When you hear the name Mudmen, what do you envision? Men playing in mud?
Or perhaps, Theatre In The Mud, which is exactly that? Or the adventurous British Mudmen television show, where two guys dig in the Thames River mud?
No, these Canadian Mudmen do not perform in the mud, which is good as they are a Celtic rock group and mud would most likely short out their equipment.
The Mudmen have played in Tillsonburg before, back when the Royal Hotel was The Royal and later when it became Norma Jeans, before it closed. They also played at the Underground, before it was a Funeral Parlour and closed; as well as My Bar and Grill, which is still open!
Not being a bar fly, I must confess, I thought I had never heard of the Mudmen before they rented the Otter Valley Playhouse for their Friday, June 5th CD Release Concert Tour. But I had. For they are a very well known band both nationally and internationally.
The Mudmen began back in 1998 in with the six originals coming from Alvinston and Petrolia, Ont. Today the group consists of Steve Gore, vocal; Anthony Albanese, guitar, banjo, mandolin, lap steel; Mario Bozza, bass guitar; Jeremy Burton, drums; and two of the founding members of the band, bagpipe playing brothers, Robby and Sandy Campbell.
Bagpipes and rock band make for a very interesting mix – a mix which has attracted a lot of attention. They music has been featured on television shows, video games and have recently recorded the music for the Edmonton Oilers, the TV show Oil Change 3, and the Brantford Blast are using the Mudmen’s song Go Team Go as their entrance theme. They have recently performed at the 84 Oilers Stanley Cup first win reunion along with Red Ryder and Sarah McLachlan.
The brothers Campbell, themselves, are widely known for playing their pipes on Colin Oberst’s Canadian Gold, the winning anthem for the new CBC Hockey Night in Canada, from 2008-2014. Don Cherry has featured them several times and they appeared on the Bob and Doug’s 24th Anniversary Special. Check out their website at www.mudmen.ca and you will find their photos with the who’s who of Canada! I recognized Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Martin Short, and Ron MacLean but there are many more for you to see.
The Mudmen were once known for their wild, high energy shows, mostly in bars, but the boys are older now and prefer to play in theatres and do family events which explains why they have booked our Playhouse for their performance. Plus, of course, they have a following here in town.
The more I read, the more I liked about this group, which has toured with, among others, The Irish Rovers, Chieftains, John Allan Cameron and John McDermott and country’s Johnny Reid. And shared the stage with Eugene Levy, William Shatner, The Guess Who and Gordon Lightfoot.
One of the highlights of their careers was meeting and performing for Queen Elizabeth on Parliament Hill, Canada Day, 2013. Considering their genre of Celtic music, the fact that they are of Scottish-British decent, and their mother is a staunch supporter of the Royal Family, it is no surprise that the event was on their bucket list.
I enjoy Celtic music, but I was a wee worried about Celtic Rock, so I spent time on the Mudmen website listening to snippets of their songs. What a surprise, I actually knew a couple on their Donegal Danny CD! If you have never heard of them, I suggest you do the same.
After all the research I deem it an honour that the Mudmen have chosen Tillsonburg to perform one of their 8th CD release concerts, on Friday, June 5th at the Otter Valley Playhouse, on Potters Road. They have a hefty touring schedule, playing theatres and festivals which are aimed for all ages throughout Canada and the US. They are finding their new disc, On A Train, is going over very well.
Tickets are available at the Station Arts Centre for $20, all ages. Curtains up for a 7 p.m. show. Come out and enjoy one of Canada’s own.