We have many players to choose from and we all play multiple instruments. Paddygrass can be booked as a 5 piece, a quartet, a trio or a duo. Any of these options can include world class Irish Dancers from The Milwaukee Irish Dance Company. Paddygrass is a great live band with many options. We specialize in foot stomping music that moves you to drink, sing, dance and forget all else.
Derek, left Ireland at the age of 21 to join Riverdance. He bought a banjo with his first pay check in a New York Pawn shop, taught himself to play and wrote songs while on tour. After 3 years on the road he met his wife Carrie, backstage in Milwaukee. Thus began a long distance love. Three years later they settled and married in Milwaukee. They now have two children. Cael and Keira are very musical and join the band whenever they can.
Derek is an Irish balladeer first and foremost. He also has a deep love for bluegrass and gospel music, in short anything that will get the crowd to singalong. Derek's biggest influences are Paul Brady, Pete Seeger and Luke Kelly. Derek plays Gold Tone Banjos. In his spare time Derek volunteers in a Boy Scout troop, coaches youth soccer and competes in Strong Man competitions for charity.
Randy Gosa has been playing Irish music since 1999. During his undergraduate program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, he studied with several renowned Irish music masters including Liz Carroll and Sheila Shigley, studied at the University of Limerick, Ireland with Niall Keegan and Sandra Joyce, and completed the UW-Milwaukee Celtic Studies program. A founding member of the Milwaukee based celtic trio Cé, he performs nationally with the band Myserk and collaborates with several accomplished midwest-based musicians including guitarist/singer Brian Miller, flute player Brett Lipshutz and celtic harpist Kim Robertson. In addition to performing, he teaches at the Irish Fest School of Music and is an active céilí/set dance musician in Milwaukee. Randy’s versatile musicianship has been described by critics such as Alex Monaghan (Folk World) as “driving, percussive, lyrical, gentle, dominant by turns.”
Peter initially met Derek in 2005 and the two had always talked about doing a music project together. In 2011 the opportunity presented itself and Peter joined Paddygrass. He initially started in the band on bass guitar but now mostly plays acoustic guitar, along with backing vocals.
T.J. Hull, director of the Franklin High School, Ben Franklin Elementary, Country Dale Elementary, and Pleasant View Elementary Orchestras, received his Bachelor's degree in Music Education from Ball State University and his Master's degree in Music Education from Boston University. Active in Irish music, he is in demand throughout the Midwest as a performer and clinician, as a member of the bands Paddygrass and Ogham, and coordinates a weekly community music project (Irish session) on Milwaukee's east side. He plays with the Fox Valley Symphony in Appleton as a violist, and is a musical cast member of the Bristol Renaissance Faire. A prolific composer, Mr. Hull has written for stage, concert hall, and film, and has a special interest in developing new music for public school students. T.J. Hull's compositions are published by Hal Leonard, his Irish music recordings are easily found through iTunes and CDBaby.
James attributes his love of Irish music to his family. Born into the NYC traditional Irish music scene, he quickly developed a taste for pure drop trad. His father Tom, a remarkable flute player himself, attracted many NYC notables such as Martin Wynne, Michael Reilly, Liam Shanahan, Johnny Cronin and Pat Henry to the house for tea and tunes. James began his musical expedition sitting quietly listening to the banter and stories, interspersed with bursts of dance music.
James plays with an breathy style, heavy with rhythmic accents. It is easy to hear the influence of the button accordion in his playing, as well as the Sligo fiddling that was so popular in NYC in the 80's and 90's. Mostly though, his style a part of 100 years of Traditional Irish Music lineage that began with his Grandfather and namesake, James Reilly, in Mullahoran, Co. Cavan.