Socks in the Frying Pan are a multi-award winning trio from County Clare on the West coast of Ireland, the universal hub of Irish traditional music. Their dynamic vocal harmonies, virtuosic musical ability and their onstage wit has captured and captivated audiences the world around. One of the most sought after groups in Irish music today, the worldwide ‘Sock Invasion’ continues…
“NEW GROUP OF THE YEAR!!” – Live Ireland Awards
“BEST NEW BAND” – Tradition in Review Awards
“SIMPLY STUPENDOUS” – Irish American News
Socks in the Frying Pan comprises of Aodán Coyne on guitar and vocals and the accomplished Hayes brothers, Shane Hayes on accordion and Fiachra Hayes on fiddle & banjo. This youthful trio blend Irish traditional melodies with their own personal flair which has gained them critical acclaim and accolades including ‘New Band of the Year’ by the Irish Music Association. The group have been embraced in the United States, having been booked by every major Irish festival and praised for their energetic approach to music and modern traditional style. They have a clear love for live performance which only compliments the traditional essence in their shows and makes for a truly unique form of entertainment.
“Their Sound flows in magnetic, energetic waves, so does their banter on stage” (Derek Copley) – Irish Music Magazine
“Outstanding music” – Entertainment.ie
“Whose singular musical ability and vocal talents mark them out most definitely as ones to watch for the future.” – Comhaltas
The story so far…
Indeed, Without a Paddle immediately strikes the listener as an emotionally honest and purging album, and as a celebration of Socks in the Frying Pan’s life long Tradional Irish/folk influences such as Planxty, Beoga, and Stocktons Wing, just to name a few. The albums first track, “113.5874”, showcases The Socks original blend of those classic Irish influences with that of The Socks own modern message and sound, while “Missouri Borderland”, “How Mountain Girls Can Love”, and “Dublin Blues” vaunt a more blended mix of Irish Trad and Bluegrass, a sound that is both classic and refreshing with the first listen. Songs like “When First I Came to Caledonia” boast a healthy dose of acoustic verve, while “Guiding Light” is hauntingly stripped bare.
The Socks recalls the life changes since their formation in 2009, particularly in the last 4 years of being professional touring musicians. The culture shock of experiencing 4-6 months a year on the road traveling around the United States after coming from the small town of Ennis in Co. Clare where all three of the members were raised. “We were just kid out of college from a rural town confronted by this fast-paced, ultra-business music scene in the U.S.” they recall. “There was a lot of confusion, trying to keep up and really just figuring ourselves out as a band. It was a struggle. We had come to the States to try and give this music things a proper go, and we had no idea what we were doing…”
At the age of six, the two brothers, Shane and Fiachra started playing accordion and fiddle respectively. Aodán on the other hand only began taking guitar lessons after his folks had purchased one for his 15th birthday. He recalls, “After my first lesson I met my best friend who also played guitar and I asked him if he wanted to start a band. We didn’t really do anything with it but after that it was band after band. I probably played in at least seven bands before meeting the lads and forming Socks in the Frying Pan.”
A few weeks after finishing college in Dundalk, Aodan returned back to Ennis where he met Shane for a few casual Irish traditional sessions in their local bar “Cruise”. They quickly realised that the music they were playing was really “clicking” so they slowly began putting sets together. Before long a number of local venues had asked them to play and a bigger sound was needed. Fiachra, Shanes brother was the missing link. “The pubs we played in just kept asking us back,” he says. “So we eventually decided to make an album, just for fun, and maybe sell a few at the gigs” thus a career was born. “After a while, we went from small gigs, where you got paid in tea & sandwiches, to opening for national acts that we had always looked up to (Lúnasa, De Dannan, Beoga, Stockton’s Wing, The High Kings etc.).”
However, during their rise as a three piece around Ireland, The Socks decided to make a move. “We knew we were at that make-or-break point,” Aodán states, “and we knew it wasn’t going to happen unless we made it happen”. So they made it their mission to get to the United States and start touring, where it quickly became apparent they had found their niche at last. “Rather than being a small acoustic act playing at eight o’clock in the corner of a bar for 12 people, we figured we had to make the first move and put ourselves right in the middle of the action. So we made the investment, put in the paper work and sorted our visas to get over and play in the United States.”
“We started redeveloping the concept of what we were doing,” Shane says. Within six months they had packing out Irish and Celtic festival Stages, drawing several hundred people a show. “In retrospect, it was a crazy time for us, we really had no idea what to expect when we first arrived and I think the authentic sound and personality of the album helped us greatly”.
Socks in the Frying Pan began the road to making their third album WITHOUT A PADDLE in the fall of 2016 with a phone call to producer Tony O’Flaherty, producer of such artists as John Spillane, Mick Flannery, Christy Moore, Frankie Gavin & De Danann. The Socks wanted to return to what they felt they had always done best. “Just making the kind of music that we love. That sort of roots/Irish/folk thing, but with contemporary vibes and a some experimental sounds…The Irish Oh Brother Where Art Thou!”. At the time we didn’t even know who, if anyone, would be interested. But we knew we needed to record it. We felt like it was the record we should have always made. We managed to host a Kickstarter Campaign and had massive support from fans, we called our producer Tony and asked him if he wanted to make a record. Three Weeks later Without a Paddle was born”.
In the past The Socks have been known for their wild stage antics, wild driving tunes, harmonised vocals, Fiachra dressing up in random costumes. But much in the way that WITOUT A PADDLE is a return to The Socks roots, so too is their live performance in support of this new album. “The show will be much more intimate than some of the ones in the past. For the most part it will just be the Shane, Aodán and Fiachra with occasional accompaniment of perhaps percussion or even a dancer. But one of our favorite things is to just be up on stage and just creating that atmosphere and vibe through music”.
When asked the meaning behind the album’s title WITHOUT A PADDLE, The Socks explained, “It can sometime be a struggle getting ourselves organised for going into studio and putting down the tracks. On the few days leading up to doing so we pretty much locked ourselves in a small cottage down in Killarney to get everything tightened up. There were a few days there that it really just wasn’t coming together.. We’re all brothers at this stage and like brothers we get into the occasional fight.. So in close quarters like that along with a deadline looming, you can imagine that the tensions were high. But also like brothers we quickly got over those humps and push on through…” They all laugh, “But there was were a few hours there where we really felt like we were all Up S*&t Creek Without a Paddle!…”
“Attitude and musical daring!.. a successful and highly promising debut.” (John O’Regan) – Irish Music Magazine
“They wrap traditional Irish tunes in modern garments and spice them up with driving grooves” –Folkworld
“Full to the brim with energy and with musical skills.” – Atlantic Weekly
“This is seriously some of the best new stuff to come down the pike in awhile!” – Rampant Lion
“Most definitely in this year’s top five” – Trad Connect “Best young trad band” – Clare Champion
“High-energy playing, fancy ornamentation and frolicsome arrangements” –The Journal of Music
“One of the most innovate young bands performing contemporary traditional and folk music on the scene today” – Dr. Niall Keegan, Irish World Academy of Music & Dance