For Casey Crosby, playing in her Celtic band isn’t just foot-stomping fun; it was a lifesaver.
“It goes back about 11 years ago, when I lost my husband,” she says. “When he died, I felt like I lost all passion.” Crosby started looking for ways to stay occupied and joined an informal weekly jam session about three years ago. That was all she needed to get back on track.
“It sparked something in me,” she said. “I was just putting one foot in front of the other and had gone on autopilot. But the passion is there again.” At the jam session, Crosby connected with another Irish music enthusiast. They ran an ad on Craigslist and “cranked up a band.” Today, her group is known as the Crescent City Celtic Band.
Crosby, who has Irish blood on both sides of her family, taught herself to play the guitar in high school. A car accident as a teenager had put her on two months of bed rest, and she learned the guitar as a way to stay occupied. “That’s the only time in my life I would sit still long enough to learn,” the Slidell resident jokes.
Irish pub music has always been a favorite of Crosby’s, and now the Crescent City Celtic Band—“with their hearts in the glen and their feet in the bayou”—is bringing the catchy tunes to venues across New Orleans and the northshore. Crosby is joined by Frank Williams on bass and accordion; Jeff Shaw on fiddle, mandolin and guitar; and occasionally Billy Williamson with the tin whistle, bodhran (Irish drum) and guitar. She says, “One of the best things is we’re friends; we love each other, we respect each other and we help each other.”
The band plays some originals, as well as covers of modern Irish music—like songs from the popular band Flogging Molly. The group frequents the Kerry Irish Pub on Decatur in the French Quarter, which Crosby says is their favorite venue. The Irish crowds—who are generally familiar with the band’s songs—are part of the fun. “The drunker they get, the louder they get.”
But Crosby says the band’s music isn’t just for the Irish folks in the area. The group can get an audience of any background up and dancing. They play regularly at Counter Culture yogurt shop in Slidell and at farmers markets and Trailhead events on the northshore. They’re working on recording their first album, and some of their recordings are available now through their website.
“We hope if people are into Irish music that they’ll come out and see us play,” Crosby says. She guarantees one live show will attract even the skeptics to the band’s growing fan base.
Follow the Crescent City Celtic Band at crescentcitycelticband.com and on Facebook. The band is also available for private parties.Filed under: Arts, Hobbies, March-April 2011, Music, Northshore Living