Celtic punk inspired by rock’n’roll and a love for metal with Irish jigs and a cheeky bit of accordion thrown in for good measure. There’s a lot to love about the sound of Johnstown, Pennsylvania band Lucky Lad Green.
The band originally formed several years back but took a 3-year hiatus as a result of getting married, having families etc… But a chance reunion at an Irish rock gig and the posting of a picture on their Facebook page to prove it saw the band reform with a new vocalist and an accordion player to boot.
The result of that is new EP Get There Somehow, which was released in March. From it, they sent us opening track Through The Door.
It opens up with stabbing guitar chords that are instantly met by a funky little accordion riff. Those continue under engaging vocals, which builds into drawn-out guitar chords under more laid-back vocals “And I can’t hold on to you anymore, I’m moving on, I’ve got one foot through the door.”
That drops back into the jaunty accordion and guitars for a second verse, which feeds into another chorus that drops into atmospheric instrumentals under drawn-out vocals. That feeds into a final blast of the chorus vocals in a big, rocky ending. Give it a listen below:
Things get a little more raucous, shouty and punk-infused with the lively Chase The Snakes, give it a listen below:
While there’s more of a classic Irish jig feeling to the EP’s closing track Irish Eyes. Get your dancing shoes on, grab a Guinness and join in the singalong below:
We had a chat with the band about their background, reforming and what you can expect from their music. Read on below…
GR: Who are Lucky Lad Green?
LLG: “In the early winter months of 2013, guitarist Ryan McDonald and frontman Eric Smay had just been let go from a local metal band and met at Eric’s to jam a few songs Ryan had written. Ryan had the idea to incorporate some of his Irish heritage into faster, harder punk rock songs like his favorite band, Dropkick Murphys.
“And so began the search for other outcasts within the Johnstown area to create something new for this small steel town in Western Pennsylvania. A few weeks later, Eric ran into local scene supporter/bassist Jim Berkin who had just recorded a 4-song EP with his pop punk band, Anchors to Anchors. Eric explained what he and Ryan had been doing and Jim anxiously hopped on board meeting up with the guys a week later to start carving out some new music.
“We continued searching for a drummer and writing for another month before mutual friend, Bret Berkhimer, agreed to stop in at some practices. All of us really started to get to work on writing, but knew something was missing. Jim’s cousin, Stephen Boyle, had been hanging out at practice until finally he was asked to join the band. In November of 2013 after a summer full of writing, Lucky Lad Green landed their first show in Ebensburg, PA at The Castle Pub.
“It didn’t take long before the lads were playing regularly in and around town. In March 2014, we put out our self titled debut EP which helped us become known as ‘the party band’ in and around Western PA. We had a solid two year run all over PA playing snowboard competitions, haunted attractions, pubs, really anywhere that would let us plug in and play.
Late in 2015 Bret left the band to pursue a teaching career internationally and was replaced by band friend/fan Brandon Lohr. We continued on relentlessly playing shows culminating with a 2016 performance with The Real McKenzies in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, after 3 straight years, the band decided to take a break.
“During the hiatus Ryan, Eric, and Brandon all got married and started families making the likelihood of LLG returning to the stage a grim possibility. That was until a cold winter night in January of 2019. That night Jim got a call from Eric and Ryan asking him to come downtown to listen to the Bastard Bearded Irishmen from Pittsburgh. We took a photo together for old times’ sake and threw it up on our FB page. To our surprise, not too many people had forgotten about the band and an offer to play St. Paddy’s Day landed in our laps!
“Due to family commitments, Eric still wasn’t able to play, but Jim and Ryan had been jamming with a group of guys and playing LLG songs for awhile at this point. The band re-emerged in March 2019 with a new lineup including Andrew Roberts on vocals, Shane Boyer on drums, and accordionist Jim Vizzini.
“After the show, we all decided we wanted to keep the band going so we got to work on new material and landed a spot at Yinzfest 2019 in Pittsburgh as well as an opening spot for Ritchie Ramone. During the winter, we hit up Steve Graham who had recorded our first EP and he helped us put together Get There Somehow, which was released in March.”
GR: You just released Through The Door. What should people be expecting from the song?
LGG: “Long-time fans of the band will notice a difference in vocal delivery on Through The Door along with an accordion riff that really carries the song itself. As far as inspiration for it, Andrew had just gotten out of a relationship and wrote the song on an acoustic. He brought it to practice. We tweaked the rhythm a bit and it just came to life.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
LGG: “We like to think that we meld punk rock, hardcore, pop, and old school rock n roll into a Celtic jigger that’s best served straight on a Saturday night at the local pub.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
LGG: “We have always believed that the band is more like a family than anything. We try to include everyone and write songs about family, friendships, and life experiences that we all can relate to. That’s what we are. That’s what we write about.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
Our strongest musical influences come from 90s alternative groups like Soundgarden and Nirvana, Celt punk bands like Dropkick Murphys and The Rumjacks, and bands like Blink 182, Green Day, and Sublime.
GR: What have you got coming up in 2020?
LGG: “Like most bands right now, we’re kind of at a standstill for a little while with booking shows. However, July 31st we will be playing our first all acoustic set as we open up a show for Michale Graves. August 8th we will be in Pittsburgh for the Millvale Music Festival, and in September, we will be a part of the Savage Mountain Punk Picnic.
“Right now the plan is to record some of the music we’ve been writing/working on throughout the Covid 19 pandemic this winter and hopefully follow up Get There Somehow in the spring of 2021.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
LGG: “Lastly, this band means a lot to us. We were all, in one way or another, outcasts but have found ‘our people’ through the music we play. We invite anyone who may be feeling lost, left out, alone, or simply just looking for something different to check out our music.”