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The Chieftains Will Tour U.S.

The Chieftains.

By Irish America Staff
February / March 2003

After celebrating 40 years together, then unexpectedly suffering a great loss of long-time member, and friend Derek Bell, the Chieftains are taking to the road again for the 41st U.S. tour, in dedication to Bell who died this past October.

The band’s 30-city tour kicks-off on January 13th in the southwest and culminates in New York City on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17). Pop Cellist Caroline LaVelle will stand in for Bell. Sets will include a Bell tribute, bluegrass and classic Chieftains.

The tour will take place hot on the heels of one of the group’s most successful album releases, Down the Old Plank Road, with guest artists to include Peter Gabriel, Muse, Indigo Girls, The Cranberries Allison Moorer and bluegrass standout Chris Jones.

Down the Old Plank Road: The Nashville Sessions, released in September on RCA Victor Group, celebrates the ties that bind Ireland’s enduring musical heritage to the heartland of America. The album features the Chieftains alongside some of country music’s biggest stars, including Vince Gill, Martina McBride, Lyle Lovett, and Patty Griffin. Legendary instrumentalist Earl Scruggs as well as the eclectic Bela Fleck are also highlighted, as are bluegrass virtuosos Del McCoury, Ricky Skaggs, Alison Krauss, and Jeff White. Down the Old Plank Road also spotlights special guests John Hiatt along with the duos Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings and Buddy and Julie Miller.

The recording, produced by Chieftains founder Paddy Maloney, has received major critical acclaim. According to the Dallas Morning News, “The Chieftains came to the mountain, and the mountain recognized its kin. It is one glorious front porch jam session.” ♦

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