Jiggernaut
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Jiggernaut

Fort Worth, Texas, United States | SELF

Fort Worth, Texas, United States | SELF
Band Rock Celtic

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Well, I did it again. One of the finest recordings of the last 10 years and I totally forgot to write the review and let you know about it. I am sorry, but I will now attempt to rectify this colossal goof and tip you to one of the best CDs in recent history. Jiggernaut is a band out of Houston Texas. The members of the band are Garren Bagley, on guitar, keyboard, djembe, vocals; Rodger Harrison on bass and vocals; Richard Kean, a fine, fine piper who also plays a mean whistle; Matthew Williams on drums, djembe, cajon and vocals; Mark Kenneth on accordion and Deanna Smith Scotland, guitar, percussion and vocals—oh baby, what vocals! Let me expound a bit on Deanna Smith Scotland’s vocals. Singing comes to Deanna like breathing does to the rest of us. Her voice enfolds my ears like a warm comfy blanket and lulls me off to where ever she wants to take me. Added to this supernatural singing ability is the ability to write songs that are destined to become classics. On Jiggernaut’s third CD, The Well, are two songs of Deanna’s composing that you will agree are sure to become classics in traditional Celtic music. The first is a wonderful ballad she wrote in memory of Tommy Makem called, “The Man Who Dug the Well,” and the second piece is a song for all of us who have lost someone near, called “Absent Friends.” I have trouble keeping a dry eye during both of these. In addition to these gems, they perform stunning versions of Richard Thompson’s “Galway to Graceland,” Brian McNeill’s “Two Minute Silence” and a bunch of other great songs. Richard Kean cooks on his pipes in a cut called “MacFurley’s Rant.” The boy can darn sure play. Jiggernaut is coming thru this way in May to play a short tour in Chicago and Milwaukee, if you can make it out to see them, you won’t be disappointed. In the meantime, get a copy of this CD and let the music take you away. - Irish American News


Artist: Jiggernaut
Album: Evolution
Year: 2004
As random as the discovery of a four-leaf clover in a field of threes, “Evolution” is a treasured find worthy of pressing into the plastic pages of your CD folder. There whenever you crave an indulgent soundbite, this perpetual track list offers twelve selections, each as different as Irish creme from Pop Rocks.
Traditional, modern, male singer Wolf Loescher, female singer Deanna Smith Scotland (of Texas), Highland bagpipes, electric bouzouki, flute, moxy and prayer, there’s a song highlighting each. Eclectic to the very core, Jiggernaut’s second album is sequel-bent on originality.
It all starts out a little bit country, with “The Shepard Lad” willed into being by the resonating vocals of Scotland (Deanna that is). Next, “Mi Amigo Pagará” is bagpipes thrown over the top of a waterfall of accompaniment, all-night hootenanny style. This is the kind of music your Scottish grandmother listens to…when she’s wearing her suede-fringed kilt and sporting a pink Mohawk. Feel no guilt, have fun and revel in “Sofia to St. Andrew”, where the instrumental fusion is a jazzed pilgrimage toward a new religion in Celtic meditation.
“Thousands are sailing” is the end track launched by the voice of Loescher, which surfs the line between folk ballad and dance jig to the very edge. A wild romp through the shillelaghs for sure, this mix is the stuff of band legends.
Dionne Charlet is a freelance writer based in Greater New Orleans. She is a contributing writer for Where Y’at Magazine and reviews music for Marc Gunn’s Celtic MP3s Music Magazine. Dionne runs the Cast Aways Open Theatre Troupe and performs with her fellow Cast Aways volunteers at Ren faires, sci-fi cons, charity venues and festivals throughout the Gulf Coast and beyond. Mrs. Charlet also works as an Outreach Coordinator for the Humane Society of Louisiana. You can contact Dionne at SHIATARA@AOL.com. - Celtic MP3s Music Magazine.


Done well, mixing musical styles can be a beautiful thing, and I’m happy to report that this is a group that got it right. Jiggernaut describes themselves as a mix of “old and new, traditional and contemporary”, and indeed, the description fits quite well. A very interesting CD, it really is different from the regular fare you’ll hear in the Celtic genre. That said, it’s one that is worth a listen.
Take a song like “Martyr” for example. The bagpipes ring out like an anthem, while the lyrics are delivered in a contemplative way. It’s unusual–but the best part is–it works. The pipes are well utilized here, sounding a bit melancholy in tracks such as “Ian James”, but peppy in others. The mix of music is good overall on the album, with something for most tastes.
The traditional instruments are present and accounted for, but sometimes used in an unexpected way. This is by no means an experimental album, but it’s clear that the musicians that make up Jiggernaut are not new kids on the block. Instead they are comfortable enough with their skill to get a little fancy. It’s nice. If you are looking for a fresh take on Celtic, this is a good CD to check out.
Catherine L. Tully specializes in writing about the arts, lifestyle and travel. She is the Owner of 4dancers, a blog for those who love dance, and Editor for Freelance-Zone, an award-winning site for freelance writers. Catherine also reviews music for Celtic MP3s Music Magazine.
- Celtic MP3s Music Magazine


“A band that knows how to rock, but hasn’t forgotten how to think.”
- Brian McNeill


"Jiggernaut is that rare band that can have you bopping at a club or jigging on the heath. What's more...they can do it not only on the same song but somehow at the same time." - Houston Press


"...we have the next great Celtic trad/folk/rock band among us..." - Ft. Worth Star Telegram


"...there's nothing they can't do and little they won't...a group of master artisans who simulate a finely-tuned machine and make their work look like child's play..." - Rambles


"...a promising new addition to the under populated realm of American rock and reel...In Search of More is one of the Top 10 CDs of 2001."
- Tom Nelligan, Dirty Linen


"...a promising new addition to the under populated realm of American rock and reel...In Search of More is one of the Top 10 CDs of 2001."
- Tom Nelligan, Dirty Linen


"Jiggernaut’s music is a confident , brash, fiery mix of Scottish and Irish influences and American blue-collar stadium rock...like a head-on collision of the Tannahill Weavers and Runrig....an outfit worth keeping more than one eye on."
- John O’Regan, Irish Music Magazine


Discography

CD's
The Well (2010)

Evolution (2004)

In Search of More (2001)

Photos

Bio

Jiggernaut formed in 2001 as an experimental recording project. Three cds and ten years later, they continue to be a vibrant presence in the celtic rock arena. “When we began, we were just going to record a cd and maybe play a few festival gigs” explained Matthew Williams, Jiggernaut’s long time drummer and musical director. “Everyone was involved in other bands and Deanna (Smith Scotland) was still living in Milwaukee. But somewhere in the middle of recording that cd (In Search Of More) we realized that something very special was happening. The release of that record, and the reviews that followed made it obvious that Jiggernaut had eclipsed our original plans.”
2004 saw the release of “Evolution”, Jiggernaut’s second cd. The next few years brought some changes, to the music and the lineup. Founding member Wolf Loescher relocated his family to Minnesota, and Jiggernaut went “In Search” of a new band member.” Replacing Wolf was a real challenge. He was the guiding force behind the first two cds, Jiggernaut was originally his dream.” Says Deanna Smith Scotland, lead singer. “He is such a dynamic performer, on stage and in the studio; we knew it would take someone really incredible to fill the empty place on our stage.” Enter Garren Bagley! Garren is a guitar picking, piano playing singing force of nature. He joined Jiggernaut in 2005 and the band has never looked back.
“We spent some time breaking (or is that breaking in) the new guy” joked bass player Rodger Harrison. “Seriously though, Garren was a perfect fit. His skills as a musician, his personality and his rock and roll sensibility allowed him to slide seamlessly into the band, and that’s not easy, we have really high expectations of each other.”
After Garren joined the band, the next step was to record a new cd. “We knew it was overdue, people were asking when we would release a new record” said Smith Scotland, “So we started working on new music. Everyone brought new songs and tunes to the table, great songs, folk, rock, traditional celtic, it was all there.” But Williams and Smith Scotland knew that something was still missing. “We had this great list of songs, that we all liked, but it didn’t feel like Jiggernaut” recalled Williams. “The celtic rock world was changing fast, with the advent of a more punk influenced lead vocal and a harder edge. For us it all begins with the song. What does the song say, what can Jiggernaut add to it, to make it personal?”
“I guess that’s when it hit us….it needed to be personal” Smith Scotland added. “We were singing someone else’s songs, instead of writing our own. We talked about it for a long time, and came to the conclusion that the only logical thing to do was write a new record.”
So Smith Scotland started writing in earnest. “Being a songwriter is a little like being a voyeur. You never know when you will be inspired, a comment in an elevator, half of a cell phone conversation….I kept a notebook with me at all times, I wrote down everything.” When she had several songs and a few sets of lyrics, she turned to Williams. “I really needed to write complete songs, to prove to myself that I could, but I realized that Matthew had mad arranging skills, and my songs would be better with his touch. I also knew that I had written lyrics to a song for which I could not write the music.’ Martyr’ needed something I didn’t have, but Matthew did. “So a songwriting team was born. “We collaborated on “Home front (2001s In Search Of More), but this was the first time we sat down and wrote, face to face
In May 2010 .Jiggernaut proudly announced the release of their latest recording “The Well.” Filled with unforgettable characters, and compelling stories, these songs grab and hold the listener from the first note to the last.
Featuring powerful, passionate vocals and tight harmonies, these are well written songs set to an irresistible groove.
With more than half of the tracks written by Jiggernaut members, this cd is their most personal work to date. The title track “The Man Who Dug The Well” is a touching tribute to Irish music legend Tommy Makem. “We decided that we had some things to say, and we wanted to use our words to say them” says Deanna Smith Scotland (lead singer and the bands principal songwriter). “Songwriting is risky and very personal” Smith Scotland continued, “It is wonderful when a songwriter finds an environment that is safe and a group of musicians who embrace original music. That is what I have found in Jiggernaut.” Smith Scotland wrote four of the tracks on the record and collaborated with drummer Matthew Williams on the hard rocking “Martyr.” “Matthew is a very talented arranger”, Smith Scotland asserts, “He takes my songs and finds the hook, the musical theme, then arranges them for a full celtic rock band. Don’t misunderstand, everyone in the band brings ideas to the table, and the finished product is a reflection of the entire band, but Matthew is a visionary, the driving force be