Barleyjuice-Irish Music-Skulduggery Street

barleyjuiceAlbum Title – Skulduggery Street

Barleyjuice is:

Kyf Brewer
Keith Swanson
Shelley Weiss
Eric Worthington
Gregor Schroeder


Read more about them here:

Other guests on Skulduggery Street and more notes on the musicians above:

Shelley Weiss – Fiddle & Viola (1,2,3,4,6,7,13)
Van Morgan – Banjo on Pour That Whiskey
CoCo Brewer & Scotlyn Brewer – Vocals on Generation
Jumpin’ Dave Woodworth – Mandolin on Whiskey Maid

“Skulduggery” – Underhand or deceptive behavior. Trickery.

Kyf Brewer seems to be a large part of the brains behind the operation and is the writer or co-writer on 8 of this CD’s songs. As well he appears to be the designer of the album graphics and one of the recorders and producers.

It is difficult to classify “Skulduggery Street” into any one type of Celtic music.  As is usual, Barleyjuice tempts us into drinking ourselves drunk with nearly every song.  That is consistent!  All of the tracks are Irish influenced although some of them boarder on country bluegrass (of course bluegrass and a lot of country music did derive from Celtic music didn’t it).  I absolutely loved the lyrics on most of these songs, so I recommend listening to them closely.  They are quite poetic in an Irish sort of way and probably some of the best lyrics I’ve ever heard on any modern Celtic album.  You can read the lyrics from “Skulduggery Street” here:


Barleyjuice Music

Barleyjuice relies more so on a unique overall sound than they do on individual instrument performances, so you won’t hear many solo examples of stunning musicianship in their music, although they are all good musicians and play their parts as well as they need to be played to get us emotional and excited.

Notes on some individual songs:

Skulduggery Street
A very cool opening song.  A “drunken pirate” type tune reminiscent of Dropkick Murphys with some of The Pogues mixed in.  Much of Barleyjuice music has this same unique mixture.

Connemara Ground
This is one of my favorites on the album. The beat and uniqueness kept bringing me back.

Prettiest Girl At The Fair
A slow number with a sound similar to a slow Social Distortion tune.

The Postman Always Jigs Twice
Instrumental.  Nicely recorded and mixed. Bodhran lovers will enjoy.

Get Your Irish On
One of the strangest songs on the album and has to be heard to be believed.  A definite indicator of the unique talent in this band.

Molly’s Girls
Reminds one of something that could have been heard during the British Invasion.

Whiskey Maid
A very similar sound to “Molly’s Girls” and actually reminds me of something the early Beatles may have written if they wrote Irish tunes.

Jock MacGraw
Traditional and hardy. A simple tune relying on the lyrics more than the music.

“Scottish Green”
A little strange. Kind of a Celtic pop modernization, perhaps resembling a simplistic Jethro Tull style due to a prominent whistle.  That’s all I can say!

Drunken Sailor
A gritty rendered rowdy and quick-tempo interpretation of this traditional song.   Interesting rock harmonica and fiddle interaction.  I was drunk by the end.

Playground Jig
Too drunk and out of breath to comment.  Luckily it is a very short instrumental at just over 1 minute.

Pour That Whiskey
Celtic meets Charlie Daniels.  One hell of a wild ride and a really good tune.

Irish meets James Taylor. The male voice, whoever it is, is very good and he should sing more often.


Buy Barleyjuice Stuff At:


“Skulduggery Street” by Barleyjuice is not your typical “Every song sounds the same” Celtic CD.  You’ll hear elements reminiscent of other bands such as Dropkick Murphys, The Pogues, The Beatles, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Social Distortion.  I don’t know if that was intentional or not. It comes out a unique sound they can call their own.  It will be a CD you will want to play more than once and you may find it offers a few musical bars that will stick with you several days which makes it a memorable effort.

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