Trad, the next generation

The Freels host a show Saturday night, begin work on debut album

Published on June 4, 2014
Local trad band The Freels will perform at the Rocket Room Saturday in aid of their upcoming debut album.
— Submitted photo

Some might find it a little hard to believe The Freels have yet to record an album.

They’re quite new, but the “Baby Dards,” as they’re affectionately called (after fellow trad band The Dardanelles) have worked so hard over the past couple of years, it seems like they’re everywhere. In reality, you’ve only ever heard them live — but that will soon change.

The Freels — Anthony Chafe (guitar, accordion), Maria Peddle (fiddle), Andrew Fitzgerald (fiddle, bodhran), Danny Mills (flute, bouzouki) and Fergus Brown-O’Byrne (accordion, concertina) — went into the studio last month to begin recording their first record, thanks to an Indigogo crowd-source funding project which earned them more than $4,000.

The rest, they hope, will be raised Saturday night, when they present a show at the Rocket Room in St. John’s.

Like their gigs, the self-titled album will feature mainly traditional tunes, bent into Freels shape with energetic, original arrangements and sound.


Previous experience

Trad music is what comes easiest to the musicians: Chafe, Peddle, Fitzgerald and Mills had played together as members of the Celtic Fiddlers, and formed The Freels to explore more music.

Brown-O’Byrne and Mills had been working together as well, playing shows and hosting trad jams, as well as facilitating the Young Folk at the Hall program.

“Last February, (the band) thought it might be neat for me to sit in on a set in a concert,” Brown-O’Byrne said of his addition to the group. “We decided to keep me on as a permanent member, and we’ve been going strong ever since. It’s been a good bit of fun, some good energy and a great sound.”

The Freels are hoping their record will be released in time for the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival in August, at which they will perform.

Tickets for Saturday’s show are $15 in advance ($18 at the door), and are available at O’Brien’s Music and Fred’s Records. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at

8 p.m.

Twitter: @tara_bradbury