Kailyarders: Vancouver's Celtic rock band debuts at the BC Highland Games

Dec 19 2017, 11:00 am

Vancouver’s Celtic rock band, Kailyarders, will be debuting with their new lineup at the BC Highland Games in Coquitlam on June 21, 2014. Kailyarders is a musical project for like-minded musicians and songwriters to showcase their songs and talents within a supportive band. People will come and go and the line-up will be ever changing but you will always be entertained by fresh and innovative music and lyrics. The current line-up consists of Bruce McKillican (vocals, bodhran, percussion, whistles), Collin Wade (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Dave Linney (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Chris Willicroft (bass, mandolin, banjo), and Lewis Kane (vocals, accordion, piano). Follow the link here to check out some of their songs.

Their varied backgrounds come together to play high-powered and thought provoking original songs that tell stories and entertain. One of many fun facts about the Kailyarders is that the shortest member is 6′ 1” which explains their motto, “We don’t play any short songs!”  Here’s a little bit of a bio on each of the band members followed by an exclusive Q and A!

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Collin Wade

Collin began playing guitar at age 9 and co-wrote his first song at 12. Collin spent several years singing and blending voices with the Vancouver Scottish Gaelic Choir as well as working on his solo music. He has performed in Scotland, Nova Scotia, Seattle, and Nashville, as well as the Greater Vancouver area with Three Row Barley, and at one point even auditioned to join the Scottish band Runrig to replace Donnie Munro. Collin continues to focus on his song-writing, penning about 100 songs per year since 2011.

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Chris Williscroft 

A very big presence in the band, and a gifted instrumentalist, Chris looks after all the sound, set up and adding that special instrument to the songs. Whether it is mandolin, banjo, guitar or a thundering bass, Chris brings it every show. Don’t let his quiet demeanor fool you. He takes Kailyarders from good to great!

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 Dave Linney

 Dave is a native Dubliner that has landed in Vancouver and enjoys sharing his love of Irish music. He is a talented vocalist, guitarist and also plays piano, mandolin and harmonica. Dave is a huge fan of traditional Irish music as well as new bands like Mumford and Sons.

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Bruce McKillican

Bruce brings many years of performing Celtic songs to Kailyarders. Bruce plays a variety of jigs and reels on penny whistle as well as adds his unique bodhran style, percussion and solid vocals, both in lead and back up to give Kailyarders a solid 2, 3 or 4 part harmony.

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Lewis Kane

 Born and raised in Inverness, Scotland Lewis plays upbeat, sing-along, rock-out, popular anthems with centuries-old, obscure but beautifully haunting melodies from the Scottish Highlands and everything in between. He is the newest member of Kailyarders and, like Collin, often wears his kilt during performances.

Kailyarder Q & A

  1. What is a Kailyarder? –  I was researching some information for a song a while back and happened upon a discussion on Kailyard School. I looked this up and found that the Kailyard school was formed in the early 1800’s in lowland Scotland to bring attention and re-instill pride in being Celtic through art, literature and music. I liken it to what Norman Rockwell paintings depicted in America in the early 1900’s.As for the Kailyarders music project, my vision is to instill the Celtic pride and awareness into all whose ancestors immigrated to North America in the last few hundred years. Take pride in your bloodlines whatever they may be. Kailyarders represent being proud of who you are and where you come from. Co Leis a Thu?
  2. Where do you draw inspiration for your songs?– Y-Shaped Coffin is based on a comment I heard on the show Black Adder and I decided to write a song about a girl who has been sexually awakened. I based this in St. John’s when I heard that NL was the most promiscuous province in Canada. I am paying homage (in my own crazy way) to the free spirited Newfy’s. Rock on! Maritime Girl and Married to the Sea were written about my wife. She’s a Cape Bretoner and Maritime Girl is about how we met and fell in love. Married to the Sea is about losing my matching wedding band in the Northumberland Straight swimming in rough surf with my kids. I looked for days for my ring to wash up, then decided I must now be married to the sea. King of The Jolly was about a hybrid of several friends I’ve met over the years and turned them into Danny O’Brien. He hangs out in the ‘Jolly Old Beggar’ pub and has his own seat that has been bequeathed to him, like royalty. One of my favorite songs. Ghost Ships of Kerrigans Isle Lyrics were written by Roger Buston of Three Row Barley 18 years ago. I was given the chance to write the music, and within 24 hours I had the music written and the song demoed. I loved the poetic imagery Roger painted with his words and I was delighted to put music to such great lyrics.
  3. How did Kailyarders form? –  When Three Row Barley disbanded in October 2013 we had written songs for an upcoming CD. I had about 25 songs myself and was left wondering what I should do. I decided that the songs were strong enough and I would demo them myself. I called my ‘Nashville Demo’ guy Rick Leather who had worked in Celtic bands in the past and he was thrilled to do something other than Country for a while. I recorded 13 songs with Rick, and some hand-picked studio musicians. I was then left with great songs and no one to play them. I called Chris Williscroft from TRB and he was excited to be involved in a similar musical direction to our previous band. I was given a chance to do a live radio show in March and called Brian Taylor and Tabitha Elder-Grass, who I had also shared a stage with TRB and we rehearsed and played the live show. I had decided to keep the lineup fairly fluid so I could tweak the sound and try and bring the studio sound to life. I had met several musicians on line and live since the demise of TRB and with Tabitha due to deliver her first child in May I thought it best to venture into a new direction and try some new musicians. With the exception of Chris, who provided a solid anchor and multi-instruments to the mix. I spoke to Bruce McKillican who plays tin whistle and bodhran and Vox, Dave Linney, a former TRB multi-instrumentalist and vox, and Lewis Kane, who I had never met but had been recommended to me. Lewis plays accordion, keyboard and vocals. This is our current line up but I want to give all musicians a chance to showcase their own songs and talents with a built in back-up band and they can do the same for me.
  4. Where did you get your musical experience –  I began to play guitar and bass before I reached my teens. My father was a drummer and that was actually my first instrument. When the Beatles and the British Invasion of the 60’s happened I began to hang around with musical guys who were 3-4 years older than me. I just sang at first, then began to play some guitar and bass. I took some lessons but was mostly self-taught. We played Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Yardbirds, and lots of other bands to sing lead and harmonize. I sang and jammed with several music projects over the years and never found one that impassioned me to continue on. In 1997, I attended the B.C. Highland Games in Coquitlam and met up with members of the Vancouver Scottish Gaelic Choir. They invited me to audition and I was thrilled to not only join the choir but quickly find my niche in blending my voice and learning songs that brought me back to my Scottish family roots. I spent 6 years in choir before leaving to raise a family. In 2011 while submitting songs to Nashville I was encouraged to sing live as well as demo tapes. I decided to look for a music project and stumbled upon the ad on Craigslist for a guitarist/vocalist for Three Row Barley. I was able to use my vocal blending to bring TRB a solid 3rd and sometimes 4th harmony. That is, until TRB stopped playing in October 2013.
  5. How many original songs do Kailyarders have? I have 6 recorded, mixed and mastered for my first EP release; King of The Jolly, another 7 are ready for mixing and the rest are waiting for their chance to be brought to life. I have enough material for at least 4 separate releases.
  6. How about cover songs? –  We have a great blend of cover songs to complement our original songs. We have some Mumford and Sons, Avicii, Great Big Sea, and other select songs from Ireland and Scotland. You may even hear a Gaelic word or two. We will always be adding, tweaking and modifying our set lists to keep a good balance of current, traditional and new original songs.
  7. What are your plans and goals for the upcoming year, and beyond? –  I need to build up our local fan base. TRB had a solid following and I’m pretty sure we will inherit those fans as well as make new fans. I also plan to get the songs out to Eastern Canada, as well as the U.K. My plan is to play locally and plan some bigger tours in the U.K as well as Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Although Ft. McMurray has an awful lot of maritimers there. Basically I will play wherever and whenever I can. Not sure when that will happen but I am planning for it. I really need to get a manager to look after the business side of the music and keep my time and head focussed on what I do best; writing and recording songs.

end of Q and A 

Be sure to follow the Kailyarders on Facebook and twitter and check out their first video from the new Kailyarder’s CD King of The Jolly called Married to the Sea.


Kailyarder’s debut performance at the BC Highland games:

When: Saturday June 21, 2014 (events begin at 8:30 follow link to see Schedule of Events)

Where: Percy Perry Stadium ( Coquitlam, BC V3B 4S1)

How: Purchase tickets at the gate (find more information by following this link) and get ready to get you Celt on!