When things started getting a little complicated for Flynn529, Bill and Tom Flynn knew it was time to change their act.
Once part of a six-person Celtic band that played throughout the Northeast beginning in 2005, the brothers — Bill lives in Watervliet and Tom lives in Spiegeltown — now perform as The Brothers Flynn, and their two-man show will be a part of the entertainment offered at the Irish Festival 2000 Friday and Saturday at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds in Ballston Spa.
“It’s much easier with just Tommy and myself, because with six people in the band getting booked into certain places was tough,” said Bill Flynn.
“We had to go as far away as Springfield, Hartford, out to Syracuse, and we realized it was getting kind of nuts. I remember that a long time ago we decided that as soon as it stopped being fun we would pull the plug. Well, it reached that point, so we decided to perform as just a duo.”
That was a little more than three years ago. The two brothers have kept themselves pretty busy since, and have shared area stages with popular acts like The Young Dubliners and Hair of the Dog. Tom plays the guitar and the harmonica while handling many of the vocal leads, while Bill is the percussionist — using a variety of different styles of drums — and also sings.
‘Irish Festival 2000’
WHERE: Saratoga County Fairgrounds, Ballston Spa
WHEN: 5-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday
HOW MUCH: Two-day passes in advance, $29; Friday advance tickets, $16, Saturday advance tickets, $18; day of event, $20, Friday and $25, Saturday; children under 12 are free; Parking, $3
MORE INFO: www.irish2000fest.com
“I definitely have some unique drums, and once people hear the sound they get pretty curious about the instrument,” said Flynn. “They add a lot of depth to our sound. We’re having a lot of fun, and it’s still just a part-time job for us, mostly on the weekends. We both have regular full-time jobs, but it’s our music that keeps us going. That’s where our passion is.”
Music came early to the Flynn household.
“My mom and dad were both musically inclined,” said Flynn. “My mom grew up Russian orthodox, and sang in the church choir since the time she could walk. My dad had a wonderful Irish tenor voice, so there was a lot of singing going on throughout the house while Tommy and I were growing up.”
The headliners for this year’s Irish Festival 2000 are The Young Dubliners, an internationally acclaimed Celtic rock group that the Flynn brothers have performed with before.
“We played on the same bill as them before, I think it was Hartford in 2008 or 2009, and while I doubt if they remember us, we certainly remember them,” said Flynn.
“They’re an outstanding group, very energetic, and from the little bit of interaction we had with them they seem like a terrific bunch of guys. That’s a big part of what’s so fun about playing at these festivals. Ninety-nine percent of the performers are great people. Yeah, they’re in it for the money, but it’s also about what the Irish would call ‘craic.’ It’s a word that means fun, and that’s why we do it.”
Flynn describes his own music as Celtic but also pretty varied. People may even hear some Bob Dylan, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash.
“It’s mostly Celtic-influenced, Irish and we do some blues,” he said. “We’re like the Clancy Brothers, Flogging Molly and Drop Kick Murphys. We’re all over the place in that Celtic genre.”
Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or firstname.lastname@example.org.