Irish Rovers play in Sarasota

The Irish-Canadian band is on its farewell tour after 50 years together

February 13, 2014 

See the Irish Rovers tonight in Sarasota. PUBLICITY PHOTO

They're impeccable musicians known as ambassadors of Irish music and culture, but they're based in Canada and their best-known song is a silly novelty written by a Jewish guy from Chicago.

After 50 years together, the Irish Rovers are calling it quits. They'll bring their farewell tour to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota tonight.

It's wise to be wary of the words "farewell tour," because so many bands have stretched their tour out for years or have gone out on five or six farewell tours.

But there's no reason to think that the Rovers, who have been making music together for 50 years, aren't truly ready to call it quits.

The tour is called "Farewell to Rovin': The Craic Will Be Mighty." ("Craic" is an Irish term that means "fun' or "good cheer.")

Mainstream audiences in this country know the Irish Rovers mostly from their 1967 hit "The Unicorn," written by children's author Shel Silverstein, and their lesser hit "Wasn't That a Party?" a cover of a song by another American, Tom Paxton.

But the bulk of their music over the past half-century and some three dozen albums has had a strong Irish flavor, musically and lyrically.

Details: 8 p.m. Feb. 13, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: 30-$50. Information: 941-953-3368, www.vanwezel.org.

-- Marty Clear

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