Jonathan Ramsey

Jonathan Ramsey

 St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Jonathan Ramsey is an Irish singer/multi-instrumentalist: imagine Barenaked Ladies singing Irish songs in the pub with Bob Dylan.


Jonathan Ramsey performs melodic and percussive, brash and sweet, sometimes beautiful, often humorous, Irish-tinged songs.

Audiences expect Jonathan Ramsey shows to include a wild mixture of original and traditional Irish songs of love, hope, and despair; ironic and folk-tinged covers; songs of plans gone painfully awry; and a bit of sassy social discourse. Some songs are gentle and melodic, others are lightning speed. Jonathans guitar, tenor banjo, and stompbox percussion support his Irish tenor voice with plenty of tunes, guitar solos, and a strong and oft-danceable beat.
Jonathan began his musical life early, acting, singing, and playing around the house. Thanks to his musical family and a pair of musically-inclined primary teachers, Jonathan learned the skills to use his overly-active imagination for musical good [instead of evil]. Taking up the guitar, he played with several folk, rock, blues, and jazz groups in his teens. A few years later, Jonathan narrowed his focus to the Irish music he grew up hearing and singing. At this time, he began playing with Bully Ruse, a group he co-founded with Shelly Rao and Mary Hanover. In 1996, Jonathan began performing solo around many Midwest Irish music venues, and across the U.S.
Not one to weep into a beer, he builds up from warm ballads to rebel songs, then on to pint-banging pub songs. Soon, everyone is grabbing an empty glass and joining the percussion.


Good Ship Calabar

Written By: Traditional

Come on all you dry-land sail-i-ors, and listen to me song
For it is only forty verses and it won't detain youse long
It's all about the advent-i-ures of this here Lisburn tar
And how I sailed as man before the mast on the good ship Calabar

Now, the Calabar was a scrappin' craft, pitch bottomed fore and aft
And the helm it stuck out the backside, and the wheel had a great big shaft
Wi' half a gale to swell her sails, she made one knot per hour
She's the fastest craft on the Lagan Canal, and she's only one horse power

Now, the captain was a strappin' lad, he stood but four foot two
His eyes were black, his nose was green, and his cheeks were a Prussian blue
He wore a leather med-i-al that he won in the Crimea War
And the captain's wife was passenger cook on the good ship Calabar

Now, the captain he said to me, "Me lad, look, me lad.", said he, "Would ye like to be a sail-i-or, and sail the ragin' sea? Would ye like to be a sail-i-or, the foreign seas to roll? For we've orders now to Portadown with half a tonne of coal."

Early in the mornin', the weather it bein' sublime
When we came to the old Queen's Bridge, we heard the Albert chime
Next, we came to the Gasworks Straight, 'twas a very dangerous part
For we ran onto a lump a coal, that we hadn't seen on the chart

Now, all it was confus-i-on, the stormy winds did blow
And the boatswain slipped on an orange peel and fell into the hold below
The captain, he cried, "More speed me lads, for we are sorely pressed!"
But the engineer from the bank replied, "The horse is doin' 'is best!"

We all fell into the the water, and all let out a roar
But a farmer was there with his galluses, and he pulled us all to shore
No more I'll be a sail-i-or to sail the ragin' main
And next time I go to Portadown, I'm takin' the bloody train


2008 At Cruisin' Route 66
2003 Jonathan Ramsey
1996 Derry Air (Londonderry Air) - with Bully Ruse
1995 Parting Glass - with Bully Ruse

Set List

Typical show: Two 1.5-2 hour sets (15-20 minute break)

Jonathan performs a variety of Irish folk, originals, and modern, including:

* Connor's Pants (Ramsey)
* Nightmare No. 64 (Ramsey)
* Street in Kildare (Ramsey)
* Wellie Races (Ramsey)
* My Dog is on the Dole (Ramsey)
* Carousel (Ramsey)
* Johnny Jump Up
* Black Velvet Band
* Silver Handles
* Maid Gone to Comber
* Dirty Old Town [MacColl]
* Fields of Athenry [St. John]
* Ride On [Moore]
* Red Haired Mary
* Arthur McBride
* Star of the County Down
* Bonnie Maid of Fyvie-O
* Raggle Taggle Gypsy
* Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye
* Fairytale of New York [MacGowan]
* Stitch in Time [Waterson]
* William Bloat
* Poor Paddy
* Night Pat Murphy Died
* Mrs McGrath
* Old Dun Cow
* Holy Ground
* Take Her in Your Arms [Stewart]
* I'll Tell My Ma
* Blackbird
* Foggy Dew (Revolutionary)
* Back Home in Derry [Sands]
* Spancil Hill
* Follow Me Up To Carlow
* Rocky Road to Dublin/Get Your Kicks (on Route 66)
* Jack Ha