The Drowsy Lads thundered onto the Irish music scene in the Midwest a dozen years ago and have become favorites at pubs, clubs, festivals, universities and concert halls.
Ohio brothers John and Daniel McKewen, father and son Phil and Josh Franck, and lifelong friend Bryan Brookes bring to the stage a concoction of “we dare you to hold still” Irish dance tunes as well as a full emotional gamut of songs. They’ve won the affections of audiences ranging from casual music-lovers to those steeped in hardcore Trad.
The Drowsy Lads were featured at Lakeside Ohio’s Chautauqua series for three years, were guest artists with the Otterbein University Orchestra, and packed Wilmington’s Murphy Theatre for an unforgettable evening.
The Lads are lighting up Irish festivals these days, including Milwaukee, Dublin, Dayton, Cincinnati, and Louisville, and have been pleased to share live sets with the likes of Slide, John Whelan, Full Set, Socks in the Frying Pan, and lead dancer of Riverdance Joe Moriarty.
The band is adept at rallying pub-goers into rollicking nights, and have countless times at Columbus’s infamous Byrnes’ Pub, as well as at Natalie’s, Claddagh, Ramblin’ House, Wolfe’s Ridge Brewing, and even Brady’s Pub in Dunboyne Ireland.
It gets even more varied with performances for Irish Dance School’s yearly big ceili dances, the occasional house show, and at Hollywood Casino. The Lads flex and deliver to their audiences.
Each Lad is a multi-instrumentalist, and the combined lineup includes fiddle, button accordion, tenor banjo, flute, whistle, guitar, bouzouki, Uilleann pipes, 5-string banjo, concertina, and bodhran.
The Lads are fond of creating their own spirited arrangements and offering occasional original compositions, and even mixing in some bits of Bluegrass or Classical. But these never get in the way of their obsession with the pure old musicality of traditional Irish tunes and songs.