The Alt features three distinguished Irish musicians

From Staff Reports
Black Mountain News | USA TODAY NETWORK
The Alt are, from left, Asheville guitarist John Doyle, bouzouki player Eamon O’Leary and singer/ bodhrán player Cathy Jordan of Dervish.

With exquisite traditional singing, world-class musicianship and always a bit of ‘craic’ (Irish for "fun"), The Alt brings three distinguished Irish musicians to Asheville's Diana Wortham Theatre at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 14.

Guitarist and Asheville favorite John Doyle; singer, guitarist and bouzouki player Eamon O’Leary; and singer, bodhrán and bones player Cathy Jordan of Dervish (stepping in for Nuala Kennedy, who is on maternity leave this spring) are all natives of Ireland. They are alsothree of the most highly regarded performers of traditional music today.

Presented in partnership with The Swannanoa Gathering at Warren Wilson College, The Alt is a celebration of friendship and song. The ballads, tunes, and new and rediscovered songs each artist brings to The Alt reflect their love of the traditional music that has been a touchstone of Irish identity for generations.

The band also builds on the heritage of Irish immigrants who settled in Appalachia, where Irish song provided some of the building blocks for old-time, country, and bluegrass. In choosing to record their first album, the eponymously titled "The Alt" at a cabin in North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains, The Alt embraced this fruitful musical lineage.

Doyle is a Grammy-nominated musician who has gained major prominence in the Celtic and folk worlds. Name many of the most notable recordings and/or performers in Irish music, and it's a fair bet that John Doyle had something to do with them. Among those he's worked with are Liz Carroll; Eileen Ivers; Karan Casey; Solas; Michael Black; Mary Black; the trio of McCusker, McGoldrick and Doyle; The Teetotalers (Martin Hayes, Kevin Crawford, John Doyle); and now Usher's Island (Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny, Mike McGoldrick, Paddy Glackin and John Doyle) - a veritable who's who of the greatest names in Irish music.

O’Leary is one of the most in-demand Irish vocalists and guitarists in the U.S. today. He started playing Irish music while growing up in Dublin through his friendship with the Mayock family, traditional musicians from County Mayo. When he moved to New York City in the early ‘90s, he immersed himself in the city’s traditional music scene and traveled widely, performing with many of the great players in Irish music.

Jordan is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who has been the lead vocalist, bodhrán and bones player for the Irish band Dervish since 1991, leading the group through thousands of concerts in hundreds of cities in nearly 40 countries. Alongside traditional music, she was exposed to many other types of music as a young child growing up in County Roscommon, especially from the vast collection of recordings found in her house that had been sent from her American relations. A self-taught guitarist, bouzouki, bodhrán and bones player, Jordan is regarded as one of the finest traditional singers in Ireland today.

Tickets are $32 regular, $27 student, $20 child, $10 student rush. Buy them at the theater’s box office, (828) 257-4530 or