Ralph O’Brien may be the only original member remaining in the Sons of Erin, but the band is still going strong, and will celebrate 40 years of making music with a show in St. John’s Friday evening.
O’Brien and fellow Sons of Erin members John Barela, Jason Simms, Joe Tompkins and Steve Best will welcome former member Bob O’Donovan back to the stage for the show, which is happening at the Holy Heart Theatre. O’Donovan was a member of the band for 20 years before moving to Florida, where he still plays music.
“It’ll be the Sons of Erin playing as a five-piece, and we’ll be joined by Bob O’Donovan and his friend Bob Noble and we’ll be playing our most requested songs plus some new ones,” O’Brien said.
The band’s most popular tunes include “Fields of Athenry” and “The Town I Loved So Well.”
They’ll also be playing songs from their most recent album, “It’s Good to See Ya,” released in 2001. The 12-track CD was the band’s 17th album — only the third released on CD — and the first in about 10 years. It was recorded in O’Brien’s living room.
While some might think this is a reunion show, it’s not: the band is the house band at Erin’s Pub, which O’Brien owns.
It may be the first time many Sons of Erin fans will hear some of the tunes live, however.
“We do conventions and we play festivals down in the States, but we haven’t toured for the album at all,” O’Brien said. “Basically, when I started Erin’s Pub in 1986, we curtailed our travelling. We’d been on the road since 1968.”
Like the Sons of Erin members before them, today’s band members love playing live music and absorbing the energy that comes from their audiences. They’re promising concert-goers a good time.
“We work with our audiences — the people really determine what material we’re going to do,” he said.
“That’s where you get all your energy, and that’s the wonderful thing about the music. You get instant feedback for a good performance. We have a great time and it’s a lot of fun, a lot of fun.”
Tickets for Friday’s show are $25, tax and surcharge included, and are available at the Holy Heart box office, Erin’s Pub and O’Brien’s Music or by calling 579-4424.