About Patrick Clifford

Four to the Bar

During the summer of 1991, a classified ad in the Irish Voice newspaper caught his attention: "Bass player needed for new Irish trad band." The band was Four to the Bar, and it was as a founding member of this group that Clifford would find his first significant success.

Coming from a group of twentysomething urbanites, Four to the Bar's unironic affection for Irish traditional folk was viewed as exciting and rare. The quartet performed selections from the Clancy Brothers and Dubliners songbooks with a unique combination of skill and abandon, and over time their repertoire would evolve to also embrace American roots, contemporary folk, and rock. Within a year of forming, the band was among the top draws in the New York Irish pub circuit.

In the ensuing years, the band toured the U.S. east coast from Massachusetts to Florida, and as far west as Chicago and St. Louis. They opened for Sharon Shannon, served as Pete Seeger's backing band, and shared billing with Trisha Yearwood and the London Symphony Orchestra at the Daytona International Music Festival.

Clifford spearheaded the production of the band's two releases: a live album, Craic on the Road, and a studio album, Another Son. Each was well received by the press, on both sides of the Atlantic. To the latter release, Clifford contributed two original compositions: "The Western Shore" and "The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Water," a musical setting of a W.B. Yeats poem. The Daytona Beach News-Journal noted that his songs "conveyed the special heartache of immigrants" (for a U.S. native, high praise indeed).

Even years after the band's dissolution in 1996, Four to the Bar's shadow seemed to be lengthening, not fading: Customer reviews on Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby continue to describe the band as "legendary" and "wonderful."

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