How many times has one heard the saga of the small, independent band that tours the US in its proverbial Econoline van, sells records out of its trunk at performances, plays the game of self promotion a bit excessively and naively, and usually crashes and burns within the first year. Mindless independence has a way of taking its toll on the artless and the less determined.
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But have you heard the story of SEVEN NATIONS, a fiercely independent and determined band from Orlando, Florida that has sold in excess of 125,000 copies of its numerous releases, has for years booked its own tours, has its own PBS, CNN and ESPN specials, and on occasion wears kilts and uses bagpipes the way Jimmy Page uses his guitar.
Equally at home in front of 40-50,000 cheering fans at an international Celtic festival, in front of 200 headbangers in a small club somewhere in the Midwest, or 1000 fans in Puerto Rico or Edinburgh, Scotland, Seven Nations has logged in more than 250,000 touring miles in its day job trying to make its less familiar music universal for old and new fans alike.
To the five-member band, that day job means being on tour 85 percent of the year, staying true to its Celtic music roots, while blending those roots effortlessly into American pop and rock. They've created a truly hybrid sound that has been virtually ignored by major record labels, but embraced big time by the band's huge audience which follows wherever the band, musically, wants to lead. And that direction can start with basic piano, guitar & vocals, bass and drums and then be implemented by highland bagpipes, fiddle/violin, mandolin and uillean pipes.
In the historical tradition of the great folk/rock/pop trailblazers of Scotland and the United Kingdom (Nazareth, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Fairport Convention, Pentangle, Stone the Crows, Nick Drake and Traffic) exists Seven Nations, a band that is doing what all those early bands have done, but with a twist. Nations is US based, and has no major label affiliation. And they like it that way. "This is a great time to be independent," says Nation's vocalist Kirk McLeod. And as an independent act the band has attracted an amazing national and international following through touring schedules, energetic and innovative self promotion, marketing and merchandising, dynamic live performances, and the sale of more than 125,000 of its self produced, independently pressed and released CDs.
"We are lucky," says McLeod, lead singer/songwriter and founding member of the band, "because we come from two unique cultures. We love American pop and rock and roll, but we also love our Celtic roots music. We want to touch everybody with our art," he continues, "and so far, we have been very, very fortunate."
Joining McLeod (lead vocals, highland bagpipes, keyboards, acoustic and electric guitars) in his musical vision are Ashton Geoghagan (drums), Scott Long (bagpipes and mandolin), Dan Stacey (fiddle/candian step-dancing), and Struby (bass and support vocals).
With the healthy support of Dewar's Scotch, and a massive media profile campaign from them, Seven Nations will be on the road for the next year and a half playing across the country in California, Texas, New York, Arizona, Massachusetts, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, Louisiana, New York, Florida, New Mexico and all points east and west.
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