"Just as the results of inebriety are most painful to the habitually sober, and just as the greatest saints have often been the greatest sinners, so, when the first class brain does something stupid, the stupidity of that occasion is colossal."
Stanley Baldwin (1867 - 1947) English statesman
LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW HERE
Celt In A Twist - Saints and Sinners … there is room for both among the fans and in the music of the Young Dubliners. While 2005’s Real World looked at life through the windshield of a tour bus, and 2007’s With All Due Respect gave a good humored thrashing to some beloved Irish classics, their newest and eighth release, Saints and Sinners would seem to be contemplating even deeper issues. But, there’s no need to speculate. Why bother when you can get the answers straight from the horse’s mouth. Keith Roberts rejoins the program from somewhere on the road with The Young Dubs. How are you, Keith?
Keith Roberts: Good talking to you, Cal.
CIAT: You too. Congratulations on the new album. Where are you right now?
KR: We're in Illinois in the middle of our February/ March US Tour to support the release of our new album.
CIAT: It sounds cold.
KR: It's freezing! We actually missed a gig due to being stuck in our bus at the side of the road in a major whiteout snow storm, so it's been the weather-hampered tour.
CIAT: Keith, is there a prevailing theme to the songs on this new disc?
KR: As you know, when we write these records, they're time capsules in a way because we take ourselves off the road and lock ourselves away for a couple of months and try to write songs within that period of time and then go out and record them. This one didn't quite work out that way. We began the recording process at the beginning of 08 and we just didn't finish on time so we went on the road pretty much for the year. We put the finishing touches on the album then around the fall. So some of the songs I wrote the lyrics to back in January/February of 08 and some of them I wrote more like in October. But usually, as an album it deals with the same themes that we dealt with on Real World ... what we're watching on CNN whatever, what's going in the world, what's maybe happened in our personal lives ... so it's kind of a blend of the whole thing with a little bit of politics in there ... a little bit of that Obamarama we're all going through!
CIAT: Musically, this album seems to be moving a little into the area of Celtronica. There’s some cool drum programming and funky key board embellishments. Is that a mellotron I’m hearing on a couple of the tracks?
KR: Yep. One of the joys of working with Tim Boland who has been our producer since Real World; he's an Irish guy who lives in LA now. We just built up a great relationship with him. He knows us and we know him really well, so we have a tendency to push each other. And, that one song at the end of the album that kind of goes in the Celtronica direction, Chance; that was just a real basic idea I had where I wanted to give him just the bare bones of the song and let him do his thing. It's ended up being one of my favorite songs on the record and actually we open our shows with it now. You know, we were able to bring in a female vocalist, Cindy Wasserman to do the duet with me and we were able to get Kenny Wayne Shepherd who happened to be in LA at the time. We had done some gigs with him and blasted out some stuff live on the instrumental.
CIAT: Keith, I gotta tell ya, I really appreciate you telling me that Chance is one of your favorites because I just put it up as number 1 on this month's Celt In A Twist Top 10. You’ve got your Celt In A Twist and we’ve got Keith Roberts from the Young Dubliners online to chat about their brand spanking new release, Saints And Sinners. Choose your team, but make sure you buy the record. Visit their site, youngdubliners.com and get in on their limited signature offer … the lads will stay up around the clock just to give you a signed copy as a way of thanking the best fans in the world. That’s got to be tiresome job … signing all those CDs.
KR: We don't mind!
CIAT: Who is the mischievous young carrot top on the cover? If he's looking at my car I know my windshield will be broken in just a few seconds.
KR: We knew the idea we wanted for the cover of the album. When you say Saints And Sinners ... the whole idea is that every human being has a saint and a sinner hiding in there. And so, we started looking at ideas for covers and suddenly we were presented with that picture amongst a lot of different pictures. It's an old shot from the Getty Museum Collection. And, we looked in the face of the kid and we just thought, "Wow ... this is exactly what we're talking about!" But then, we decided to get a little Andy Warhol on it, and started adding extreme colours to a black and white picture, to add to the whole feeling of the title of the album. It's funny; we've never had so much comment and praise for an album cover before. People are definitely loving the album cover and now we're taking him everywhere. We've made buttons of him. God knows the poor kid's probably been dead a hundred years so I don't think he'll be showing up at any gigs but it captured the moment for us, you know.
CIAT: Are you still troubling the Irish by taking busloads of Young Dub fanatics to Dublin to make the rounds?
KR: We still do it. The next one will be November 09. We're actually starting to get some Canadians along as well. We even have people from Europe come over to it now. It's funny, it's such a good deal that we manage to get from our travel agent that on the last tour I was riding on the bus one day, just for the fun of being with the fans. There are three coach loads. And, I happened to get on this one bus and there was an elderly couple sitting in front of me and everybody was saying hello. And, I was signing CDs and stuff and soon this couple look at me and then look away. Eventually the older woman turns to me and goes, "Are you having fun on the trip?" And, I said, "Oh yeah, it's crazy. Are you having fun?" And, she's like, "Oh yes!" I said, "Have you seen any of the gigs?" And, she says, "Oh ... the gigs?" I said, "Yeah, the band. We play in the nighttime." She's like, "Oh no, we haven't. We just saw it was such a great deal, we came along. We don't know anything about the gigs." They had just seen the thing advertised, "Oh, 17 hundred dollars for ten days in Ireland, all expenses paid!" It was just one of those things where they decided to come along. So now we'll have to add travel agent to our resume.
CIAT: That's a great story, Keith! We’re going out on a kickin' little number from Saints And Sinners called Rosie. . What's her story?
KR: Rosie was an idea that Brendan Holmes, our bass player brought to me. He had the chorus idea. We started to think about it and started to write the rest of it. Again, it's kind of a journalistic thing. I've known a lotta guys in Ireland who are going out with a girl for maybe twenty, thirty years and they never get married. Her mother is constantly saying to her, " When is he going to make an honest woman out of you? What is he doing? Why are you still with him? The guy is just afraid of that commitment. Even though they've been together for years they just don't want to make that next step. So, this is sort of from his point of view as he's explaining it to Rosie that they can't judge their love just on the fact that they're not married.
Keith Roberts was interviewed by Cal Koat on March 10th for broadcast on Celt In A Twist