It has taken a little time -- 28 years and 22 albums -- but The Chieftains are finally receiving the same kind of reception around the world that they've enjoyed in their Irish home for most of their existence.
"We've been very fortunate to have made good friends along the way," said Paddy Moloney, the chief Chieftain. "Of course, when you stick around for as long as we have you hope somebody has been listening."
For the Chieftains, who will perform a special Christmas show at Shriver Hall Saturday night, the buzz began back in 1966 when Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull came to see their show.
"It's amazing how much publicity you can get for just having somebody like that show up at a show," Moloney said. "When people see stories like that they begin to get curious and they want to know what it's all about so they might pick up an album or drop in on a show."
For folks like O'Connor and Morrison, it didn't take word of mouth advertising -- The Chieftains have been one of the biggest acts in Ireland since their inception.
With the traditional Irish sounds of their jigs, reels, airs and ballads, the popularity of the six-man outfit, which also slips quite a bit of humor into their shows, has grown at a steady pace.
This summer another friend, Roger Waters, invited the band to participate in his landmark Berlin Wall concert.
It has been these kinds of invitations, along with many performances with Morrison all around the world, that have helped attract Chieftains fans.
"Van called me up at 11:30 last night and wanted us to do a show back in Ireland with him on the 21st," said Moloney earlier in the week in a phone interview from New York. "Our tour here ends on the 19th and we usually like to cool down for the holidays, but we owe him one because he played a show with us in San Francisco earlier this year. He left me no choice but to say 'yes.'"
Moloney said the band's holiday show will feature many traditional holiday songs as well as several ancient Wexford carols, which are very popular in Ireland at Christmastime.
"But we still include some of our more popular older songs," Moloney said.
Baltimore's two largest rock clubs, Network and Hammerjacks, have played musical chairs with their New Year's Eve bookings.
It all began earlier this week when Kix pulled out of Hammerjacks for Dec. 31. Rumors swirled that the band was bickering, but singer Steve Whiteman said they dropped the show and the rest of their tour to devote all of their time to pre-production work on their next album for which recording begins in January.
Since then, Hammerjacks has lured Child's Play out of Network with a deal that was three-times the amount of money the band would have gotten at Network. Drummer John Allen said the band didn't want to slight Network -- "They've always been great to us" -- but the band just needed the extra money to remain on the road through the new year.
Meanwhile, Network is searching for a top draw for the biggest night of the year on the bar circuit.
Concert calendar . . .
ZZ Top and the Black Crowes will perform at the Capital Centre Jan. 13. Tickets, which are $22.50, go on sale Saturday at 8 a.m. at all TicketCenter locations. Also coming to the Cap Centre are Judas Priest, Testament and Megadeth (Dec. 9) and Salt N Pepa, Tony Toni Tone, Father M.C. (Dec. 30).
Appearing at Painters Mill are Extreme, Danger Danger and The London Quireboys (Sunday) and Crack The Sky (Dec. 28).
Coming to Hammerjacks are The Hooters (Saturday), Wrathchild America (Sunday), Black Crowes (Tuesday), Ratt (Dec. 15), Trixter (Dec. 28) and Dokken (Dec. 29).
Max's On Broadway hosts Buddy Guy (tonight), Darling Buds (Tuesday), Innocence Mission (Dec. 14), Commander Cody (Dec. 15) and Hot Tuna (Dec. 16).
Coming to Shriver Hall are Wynton Marsalis and Carl Filipiak (Dec. 9).
Ritchie Coliseum in College Park is the closest approach for one of rock's hottest acts, Living Colour (Tuesday).
Also, Gene Loves Jezebel performs at the Bayou in D.C. Tuesday night.