“With the four strong singing voices sometimes arriving at hair curdling harmonies, the feeling of the band’s music ranges from the comfortable and familiar, to the arcane and disturbing. Their material is drawn from many aspects of Americana music, Irish traditional dance tunes and songs, some original songs, Vaudevillian ballads, old time story-telling, political commentary and some downright lies.”
John Caulfield and Rory McNamara have known of each other for more than thirty years although they have only been playing together for the last twenty-five. During that time, they have individually followed many other musical paths.
John’s sojourn in New York in the early eighties found him in the center of a very active Irish music scene. Much in demand as a session player, he recorded with the likes of Jack Hardy and Suzanne Vega as well as performing regularly with such notables as Johnny Moynihan and Rick Epping. John now also plays with The Gasmen. a seven piece Irish traditional band based in San Francisco.
1978 was the year that John and Rory first crossed paths in Amsterdam where they had been playing in the same musical circles. When they officially started playing together in 1985, it was in San Francisco with Johnny Cronin, the great Kerry accordian player. This trio evolved rapidly into The Mild Colonial Boys. The band has been through many personnel changes and still plays regularly.
Rory put out one album for the Belgian Parsifal label in 1979, another for Kicking Mule Records in 1983. He was a charter member of The Mild Colonial Boys in 1985 with John Caulfield, and formed the Frontmen in 1993 with Stevie Coyle who later went on to start The Waybacks. In 2009, Rory released his most recent recording So Far, So Good with The Ring Of Truth Trio.
Fergus Feely was born and raised in Belfast, but his professional music career started in London in 1976 when he joined The Bully Wee Band, who were already very popular in the flourishing British folk music scene. For the next 7 years, the band toured England, Scotland, Germany, Holland, Austria, Switzerland, Scandanavia, the USA, & released 2 albums.
On the demise of BWB in 1983, Fergus teamed up with BWB colleague Maartin Allcock in a well received, but short-lived duo (Allcock & Feely)…. Maybe it was the name…… Maart went on to join English Folk-Rock Royalty, Fairport Convention, € Stadium filling Rock Monsters Jethro Tull…….& Fergus went to California.
While in San Francisco in 1985, he was a founder member of Bay Area favourites The Mild Colonial Boys, who were omnipresent in the local scene, recording the prophetically titled Paddy on the Faultline. Fergus also took time off from the MCBs to prance a bit in the very louche LeRue, who under the guidance of Pierre LeRue, took Cajun Rock to places it didn’t necessarily want to go, & from where Pierre has never really returned.
Fergus went back to Ireland in 1991, & has been busy accompanying many popular Irish musicians. He toured for many years as a member of Dolores Keane’s band, recording one CD, The Night Owl with her. He has worked extensively with Seán Tyrrell, & has recently been recruited into the band of Seán Keane, one of Ireland’s busiest singers.
After a chance meeting in 2003 with Colin Reece & Ian Cutler, 2 of his BWB buddies, they tracked down remaining “Bully”, Jim Yardley, & have toured England every January since. Fergus lives in County Clare in the West of Ireland, with his wife & daughter and will be rejoining the Mild Colonial Boys for this year’s summer tour.
Kyle Alden is the newest member of the band, joining a mere fifteen years ago. He is a singer/songwriter/guitarist, fiddle and mandolin player whose latest project is performing and recording folk music settings of the poems of the poet W.B. Yeats.
In addition to The Mild Colonial Boys, he plays with The Gas Men (traditional Irish) and The Reckless Flames, a four-piece folk/rock ensemble. He teaches guitar at Roots Music Marin, San Anselmo, CA.