April 19th, 2018

Roots and family keep The Leahys on their path

By Chris Brown on March 10, 2017.

Submitted Photo Michael Hurcomb For years The Leahys have entertained with their distinctive Celtic, traditional Canadian, and instrumental music. The Leahys are at the Esplanade on March 11.


A large Leahy family with a wide range of musical and performing talents makes it pretty easy to put a compelling show together.

An ever-changing cast helps keep things fresh, with each iteration of the band being a little different from the last. For the version of The Leahys that performs at the Esplanade on March 11 at 8 p.m., songs and songwriting are the key.

Denise Leahy said this week it was simply time.

“We’ve had this with us, this love of song and singing for a long time and it was just the right time for us to really shine the light on that,” she said. “Some of the songs are from years ago and some are brand new.”

Family is one obvious pillar that keeps The Leahys who they are. The current lineup features Denise (on vocals/guitar/piano), Erin (piano/fiddle/vocals), Julie (vocals/piano), Siobheann (bass guitar/vocals/fiddle/piano), Maria (guitar/vocals/banjo) and Frank (drums/fiddle/vocals). The other pillar is their roots.

“It’s who you are, and woven into whatever you do,” said Denise. “Some of the songs we’re doing now push the boundaries, they go in a different direction, however that rooted line is still woven in them.”

It’s been more than two decades since they heyday of the band in the mid-1990s, when they toured with Shania Twain and appeared music videos with her and their step dancing skills got widespread notoriety. It’s still a big part of the show and the group today, Denise assures.

“That was one of the foundational elements of our music when we were young and when we started,” she said. “Even in our songwriting the influence of rhythm and where did that come from? It came from that experience of your body dancing and that marriage of the instrumental music, it’s completely married to dance.”

Coming out west is always a treat for the Ontario-based band, Denise says, and they’re looking forward to this six-date run that started last night in Airdire.

“Its the audience and our reconnecting with the character of the West. When we were young we were out all the time and there’s a spirit of the people, there’s no question about it. A grassroots and heart that we really feel.”

Tickets, $39 plus service charge and GST, are available at http://www.tixx.ca, by calling 403-502-8777 or in person at the Esplanade box office or the Medicine Hat Mall customer service desk.

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