By the Scruff
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By the Scruff

Band Folk Celtic


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"Review of performance"

"Lively, infectious. Irish music played with skill and enthusiasm" - The Mill Race Folk Festival

"Review of performance"

"Accomplished musicians; well received by a captive audience... Haste ye back!" - Kincardine Scottish Festival

"Review of CD"

"They can speed through traditional Celtic repertoire and throw in live oddities like Johnny Horton with one Guinness behind their back, but somehow the confines of traditional music have trouble holding this band still. And just like their live show, paying homage to their roots is only part of the agenda for this stellar debut record." - The Echo


Hair of the Dog



By the Scruff one of Canada's premier Celtic folk acts brings together the musical experiences of three transplants to southern Ontario, where they have been performing regularly in area pubs and other venues since the spring of 2000.

David O’Leary (lead vocals, guitar and bodhran) began busking on Grafton Street and at the Merchant’s Arch in his native Dublin, Ireland in the 1980s. Under the influence of Christy Moore, and in Dublin’s circles of sessions and house parties, he developed his craft as a singer/songwriter. Since moving to Canada in 1991 his songs have reflected in often gritty detail the immigrant’s focus on loss, hope and family.

Matthew Glass (fiddle, mandolin, cittern, tenor banjo and guitar) abandoned rock and roll for folk and jazz back in high school, in Fresno, California, where he came under the influence of the legendary mandolinist and fiddler Kenny Hall. He studied music at California State University, Fresno, and performed with a variety of rock, old-time, jazz and Irish combos in California, New Jersey and South Dakota before moving to Guelph, Ontario in 1999.

Paul Gribbon (pipes, flutes, whistles and mandolin) played guitar and bass in a variety of rock bands in hometown Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, before taking up the uilleann pipes in the early 1990s. His move to southern Ontario enabled him to study with noted Toronto piper Deb Quigley, and to take regular part in Toronto’s annual Chris Langan Weekend and its vibrant session scene. In 1998 he attended the Willie Clancy School in County Clare, Ireland. He has performed frequently with southern Ontario Celtic fixtures The Grand River Ceili Band and Failte, and appeared in 2001 with the London, Ontario Symphony Orchestra. He has also appeared on the recordings “Mountain Mist” by Tim Thorne and Dave Weaver, and the “King Phoenix” soundtrack.

Whether performing as a trio in pubs or with added bass and drums in concert venues, By the Scruff captures the melodic intricacies and rhythmic drive of traditional Irish music and the poetry of traditional lyrics. A range of other influences, from old-time Appalachian fiddle tunes to the rhythmic pulses of reggae and rock, combined with their original compositions, make a By the Scruff performance an energetic blend of tradition and musical innovation.