Frank Blair

Growing up in the mid-west Frank is the product of a confluence of Irish, Scottish, English, and American Southern tradition. He was drawn early to the powerful storytelling traditions and intricate arrangements of American roots music and bluegrass. Stepping into Irish and Scottish traditional music, the musical forerunners of those American styles, was a natural progression. Now he brings the storytelling traditions together with historical background to paint nuanced, intimate panoramas of human experience with a matching soundtrack.

Between 1986 and 2004, Frank was a founding member of three Midwestern bands that forged a unique sound from a Celtic base and applied their myriad influences: Emerald Skye, Gabriel's Gate, and Cavan. Frank anchored each providing lead vocals, song research and arrangements, and masterful guitar and bouzouki accompaniment. Not confining themselves to just the Irish and Scottish genres, one could hear elements of Balkan, Scandinavian, Middle-Eastern, and European Classical traditions in their selections and arrangements. Each were favorites at festivals and concert settings through the Midwest and Southwest and known for their driving, wide-ranging, powerful arrangements of dance tunes and elegant arrangements of songs, featuring Frank’s vocals. Gabriel's Gate and Cavan also gave creative outlet to several composers, including Frank, who contributed many original songs and tunes to the repertoire.

Blessed with a voice of great richness and range, Frank is known for his deft vocal performances as well as his driving and creative work on bouzouki and guitar. Now transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, Frank performs both solo and in small ensembles bringing his formidable talents to bear on elegant settings of his favorites in the tradition as well as new, original work.

 


Discography:

Solo

  • Cathedral of Memory (2011)
  • An Bóithrín (2009) 
  • Evergreen (2007)


Gabriel's Gate

  • Departures (2001; out of print) 
  • Panceltia: EP (2000; out of print)  
  • Foundation (1998; out of print)

 

Emerald Skye

  • Thousands Are Sailing (1993; out of print)
  • Emerald Skye (1990; out of print)

 

Contributor

  • William Morris, "Walking There" (2010) (http://www.billmorrismusic.net/)
  • Give a Little Foundation, "Give a little listen..." compilation (2010)
  • The Jolly Rogers, "X Marks the Spot" (2003)

 

 

Selected past performances (both solo and ensemble):

  • Newport Celtic Festival and Highland Games (2011,2013)
  • Celtic Heritage Alliance Shamrock Supper (2013)
  • NW St. Andrews Society Burns Night Dinner (2009-2011)
  • World Beat Festival, Salem, Oregon (2010)
  • Portland Folkmusic Society, Local Artists Showcase Concert (Sept 2009)
  • Spotted Dog Poetry Series 2006 (Long Kesh Hunger Strikers 25th Anniversary remembrance program)
  • Spotted Dog Poetry Series 2008 (Emigration and Yearning lecture/music program)
  • Newberg Music House Concert Series (2007)
  • Arts Alive! (several artist spotlights; 1 hour broadcast performance, 2007,2009)
  • Celtic Heritage Festival, Bedford, Texas (headliner, 2001)
  • Missouri Valley FolkLife Society Showcase Concert, Kansas City, Missouri (headliner; 2001, 2002)
  • Winter Storm, Kansas City, Missouri (2002)
  • Weston Irish Festival, Weston, Missouri (headliner; 2001)
  • North Texas Irish Festival, Dallas, Texas (regional headliner; 1996-2002)
  • Great Irish Festival, Coney Island, New York (1996)
  • Ohio Irish Festival, Cleveland, Ohio (headliner; 1996)
  • River Valley Celtic Festival, Lawrence, Kansas (headliner; 1997)
  • Kansas City Spirit Festival, Kansas City, Missouri (1997)
  • Landers Theatre Parade Benefit Concert, Springfield, Missouri (headliner; 1995)
  • Trails West Festival, St. Joseph, Missouri (1999)
  • Bullwhacker Days Festival, Lenexa, Kansas
  • Hidden Glen Arts Festival, Lenexa, Kansas
  • Brookside Irish Festival, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Westport Irish Festival, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Tartan Days, St. Charles, Missouri
  • Unity Temple on the Plaza, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Surf Ballroom, St. Patrick's Day Concert, Clear Lake, Iowa (headliner)
  • KANU Good Time Radio Revue, Lawrence, Kansas
  • KCUR Under the Clock at Central Station, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Tipperary Inn, Dallas, Texas
  • Blarney Stone, Ft. Worth,Texas
  • O'Malley's 1842, Weston, Missouri
  • Rory's, Leavenworth, Kansas
  • O'Dowd's, Kansas City, Missouri
  • LiT, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • WJ McBrides, Overland Park, Kansas
  • Sprint Corporation Concerts on the Green, Overland Park, Kansas (headliner)
  • Kansas City Life, Corp Function, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Bloomsday Books, Bloomsday Celebration, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Borders Books, Misc. Kansas, Missouri, Oregon, Washington

Streaming Samples

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