The Westies independently released an EP, West Side Stories, in October 2013 along with a series of music videos that were made entirely on iPhones. The EP serves as an introduction leading in to the release of their debut album in April 2014.
The album is a song cycle inspired by the real life Westies – a ruthless gang of Irish mob punks that ruled Hell’s Kitchen in the ‘60’s. The gangsters serve as a metaphor for the dark side that lurks inside of all of us…the unexplained forces that cause internal struggles, destroy relationships and leave us clinging to love as just a memory.
“I write what I know, and much of what I know, isn't pretty,” Drawing from his personal life experiences, songwriter and front man Michael McDermott continues, “All I ever wanted to do was write songs and tell stories, like my grandparents and parents did from a long Irish lineage. With that lineage came a proclivity for drink, for mayhem, and a wee bit of crime.”Download: Hell's Kitchen.mp3
With a nod of comparison to the Westies gang, Chicago’s OnTour webzine describes the “musical” Westies as, “a group of hardened individuals …their intentions entirely more pure…manage to sink into the ever-dark, tragic, and romantic notions that result in a poetic allure…through music this time.” Along with McDermott on vocals and guitars, The Westies are Mrs. McDermott, Heather Horton (Fiddle, Vocals), and a collective of band mates that include: John Pirruccelo (Pedal, Lap, Mandolin, Guitars), Robert Dicke (Drums), Dan Ingenthron (Bass, Keys), Chris Merrill (Bass), and Danny Mitchell (Piano).
The Westies kick off their schedule of 2014 tour dates with a performance on 93XRT’s New Year’s Eve at the Copernicus Center, sharing the evening with The BoDeans. Along with The Westies, McDermott will continue to perform solo, duo and with his two other bands.
Feb 4 – Pittsburgh, Club Café, Westies
Feb 5 - Asbury Park The Saint, Westies
Feb 6 - New York City, Rockwood Music Hall, Westies
Feb 7 - Philadelphia, Tin Angel, Westies
Feb 8 - Cambridge, MA, Atwoods, Westies
Mar 6 - Memphis, Hi Tone Café, Westies