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The wailin’ success of Step it Out Mary

The Wailin’ Banshees, Gav Kelly (midflight) with Sean Gillespie, Eamonn ‘Sticks’ Doherty and Shaun McGinley. The band has just released their version of the Dubliners ‘Step it Out Mary’.

A Strabane band’s new “rocked up” version of a song made famous by the Dubliners, ‘Step it Out Mary’ has clocked up more than 25,000 views online in the space of a week.

The Wailin’ Banshees, fronted by well-known local photographer and videographer, Gav Kelly uploaded their version of the song onto the internet last Thursday (October 12), and since then, it has exploded in popularity.

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Now available on all the usual formats and download sites, including iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music, Step it Out Mary is the first single from the band, who are also enjoying unprecedented success for their high-tempo folk-rock.

“It’s a cover of an old song,” Gav Kelly remarked this week.

“We had heard the version the High Kings had done of it and we liked that. We thought we’d do a more rocked up version. And it worked out well.”

The video for Step It Out Mary features a local Irish dancer, Nadine Doherty who Gav says has done an “amazing job” of showcasing the two sides of the character.

Shot at Beltany Stone Circles near Raphoe and Burnfoot’s Halfway House, the video is all the more impressive because it was also created in-house.

He continued, “Myself and my cousin Aiden Gillespie thought that instead of hiring someone to come in and do it, we’d do it ourselves. So we sat down and started knocking some ideas about like the indoor dancing scenes and then Mary as more of a free spirit outside.

“So me and Aiden shot it and then I did the editing, which took a while. I went through it frame by frame but I think it paid off.

“I love it. I’m very happy with how it turned out and people seem to like it as well.

“We recorded the song up at Eamon’s house; he has a wee recording studio so that saved us a bit of money as well. Then Peter Doherty from Strabane helped us finish it off with the mixing.”

Gav also hopes that the single will ultimately become a precursor to a forthcoming album from the band, a record which should see the light of day early next year.

He added, “We’re back in this week starting work on the next song, so we’ll see what we want to do. It’s all about churning out the songs.”
Gav also made special mention of Eamonn ‘Sticks’ Doherty’s input into the song. “He came up with a lot of the arrangement as he has the trad background,” Gav said.

 • The Wailin’ Banshees will play Pat’s Bar in Enniskillen this Saturday (October 21) . For more information check out the group’s Facebook page.

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The Strabane Chronicle is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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