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The Paperboys jig

The Paperboys celebrate Saint Patrick's Day with Latin, bluegrass, country, rock-infused Celtic stomp

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Who: The Paperboys

Where: Wednesday, March 15, 8 p.m.

Where: MY Millennium Place

Tickets: $22/$18

The 1990s saw the heyday of Celtic everything, from Riverdance to Irish-inspired live bands. The swing sensation followed – Latin with Ricky Martin – and Celtic music faded with the echo of Irish step dancers surfacing once every March.

While the Celtic fad now belongs to a different century, a handful of bands thrive on: not limiting themselves to the genre, but instead embracing the heart of the music – energy, expression and rhythm – in whatever form it takes.

"It’s a great style of music that is contagious," said Tom Landa of the Paperboys. "Celtic music has all the elements that we appreciate in other styles of music: It’s sad, pensive, joyful. It’s really expressive music. There is something in there for a lot of people to identify with."

While the first few albums of the Paperboy’s six-record collection strongly stepped to a pure Celtic beat, the more than decade old band now jigs to a Celtic-roots-based sound with influences as far reaching as bluegrass, Latin, country, folk and rock.

Call it Latino-Celtic grass or rocking-country soul, whatever the nametag, The Paperboys simply put it as a stomping good time with the genre-bending show coming Wednesday, March 15 at 8 p.m. to MY Millennium Place.

Mexican rhythms even work their way into the mix – a type of music Mexican native Landa has grown up with.

"The Latin and Mexican tradition works really well with Celtic tradition," he explained. "They share a lot of the same rhythms, especially music in three-four and six-eight. Jigs and slip jigs fit really well with Mexican strumming."

The band’s far-reaching talents are reflected in the band members’ musical moonlighting. Paperboy drummer Geoffrey Kelly also plays with Canada’s other folk/Celtic sensation Spirit of the West. Fiddler Kendel Carson splits her time between the Paperboys and the Outlaw Social. And Brad Gillard plays part time with Mountain Bluebirds. Mandolin player Cam Salay, who is taking a guest spot for the Whistler show, is also no stranger to these parts, as one of the infamous Bowen Boys regularly found at the Dubh Linn Gate.

"So what that does is make sure everyone is satisfying their own musical wants and curiosities, so they are coming to the stage happy," Landa said.

The Juno-Award-winning band is never short on fun. Anyone who has witnessed a standing-room-only show at a Seattle pub or was one of hundreds of screaming fans bouncing to the energetic beat at an outdoor festival, knows these former paper couriers will deliver a show-stopping concert.

After more than four years of touring Europe, the band even had to build their own German-language-based website to keep up with fans’ needs. The road dogs will tour the Pacific Northwest next month, followed by another European tour and summer festival circuit, as well as going back into the recording studio to put out another album.

Even the smoke of the band’s latest album, The Road To Ellenside , hasn’t yet cleared – the album won’t be officially released in Canada on the True North Record label until spring. The songs are a compilation of the best-of road stories, coming together as an audio-like photo album.

"It’s a travelogue," Landa said of the album. "The song Waiting is about me traveling through Italy, Comforting Kind about being in England and how we came to record in this old mansion. It’s a lot of songs about the road."

A shorter road is ahead, in the meantime, with the Vancouver-based band heading north to Whistler for a pre-Saint Patrick’s Day show.

"It’s great for St. Patty’s Day (with our) Celtic sound, but hopefully there will be some surprises with other musical elements," he said. "I think that is what makes us different than other Celtic bands is that we do all these different styles of music together."

Tickets for the Real Canadian Series showcase are $22 for adults and $18 for seniors/students. Call 604-935-8411 for tickets.

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