Celtic Christmas: Dublin Gulch, Willson & McKee

Ensembles offer Celtic-flavored holiday shows Dec. 1 in Polson; Dec. 7 in Helena

On Stage

Dublin Gulch, a mainstay of Montana’s Irish music scene, teams up with Willson and McKee for two Christmas shows: Dec. 1 at Polson High School Auditorium and Dec. 7 at the Myrna Loy Center in Helena.

Willson & McKee
Ken Willson and Kim McKee bring Celtic folklore and harmonies to Montana.

For the past 26 years, Butte’s native son, Tom Powers, has led Dublin Gulch with his vocal prowess and encyclopedic knowledge of songs. Mick Cavanaugh, aka The Tin Whistle Wonder of Walkerville, is a quadruple threat on banjo, mandolin, whistle, and guitar. He also adds his vocals to the mix.

Jim Schulz claims he has at least one drop of Irish whiskey in a giant keg of German beer, which allows him some genealogical credibility (albeit shaky) to play the music. He plays guitar, bouzouki, mandolin, banjo, and bones, as well as lead and harmony vocals.

Fiddler/banjoist John Joyner is the hillbilly of the band and can trace his Norman roots to William the Conqueror by way of Virginia. He adds spice to the group with his unique blend of Celtic, bluegrass, jazz, and old-timey sensibilities. New members include: Conor Powers on percussion and Luke Michelson on bass and violin.

Ken Willson and Kim McKee, formerly of Polson, blend voices with an array of instruments, including Celtic harp, accordion, Irish bouzouki, guitars, dulcimers and bagpipes. The duo specializes in Celtic folklore: the music, dance, stories and culture of Ireland and Scotland, mingled with Montana/Colorado/New Mexico and the lush life and landscapes of the rural west.

The Polson concert is part of the Mission Valley Live series; tickets are $13-$15 and available at various locations, at the door, or by calling 406-887-2739.

The Helena performance celebrates the holidays Montana-style, with Irish dancing, cowboy poetry, Celtic harp, clawhammer banjo – and soul cakes at intermission. Tickets are $35, and rumored to be sold out! Visit myrnaloycenter.com.