Winner of the IMRO Best Small Live Music Festival 2014 award!
The Smithwicks Kilkenny Roots Festival will return in 2017 during the May Bank Holiday.
Since 1998 the festival has attracted some of the finest names in the Americana/Roots canon, including Calexico, Giant Sand, Ryan Adams, Alejandro Escovedo, Guy Clark, Chuck Prophet, Ray LaMontagne, Richmond Fontaine, Rodney Crowell, Phosphorescent, Sturgill Simpson and Alabama Shakes.
Audiences wind their way through the medieval streets sampling the huge range of music in the 30 plus venues, hosting over 40 Irish and international acts, with over 90 ticketed and free shows from early afternoon until late into the night.
There’s a mixture of old and new acts on the free pub gig trail and all styles are catered for, from swing to bluegrass, rockabilly to cajun, folk, blues and beyond.
The 2017 festival features an international line-up of Roots/Americana acts. In addition, there will be over 70 gigs on the free Smithwick’s Music Trail including
The Handsome Family (USA)
Holly Macve (UK)
Chip Taylor (USA)
Yola Carter (UK)
Andrew Combs (USA)
The Americans (USA)
Western Centuries (USA)
Paul Cauthen (USA)
Joan Shelley (USA)
Carter Sampson (USA)
David Kitt (Ireland)
Arborist (N. Ireland)
John Blek (Ireland)
A full list of artists for 70 shows on Smithwick’s Music Trail is currently being programmed.
"Marah blow the roof off with their barely contained energy. It's street music, soul music, music to walk you off a skyscraper to... You're left with your hair standing on end, shaken up, exhilarated, that hole in your heart temporarily fixed, which is all you can ask of great rock & roll. And God knows, this is great rock & roll."" - UNCUT.
A heavenly voice couched in spell-binding country & western ballads, with a devastating emotional delivery: Her album Golden Eagle is one of the most remarkably assured debuts of this or any other year. On stage, she’s a magnetic presence; it’s not just voice and songs. Audiences who caught her supporting the likes of John Grant, Villagers and Benjamin Clementine were doubtless stopped in their tracks. Golden Eagle is surely going to have the same effect.
“If you only know him as the guy who wrote ‘Wild Thing’ and ‘Angel Of The Morning’ – you don’t know him! Chip Taylor is making some of the most distinctive acoustic music around today.” - NEW YORK TIMES
“Having sung with Massive Attack and Katy Perry and written for Will Young, she turned heads as a solo artist this year at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville...Her range was formidable, by turns flawless and reckless, and allowed her to reach sweet, yodelling high notes and take the male part in duets.” **** THE TIMES
"In just a year's time, Andrew Combs has grown into one of Americana Fest's most magnetic acts ... Some have called him the next Guy Clark — and the shoe (or at least the denim-on- denim) seems to be fitting pretty damn well." - ROLLING STONE
"If it seems crazy to compare any band today to giants like the Band and the Flying Burrito Brothers, then call me crazy, but Western Centuries is the country supergroup we've been waiting for.” — Kristin Cavoukian, EXCLAIM! MAGAZINE
“A triple-barreled blast of Texas country, soul and holy-roller rockabilly, delivered by a big-voiced crooner.There's plenty of gospel here, but these songs also worship at the altar of Muscle Shoals soul and groove-heavy country, packed with all the drive and drama of Roy Orbison's work." - ROLLING STONE
“Her voice is unglossed by electronics, and she sings mostly without bravado, echoing the clarity of English folk singers like June Tabor. I like the way a fellow musician compared Shelley's way of landing on a note to a laser hitting a diamond.” - NPR MUSIC
Acclaimed singer-songwriter David Kitt has just recorded his eagerly-anticipated new album, entitled Yous. It's been over seven years since the release of Kitt's last record, The Nightsaver; in that time he's released several EP’s and contributed to two albums by Tindersticks, while touring extensively as a session musician and producer working for the likes of David Gray and Lisa O’Neill.
“The spare singing of Arborist main man Mark McCambridge, together with the economy of his lyrics, which dwell on success and failure and the passing of time, bring to mind Leonard Cohen or Bill Callahan. In particular, A Man of My Age feels like an instant classic: it has the world-weariness of the Go-Betweens, its quivering strings hanging like a question mark over the melody.” **** THE GUARDIAN
John Blek has released his highly anticipated second solo album entitled “Cut the Light. A collection of eleven original contemporary folk songs carefully crafted and documented with the help of Davie Ryan (Drums), Brian Hassett (Bass Guitar) and Brian Casey (Producer). With a sound that harks back to that of Bert Jansch and Liege & Lief era Fairport Convention, “Cut the Light” is likely to become a favourite amongst both new listeners and existing fans. John will be appearing solo at this year’s festival.