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The Barley Saints were founded in West Michigan, in 2017, by Ray Veen, and Scott Sheldon. Originally called “Knotwork”, the band coalesced around the rough idea of playing up-tempo Irish tunes for pubs and parties. A number of musicians tried out and played with the band in their early days, but it became quite a challenge to find the right combination of personalities, folks with similar values, musical interests, and skill-levels – not to mention basic availability. For this reason, the early lineup of the band went through several transitions. A few shows were played during that time, but because they hadn’t settled on their final roster, there was never a sense of being able to get the band off the ground floor.
All of that changed when the band’s good friend Dan Seabolt (of the Oat-bran Boys) suggested they contact one of his former fiddle students… Hannah Kroll.
After joining the guys at one practice, the entire mood and energy of the band changed. Hannah brought a fresh perspective, a youthful exuberance, and a MIND-BLOWING amount of pure, unadulterated talent. Most importantly, Hannah came to the band with a real sense of
commitment, connection, and direction… qualities that the earlier members of the band had spent nearly a year searching for. With a renewed sense of hope and energy, the band reinvented themselves as The Barley Saints, and begin booking shows in earnest.
In Fall 2018, Justin Brady jumped in and filled the open guitarist position. Despite never officially playing any form of Irish music before, Justin had performed in just about every other flavor of band in the musical spectrum, and it took him almost no time before he was
DOMINATING his new, chosen genre. Having brought industry connections of his own to the table, within two months of joining the Saints, Justin successfully negotiated a corporate sponsorship from Paddy’s Irish Whiskey!
The last piece of the Barley Saints puzzle fell into place in Spring 2019, with the addition of Will Vauters on percussion. From the first tune, on his first day, at his first practice with the Barley Saints — Will intuitively “got it”. He jumped right in like he’d been playing with the band for years, and since then, he’s exhibited nothing but joy and professionalism — and a powerful ability to always make the music feel good.
With their lineup finally complete, solid, and committed, The Barley Saints started booking more and more shows, more often, in new and more exciting venues. They also began writing some original music, and at this time, are discussing their next, most momentous and exciting step yet….
…recording their first album.