Isle of Man News - POSTED Fri 22-01-2010

'Southern Tenants' to Brew Up a Bluegrass Storm!

by Liz Corlett

'Southern Tenants' to Brew Up a Bluegrass Storm!

One of the most dynamic, acclaimed bands of roots musicians will fire up the Villa Marina on Saturday 30th January, courtesy of Jonno Promotions.

The Southern Tenant Folk Union, formed by Belfast-born five-string banjo player Pat McGarvey, take their name from the multi-racial union of sharecroppers and tenant farmers founded in 1930s Arkansas.

Writing and performing a unique brand of Bluegrass, Gospel, Americana and Celtic Folk, The Southern Tenant Folk Union put a modern slant on traditional folk themes in styles reminiscent of The Carter Family and Steve Earle, amongst others.

Pat McGarvey served his musical apprenticeship with Americana band The Coal Porters.  This and countless collaborations with key Americana acts, such as The Arlenes and Bob Neuwirth, gave him the grounding he needed to fuse the band’s American folk sound and British roots with his own Celtic heritage. 

In 2006, McGarvey gathered a collective of like-minded musicians - Roddy Neilson, a former member of the Peatbog Faeries; singer-songwriter and percussionist John Langan; mandolinist Adam Bulley; guitarist and songwriter Chris Purcell; and Silas Child on upright bass and vocals - and The Southern Tenant Folk Union was born.  

Their eponymous debut album was released in 2007 to warm reviews and national radio play.  Just over a year later, its follow-up, ‘Revivals, Rituals & Union Songs’, was equally well-received.


Since then, the band have been touring extensively in the UK and Europe, recording their third album (due for release in April) and enjoying growing recognition. 


They have recorded a live session for BBC Radio 2's Mark Lamarr, received airplay on BBC 6 Music, and earned excellent reviews in Mojo, Uncut, The Irish Times and Maverick Magazine.

Pat McGarvey says, "People are always amazed at how energetic the up-tempo tunes are and how soulful the slower introspective songs sound.  It’s still unusual to see a band that don’t hide behind drums or walls of volume, and can sing and play great original songs in an emotionally engaging manner whilst obviously having a good time doing it."  
The Southern Tenant Folk Union play in the Promenade Suite of the Villa Marina on Saturday 30th January.  Doors open at 7pm and the show starts at 8pm.  The gig will be fully seated.


There will be local support from Anna Goldsmith and TramWreck.


Tickets priced £12 (concessions £10) are on sale now from the Welcome Centre (Sea Terminal) and The Villa Marina Box Office.  Alternatively,  call 01624 600555 or buy online at

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