Still together after all these years. The Irish Rovers
Still together …
It's amazing when one thinks about it. The Irish Rovers — Will, Jimmy, George, Wilcil and Joe — first got together in 1964. Here it is, almost a decade-and-a-half later. How many musical tides have risen and fallen? How many singing groups have come and gone? Dozens. Maybe hundreds.
Yet this perennial fivesome — The Irish Rovers — is still with us, as great as ever and still going strong.
Longevity in the music business is no accident. The Irish Rovers have survived, indeed prospered, because they are a classic. They're one of a kind.
The Rovers' sound is the result of years of refining and elaborating on traditional Irish music idioms. Their vocal blend, whether on John Denver's RHYMES AND REASONS or their biggest hit, THE UNICORN (written by Shel Silverstein), is organic and, thus, completely unique. On record and in person, The Rovers perform today with the same purity and honesty, the same indelible style, which made them popular more than a decade ago.
Listening to The Irish Rovers Greatest Hits is like settling down in a comfortable arm chair: it is utterly reassuring.
— Cort Casady
WILL MILLAR — Emcee, bard, composer, poet, singer, historian, storyteller, interpreter, WILL was born in Ballymena, County Antrim, and began his entertainment career as one of "THE MILLAR KIDS" (with brother George and sister Sandra), touring Ireland until the family emigrated to Canada. The guitar, mandolin, banjo and Ireland's happy tin whistle are but a few of the accomplishments of this self-taught impresario. In Trinidad he mastered and became an expert on steel drums and Calypso music. He had not been in Calgary long before one of the local television stations featured him in a one-hour children's show called JUST FOR FUN. The show quickly gathered a loyal following of children by the thousands (and, more often than not, any adult free to watch afternoon television!) Then came THE UNICORN, written by Playboy's SHEL SILVERSTEIN, and the IRISH ROCKET TOOK OFF! A student of ancient Irish music, WILL's writing ability is not limited to music. With TALES TO WARM YOUR MIND (a book of nonsense poems for adults and children) behind him, he is now at work on a collection of short stories to be entitled, "BUN TWERP AND ME".
JIMMY FERGUSON — Lead singer (who has yet to take a singing lesson!) comedian and irrepressible "Life-of-the-Party" JIMMY was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The urge to travel in his early teens took him aboard a British Merchant Navy ship, where he spent three years seeing the world from the scullery. His last trip landed him in Canada, but the urge to travel stayed with him and, not content with an expedition up the Amazon River, he is now fascinated with the study of flying saucers. A rough and ready soccer-player, JIMMY refuses to sleep in a room alone!
GEORGE MILLAR — Singer, guitarist and accomplished "flat-picker" whose first musical instrument was a pair of spoons, GEORGE was one-third of the MILLAR KIDS with brother WILL and sister Sandra in Ireland. When the family settled in Canada, he continued to perform with his sister, accompanied by their father on the accordion. Soccer, trout-fly fishing and the Vancouver Canucks hockey team vie for his free time.
JOE MILLAR — Often described as "The Gypsy" by fans, JOE is featured in love song solos, plays the electric bass, harmonica, button accordion and lends bass harmony to group vocals. Born in Ballymena, JOE was trained by his grandfather to be a cobbler, but the writing was on the wall when he began to win prizes for dancing. JOE's talent as a musician surfaced quickly and the natural outcome was an invitation from cousin WILL to be part of The Irish Rovers. Happy with life in Vancouver and devoted to his garden there, JOE heads for the golf course whenever he has a day off.
WILCIL MCDOWELL — Born in Antrim Town in Northern Ireland, WILCIL opted for the accordion instead of architecture and wound up with the coveted "All Ireland Championship Accordionist" Award. He toured extensively on both sides of the ocean with his own band, The Donegore Ceili, until the call came to join the ROVERS. He can be found on the sidelines of a good boxing match or motorcycle race whenever time permits.