Irish indie folk-pop outfit the Young Folk was formed in Dublin in 2010, with each of its members having an enviable musical pedigree. Frontman Anthony Furey was the son of George Furey, of the famous Furey Brothers. Keyboardist Paul Butler was a direct descendent of the legendary theatrical Bourke family, whose great-great uncle Peadar Kearney wrote "Amhrán na bhFiann," the Irish national anthem. Bassist/mandolinist Tony McLoughlin had an extensive history as a session musician; his first band Tribal Herb had performed live on British television when he was just 16. And trombonist Alex Borwick (a New Zealander and the group's only non-Irish member) was also an in-demand session player, having performed with the likes of Villagers and Lisa Hannigan.
Remarkably, Furey did not take up the guitar until the age of 15, when he got into the Americana sound through the likes of Ryan Adams and Neil Young. He immediately caught the songwriting bug and, wishing to carve a different path than his famous family, decided to study popular music, which he did at Tilburg in the Netherlands. When in Amsterdam, he would often pass by the world-famous Paradiso venue and dream about performing there -- an ambition which he would later realize. It was at music college that he met Butler and McLoughlin, who introduced the band's original drummer, Karl Hand. They bonded over a shared love of Americana and indie, with influences such as Tom Waits, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Radiohead, Fleet Foxes, and the National. Back in Ireland they set about performing on the Dublin music scene, where they met Borwick. Their first recorded appearance was on an ARC Music compilation. Initially billed as Anthony Furey & the Young Folk, they swiftly dropped his name after finding that pop radio stations thought they were a folk band and wouldn't play their music. Their debut single, "Rooftops," dropped in 2010, with a self-titled EP appearing the following year.
The Young Folk gradually built up a name for themselves, abroad as well as in Ireland, with their warm and homely music reflecting on the charm and romance of everyday life. Gigging tirelessly, they played everywhere from Amsterdam coffee shops to British pubs. All multi-instrumentalists, the members were often crowded offstage by up to 20 instruments, sometimes not even having room for the drummer. They got big boosts when they were picked to support Midlake while on tour in the U.S., and when they headlined the aforementioned Paradiso. Just weeks before that show, their biggest to date, Hand was replaced by Patrick Hopkins; it was his very first gig with the band. He was himself later replaced by Scott Halliday. Their debut album, The Little Battle, released in 2015, was composed mostly by Furey. Their second album, 2016's First Sign of Morning, was a much more collaborative affair, with all the members contributing songs. ~ John D. Buchanan