Who were Jimmy Keane's biggest musical influences?

My dad, Jimmy (Horse) Keane was my initial influence. Although he did not play an instrument per se, he was a great sean-nos (old style) singer in Irish (and in English) from Connemara. He loved music and musicians. If you have been around Irish Music for a while, you will get to meet some wonderful characters, particularly the older ones. Alas, less of them now, but still a few gems about.

Of course, my Mom Mary played a big part too (she’s from Kerry - Dun Geagan, Ballinskelligs to be almost exact -- or as Horse would refer to it as the “arse-end” of Kerry). Man, the drive to there from near Dublin would be as long as the transatlantic flight from Chicago. She played piano as a child but I never heard her play.

Horse “knew” when it sounded right and when it did not. And let me tell ya, he let me know in no uncertain terms on the latter. His favorite instrument was the accordion (button box). I was offered the button box but I insisted on playing the piano accordion. (I now realize I was dropped on my head several times as a youngster)
Liz Carroll
Without a doubt, my main actual musical influence was Liz. Growing up playing music with Liz was phenomenal. I have yet to meet anyone with the musical capacity of Liz. She’d have a new tune in memory the second time around hearing it (sometimes during the first time) and the uncanny ability to pull tunes out of the ether that (I think) only Liz and the tune’s composer ever heard (if she wasn’t composing that “ether” tune on the spot and not cognizant of that action -- which I always wonder about....). We worked hard too at the music learning a couple, two, three tunes a day for a long stretch. One of the highlights of those formative years of playing together was being the first US based duo to win the All-Ireland Senior Duet.
Other Irish Musician's in Chicago
In addition to Liz, the musicians of Chicago would be the next biggest influence. Including, but not limited to,
and in no particular order:
Johnny McGreevy (fiddle)
Joe Shannon (uilleann pipes)
Kevin Henry (flute/pipes)
Pat Cloonan (C#D box then later BC)
Eleanor Neary (piano)
Mary McDonagh (piano/fiddle)
Nancy Harling (piano)
Terry “Cuz” Teahan (concertina & zaniness)
Martin Byrne (button box)
Tom Masterson (flute)
Jimmy Coyle (button box)
Jimmy Considine Sr. (button box)
Seamus Cooley (flute & a wee drop of whiskey)
Tommy McGuire (button box)
Joe Cooley (button box)
Kevin Keegan (button box)
Eileen Carroll (Liz’s mom)

All the above (and those that I forgot to mention at the moment) were musical mentors sharing their love for the music and knowledge with myself, Liz, Michael Flatley (yes that “RiverDance/Lord of the Dance” Michael) and Marty Fahey during the 1970’s.
(Please note that all the above four were southsiders at the time too.)
And see, there was more going on musically than just the BeeGees, Sex Pistols, Eagles, Rolling Stones, and Bruce Springsteen during the 1970’s

Joe Burke

Paddy Gavin

Brendan Mulkere

Mick Moloney

Robbie O’Connell


Leave a comment

Please or register to post.

Add comment