Award winning Southern Tenant Folk Union to play Thurles March 7th


“An ambitious suite of songs…a fierce polemic…expands STFU’s folk origins by drawing on funk, deep soul and film score atmospherics” UNCUT

“Thrilling folk rock at its best, with the Union unafraid to adopt funk & soul into their sound” DAILY EXPRESS



Tue 3rd March – Spirit Store, Dundalk, Co Louth

8pm €13.50 (€12.00 + €1.50 booking fee) Bookings: or tel 042 9352697

Wed 4th March – Flowerfield Arts Centre, Portstewart

8pm All tickets £10 (incl complimentary interval refreshments).  Bookings: +0044 (0) 28 7083 1400

Thu 5th March – Island Arts Centre, Lisburn Northern Ireland BT27 4RL 8pm £12 (£10 concs) Bookings: +00 (0)28 9250 9509

Fri 6th March – Glens Centre, Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim

8pm €15 Bookings: 071 9855 833 or

Sat 7th March – Source Arts Centre, Thurles, Co Tipp

8pm €15 on door – €12 early bird tickets available Bookings: 0504 90204

Sun 8th March – Upstairs at Whelan’s, Dublin

Doors 8pm €12 adv or €14 on door Bookings: WaV Box Office tel 1890 200 078

Feb 16th sees the release of the sixth SOUTHERN TENANT FOLK UNION album ‘The Chuck Norris Project’.  Reviews for the album in the UK have cemented the stature as one of the leading alt-roots groups in the country.  The award winning Scottish based collective return to Ireland on March 3rd to 8th starting in Dundalk & ending with the Irish album launch concert in Whelans Dublin. Watch the band perform live on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show & RTE’s Late Late Show


Conceptually the tracks on the collective’s new album ‘The Chuck Norris Project’ are all named after different movies from the actor’s career (though have nothing to do with the plots & contain no reference to car chases, explosions or karate chops) with each song taking the title as a starting point to discuss political ideas.  Belfast born band leader Pat McGarvey came upon the idea in during the last US presidential election when Mr Norris & his wife released a campaign video urging voters to come out for Mitt Romney saying that a vote for Obama would lead to “a thousand years of darkness, a statement he felt unhelpful to the debate. Musically eclectic, the album remains an all-acoustic affair but takes in influences like 70’s disco, folk & soundtrack music mixing elements of composers like John Carpenter, Gene Clark and Fabio Frizzi.


Featuring an expanded sound with orchestrated fiddle, clarinet and cello on top of the band’s regular 5 string banjo, double bass, cajon, mandolin and acoustic guitars, the songs each explore different subjects that expand upon the original movie title in unexpected ways. Also influential was the work of 70’s soul composer/arrangers such as Isaac Hayes, J.J. Johnson and Barry White on songs like the epic Martial Law or the relentless folk disco of Walker, both tracks using those big soundtrack stylings to emphasise and reflect the emotion of the lyrical content.


The subjects of the songs are diverse but have subtle & common threads linking them outside of the framing device. A few songs touch on the gun laws in USA and their consequences, one being the continuing horror of school shootings (in Slaughter In San Francisco) written from the point of view of a young girl trapped in time beneath her desk. Equality is another thread linking the songs with zero hour contracts & the need to organise labour the basis for the song Delta Force (referencing Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World caste system) and the forces ranged against it in The Octagon. Leading each piece of music are the compelling vocals from Rory Butler, a voice powerful yet fragile. He is accompanied by the thrilling dexterity of Adam Bulley on Mandolin and the innovative fiddle playing ofKatherine Stewart who manages to effortlessly combine elements of Scottish traditional music and classical training into a beautiful & often disturbing sound. Chris Purcell whose sublime songwriting contributions have been highlights of the last 4 STFU albums has composed The Wrecking Crew Parts 1 & 2 a song suite noting the parallels of paranoia on both the extreme right & left. On the left Utopian ideals that end in disappointment & on the right the fear of losing power via equality and social progress. Other tracks on the album include a dissonant string based riff on a possibly future homosexual or female occupant of the White House where it’s just business as usual (The President’s Man) & appropriately for a band named for a union they present in Expendable Too a scenario where workers decide to reverse the norm & outsource their Managing Director’s job.


Once again recording & mixing, on his fourth consecutive album with the band, is LAU sound engineer Tim Matthew.  Album artwork comes again from IRISH DESIGNER Jonathan McClean & this time he’s devised a set of bold, eye catching & memorable images reminiscent of 70’s action movie posters.


The band have once again taken another leap in sound, structure and tone as they marry social conscience and comment on the world around them with songs, melodies and performances that engage. This album has achieved what it set out to and now on release STFU invite all to listen for themselves, although maybe it would be for the best if Chuck Norris never got to hear it.


Southern Tenant Folk Union are:

Adam Bulley – Mandolin Rory Butler – Acoustic Guitar/Lead Vocals Steve Fivey – Cajon Drum/Percussion Chris Purcell– Acoustic Guitar/Vocals Craig Macfadyen – Double Bass Pat McGarvey – 5 String Banjo/Vocals  Katherine Stewart – Fiddle/Vocals


Press reviews for previous album ‘Hello Cold Goodbye Sun’:

“The Scottish band’s harmonies dance and drone, tackling songs that embrace the traditional ambience of The Unthanks and the experimentation of Tunng” **** Q Magazine

“The Scottish folk group Southern Tenant Folk Union presents its most potent offering since 2010’s excellent The New Farming Scene” **** The Independent

“It may be folk but it is upbeat and danceable. An album that could be called rootsy Calvin Harris or David Guetta with banjos.  Brilliant” Daily Record

“weaves a spell and by the end you are likely to be confounded and mesmerized in equal measure” Metro Herald

“the latest album demonstrates a willingness to take folk beyond the usual boundaries…the sonics are as adventurous as the lyrics” 8/10 Hot Press

“another strong performance…warm complex melodies and frequently haunting melodies” **** Irish Times

“hailed for years as a great live act…definitely worth catching on their Irish tour” **** Irish Mail on Sunday

“The band just keep going from strength to strength. With Hello Cold they’ve hit a new stride. When you have a product as fine & accessible as this it’s hard to imagine it staying on the shelves for very long” Metro

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