The Emerald Underground
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The Emerald Underground

Springfield, Illinois, United States | SELF

Springfield, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band World Celtic


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"IT Review"

"The Emerald Underground easily flows from ripping trad rhythms to sweet contemporary sounds within a set and often within a song. They can knock out rowdy Hooley numbers in a pub, then pack up and play a pleasant, pretty-sounding show all in the same night."
-Tom Irwin, Illinois Times - Illinois Times

"The Emerald Underground: Band Spotlight in The Illinois Times"

“Ruckus” is defined in my dictionary as a “noisy and unpleasant disturbance,” similar to a commotion, a rumpus or a hubbub. As used by local Celtic fusion/rock band The Emerald Underground in the title of their latest CD release, Ruckus at the Shamrock Motel, the word takes on a somewhat different connotation. It pops up a great deal in Celtic and Irish parlance when referring to party time for music making and TEU hangs right in there supporting all things Celtic related, including partying with a passion when music is involved.

This recording, the second full-length CD produced by the group, is a combined effort culled from two 2008 shows; the first a Music in the Park concert on Sept. 21 at Washington Park and the second a show at the Indian Summer fall festival at Lincoln Memorial Garden on Oct. 11. As drummer/percussionist Nat Radwine tells it, with the combination of gigs making the one recording, “We couldn’t call it ‘Live at the whatever’ so we chose to manufacture a tall tale and title the CD around it.”

And what better music for a bit of the blarney than that from the glorious Emerald Isle itself? Radwine photographed an old sign from a Springfield landmark establishment with possible Celtic connections of its own, the Shamrock Motel. With some handy computerized touches by band pal Scott Kilby, the album artwork reflects what seems to be the remnants of a heckuva commotion, otherwise known in the Celtic world as, you guessed it, a ruckus.

Recorded live and mastered in the studio by local sound guru Ric “Skip” Major, the CD catches the group displaying their finest ruckus-making form, performing 13 numbers on their home turf in central Illinois. Songs include Irish folk standards of the rowdy, drinking variety, a version of the Woody Guthrie classic Pastures of Plenty arranged with a Celtic twist, reworkings of contemporary Celtic fusion music and several Emerald Underground originals.

“We wanted to catch the environment and energy of a live show with the quality of a studio mix,” says bassist and vocalist Bill McKenzie. “And we did it with a minimal amount of tweaking to represent our live sound.”

The group first came together about seven years ago when local musicians Lanny Montgomery, Jack White and Joe Kath created Stone Ring Circle as Springfield’s first and only Celtic rock band. In 2005 the band became The Emerald Underground and adopted the current roster of Radwine and McKenzie with Kath covering the fiddle and mandolin, White on guitar and keyboards, Theresa O’Hare playing flute and whistles, Hank Helton on guitar, bazouki and vocals, and Lori McKenzie on percussion and vocals.

Dipping into the wide variety of dynamic music available in the Celtic genre, The Emerald Underground easily flows from ripping trad rhythms to sweet contemporary sounds within a set and often within a song. They can knock out rowdy hooley numbers in a pub, then pack up and head to an official state-sanctioned event and play a pleasant, pretty-sounding show all in the same night.

On New Year’s Eve that is precisely what they’ll do — with a tasteful and tempered First Night Springfield performance followed by a raucous and rambunctious celebration at the Celtic Mist Pub. Perhaps there are more definitions of a ruckus than we’ve been led to believe.

Copies of the new CD, The Emerald Underground Live: Ruckus at the Shamrock Motel will be available at all shows.

And a happy new year to you, too!

On New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, The Emerald Underground performs twice at Lincoln Library (6:45 and 8:45 p.m.) for First Night Springfield then continues the celebration at Celtic Mist Pub from 9:45 p.m. into next year.

- Illinois Times

"Wolfstone/Emerald Underground Review"

The following appeared in the State Journal Register in Springfield, Illinois after the concert featuring the band from Inverness, Scotland, Wolfstone. The Emerald Underground opened the show. This was written by a woman from Denver, Colorado who had never before been to Springfield nor had ever seen The Emerald Underground. She was an acquaintance of Wolfstone and wanted to catch part of their US tour.

'Well, work stuff had basically sorted, hubbie is now in the pink, and those frequent flier miles added up to a just the right amount.

But which gigs to attend? Hmmm. Illinois or California. Humidity, big hairy mosquitos, miles and miles of flat green versus San Francisco, Napa Valley, wine tasting and rolling hills filled with fragrant grapes.

Well, California doesn't have one very charming and talented attribute that Illinois possesses: a band called the Emerald Underground. So, the decision was a snap, and Illinois it was.

Wolfstone played to a full house at Springfield's Hoogland Center for the Arts. And they were simply brilliant! This warrants repeating--simply brilliant. And the band which opened for Wolfstone would have to be pinned with the very same adjective.

Emerald Underground's music and performance was completely and utterly enjoyable. It's traditional, yet not. I would have to say that they 'reel' you in from the first number and get the foot tapping which is quickly followed by the legs moving and the hands clapping. Their energy and chemistry onstage is such a pleasure to enjoy. I only have one complaint about their performance; it was not long enough!! And it was quite evident the locals adore their hometown Celtic band.

Each and every member of this wonderful group was gracious, warm and professional. They made Wolfstone feel incredibly welcome and comfortable. I believe that the Emerald Underground was a monumental contributing factor toward the performance of the band which followed them.

Thank you, Nat and all of The Emerald Underground for all you did to make this a most magical and memorable evening for everyone.

You should be quite proud.'

Susan From Denver - State Journal Register



2004 - By Request
2006 - Tales From The Underground

2008 - Ruckus at The Shamrock Motel

2010 - An Emerald Moment



Founded in 2001 as Stone Ring Circle and reformed as The Emerald Underground in 2005, The Emerald Underground melds traditional Celtic with world and rock music to forge its unique brand of "Celtic Fusion."

Video of The Emerald Underground below under 'Links'
Audio files coming soon

Band Members