top of page
grungebkgrd_BLACK.jpg

Revel's Glen

This St. Patrick’s Day it’s important to recognize one of the best of Ireland’s many contributions to the world: the Irish folk song.

 

In the pantheon of catchy diddies there are no others that can stand up to the Irish drinking song.  Dozens if not hundreds of songs like Whiskey You’re The Devil, Seven Drunken Nights & The Rocky Road To Dublin that have been covered and performed by artists of all genres over literally hundreds of years. 


The relative simplicity of these tunes combined with their crowd pleasing nature make them the perfect songs for a beginner guitarist; a fact that I can attest to.  Around 2001, just as I started taking guitar lessons in the seacoast region of New Hampshire my wife and I discovered a local band called Revel’s Glen. They'd play bars and pubs all over New England and would often play one of our go to spots in the town where we lived. An Irish pub called Biddy Mulligan’s. 


Revel’s Glen was fronted by Rhode Island based, and native Irishman, Bill McElaney. Bill played with a rotating cast of musicians over the years playing acoustic covers of popular music, but primarily playing a long roster of Irish drinking tunes.

It was while watching Revel’s Glen that I learned when to clap during The Wild Rover and when to stop clapping during Finnegan’s Wake. And it was at one of their gigs on a snowy night at Biddy’s that my wife, my best friend and I watched the Patriots beat the Raiders in what has become known as either “The Snow Game” or “The Tuck Rule Game” depending on your rooting interest.  


I simply remember it as the night that Revel’s Glen stopped playing mid set as we all gathered around the TV above the bar to see if Adam Vinatieri would hit the game winning field goal.  Bill was sitting right next to me, a mostly finished Guinness in front of him, just another Pats fan waiting to see what happened. After the game ended and we all settled down Bill retook the stage and finished their set with a rousing rendition of


Most of these songs are only 3-4 chords which meant that as a rookie guitarist they were attainable for me to play. So for a good couple of years I was constantly playing the same tunes I’d seen Bill play on the stage at Biddy's.  


I never got to see Revel’s Glen play on St. Pats which would have been fun. In 2005 my oldest daughter showed up and nights out to have a few and sing along to classic Irish drinking songs became less of a priority. We left seacoast New Hampshire in 2007 to head west, but any time I heard an Irish drinking song I couldn’t help but think of our nights

with Bill.  


Recently I was thinking back on those nights at Biddy’s and I went digging on the internet to see if I could find out what Revel’s Glen was up to. In addition to photos and videos from their performances I also found an obituary notice.  Bill passed away in May of 2019. 

 

Few musical acts have played as important a role in my life as Revel’s Glen. Not for that one incredible song that they wrote or the stadium shows I got to see them play.  But because they played timeless music in places where everyone felt like they were your friends. Because when something was happening in that night's 'big game', they were right there with you at the bar.  


Bill didn’t know me but I knew him and when Revel’s Glen played you were with family. 

 

Clapping and chanting.  

 

Clinking our glasses, laughing. 

 

Singing along to songs we’d heard countless times before and have been played by many others for countless years.


Today is St. Patrick’s Day and I’ll probably do nothing to celebrate.  But I will remember those songs. I will remember Bill.

-ct



Drips & Dregs is the weekly column from Rock Fight Founder Colin True.

Sometimes outdoorsy and always outdoor adjacent, check in weekly to see what is on his mind.

Comments


bottom of page