Now I know how it feels to be a pork chop in a synagogue.” That’s how British rocker Roger Daltrey described his unique collaboration with Irish folk artists The Chieftains.
There’s a recent tapping into the rich soil of Irish music, with scores for “Far and Away,””The Playboys” and “The Field” casting a spotlight on traditional Irish folk music. The Chieftains are finishing up a tour in support of their 27 th album, the RCA release “An Irish Evening with Roger Daltrey and Nanci Griffith.”
Their collaborators over the years have included Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne and Don Henley and a recent tour stop in Nashville found them in the studio with Willie Nelson and Ricky Skaggs for their next album. Somewhere along the line they picked up Who legend and Chieftains fan Roger Daltrey.
The mix is unique. Doing mike-swinging rock star moves, Daltrey belted out a traditional “Karrick Fergus” and a soulful version of Pat Kavanagh’s “Raglan Road.” But it was his rendition of the Who’s “Behind Blue Eyes” that brought the audience out of their seats.
The hour and a half set included furious fiddling and galloping ditties personified by the dizzying steps of leprechaunesque Irish dancer Jean Butler on “Damhsa.” Equal delights were “Galecia,” a medley of “Heartbreak Hotel” and “The Arkansas Traveler,” and film score highlights from “Far and Away.”
Show ended with a “Rachamid a Bhean Bheag,” with solos by the band as chief Chieftain Paddy Moloney traded tin whistle licks with a yodeling Daltrey.
Show opened with singer/songwriter Nanci Griffith, a Houston native who exported herself to the Emerald Isle, where she made Julie Gold’s “From a Distance” an international hit.
Griffith highlights included “Gulf Coast Highway,” recently covered by female rockers Evangeline, and “It’s A Hard Life Wherever You Go.”