“Larry Kirwan is a rock and roll poet with a deep appreciation of his roots.” Rosanne Cash
After 25 years leading Black 47, America’s premier Celtic Rock band, Larry Kirwan is embarking on a solo career. Black 47 played its last date to a sold out house at BB Kings in NYC on Nov. 15th. “Two days later I was on a tour of Ireland with 60 fans and devotees of Celtic Crush, my SiriusXM Radio show. I went onstage at Wexford Arts Center with the echoes of Black 47 in my ears and came off a solo artist.”
Apart from delving back into his vast Black 47 catalogue, Kirwan performs songs from his critically acclaimed musical, Hard Times – now being developed for a major production. Perhaps most impressive are his mesmerizing intros to Black 47 songs – honed through 10 years hosting Celtic Crush, popular throughout the US and Canada.
“Black 47 songs are full of characters so the stage feels pretty crowded even though I’m alone up there with a guitar. I keep the Black 47 intensity but the stories are often more audible now,” says Kirwan, a noted dramatist with 15 plays to his name.
“In the end it’s all about entertainment and giving value for money but it never hurts to get people thinking about the songs’ messages in the weeks after a gig.”
Kirwan's songs have been featured in many movies and recent editions of Sons of Anarchy and Gossip Girl; they are also used in hundreds of college and high school history and political science classes. His latest book, A History of Irish Music, not only illuminates the music but links it to the social and political changes of the last fifty years.
A social and political activist, Kirwan is currently President of Irish American Writers and Artists, a national organization, and was named one of the Top Fifty most interesting New Yorkers by The Daily News.