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'The Elders' Bring Celtic Flair Back To Kansas City

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Beth Lipoff

The Kansas City-based band, The Elders, with their blend of American roots rock and Celtic folk, have performed together since 1998. This year marks their 12th annual Hoolie, a celebration of Irish culture through music and dance.

On Thursday's Up to Date, some of the band members talked about the March 15 event with host Steve Kraske.

"Mostly, it’s just the joy of playing. We all love to play. That’s why we’re still doing it in our mid-50s,” said Brent Hoad, who plays keyboards, as well as fiddle, guitar, mandolin.

Guitarist Steve Phillips told Kraske that the addition of a new fiddle player, Colin Farrell, has “kind of kicked us up a notch. This is a whole new ballgame.”

Hoad added that new songs for an upcoming CD, as well as Farrell’s influence, are moving the band to a more traditional approach.

“We still have the big rock sound, arena, drums and things like that, on some of the material,” he said. “But this is really good for us to stretch, and become equipped for that sort of music.”

Musician Kian Byrne is also one of the more recent members of The Elders. A drummer, bass and mandolin player, Kian first performed with them at the 2012 Hoolie, joining the band his dad, Ian Byrne, co-founded.

“It’s a blast playing with my dad. And I’ve grown up with all these guys. It’s like playing with five dads,” joked Kian.


  • Brent Hoad, The Elders: vocals, keyboards, fiddle, guitar, mandolin
  • Steve Phillips, The Elders: vocals, guitar, mandolin
  • Kian Byrne, The Elders: drums, bass, mandolin

HEAR MORE: The Elders play as part of the Hoolie at The Uptown Theater. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the band will be on stage after some Irish dancing at 8:45. Tickets start at $25. Click here for more information.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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