The raw, windswept beauty of the Antrim Coast in Northern Ireland has inspired adventurers and artists, alike, for centuries. From folk lore to folk music, its crags and crannies hold myriad stories still waiting to be shared. Because the land, itself, is wild and rugged, the telling of its tales must harness that same power, so it’s no wonder that The Orphan Brigade‘s To the Edge of the World echoes and pulses with the freedom and daring, howls and hope that so many have felt where the lushly pastoral land meets the rocky, unforgiving sea.
Having tapped into the gothic madness of a haunted house in southern Kentucky and the mystical heart of the Templar caves underneath Osimo, Italy, the Orphan Brigade’s Joshua Britt, Ben Glover, and Neilson Hubbard returned to Glover’s Irish homeland for their latest collaborative exploration of the spirit and history, fact and fiction that make up a place. They found it in the stories of lost loves and tested faith that make up the legends of the Glenarm Forest, Madman’s Window, the Sea of Moyle, Kinbane Castle, Slemish Mountain, and more.
In keeping with their previous album exploits, the trio grabbed their gear and spent a week writing the songs on various coastal locations, cliff edges, castle ruins and even at sea aboard a fishing boat. What they wrote in the wild, they recorded in St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland in Glenarm, a site of worship since a Franciscan friary was established there in 1465. With a handful of masterful Irish musicians joining the ever-evolving creative fray, the Orphan Brigade have returned with a doggedly untamed, yet deeply compassionate testament to County Antrim in To the Edge of the World.
Neilson Hubbard got his start as a singer/songwriter in the mid-’90s, releasing six solo albums. However, it’s his more than two decades as a producer that have not only put Hubbard on the musical map, but also landed him a 2019 Grammy nomination thanks to his work on Mary Gauthier’s Rifles and Rosary Beads. In addition to helming projects by artists like Glen Phillips, Kim Richey, the Farewell Drifters, the Apache Relay, and Ryan Culwell, as well as being an integral part of the Orphan Brigade collective, Hubbard has also joined forces with Britt in an award-winning video production company, Neighborhoods Apart, that has collaborated with John Prine, Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and others.
Ben Glover’s childhood in the sleepy seaside village of Glenarm in the north of Ireland had a soundtrack from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, as has every moment of his life and work since, from his solo albums to his Orphan Brigade projects. Moving to Nashville in 2009 allowed Glover to not only become steeped in the American roots music and culture he’d studied as a kid, but to also become part of the town’s deeply creative community, which lead to co-writing with artists such as Kim Richey, Mary Gauthier, and Gretchen Peters. His collaborative work with Peters — along with his most recent solo release, Shorebound — have earned him top song and album awards, respectively, from the Americana Music Association UK.
Joshua Britt grew up in a family of artists and musicians 45 minutes south of Bill Monroe’s Kentucky homestead and 20 minutes away from the hometown of “Newgrass” mandolin innovator Sam Bush in what could easily be called the “Mandolin Music Capital of the World.” Old forms of music and art are in his Kentucky blood and he grew up obsessed with everything from Old Appalachian harmony singing to digging through fields for arrowheads. Britt has focused on incorporating some of those older and more hard-wired aesthetics and textures into his own art. As a founding member of both the Farewell Drifters and the Orphan Brigade, Britt has performed around the world. His love and talent for visual art also cause him to establish the Neighborhoods Apart production company with Hubbard.
Additional Members: John Prine, The Henry Girls, Colm McClean, Conor McCreanor, Barry Kerr, Mala Gassmann, Dean Marold, Bessie McWhirter, Danny Mitchell, Pupils of Seaview Primary School
Past Members: Heather Donegan, Kris Donegan, Will Kimbrough, Eamon McLoughlin, Gretchen Peters, Kim Richey, Natalie Schlabs, Kira Small, Audrey Spillman, Barry Walsh