Using a potentially cacophonous combination of musical instruments including electric guitar, fiddle and bagpipes, locally based Celtic rock band, The Killdares, masterfully manages a sound critics have called the “Tragically Hip meets Radiohead … with one of the best fiddlers in the U.S.”, and “a Celtic version of Collective Soul” — comparisons that Lakewood resident Tim Smith, the band’s founder, lead vocalist and drummer, calls “an honor.”

For anyone who might not know what to expect from Celtic rock, can you describe The Killdares’ music?
It’s really hard to say — we play, essentially, rock and roll with Celtic tinges. We have unique instrumentation, blending electric with folk, so each musician draws from a palate of personal influences. You’ve got Roberta [Rast], a champion fiddler who brings in the non-rock/folk influences to the traditional rock bass, guitar and drum trio. So our influences might be as varied as Alison Krauss, The Pogues, Big Country, Yes and even harder rock-and-roll or punk bands like The Ramones, The Clash and The Waterboys.

How difficult was it to find like-minded band members, and can you tell us about them?
The band has been going for 12 years. Roberta, our fiddler, has been here for eight years. Brek [Lancaster], guitarist, and Matt [Willis], bagpiper, have been around for five years, and we have a new bassist, Troy Gallaher. It is difficult to find people who understand the style we are looking for. We have had to be very focused on finding those who are the right fit for the group.

You used to play primarily Irish festival-type gigs, but now it seems you’ve crossed into mainstream — is that accurate?
Yes. We got our start at the Irish festivals, but now we play as many general music festivals, such as the Wildflower festival recently in Richardson. We shared the stage with Hoobastank, and it was a seamless transition … we might see the same crowd at either type of show … there doesn’t seem to be any more barriers between the markets.

Have you lived in Lakewood very long?
I was born and raised in Dallas, went to Jesuit High School, went away to college … I’ve been back in Lakewood for about two years.

What do you like about the area?
I like being in the city with a neighborhood feel, and being within about 15 minutes from everywhere I need to go — on a good traffic day, that is.  There are so many things right around home that I love — like the Lakewood Shopping Center, eating at Matt’s or Angelo’s, a little store called Talulah Belle, which Roberta likes … or Splendor in the Grass … cool hangouts like the Cock and Bull pub … I could go on and on. I hate to leave anyone out.

Catch The Killdares in concert Saturday, July 18 at the House of Blues, 2200 Lamar. Buy tickets, and listen to and purchase The Killdares’ fifth and newest album, “Secrets of the Day”, at killdares.com.


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