An in-demand producer (U2, Patrick Street) and keyboardist during the 1980s and early '90s, Bill Whelan launched his solo career in the mid-'90s as the composer of 1995's Riverdance, an experimental fusion of traditional Irish music. With over 80 dancers attached to the revue, Riverdance toured America -- appearing in several sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall in New York -- during 1995 as well as Europe and Australia. John Bush, All-Music Guide
During the 19th-century pioneer days of America, immigrants brought traditional European folkmusic to their new homeland, influencing the audio melange that became country & western music by the 1920s and '30s. Half a century later, mandolin player Dave Wilkie attempted to bring authentic Celtic melodies back to the cowboy music they had influenced, on his Celtic Cowboy LP. He first began playing the mandolin in 1970 near his home in Victoria, British Columbia. Wilkie's first album, 1977's The Mandolin Player, showed no traces of country/Celtic fusion, however; it was straight-up country swing, as was 1985's Shoebox. Aside from his infrequent solo recordings, Wilkie also played with Ian Tyson, Amos Garrett, Maria Muldaur and Jethro Burns during the '80s.
In 1989, Wilkie founded the
Great Western Orchestra with vocalist Cindy
Church and guitarists Nathan
Tinkham and Stewart
MacDougall. The group backed up Katy
Moffatt, released four albums of their own, and in 1993, toured Great
Britain with Moffatt.
Inspired by the similarity between British folksongs and the country &
western repertoire with which he was familiar, Wilkie decided to work on a
country album with Celtic influences. Recording with the Edmonton Celtic band
the McDades, he released Celtic Cowboy in 1996. John Bush, All-Music Guide
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Top of Page
1997, 1998, 1999 barnesandnoble.com llc.
Additional information provided by © All-Music Guide 1999