The Backer

How Irish players accompany traditional music
Episode Trailer

What’s up with Irish ‘backing’? How does accompaniment fit in the melodic Irish tradition, and how does it feel to invent chords for Irish tunes and songs?

Accompanists Matt Heaton, Neil Pearlman, Keith Murphy, and John Doyle talk about share their thoughts on culture, conversation, and the role that guitar, bouzouki, piano, and harp (and flow state) play in Irish music.


Thank you to everybody for listening. And a special thank you to this month’s underwriters: Patrick O’Leary, Art Costa, Paul Willson, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Episode 06-The Backer
How Irish players accompany traditional music 
This Irish Music Stories episode aired July 11, 2017


– Full transcript coming soon –
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Bonus Content

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Companion Chapters

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Cast of Characters

Episode guests in order of appearance

Matt Heaton


Pennsylvania-born, Boston-based guitarist and bouzouki player

Neil Pearlman


Maine-based multi-instrumentalist, stepdancer and host of podcast TradCafe

Keith Murphy


Newfoundland-born, Vermont-based multi-instrumentalist and singer who has collaborated with numerous groups and serves as music director for WGBH events

John Doyle


Irish guitar player and songwriter who has collaborated with and produced numerous Celtic and American folk projects

The Heaton List