This year at the Games, the musical lineup features familiar faces and new bands sure to strike a chord with audiences young and old. Our special guest emcees are Greg Easterling from WDCB and host of American Backroads, along with John Ballantyne from John Ballantyne’s Crazy Heart.
Chicago Scots would like to thank the Pavilion at Wolf Lake, the Official Sponsor of the Entertainment Stage at the Chicago Scots 37th Annual Scottish Festival & Highland Games. The Pavilion at Wolf Lake is hosting a free concert with Scottish band Talisk in September! In addition, Chicago Scots extends a special thank you WDCB, the official media sponsor at the Scottish Festival and Highland Games.
Learn more about this year’s musical acts below and plan your day at the Games!
The American Rogues
Drawing favourable comparisons to Wolfstone, Afro Celt Sound System, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra and consistently providing performances from Grade 1 bagpipers and other world class musicians this high-energy Canadian/American group has electrified audiences on three continents for years. Renowned for their musical skill, quick wit, compelling storytelling, and engaging stage show the AMERICAN ROGUES have mastered the art of creating an immediate connection with audiences. They are known for their epic, multi-instrumental sound that crosses the musical landscape to include jigs, reels, hornpipes, ballads, originals, covers, soundtracks, patriotic and military music, Irish foot-stompers and more. The AMERICAN ROGUES are fast becoming a household name with music lovers around the world, loved by young and old of all backgrounds.
The American Rogues perform Saturday, June 17th at 5:00pm and 8:00pm
Traditional Scottish Music
Logical Fleadh is an album over a quarter century in the making. The initial flash of inspiration came in 1996, when Logical Fleadh bandleader Ethan Taylor Sellers and his father attended an early concert by folk super-group Solas in Philadelphia. Sellers was instantly a fan and voraciously followed the “family tree” of related projects to broaden his knowledge of traditional Celtic music. Sellers also began penning a series of original compositions that reflected Scottish themes, occasionally performing them with his rock band Tautologic.
After more than a decade of listening and dabbling in traditional Celtic music, Sellers decided to make a serious go of it with Character Fleadh in 2009. Starting as an exclusively-instrumental fiddle/guitar duo, Character Fleadh gradually expanded its line-up and learned hours and hours of traditional songs and instrumental repertoire, playing regional festivals, concert series, and private events.
After a few years, Sellers began to get the impression that some of his bandmates in Tautologic – Emily Albright (fiddle, vocals), Pat Buzby (drums, bodhran), and Nathan Britsch (bass) – wanted in on the action. Dana Joras (flutes, whistles, vocals) and Joe Kilroy (tenor banjo, mandolin, bouzouki) from Character Fleadh were both amenable to a “cross-over” collaboration. Logical Fleadh – a mash-up of Tautologic and Character Fleadh – was born.
The tracks on Logical Fleadh marry Scottish and Irish tunes/songs with a driving rock rhythm section – connecting tradition to the present day.
Logical Fleadh performs Friday, June 16th at 7:30pm
Award winning singer-songwriter
Born in Falkirk and raised in Ayrshire, Jamie has released three albums to date, High Hopes in 2015, Midnight Kingdom in 2020 (which was nominated for Scottish Album of The Year) and Roots in 2016 (which saw Jamie record the songs of Robert Burns live inside Burns Cottage in Alloway, Scotland making history as the first person to do this). Jamie has performed at festivals across the world including Celtic Connections and The Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, Camperdown Burns Festival in Australia, New York Tartan Week, New Hampshire Highland Games, ScotFest in Oklahoma, Ohio Scottish Games and the South East Florida Scottish Festival. Jamie has performed on TV shows including BBC Alba’s RAPAL show, STV’s The Hour and has had his music played on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio Scotland and Celtic Music Radio. At times performing under his own name and other times performing under the name of ‘Little Fire’ Jamie has experimented with sounds and genres through his career so far but his distinctive vocals remain a constant throughout.
Jamie McGeehan performs Friday, June 16th, at 5:00pm and Saturday, June 17th, at 12:00pm & 3:00pm
Silver Rose Trio
Three of the Midwest’s most beloved performers of Rockabilly, Swing, Folk and Oldtime Country combine talents in this stunning trio: Barb Silverman “folk festival in a box” from Laketown Buskers and Teflons fame; Steve Rosen “Folk Buddha” from the Volo Bogtrotters; and regional go-to fiddler Rick Veras who appeared with Rocky Stone, Patsy Montana and in multiple theatre productions. Silver Rose supports rich vocal harmony with an arsenal of banjo, washboard, guitar, mandolin, bones, fiddle, feet, and their obvious deep love of American roots music. Barb, Steve and Rick are teachers at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music.
The Silver Rose Trio perform Saturday, June 17th at 4:00pm
Charlie O’Neill Trio
Charlie O’Neill is a jazz drummer from Chicago. He is joined by Leo Buczkowski on bass and Adam Kastler on piano. They are all jazz performance students at DePaul University. The Charlie O’Neill Trio will explore Scottish tunes and improvise around famous Scottish melodies.
The Charlie O’Neill Trio perform Saturday, June 17th at 2:00pm
Utilizing three instruments for a diverse sound portfolio; Meredith Hopkins and Richard MacDonald form the Chicago based duo, Unbound.
As a Pittsburgh native, Meredith is a national champion Scottish fiddler and has spent time both in the USA Scottish music scene, and also Scotland – where she gained her masters in Scottish Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Music. Meredith is also a F.I.R.E sanctioned fiddle judge and focuses on promoting Scottish fiddling to a variety of audiences.
Raised in Oban, Scotland, Richard MacDonald has over 25 years of accordion playing experience across multiple bands and youth competitions, releasing an album as part of the children’s group “Lismore Lighthouse Band”. Since moving to the USA in 2014, Richard has gained prominence in the Chicagoland Scottish music scene for his creativity and energy across both the accordion and the guitar.
Together, Meredith and Richard combine traditional Scottish favourites with foot-stomping creations to create a unique, lively, energetic twist on the style.
Unbound performs at Friday, June 16th at 4:00pm and Saturday, June 17th at 1:00pm
Frogwater is the acoustic musical pairing of John “Jack” & Susan Nicholson. Renowned for their virtuosity and exuberant live performances, they like to think of themselves as musical ambassadors. Their repertoire spans from Celtic to Delta blues, from classical to pop with a healthy dose of unique original material filling out the mix. For the past several years Frogwater has performed regularly at the Milwaukee Irish Fest, Bastille Days & other area festivals. They have received honors as best band in the Bluegrass & Country categories in the WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) awards. In recent years they have also been featured in Lancaster WI “Music on the Square” The Gay Mills Folk Festival, The Bayfield Folk Fest, The Wheatland Traditional Arts and even a performance in England!
Frogwater performs Friday, June 16th at 6:00pm
Thank you to Pavilion at Wolf Lake, the Official Sponsor of the Entertainment Stage at the Chicago Scots 37th Annual Scottish Festival & Highland Games. The Pavilion at Wolf Lake is hosting a free concert with Scottish band Talisk in September!