Brendan Butler has been on the folk and bluegrass music scene for over 20 years. He has played in many musical settings, bands and loose associations, but is best known for his work with the Lee Valley String Band since the mid-90s. He has been playing mandolin, singing high and lonesome with those boys since he returned to Ireland from Kentucky in 1994.
Brendan can be found playing regularly with Sara Corkery (Joyful Mysteries) and Siona Knepper in Stayin’ Down Shoes, showcasing their tight vocal harmonies and tasteful guitar, fiddle and mandolin. Brendan also teams up with his long time Lee Valley collaborator and friend, Hal O’Neill on guitar, and with Siona Knepper on bass and vocals for some bluegrass and country standards, as well as some original songs and tunes in the Brendan Butler Trio. We’re Them Now is another of Brendan’s musical outlets, teaming up with Johnny Campbell (ex Chuck Berry and Rory Gallagher) on bass, Brian Calnan (ex Moving Hearts) on drums and Hal O’Neill on guitars to deliver a swinging country vibe with a more electric feel.
For this year’s Westport Folk & Bluegrass Festival, Brendan has teamed up with our very own Freda Hatton on harp. Freda, originally from Athlone, but living in Westport for the last number of years, is an All-Ireland winning harper who has travelled all over the world and can been seen regularly on the session scene around town. Their first encounter was at an after-wedding party in the wilds of West Kerry in the summer of 2013, where they found themselves jamming on mandolin and harp into the early hours. Rekindling that musical spark in Westport at impromptu sessions over the last few years the pair decided that it would be great to do something together, and thus the seeds were sown.
We will hear the fruits of those seeds as Brendan and Freda will take to the stage for their official debut performance as the opening show of this year’s festival in The Creel on Friday 5th June.