Earlier this year I was at the Buffalo Irish Festival and had a blast playing lots of music and meeting some great acts including the Steel City Rovers and The Spain Brothers and even played some hurling. Before we left myself and The Byrne Brothers (super-talented family band) went to see The Sullivans naval vessel DD537 which is now docked in Buffalo.
We were intrigued by the painting of a Shamrock on the deck and knew there must be an Irish connection. While we were aboard getting a tour, the unique story of the Sullivans Brothers was told to us, how Iowa brothers joined the navy in WW2 after Pearl Harbor, how they stuck together and served together on the Juneau and all went down together too. Tragic. Tommy (The Byrne Father!) said “Enda I feel a song coming on!” (Thanks Tommy!) and by the time I got back to Michigan I had a chorus.
I did my research then and the song took shape. It turned into a sea shanty and felt right sung acapella. I got some feedback from Paul and Shane in the Buffalo Naval Park which helped ensure that I had the story right.
When recording it I did multiple overdubs to make it feel like the 5 brothers singing but somehow that just wasn’t working so I went back to acapella, which is what you’ll hear on the recording. I had the good fortune to be able to share the song at The Milwaukee and Michigan Irish Music Festivals thereafter. Someday it’d be magic to hear a group of brothers singing it!
The 13th of November is the 80th anniversary of the sinking of the Juneau, the ship the Sullivans served on, so I am releasing it just before as it seems a commemorative occasion to do so.
Now available on Bandcamp