Gig Seeker Pro


Blue Springs, Missouri, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1997

Blue Springs, Missouri, United States
Established on Jan, 1997
Band Folk Celtic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Review: Tullamore, Wild and Wicked Youth"

The active Celtic/folk scene in Kansas City has, over the last twenty-five years or so, produced a number of fine bands and individual talents. Most have comfortably remained in the ranks of good "local" or "regional" performers; a very few (e.g. Scartaglen, Connie Dover, Gerald Trimble) have risen to gain national and international recognition and acclaim. The trio Tullamore, with the release of their newest CD Wild and Wicked Youth, are certainly well on their way to joining that latter exclusive group. With this impressive new recording Tullamore, quite simply, show themselves to be undeniably world class.

Tullamore enlisted well-known producer/flute player/Tannahill Weavers member Phil Smillie to do the excellent post-recording work, and the fine mix shows the band at their best. But the beautiful power of this album does not originate with Smillie's skills; the source is the vast talent, good taste and heart of Mark Clavey, Mary Hanover and Rachel Gaither.

Most of Mark Clavey's arrangements here are nothing short of inspired. On Tullamore's previous CDs, Clavey's skills and imagination as an arranger were abundantly clear, but in Wild and Wicked Youth he has truly moved to a higher level. The arrangements are quite complex but never merely showy; fresh and innovative but never quirky; clever and full of humor but never precious or cute. The tasty mix of trad tune instrumental breaks and bridges with the core songs, the rich interlacing of dulcimer/guitar/ fiddle, subtle expressive harmonies -- all prove Mark Clavey to have his musical craft well under control.

Mary Hanover's powerful singing here -- both as lead and backup -- showcases her uncanny ability to make her voice warm and rich, or ballsy and sly, or sweet and sensitive -- or any wonderful combination of those qualities she wants. And always -- always -- with keen attention to the mood of the song, the meaning of the lyric, the story being told. Mary's equally artful work on the hammered dulcimer on this album is extraordinary, and the source of her fine playing is obvious: she brings to her instrument what she brings to her vocals: intelligence and sensitivity; admirable rhythm and pulse; a touch which is delicate when need be and strong when appropriate. Mary knows that you don't just play an instrument, you sing through it. Whether with her voice or with her dulcimer, there is great depth, beauty and heart in every note she sings.

Everything Rachel Gaither does on this album is spot on. Her singing is always clear and pure and thoughtful, and while her outstanding fiddling can be soaring and powerful, it is always tempered with taste and subtlety. Rachel has a lovely refined way of approaching her lead vocals, and a fine light touch on the fiddle. But do not think "refined' and 'light touch" somehow mean "wimpy". That's one thing her music is not. Both her singing and virtuoso fiddling are imbued with immense energy and power -- full of heart, full of imagination, full of life.

The three together -- Mark, Mary and Rachel -- blend to make Tullamore a band definitely on the rise. Their previous two albums were very good, with their trademark powerful vocals, fine musicianship and excellent arrangements. But with Wild and Wicked Youth, they have outdone themselves in all those aspects of their music. On this CD we hear the difference between some close friends in what has been a fine regional band, and three highly talented music partners in what has become a truly world class band.

May, 2007 - A. Lee Worman, "The Gold Ring", KSMU

"Review: Tullamore -- Theatre Royal, Dumfries"

An evening of joy, humour and pathos brilliantly presented by Celtic Contemporary band Tullamore from Kansas USA.

The audience at the Dumfries Theatre Royal on Wednesday, June 25 got all that together with superlative musical virtuosity from the talented trio.

Mary Hanover had a voice as smooth as crushed silk to match her dulcimer skills; the contrast with vibrant violinist Rachel Gaither's cut-glass clear vocals was sublime; and in chorus with guitarist Mark Clavey they melded into perfect harmonies that manipulated the audience's emotions at will.

Tellingly the manipulative skills of Rachel and Mary did not rest on their musical abilities alone.

Their interaction with the audience was captivating and everyone was drawn into the creative web they so seductively spun with their eye contact and body language. It was a joy to be able to mix with the group in the interval and at the end of the show.

Their enthusiasm and obvious delight in their art came through and helped make a special performance into a completely captivating one. There was no doubt that the audience just loved Tullamore.

The prolonged applause after a night of traditional and modern Scottish, Irish and American songs forced them to give an encore. The song they chose - Will Ye Go Lassie Go - provided a fitting conclusion to a great evening.

It was a bold choice. A song that is a national treasure sung in Scotland to a Scottish audience by an American group! Needless to say it worked. From the moment Rachel began to sing there was a tension in the air. Her clear soprano cut through the auditorium and straight to the heart.

When Mary and Mark entered the traditional song took on a new more modern existence, and the old and the new became as one. It was in many ways a reprise of what had gone before but distilled into a pure rendition as intoxicating as the best single malt.

Let's hope Tullamore come to Dumfries again; and thanks to the Theatre Royal for bringing them this time. - Howard Hann, Dumfries and Galloway Standard

"Article: Tullamore Breaks Onto the International Scene With First-Ever Tour of Ireland."

July 1 marked the return of Tullamore, one of the Midwest's premiere Celtic bands, from their international debut in Ireland. With a tour comprising ten concerts in sixteen days, Tullamore joined the small handful of America's traditional Celtic bands (Cherish the Ladies, bohola, and Gaelic Storm) whose particular flavor of Celtic music has found a welcome in the lands of its origins.

Tullamore consists of Mark Clavey, Mary Hanover, and Rachel Gaither. A native of Baltimore, MD, Clavey has lived in Kansas City's eastern suburbs for nearly 30 years. He founded the band ten years ago, plays guitar and sings, manages the band, and produces their arrangements. Hanover was born in Omaha, NE, and eventually settled in Kansas City about 17 years ago. She plays the hammered dulcimer and tinwhistles, and also sings for the band. Gaither has lived in Lee's Summit most of her life. She is the band's fiddler, and likewise sings.

The trio took in the entire Ireland experience in their sixteen days there. The tour began at the Ards Arts Centre in Newtownards (Co Down), and progressed through the Derry Playhouse, St John's Theatre and Arts Centre in Listowel (Co Kerry), Friars' Gate Theatre in Kilmallock (Co Limerick), the Village Arts Centre in Kilworth (Co Cork), the Wexford Arts Centre, the Moat Theatre in Naas (Co Kildare), the Roscommon Arts Centre, the Ardhowen Theatre in Enniskillen (Co Fermanagh), and ended at the Ramor Theatre in Virginia (Co Cavan).

The response to the band was both enthusiastic and gracious. The audiences were entirely unaccustomed to the hammered dulcimer, the instrument that sets Tullamore apart from most Celtic bands. They wasted no time in warming to its sound as well as the band's rich and clear vocals, tight harmonies, and innovative arrangements. The warm response extended beyond each performance. The crowds showed great personal interest in the band, their experiences in Ireland, Irish music in the US, and Hanover's dulcimer - which never failed to gather a small crowd following each show.

"It was a truly special pleasure--to perform for people who are part of the culture that gave us this music, to connect with them, and to feel their appreciation. It made our performances unique from anything else I’ve ever experienced," said Hanover.

With short drives between most concert evenings and six full days off, the band had plenty of time for sightseeing. The highlights included Down Cathedral, the Giant's Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede on the Antrim coast, Donegal Castle, Queen Maeve's Cairn and the Passage Tombs at Carrowmore, the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher, Lismore Castle and Gardens, a tour of the Dunbrody Famine Ship, Jerpoint Abbey, Kilkenny Castle, the Irish National Stud, Dublin Castle, Trinity College, the Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre (of course), the Marble Arch Caves, and Devenish Island.

Still, it didn't require magnificent sights to inspire the band. Gaither exclaims, "It was amazing being in a place with such a rich and deep history--to visit villages and then realize that some of them--almost all of them--had been around since before our country was even born, and were probably virtually unchanged since then, as well."

Family and friends figured into the experience as well. Gaither's uncle lives in Ashbourne, and the band paid his family their first visit upon arriving and their last visit before departing. In Dublin, the band had the opportunity to catch up with Andrew Townley for dinner and a seisun at O'Donoghue's. Some readers might remember Townley from his performances with Eddie Delahunt and Inishowen. He has been living in Ireland for six years now, and has developed into an exceptional fiddler.

Tullamore credits Listowellians Damian Stack and Joe Murphy for helping make the tour a reality. The band made the acquaintance of Stack a few years ago at an annual mixer for the Shawnee Irish American Club (Shawnee KS is sister-city to Listowel). Since then, Stack and the gang have become fast friends, and he put them in touch with Murphy, the Director of St John's Theatre and Arts Centre in Listowel. Murphy recommended a model for soliciting bookings from arts centres and theatres around the country, and within weeks of putting that plan into play, the tour had nearly booked itself.

Clavey regards the tour as an unqualified success for the band in every aspect possible. "We couldn't have hoped for a better experience. The performances, the audiences, the connections we made, the things we saw, the experiences we had - they were all great. It was an incredible learning opportunity. We're already fine-tuning our plans for next summer's tour of Scotland." With that, the band confirms their commitment to their international touring career.

Here's to their success - at home and abroad. - Pete Maher, Midwest Irish Focus

"More Quotes"

"Wow! What a pleasant surprise – brilliant voices, great music!"
- Liam Howard, Village Arts Centre, Kilworth, Co Cork, Ireland

"The highlight of this year's Festival was the performance by Tullamore. Their line-up is fantastic, with strong vocal harmonies backed by tight playing on the fiddle, hammered dulcimer, and guitar. Tullamore has developed into one of the leading Celtic bands in the Midwest. A toast to them all!"
- John Bunch, Riverbend Arts Festival, Atchison KS

"Tullamore is seasoned, talented and tight. Three make the music of six, and it comes from the soul with a dusting of experience and hard work. Easy on the ear to say the least!"
- Michael Fraser, Kansas City Scottish Highland Games, Kansas City MO

"Rich arrangements by Mark Clavey and extraordinary musicianship make Tullamore a superior band. Mary Hanover’s vocals are simply a revelation—powerful, low and warm! This is the band to watch!"
- Scott Barger, Edmond Highland Games, Edmond OK

"I could listen to them sing for hours! There's a lot of skill at work in the band, and that talent deserves to stand apart."
- Tom Knapp, Rambles.net

"Three harmonic voices bursting with energy began the night's performance. And once the instruments chimed in, you knew one thing: these guys are good."
- Kate Estwing, Augustana Observer - Assorted interviews and comments

"Review: Tullamore, Wild and Wicked Youth"

We have Tullamore as a town in Ireland and Tullamore Dew as a lovely alcoholic drink and now we have Tullamore the band and what a band.

The trio all take turns on vocals and we have the usual guitar and fiddle but unusually for a group focusing on Irish and Scottish music they also use the hammered dulcimer.

The opening track, "Arthur McBride" starts unusually with a long instrumental intro before opening as a song sung by a female voice - another innovation of sorts.

From a song usually associated with Ireland we jump over to Scotland for a wonderfully spirited "MacPherson's Rant".

This band definitely has a case of wanderlust in music, as we are next spirited to "Far Away in Australia" one of those songs we seem to have heard from birth and because of that we often neglect it. Tullamore inject new life into it with a sweet rendition that probably captures its spirit far better than may singers.

The dulcimer comes into its own on the introduction to "Sonny's Dream", a song we usually associate with Mary Black. In fact the whole instrumental section called "Sonny's Mazurka" is a marvellous tune to stand on its own. The main song is performed at a slightly faster pace than we are familiar with.

This same pace is used on "The Ballad of Jack Dolan" from the pen of Robbie O'Connell.

One of my personal favourites, especially that fiddle playing on the opening piece "Black Run", has to be "Work of the Weavers".

The classic, "Will ye Go, Lassie" is extended to almost seven minutes with some beautiful instrumental work.

They end with the title track, which is more commonly called "The Newry Highwayman".

Other tracks are the wonderfully titled "Butcher's Set" and 'Wedding Jigs".

This album is a fascinating release not just for the collection of well-known songs but also for the inspired combination of lesser-known tunes, giving a new and wider audience to some great unknowns.

July, 2007 - Nicky Rossiter, Irish Music Magazine


"Timber and Stream" 2000
"One For the Road" 2004
"Wild and Wicked Youth" 2007



Seventeen remarkable seasons and a steady slate of performances throughout Ireland, Scotland and the US have made Tullamore one of the Heartland's premiere Celtic bands. Fueled by Rachel Gaither’s stellar vocals and hot fiddling, Mary Hanover’s beautiful voice and personal charm, and Mark Clavey’s creative genius and love of folk and Celtic music, Tullamore’s sound is unmistakable - an American-folk body with a traditional Celtic soul. Their take on Celtic music is rich and clear vocals, tight harmonies and instrumentals, and cool and clever arrangements. Across the country and across the ocean, from arts-centers to Irish Festivals and Scottish Highland Games, Tullamore are favorites wherever they go. 

“Tullamore, quite simply, show themselves to be undeniably world class. Mark Clavey’s arrangements are nothing short of inspired. Whether with her voice or with her dulcimer, there is great depth, beauty and heart in every note Mary Hanover sings. Everything Rachel Gaither does is spot on... both her singing and virtuoso fiddling are imbued with immense energy and power – full of heart, full of imagination, full of life.”
- Lee Worman, The Gold Ring, KSMU

“A concert that inspired the audience with its purity of music… a beautiful rendition… a breath of fresh air.”
~Mary Hanley, Ramor Theatre, Virginia, Co Cavan, Ireland

"An interesting mix of style and great musicianship in an evening of fine Celtic music from this talented US-based outfit."
~Eamonn Bradley, Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, Ireland

"An evening of joy, humour and pathos brilliantly presented by the Celtic contemporary band Tullamore. Their enthusiasm and obvious delight in their art came through and helped make a special performance into a completely captivating one."
~Howard Hann, Dumfries and Galloway Standard, Dumfries, Scotland

“Tullamore is to Scottish and Irish traditional songs what The Commitments were to soul covers.”
~Andrew Miller, Pitch Weekly

“The trio weaves rich harmonies and energetic, well-crafted instrumentation around mostly traditional Irish ballads. While it might be said there's a plethora of Irish bands in the States these days, not all keep to the tradition and truth of the music as well as these folks. Well done!”
~Les Reynolds, Indie-Music.com

Band Members