Young Dubliners play Agave in Avon |

Young Dubliners play Agave in Avon

Sarah Mausolf
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

VAIL, Colorado ” The Young Dubliners tour at a breakneck pace and very little slows them down. In fact, when someone stole a trailer full of their gear outside a California hotel in August, the band barely flinched.

“We did a gig the night our gear was stolen…” lead singer Keith Roberts said. “We were in a bit of a blur, but musicians started arriving with instruments for us. We did that gig that night with borrowed gear.”

After the theft, the Young Dubs had to replace the instruments they had been using for years. Fans raised roughly $28,000 to help the band replace their instruments and equipment. And the band soon discovered that someone was selling their stolen gear on e-bay. When the Young Dubs play tonight at Agave in Avon, band members will use a guitar, pair of symbols and an amplifier they recovered after the theft.

The California Celtic rock band is on tour promoting its new album, “Saints and Sinners.” Released Feb. 3, the upbeat, politically astute CD is a testament to the band’s commitment to recording.

“Even though we’re on the road as much as we are and we sort of fall into that category of almost road warrior band, where you have a great live show but no album to speak of, we just didn’t want to be that band,” Roberts said. “We wanted to stay relevant as long as we can, so we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to write the best songs we can and to push ourselves in new directions.”

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The album

Even though Roberts, 44, hails from Dublin originally, he said he’s very interested in the politics of his adopted home in America. That comes through in “Saints and Sinners.” The song “This Time” captures Roberts’ confusion over the George W. Bush administration.

“I was just amazed at some of the things that had been pulled over our eyes,” Roberts said, listing the Guantanamo Bay scandal as an example. “The basic rights seemed to be changing. It was a commentary on my point of view, like, ‘Are you serious? This is what we’re supposed to be OK with?'”

The song also carries a message of hope. Even though Roberts’ wrote “This Time” before the 2008 election, he said he could sense that the country was about to move in a more optimistic direction: “We’re leaving all our cares behind/you’re never gonna change my mind/this time.”

Also politically charged, the song “My Town” captures the spirit of hope a middle class factory worker might have felt as he watched Barack Obama scale the political ranks before the election, Roberts said. “Saints and Sinners” adheres to the Young Dubliners’ trademark mix of rock and Celtic instrumentation like mandolin, harp and Uillean pipe. Eight songs from the new album are on the Young Dubs’ agenda for tonight, along with some of the older music. Uillean pipe player Eric Rigler also joins the lineup. Rigler is a semi-regular member of the Young Dubs who separately played bagpipes in the soundtrack for the movie “Braveheart.”

The Young Dubliners formed in 1988 when Roberts and fellow Dublin native Paul O’Toole started performing together at an Irish pub in Santa Monica, Calif. The band’s current national tour kicked off earlier this month with a performance in Idaho. It continues through March 18 in Las Vegas, N.V.

Tonight marks the band’s first stop at Agave. The Young Dubs have played in Vail many times before, including at Mango’s in Red Cliff this summer and Vail’s Street Beat concert series last March.

“Some of the biggest gigs of our career have been in Vail,” Roberts said. “We’re very proud of our heritage in Vail.”

High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or

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