One of my favorite things about running a progressive rock website is the diversity in submissions that I receive. I’ve tried not to limit the reviews that I’ve done to bands that sound like Yes or King Crimson, as my definition for “progressive music” follows more the spirit of the band than necessarily the boundaries of arbitrary genre definitions. So, imagine my pleasure when I received a Celtic-infused prog rock album from Detroit rockers Bill Grogan’s Goat.
Bill Grogan’s Goat’s album Third Eye is an album of Celtic folk songs, played in various creative arrangements, ranging from jazz ( in the shuffle of “Raggle Taggle Gypsy”) to prog (the hazy midsection in”Knockdhu Set”) to Celtic punk (found in the raucous, Dropkick Murphy’s-esque “Paddy’s Dead”) to disco (in “The Devil’s Trumpet”) to even reggae-lite (“Mary Mac”). While there are several joyous stylistic excursions throughout the album, they never stray too far from the Celtic roots, as the violin work and traditional instrumentation grounds the rest of the band. You can sense a love for and familiarity with the source material, and also a wild, adventurous spirit that, above everything else, showcases the band’s level of technical skill and experience.
For the proggers out there- I smiled a few times throughout the album as I heard passages that seemed to be shout outs to various legendary prog band. A good example of this is instrumental “Andro des Morts” which reminds me a bit of the intro to Yes’s “Machine Messiah” from Drama.
“Wild Mountain Thyme”, with it’s lively guitar and harmonies, sounds like it could be on a Moody Blues b-side.
While I can’t boast any expertise in the Celtic music arena, I can definitively say that Billy Grogan’s Goat’s album Third Eye was a unique, spirited, and above all, fun album from start to finish. The energy and spirit of the music would definitely make this band a fun live band to see.
Buy Bill Grogan’s Goat’s latest album, Third Eye, here.
So that’s what Irish folk songs sound like when given a Detroit rock treatment. A couple of nice tunes there but overall there’s too much conventional Irish folk and not enough variety for my taste. Worth a spin, though.