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Steel City Rovers

T he Steel City Rovers perform dynamic and expressive music that is a unique composite of traditional Celtic music and North American styles including bluegrass, folk and roots. Their original works touch on issues of love, loss, celebration and heritage and they also breathe life into newly-discovered instrumental melodies from as far back as centuries ago. Their sophisticated arrangements are inviting for the most casual listener but are rewarding for those who are well versed in the nuances of musical complexity.

They're freakin' good, not just because they make good music, but because they are FUN to watch. They know what it means to put on a show. We have yet to see the best of what this group will produce.
Greater Hamilton Musician

The Rovers stand out for their powerful, emotive vocals and engaging entertainment. They perform on meticulously crafted replicas of historical instruments that rarely appear on today’s musical landscape. This highly active touring band headlines large festival stages, gives intimate concert performances, educates in a variety of workshop and master-class settings and performs internationally with symphonies. They create, collaborate and work hard to further the love and awareness of music.

The Rovers are Celtibilly; the cross-pollination of the Celtic and North American traditions. Sophisticated, hypnotizing musical arrangements. Expressive, clever lyrical compositions. In their three years together, the Rovers have performed internationally on larger and larger stages, been nominated for several music awards and have had their original works top the traditional radio charts. Commanding and dynamic performers, this act is a blend of both seasoned and young talent who are simply electric to witness in person.

Mark Fletcher
Mark has been active in the music industry for close to 40 years, playing his first professional gigs at age 16. Over time he has performed the music of many genres, been the architect of many well known Celtic ensembles and contributed his musical skills to nearly 40 cd's.

Mark is known for his multi-instrumental skills and in any given performance can glide form Scottish Smallpipes to Mandola, Accordion, or Irish Whistle. This ability adds great variety in SCR shows and engages the audience to watch for all the change ups in instrumentation. Mark is a skilled Highland Piper and is constantly sought out for private and public functions. He performs with Stratford Police Pipes and Drums and the Dundas Pipe Band.

Festival mainstages and concert halls across Ontario, Quebec and B.C. have been frequent stops for Mark. As well, many appearences stateside, including Michigan, Ohio and Illinois.

Some select appearences of note: live to air broadcast nationwide on TSN in 2005: piper selected for Drayton Festivals 2009 run of the play "Brigadoon": "Scots Wa Hae", broadcast from CBC's Glenn Gould studio in Toronto with the group Shaggy Haggis:Chicago Irish Festival, Island Folk Festival in B.C., Saline Celtic Festival, Blue Skies Folk Festival, Mill Race Folk Festival, Montreal Highland Games, Fergus Scottish Festival, Glengarry Highland Games, as well Symphony appearences with International Symphony, Georgian Bay Symphony and Stratford Symphony Orchestras with the group Rant Maggie Rant.

Mark's solo cd "The Unbroken Line" was nominated in the" Celtic Instrumental of the Year category", by Just Plain Folks Music Awards in Nashville in 2008.

Ryan McKenna
Ryan McKenna is a singer, writer and arranger. His distinctive baritone sets the band apart and helps define SCR's unmistakable sonic character.  He is absolutely at home on the stage where he invites you in to join the band in some wonderful time together. Ryan's love of being playful and ridiculous is always present yet he regularly engages topics that carry a lot of emotional weight and personal significance. His first love was theatre arts but he got bit by the music bug as a young man and has never recovered. He kind of wanted the band to be called the Thistle Mittens. For the moment that phrase remains only a term of affection and endearment.

He has performed with his brother and fellow Rover, Joel McKenna, perpetually since 1996. Though that entire time has largely been spent performing with Joel as the Celtic duo McKenna across Southern Ontario, the foundation of Ryan's musical growth was in in the world of sacred music. As a child there were church services, choral recitals, travelling ensembles and gatherings of family and friends who would sing and celebrate long into the night. Though Ontarian, these home gatherings had a kind of traditional ceilidh atmosphere, much the same as the kitchen parties his ancestors enjoyed on the East-coast of Canada. As a teenager, Ryan attended Niagara Christian College (Collegiate) in Fort Erie, Ontario. His time on dormatory afforded him the opportunity to be involved in all manner of musical undertakings. From there, it was on to Redeemer College (University) in Ancaster, Ontario. He again participated in many musical situations from the sublime to the ridiculous. He left after 3 years to pretend to save money to complete his degree, while actually attempting to become fabulously famous with his brother Joel in their band Father's Property. You are not likely to have heard of that band, but they certainly had a riot.

Of additional note, Ryan and Joel worked with Smile Theatre to adapt the McKenna show for Seniors' Residences, Events and Long-Term Care Facilites. It was entitled Into The Parlour. He wrote the music for Ray Louter's 2006 Musical Stage Play, Home In Alfalfa. McKenna also performs yearly as the Pirates McKenna at the Pirate Festival in Milton, Ontario and even took that show to New Orleans, Louisiana in 2009.

Ryan resides in Hamilton, Ontario, the lucky fellow.
Joel McKenna
Joel McKenna has had a passion, a calling even, that has been with him since a very young age. That is the acoustic guitar. Its rhythms, intricacies and tonal possibilites. As a teenager, Joel was an atypical black sheep artist. His time was utterly consumed by music and philisophical debate. He would be up at all hours of the night either playing until his fingers bled, writing or engaging in intense conversational sparring. He was well known around his small town of Caledonia for wearing a jean jacket graffitied with messages of his own personal convictions.

He began his first band Father's Property, initially, with his childhood best friends. Shortly thereafter he invited Ryan McKenna to join the effort. This began an artistic relationship that has sustained to this day. Joel has become masterful at backing up a lead vocalist and capturing the soul of a song in his playing. He translated that to savvy in the recording studio at the console. He self-produced several albums for himself and Ryan as McKenna. He has also recorded many other artists during the same period and is currently hard at work producing fresh SCR material.

Another way that he applied that skill was to be the only instrument of note at most shows he has ever performed with Ryan. Performing as a duo in demanding situations, it was up to Joel, with one guitar, to create an atmosphere and sustain the attention of the audiences that were accustomed to taking in full bands. All the while, he was running the sound, which in a busy pub is certainly a moving target.

Joel proudly lives in Hamilton, Ontario.

Jess Gold
A quiet girl with a ferocious touch, Jess Gold has been playing drums for the last seven years. Two years ago she committed to making a career out of music. She began by playing shows in St. Catharines and the Niagara Region in All-Girl rock bands and Honky-Tonk Country acts. Though her playing style is often described as electric funk, she loves to expand her already formidable capabilities by studying and performing all types of music. Jess truly comes alive when entertaining crowds of all ages and sizes.

Initially inspired by Green Day, Primus, and The Clash, Jess' primary musical influences have grown to include jazz, funk and Celtic music. Jess played in her High School Jazz Band for four years, which culminated in her winning the Gold Medal at the Humber Jazz Fest. She currently attends Humber College for the Bachelor Degree Program in Music. Her aim is to create a solid foundation on which she can build a lifetime full of music.

Though busy performing and studying herself, Jess maintains her position as an on-call drumming instructor at Music City, St. Catharines, ON. This is where she met the internationally renowned drummer, Danno O'Shea. He coached Jess privately and ultimately mentored her. He taught her to be fearless on the drums and indeed, she is so.

Dave Neigh
Dave Neigh first picked up the fiddle at the age of 8 at a Celtic music camp in Nova Scotia. Though he grew up in Southern Ontario, he attributes his passion for traditional folk music to his summers spent at the Gaelic College in St. Ann's Cape Breton learning from the masters of that rich fiddle tradition as well as the influence of his father, renowned bagpiper P/M Edward Neigh.

Dave has a degree in Music from the University of Waterloo and has been performing professionally across the country for the last 8 years, playing many styles and instruments: Celtic, Folk, Rock, Americana Roots, Jug Band and Blues fiddle music.  In fact he has made several pilgrimages to the Southern States in order to immerse himself in early American String Band musical styles.

Last winter, Dave toured Western Canada with Celtic rock group The Mudmen, during which time he performed at many venues, most notably  the Canadian Curling Championships, Fort MacMurray Celtic Festival and the Mosaic Multicultural Festival in Regina.

He has also performed at many festivals in Ontario, including the Kitchener Blues Festival, Stratford Blues and Ribfest, the Mill Race Traditional Folk Festival, the River and Sky Music Festival and the TD Toronto Jazz Festival.

In addition to performing with the Steel City Rovers he plays with the Everlovin' Jug Band, and the blues fiddle group Step On It!  Although the fiddle is Dave's main instrument he also plays guitar, bass, Irish tenor banjo, mandolin, tuba, and harmonica.

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