Back From Ireland & Scotland, The Fox Hunt Still Won't Slow Down

The Martinsburg, W.Va.-based band The Fox Hunt will perform at 9 p.m. today, July 29, at Shamrock's Irish Pub in Huntington. The band consists of John Miller, Matt Kline, Matthew Metz and Ben Townsend.

Reposted From The Huntington Herald-Dispatch

A lot of people would love to visit Ireland and Scotland, see the sights, and maybe spend some quality time in the pubs.

The four guys in the Martinsburg, W.Va.-based string band, The Fox Hunt, spent a few weeks touring over there recently, making friends and fans on what could be called a working vacation.

John Miller, singer and guitarist for the band, had just been back a few days, and was ready to talk about the trip - the highlights and the headaches.

The band returns to Huntington today, July 29, for a show at Shamrock's Irish Pub.

So many of the songs on The Fox Hunt's latest CD "Won't Slow Down" are about life on the road, and now, they have the experience of flying.

"Suffice to say I didn't like the idea of it before, and I hate it now," Miller admitted.

But the flying was definitely worth it, he said.

"We had a great time," Miller said. "The first week, after rehearsals with The Henry Girls, with whom we were collaborating for the Ireland shows, we'd go out and drink or stay in and play Monopoly Deal. We got to go to a few really great pub sessions and play with some incredible musicians; a great experience."

It's been a good year for The Fox Hunt. The band released the CD in the spring and played Mountain Stage not long after that.

While The Fox Hunt has been making fans all over thanks to its old time fiddle-centric mix of bluegrass, country and roots music, it was a different crowd across the pond.

"The reception was quite good," Miller said. "We got the chance to play for a lot of great, responsive listening audiences. Quite different from the bar scene we'd gotten used to, so it was a bit intimidating at first."

Aside from the shows, there's the scenery. And the guys in The Fox Hunt, "total tourists" as Miller described them, got to soak it in.

"During the day when we'd get to a town we'd often run around and see the sights," he said. "Scotland's history and structures were amazing to see. The castles in Scotland, as well as the beautiful landscape in the Highlands, were two highlights for us. We spent a lot of time rehearsing and staying at a B&B (bed and breakfast) in County Donegal in Northwestern Ireland, which is a truly beautiful part of the world with a magnificent coastline and relaxed, friendly country folks, with whom we fit well."

Then, there's the whole driving on the wrong side of the road thing.

"Learning how to drive on the wrong side of the road in the wrong side of the car was difficult," Miller said. "Two of us, I won't name names, busted the hubcaps on the left side of our rental car on curbs. Not a highlight I guess."

Miller said the guys managed to squeeze in a little partying.

"One of my favorite nights was after our last Ireland show in Letterkenny," he said. "We had been drinking in the green room of the theater we were playing, then all went across the street to a big bar to see this great band, The Pyros, play. That was probably one of the wildest all around party nights, we missed our stay at the B&B in that town and had the festival get us a hotel downtown, which we, most of us, made it to."

The interweaving history of the Scots-Irish, Appalachia and bluegrass was something that became even more apparent to Miller and the guys in The Fox Hunt in Ireland.

"It's special to us that we got to go over there and play with people who share the same kind of respect for traditional music there as we have for old time music here," he said. "We even shared a few tunes in common; some tunes came from Ireland and eventually adapted to old time styles of playing them. Overall it's a history I don't think we considered very much until we got to go over there and see it firsthand, play with people, and share our music."

Miller said that on the whole, life on the road in The Fox Hunt is pretty good.

"Any band that really hates touring is in the wrong business," he said. "It's a necessary evil and if you don't embrace it, not only will you miss out on a lot of wonderful life experiences, but you probably won't be able to take it anywhere. It's certainly a lifestyle, sometimes incredible, sometimes not so much. But there are those of us who, if we tried to quit doing it, would be pretty miserable. So we keep doing it for better or worse."

--- photo: Brian Muncy

If you go:
WHAT: The Fox Hunt, Sasha Colette and The Magnolias

WHEN: 9 p.m. Thursday, July 29

WHERE: Shamrock's Irish Pub, 2050 3rd Ave., 304-523-5825


ON THE WEB: www.myspace.com/lefoxhunt, http://www.myspace.com/sashacolettemusic

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