Capturing the energy of a live performance - 'Everyone In' from The Drowsy Lads

“The Drowsy Lads” thundered onto the Irish music scene in the US almost 15 years ago and have become fan favourites at every turn. Sticking to traditional roots they bring a fire and excitement that is quickly winning over audiences. With the release of their 4th album, “Everyone In!”, and the notable camaraderie that flows from their live performances, the future continues to look bright.

Ohio brothers John and Daniel McKewen, father and son Phil and Josh Franck, and lifelong friend Bryan Brookes bring to the stage a concoction of “we dare you to hold still,” Irish dance tunes as well as a full emotional gamut of songs and good humour. Their authentic approach and deep enjoyment of people is a refreshing surprise, even to those steeped in hardcore Trad.

“Our main goal with this album was to achieve a more raw and realistic sound. We love old recordings where you can hear the energy pouring out from the speakers. We wanted to tap into that feeling and the more spontaneous, free-flowing energy we achieve in our live performances.”

Regarding the recording, Daniel McKewen said: “Our musical inspiration is wide, but the common thread is the authenticity. Bands like Bothy Band, Dervish, De Dannan, Danú, Goitse, We Banjo 3, Planxty all have made a huge impact on our music. We also live in Bluegrass country and while we aren't trying to do a hybrid kind of music, it definitely comes across. With this album we wanted it to be really true to all of these influences. That sounds a little broad, but ultimately, there is a certain "full band" sound that we really enjoy. We love making music together. The title, in part, is an ode to that - Everyone In!”

“With these tracks, we tried to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. We included certain types of tunes we hadn't done before, as well as injecting as many different textures as we could into the recording. The ‘C Set’ is entirely played on instruments in C and includes harp. ‘The Banjo Takeover’ is another set that includes an original tune from our fiddle player Phil, as well as clawhammer banjo.”

Besides packing out theatres, concert halls, clubs and pubs, the Lads are lighting up Irish festivals including Milwaukee, Dublin, Dayton, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Louisville. They were also featured at Lakeside Ohio’s Chautauqua series for four years, the beautiful Murphy theatre for three, and were guest artists with the Otterbein University Orchestra.

“Really the album title says it all”, Daniel says. “We enjoy each other and are blessed to have made loads of friends because of this music. If we take ourselves to seriously, the enjoyment and energy can get sucked out of the room. We want that joy to come to across with every track and every show.”

Everyone In! Is now available to purchase from

If you are an Irish radio broadcaster you can download a digital copy of the album from our download centre here on Tradconnect. Contact us for details.


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