What’s in a name? Well, sometimes it’s the name that catches the eye and hence the ear. Such is the case with this week’s column. I found out about the upcoming shows at the Skye Theatre in South Carthage recently and one group really caught my attention — Socks in the Frying Pan. With a name like that, I just knew that I had to pursue that group further — and I did, all the way to Ireland where the trio (made up of guitarist/vocalist Aodan (say a-don) Coyne, Shane Hayes on accordion, and Fiachra Hayes on fiddle and banjo) is based. Their stateside publicist sent along a copy of their CD and two songs into it, I requested a phone interview. A couple of weeks later I received a call from Coyne at home in Ireland.

Q: Where are you calling from … what’s the name of the town?

Coyne: I’m in Ennis, County Clare — that’s on the west coast.

Q: I do want to take some time to talk about your self-titled album. I’m very fond of “The Slip-jigs and Reels” (the second track on the CD) — that’s by Fairport Convention, is it not?

Coyne: I actually haven’t heard their version. My dad passed me a version by Steve Tilston — he’s an English folk singer, I believe — I kind of adapted that, and I got the lads — Shane and Fiachra — to add their pieces and I finally got them singing: after about three years of playing they finally started singing so the harmonies came along.

Q: That’s one of my big loves—vocal harmonies!

Coyne: Well, I hope you enjoyed ours. It was our first take on them, really, when we were making the CD; but the lads are brothers and their voices just blend really well together. Since the album came out a year-and-a-half ago the lads have kept up the singing and all of our songs since then have incorporated the harmonies.

Q: Is this your first and only album as Socks?

Coyne: This is the first one, yeah, and we’re going to be making a second one after the tour of the U.S. in October/November … we’ll be in the studio then.

Q: Well, “Slip-jigs and Reels” has been one of my favorites on Fairport’s “Jewel in the Crown” album in that it always sets my toes to tapping, but it wasn’t until I heard your take on it that I really heard the story being told. In your version the music is understated and the lyrics are in the forefront.

Coyne: My dad’s actually a musician and he always told me, “Have your diction right — keep the words clear — and make sure that the audience can hear what you’re saying because the lyrics of the song are most important!” So that’s what I was trying to get across, I suppose, and not make it muddled with the sound of the backing instruments. I hope that came across, anyway.

Q: It certainly did because I was sucked into the story … and that really started me listening to the rest of the album a whole different way. Now, are there any songs on the self-titled album you guys penned? I noticed that Shane had two instrumentals on there.

Coyne: On the first Socks album we don’t have any original lyrical songs but we have been writing and that’s why we want to get our second album out. We’ve been playing our own originals live and we’re really excited about getting them out there and getting people to start listening and see if they like them. Hopefully that will come about soon enough.

Q: Have ever played in Maine before.

Coyne: We haven’t, no, this will be our very first tour of the States. I’ve been over, though, because my uncle lives in Boston and he’s a fiddle player himself and I played with him out on Cape Cod. I was kind of up and down the east coast, myself, doing a bit of busking, nothing serious, so this is going to be a different kettle of fish all together. Getting to the big festivals … we’re really excited about it! We’ve kind of mainly only toured around Europe, like last summer, and I can imagine it’s a different vibe all together in the States. We’ve heard a lot of good things so we’re pumped about bringing it anyway.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this article?

Coyne: Well, I suppose if they’re up for a bit of dancing and some singing that they’re more than welcome to join along. We’re going to be playing tunes all night, if they’ll let us! We’ll have long sets and it’ll be lively — that’s the type of vibe we’re going to be bringing!

Lucky Clark has spent 45 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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