The Mickey Finns are a traditional Irish folk band with a strong Americana influence. They describe their style as ‘jig-punk’.
The band consists of Irishman, Ray Kelly on guitar and vocals, and Americans, Matt Mancuso on fiddle and vocals, Eric Kaye on Bass and vocals, and Brian Tracey on drums and vocals.
Ryan and Brian were founding members of the Prodigals while Matt played with the Cathy Ryan Band, Raglan Road, and was the lead fiddler for Lord of the Dance.
They are influenced by The Pogues, The Dubliners, Christy Moore, Steve Earle, Kila and The Wolfe Tones.
Ballads, up-tempo songs and a bit of Americana
They are not easy to pigeonhole into a genre. When asked about their music they said: “It’s essentially Irish music, a mixture of ballad and up-tempo songs, along with traditional tunes. But we’re blending them with a bit of Americana, a la Steve Earle.
“Hopefully we’ll stand out amongst the crowd because there are mainly two genres of Irish music being perpetuated now. One is the Celtic Punk style of Flogging Molly & The Dropkick Murrphy’s and the other is the Trad style, with bands like Solas & Lunasa. We’re not confining ourselves to one genre or format.”
Why do they play Irish music?
They say they like to play Irish music because it’s what they grew up listening to. Ray has played Irish music since he was a teenager growing up in Clare.
Matt has been playing traditional Irish music since he was a young boy, often competing in Ireland. Brian was an Irish dancer as a child and his first musical instrument was the tin whistle.
While Eric didn’t grow up with Irish music, he took to it immediately and has now been playing it for almost 10 years.
The band say: “Irish music is a part of who we are. We certainly didn’t start playing it to be famous!”
Albums and performances
To date they have recorded three albums which were self-released on Mankeltray Records; On the Dole in 2008, It’s not Whiskey in 2010 and Prayers & Idle in 2012.
They have performed at many different venues throughout the United States. They’ve been to most States over the years and have played in Irish pubs, rock clubs, theatres, and many Irish and World Music festivals.
They are keen to take the Mickey Finns across the word. They said: “We’ve only performed in the US as The Mickey Finns, but we’ve performed in Ireland and other parts of Europe with our previous bands. We’d love to do a tour of Ireland and mainland Europe in the future. Really, there aren’t many places that we wouldn’t consider playing in.”