Celtic Christmas offers variety of historic and modern music

Published 12:38 pm Friday, December 16, 2016

Vulcan Eejits Scooter Muse, left, Ed Miller and Jil Chambliss perform Celtic Christmas at Chestnut Creek Heritage Chapel.

Vulcan Eejits Scooter Muse, left, Ed Miller and Jil Chambless perform Celtic Christmas at Chestnut Creek Heritage Chapel.

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

From sad songs and Celtic Christmas songs to humorous more modern lyrics, Vulcan Eejits’ Celtic Christmas concert at the Chestnut Creek Heritage Chapel had a variety to offer.

The first half of the show featured Celtic music from different eras, while the second half was Christmas music.

Ola Taylor of Chestnut Creek Heritage Chapel said this was the first time the group had performed at the chapel.

Vulcan Eejits is Jil Chambless, Ed Miller and Scooter Muse.

Chambless had attended a Jim Malcolm concert at the venue and “fell in love” with the historic building. She asked if she could do a concert.

“It’s a lovely place,” Chambliss said. “It’s a beautiful space and I love that they are trying to make it an event venue, have music in here and have concerts here and I want to support that as much as I can, whether as an audience member or a performer.”

Chambless and Scooter live in Alabama. Miller lives in Texas and is originally from Scotland. The band members met while performing at festivals with other Celtic music groups. While they are still a part of different groups, they get together about four times a year to perform as the Vulcan Eejits.

Celtic Christmas is a 12-day tour for them.

“I teach school and we just finished exams last week, so it’s good timing for me,” Chambless said.

Her favorite Christmas song the group performed at Chestnut Creek is “Christ Child’s Lullaby,” which was translated from Scots Gaelic.

Miller is a full-time singer. He began performing Celtic music in Scotland in the 1960s.

“There was a folk revival there, just like you had a folk revival in this country,” Miller said.

He moved to the United States in the 1980s.

Miller said the Celtic Christmas this year started in Texas and will end in Florida. His favorite performance of the night was the first song they performed, “Let the Circle Be Wide.”

“It’s a song about let everyone come together, which we need a lot of in this country right now,” Miller said.

Muse said he “cut my teeth in bluegrass.” As Irish and Scottish bands began performing at the bluegrass festivals, Muse became interested in the music and began learning songs. Later, he started a Celtic music band in north Alabama.

Muse said one of his favorites that the band performed at Chestnut Creek was “Wild Geese.”

Chambless sang the song in the Scots dialect.

“A man leaves home in Scotland and goes away to work, but he finds himself having a conversation with the wind, and wind is telling him everything that is happening in his homeland. It’s a beautiful song,” Muse said.

The group encouraged audience members to join in on the chorus of each song.

“Singing does warm you up, and it heightens your self-esteem and lowers your cholesterol, so it’s a win-win situation all around,” Miller joked with the audience.

Audience members also learned the meaning to some of the words unique to Scotland as Miller explained song lyrics.