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Teton Skye brings sounds of Celtic music to east Idaho

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IDAHO FALLS — The sound of Celtic music is wildly popular and Teton Skye is bringing that sound to east Idaho.

The local quintet has been performing together for about five years, playing shows at area venues throughout the year. They opened 2022 by hosting a supper that celebrated the work of Scottish poet Robert Burns this past Saturday night.

“Robert Burns was Scotland’s most famous poet,” Teton Skye singer/multi-instrumentalist Eric Laing told “He wrote ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ the song that everybody sings at New Year’s Eve. He wrote hundreds of poems and a lot of his poems had philosophy in them about the equality and rights of man. So a lot of his thinking was instrumental in the formation of the United States.”

Burns suppers began several years after the poet’s death in 1796, with Burns’ friends gathering to share a meal and pay tribute to him. The tradition has carried on ever since, with lovers of Burns’ poetry coming together for an evening of food, song, and revelry.

The sold-out event was the latest success in the unspooling story of Teton Skye, which started when Laing was looking for new musical pursuits after playing in a cover band called Hot Rod Lincoln for over a decade. He answered an ad from the local pipe-and-drum corps Teton District of Performing Arts, who were looking for a guitarist to accompany them during shows.

Through that group, Laing met singer Liz Clark and began to put together a setlist of Celtic music they could perform alongside the pipe-and-drum corps.

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Courtesy Teton Skye website

“Liz has got a phenomenal voice for Celtic music,” Laing said. “We got somebody to play guitar and I had a friend who plays the upright bass and we started performing with (Teton District of Performing Arts) when they do their pipe and drums shows as part of the group.”

Eventually, the pipe-and-drum group disbanded and Laing and his bandmates began performing under the moniker of Teton Skye.

“We’ve released two albums,” said Laing. “We’ve played The Celt and Mac n Kelly’s. We’ve been playing around at the Utah Scottish Festival, the Bitterroot Celtic Festival up in Hamilton, Montana, and the Malad Valley Welsh Festival.”

The group, which consists of Laing, Clark, upright bassist Dee Robinson, percussionist Bryce Weyerman and guitarist Joshua Jacobsen, continues to play and record good music and grow their fanbase. Laing says the appeal of Celtic music lies in its beautiful melodies and relatable themes.

“You’ve got these songs that have been around for two, three, four hundred years and they are relevant, they are beautiful, the melodies are amazing,” he said. “They’re timeless. (Celtic music) harkens back to a simpler time. There are some really haunting and beautiful melodies and timeless themes.”

“Nobody I run into when we play has ever said ‘You know, I don’t really like Celtic Music,” he added. “Everybody seems to enjoy it even if they haven’t consciously tried to listen to it before. It’s woven into the background of movie scores and it’s the great grandfather and great grandmother of our modern bluegrass and country music. It’s buried so deeply in our own music that when we hear it, there are parts of it we recognize and didn’t realize we knew because it’s baked into our culture.”

If you missed the chance to see Teton Skye at their Burns Supper, don’t fret. They are planning appearances throughout the coming year, starting with a show at Mac n Kelly’s on March 19th. For more information about Teton Skye’s upcoming live shows, to purchase their music or to book the band for your own event, visit their website or drop by their Facebook page.