Texas-based Needfire is a Celtic-folk-rock band formed in 2004 by Ed Walewski (bass, dulcimer, mandolins). The group includes some of the region’s top traditional Celtic and rock musicians: 4-time California state fiddle champion Linda Relph (fiddle, vocals), Kevin Hanlon (guitars, vocals), and Trey Ware (drums). Select each member's name below to read more about them.
The source and inspiration for Needfire’s music is predominantly traditional Celtic folk melodies and lyrics updated with modern rock backbeats and pop hooks. The members are all composers, and quite a bit of their original material is included with the traditional. Yearly touring throughout the U.S., a fresh modern rock edge, and uplifting live performances have helped awaken a much wider interest in traditional music by music fans of all ages and critics worldwide.
“Needfire maintains its Celtic flavor in every song they play. The rock influence is clear and strong, but it never overpowers the Celtic. The energy was terrific.” (Caberfeidh Productions, St. Petersburg, FL)
Ed Walewski IS NEEDFIRE - Ed, the founder of the band, plays electric bass, octave mandolin, Appalachian dulcimer, mandolin and bass foot pedals, to name but a few. He also has put time in on the cello, keyboards, and recorder, and he is the band's business manager, recording engineer and accountant.
Little known fact about Ed: when he first was asked to play bass in a previous band, he said "YES" without ever having played bass before. His solution: he tuned his bass like a mandolin and was able to play it like he's been doing it for years!
Kevin Hanlon’s first serious interest in music began with his exposure to the British Invasion. The first one - yeah, he's old. By the time his callouses were built up, psychedelia and electric blues had emerged to influence his guitar playing and song writing. In his home town of South Bend, Indiana, he played in local favorites, Zagfield and Symbol, the latter group scoring a contract with RCA records, sharing stages with artists such as the MC5 and Alice Cooper. In 1971, the chopped and channeled Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky, as seen in Disney’s Fantasia, drove an interest in concert music. At the wizened age of 18, Hanlon began formal training at Indiana University in South Bend. The unbridled enthusisam for his studies led to additional degrees from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Texas, numerous awards in music composition, opera roles and appearances as a vocal soloist with professional orchestras, performances of his compositions by many major orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, The Saint Louis Symphony and the Fort Worth Symphony, commissions for original music by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Loyola Marymount University and Francesco Mastromatteo.
Currently an Associate Professor of Composotion and Theory at Southern Methodist University, he has held positiuons at The University of Kentucky and the University of Arizona. He has maintained his connections to the world of popular music over the years, playing in a wide variety of music groups including B L Lacerta, Gouge, Doubting Scholars and Quintet for the End of Time. He’s jammed with an varied array of musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Doc Severinsen, Dafnis Prieto and players to be found in Ireland’s West County pub sessions.
Little known fact: Kevin's a huge fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, as evidenced by a photo he possesses, signed by Crow and Gypsy.
Linda started playing fiddle after a trip to Weiser, Idaho for the National Oldtime Fiddlers Contest. She played "Contest fiddling" until a trip to Ireland exposed her to Irish music, and when she moved to Dallas, Texas after college, she began playing Irish music exclusively. She was fortunate enough back in the 90s to play with such Dallas luminaries as Ken Fleming (founder of the North Texas Irish Festival and a fabulous musician), Jenni Mansfield Peal (an award-winning singer/songwriter,) and was a founding member of The Killdares.
Linda moved back to California in 2002, where she lived in Sacramento until early 2011. While there, she started two different traditional sessions and was a member of Nine-8ths Irish, a popular band that played Irish with bluegrass and other influences. LInda's style is definitely influenced by the other styles she has played, as are the tunes she composes. Besides Needfire, Linda is also an active member of the Trinity Hall Session Players, and can often be seen out and about in Dallas...find out more at www.fiddlinda.com or at www.facebook.com/fiddlinda
Little known fact about Linda: her "trip to Ireland" mentioned above was actually an entire year. She lived with her family in Howth, Co. Dublin, from August 1979 to July 1980, and is the main reason she now plays Irish traditional music!
In February 2012 Needfire unexpectedly had to find a replacement drummer. Though you'd think they'd be easy to find, drummers who are adventurous and skilled enough to play Celtic music are not commonplace. Through the help of our good friend Deanna Smith Scotland (Jiggernaut), we found Trey Ware. He picked up the drums to follow in the footsteps of his brothers and sisters, and his Drum Idols include Carter Beauford, Stewart Copeland and Neil Peart. Oh, and John Bonham, of course. Trey has toured the world with his earlier bands, finally coming back home to the DFW area.
Trey has a few nicknames: one is "Push Play Trey" (appropriate because he seems to pick things up REALLY quickly!). The other is a Rap nickname, which of course everyone should have. His is..... (drum roll)..... Ice Trey. Recently we've learned that Trey can sing, too - we'll be taking advantage of that soon.
Little known fact about Trey: hmmmmm, we'll have to find one, he's mysterious....stay tuned...
Chris has been guesting with Needfire at festivals and events over the past year and more frequently in 2013. He founded the successful Sacramento based traditional Irish group Nine-8ths Irish in 2007 which performed to a loyal fan base in northern Calfirornia and at other festivals throughout the U.S. Chris plays drums made by Del Eckels and Albert Alfonso.