time in Ireland (1845 – 1849). Oftentimes, men who stole food just to keep their family going were imprisoned and sent away on prison ships to Botany Bay, a penal colony in Australia. This is a heart wrenching song about one of those families.
4. Ballad of St. Anne’s Reel. (David Mallett).
The welcoming spirit of Prince Edward Island is contagious and lives on well after we move on.
5. Nancy Spain. (Barney Rushe).
A sad story about a lonely guy who hopes against hope that his true love will return to him. This is probably one of Christy Moore’s most popular ballads.
6. Saltwater Joys. (Wayne Chaulk).
Often, songs from “Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers” (of which the songwriter, Wayne Chaulk, is a member) are funny and nonsensical, but they also write about life in Newfoundland and Labrador. This one talks about a local guy who decided to stay at home (along with his reasons why) rather than pursue his fortune elsewhere (maybe Fort McMurray?).
7. Working Man. (Rita MacNeil).
A beautiful tribute to the coal miners of Cape Breton that definitely resonates with us living in coal mining country of southern Alberta and south-eastern British Columbia.
8. Mairi’s Wedding. (traditional).
A Scottish song about a proud father celebrating his daughter’s wedding. We found the accompanying reel, called “Egan’s Reel”, and added it into our interpretation of this old tune.
9. If I Can’t Take the Island with Me. (Aaron C. Lewis).
Aaron Lewis, the songwriter of this song, is the son of one of the original members of the Carlton Show Band. He later toured with the band in the 1990s. He was recently inducted into the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame (2018). This song is about his love for Cape Breton Island and his “longing to return to the people so close to (his) heart”.
10. Will You Go, Lassie, Go. (traditional).
An old Scottish tune. It sounds like a love song, but we have to wonder about his commitment in the last verse, where he says, “If my true love she were gone, I would surely find another”!
11. Mermaid. (traditional).
The mermaid “told us of our doom”! We should have paid attention.
12. Grace. (Sean and Frank O'Meara).
Many songs have been written about the Easter Rising in 1916, during which the leaders who led the rebellion by proclaiming Irish independence in front of the General Post Office (GPO) were defeated and subsequently executed at Kilmainham Goal (Jail). One of them was Joseph Plunkett who was engaged to Grace Gifford at the time of the Rising. He and Grace were allowed to marry in the chapel of Kilmainham and spend about 15 minutes of private time together the night before his execution. A plaque commemorating their marriage is still on display in the chapel at Kilmainham. This poignant song tells a story of the conflicts between Joseph’s love for Grace and his love for Ireland.
13. Cliffs of Doneen. (Jack McAuliffe).
Apparently, the Cliffs of Doneen are fictitious, but are sometimes considered synonymous with the famous Cliffs of Moher (Aillte an Mhothair). Although the Cliffs of Doneen may not be real, the towns of Kilkee and Kilrush are actual towns in County Clare.
14. Maggie. (George Washington Johnson).
What a surprise! Although we thought this love song about growing old together was Irish, we discovered it was actually written by a Canadian from Toronto in 1864.
15. Wild Colonial Boy. (traditional).
A song about Jack Duggan, a fictitious Irish Robin Hood, who, “robbed the rich to help the poor” in Australia.

Videos

Celtic Routes Sampler – Irish, Scottish and East Coast Combo

Irish

Home to Donegal | An Irish guy returns home to his birthplace in Donegal after leaving as a young man for work in London. Recorded live on March 8, 2020.
Red is the Rose | An Irish love song with Scottish melody (Loch Lomond).
Molly Malone | An old Dublin street song, more commonly known as, “Cockles and Mussels”.
Carrickfergus | An Irish fellow who emigrated to America as a young man yearns to return to his hometown north of Belfast called Carrickfergus so he can die there.
Bright Blue Rose | A thought provoking song, open to numerous interpretations, so we present it here with no presupposed meaning.
Set of Irish Polkas | A toe-tapping set of Irish polkas – O’Keefe’s Reel, Denis Murphy’s, John Ryan’s and Mickey Chewing Bubble Gum (yes, really!).
Easy and Slow | An old Dublin song about true love. Many Dublin landmarks are referenced in this song, including the River Liffey, Phoenix Park, Kings Bridge, and Thomas Street.
Set of Irish Jigs | A set of two very popular Irish jigs: Kesh Jig and Morrison’s Jig.
Wild Rover | Strike up this “prodigal son returning home” song in any pub in Ireland, or anywhere else in the world where Irish people get together for a few pints, and the crowd will be singing along with you! This video was shot from a table of some folks joining in and clapping, explaining for the shaking video!
Rakes of Mallow | The song is about the rakes (scoundrels) from Mallow, a town in County Cork.

Scottish

Caledonia | This song is often considered the unofficial national anthem for Scotland.
Mairi’s Wedding | A Scottish song about a proud father on his daughter’s wedding day.
Take Me Back | Bonny Scotland, I am coming home to you.
Both Sides the Tweed | Historical song about the border between England and Scotland.
Donald, Where’s Yer Troosers | A totally fun song about a naive Scot from the Isle of Skye who goes to London, wearing his kilt. On second thought, was he really that naive?!
Charlie is M’ Darlin’ | Singing the praises of Bonny Prince Charlie, “the young chevalier”.
Will You Go, Lassie, Go | A beautiful Scottish song about love in the spring time, often mistaken for an Irish song.
Twa Recruiting Sergeants | An unsuccessful military recruiting effort in Scotland.
Scottish Strathspeys Medley | At any ceilidh in Scotland, Scottish country dancers will always do the starthspey dance.
Comin’ Thro’ the Rye | A Robbie Burns poem. Interpret at your peril!
Maid of Fyfe | An Irish soldier falls in love with a beautiful Scottish maiden in Fyfe, a town in the lowlands of Scotland. Unfortunately, the love wasn’t mutual.
My Johnny Lad | A fun singalong song about a fellow from Glasgow named Johnny.
Alive | A recently recorded Scottish song celebrating life and looking optimistically to the future.

East Coast

Ballad of St. Anne’s Reel | A song celebrating the welcoming Islanders from Prince Edward Island and the spirit of Canada’s smallest province. If you’re familiar with St. Anne’s Reel itself, you’ll notice that Anna plays a different version of the famous fiddle tune after each verse.
Song for the Mira | A wonderful tune from Cape Breton Island, celebrating the people who live in Marion Bridge along the Mira River.
Working Man | A beautiful tribute to the coal miners of Cape Breton Island, and Rita MacNeil’s most well known and most often requested song. Living in the coal mining cities and towns in southwestern Alberta and southeastern British Columbia, this song is close to home for us as well!
Celtic Fusion Medley | Why not celebrate east coast, Irish and Scottish heritage all in one medley?! The tunes include, “Fella from Fortune” (Newfoundland), “Frost is All Over” (Ireland) and “Roarin’ Jelly” (Scotland). Apologies to the good folks who live in Fortune – in spite of the medley introduction, it truly is a beautiful little fishing village!
Heave Away Me Jollies | A totally fun, almost nonsensical singalong song from Newfoundland and Labrador.
Newfoundland Waltz | A traditional waltz tune from Newfoundland and Labrador. Hearing this, you just want to get up and swing your loved one around the dance floor!
Sonny’s Dream | If you start singing this song in any pub in Newfoundland and Labrador, you’ll find every Newfoundlander will join in! It is one of the most popular songs in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Live Events

Upcoming Shows

More events to be announced.

Postponed until further notice:
Water Valley Celtic Festival, Water Valley, AB – Info: watervalleycelticfestival.org

Past Shows

August 2020

August 20. East Coast Kitchen Party concert, driveway and front lawn, 96 Rivermill Landing West, Lethbridge

August 19. Outdoor patio, Sunny South Lodge, 1112 20th Avenue, Coaldale

August 14. Lethbridge Folk Club outdoor open stage in backyard, 636 19th Street South, Lethbridge

August 3. Southern Alberta Ethnic Association Virtual Heritage Day 2020 Celebration (video performance)

May 2020

Sunny South Lodge, 1112 20th Ave, Coaldale

March 2020

Annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, NordBridge Seniors Centre, Lethbridge, AB

NDP Lethbridge East St. Patrick’s Annual Ceilidh – NordBridge Seniors Centre, Lethbridge, AB

Bavaru Catering Sunday Brunch – Old Firehall, 402 2 Ave S, Lethbridge, AB

February 2020

Lethbridge Folk Club Howling Wolf Open Stage – CASA, Lethbridge, AB

January 2020

Robbie Burns Day – Sunny South Lodge, Coaldale, AB

Robbie Burns Day with the Scottish Country Dancers – Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization, Lethbridge, AB

Robbie Burns Celebration – NordBridge Outreach, Lethbridge, AB

December 2019

Celtic Christmas – Sunny South Lodge, Coaldale, AB

Latin Christmas Market & Fiesta – Lethbridge Folk Club, Lethbridge, AB

Christmas Around the World – Southern Alberta Ethnic Association, Lethbridge, AB

October 2019

Lethbridge Folk Club 40th Anniversary – Casa, Lethbridge, AB

June 2019

Water Valley Celtic Festival – Water Valley Alberta, Cochrane, AB

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