The Troubles

Irish and coal mining music

The Troubles

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The Troubles are an Irish band that brings our listeners a unique mix of original, traditional, and contemporary Irish music blended with "coal cracker" Irish mining music from the anthracite coal fields of northeast Pennsylvania.

The Troubles came to be one St. Patrick's Day several years ago when there was no Irish music to be found in the Coal Region of NE Pennsylvania.  There is nothing sadder than longing for something one does not have...and thus, The Troubles were born.

The band's name, The Troubles, was inspired by the conflicts in Ireland during the 1960's through the 80's and the patriotic passion all Irishmen and women have for their homeland and their clan.  Some of these same struggles persist in Ireland today. While there is a fragile and tentative peace that exists, there remains a great fracture in the land and among its people. Regardless of how unification occurs, occur it must for no country can flourish without peace and unity among its inhabitants. A country can rise above its history, but it cannot forget it nor negate it. What was once, will rise again. Ireland will never fall.

The history of the Irish in America is a troubled one and that is another reason the band's name is so apt. When the first wave of Irish immigrants arrived in the mid-1800's, they left the famine ships with little more than the clothing on their backs and began the fight to survive in a strange place far from home.  Many of the immigrants headed inland to the hard coal regions of Pennsylvania.  Their exodus from Ireland during An Gorta Mor, or The Great Hunger, was tragic. These poor and displaced Irish came to America for a better life, but they often found they were met with the same oppression and bigotry they faced in Ireland.  Greedy railroad and mine owners took advantage of the Irish labor force. When they tried to provide for their family's and get ahead in their new country, they were beaten down and kept in almost slave like conditions.

However, one thing was different now. In America, the Irish were free to stand up for their civil liberties and exert their right to organize. It was in the Coal Region that the first labor unions were born. It was the Irish who championed the plight of the working man and fought for a fair and decent wage. Unions were not popular among the rich men who owned the mines and railroads. The fight for fair labor practices was not won without a price. It was in the Coal Region that 20 Irish men, known as the Molly Maguires, were hung for their union involvement. At the time, they were maligned by the newspapers of the era, labeled thugs and murderers.

Today, history has revised their opinion of these men.  New and compelling evidence has exonerated most of the men.  Many historians now believe those men known as the Mollies were the first heroes of organized labor.And so, even though after leaving Ireland, the Irish had their Troubles, they also had their victories.




The band members are Loretta Murphy, Paul Noon, and Patrick Miggins.

Each of the band brings a  special talent that makes The Troubles what they are. The band is unique in its interpretation of Irish music. The Troubles are not content to play only the ballads and folk tunes of the past nor are they compelled to just rely on the popularity of contemporary Irish music that excites the young. The band does a healthy combination of all three and it also is committed to bringing new, original Irish music to the table.  All of the band's original songs express the joys and pain of Ireland and what it means to be Irish.  From originals that sound like old traditionals to contemporary numbers that are flavored with rock, blues, bluegrass, and folk, The Troubles are continually pushing the envelope with their mission to promote Irish music and culture.  It is not enough for The Troubles to be an Irish band...the band wants to draw its listeners in and bring each of them to a place where they can acknowledge their own Irish roots and what it means to them to be part of the Celtic legacy.

Paul Noon is a seasoned and devoted musician. He has played - and still plays - in many bands and genres. From rock to folk to theater pit band, Paul was one of the original founders of The Troubles.  Noonie, as he is known to his fans, never falters in his Irish roots -although he does stumble occasionally on a fairy hill or would that be across a leprechaun's still? He has contributed endless hours of his time and dedication to The Troubles from the very beginning. Paul's strong vocals, lead guitar work, and his bass notes are the group's backbone.  A huge fan of Dylan and the dead, Paul's style reflects his musical tastes in rock and blues but his talent is all his own.  Did we mention he can set up a job faster than you can say "roadie"?

Patrick Miggins is an American Irishman and a musician's musician.  Our lad, Patrick, possesses the instinctive musical talents of the Irish in addition to his dual American and Irish citizenship. Pat plays guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and Irish tenor banjo, and contributes to vocals, now and then taking the lead on some of his favorites. He is instrumental to the band's original music, often times scribbling arrangements for new songs as we play the notes. Pat is our nervous system. He brings rhythm, musicianship, and a sense of reason to The Troubles. Himself has recently begun delving into recording and has launched his newest venture, Gone Batty Castle Productions. His first clients? Why, The Troubles, of course! 

Loretta Murphy is the group's heart and soul. She conceived The Troubles once upon a time on a St. Patrick's Day Eve when there was no Irish music to be found in the land. Loretta writes many of the band's original songs but all the band participates in the process of bringing them to life. Her lyrics and melodies reflect her deep passion and respect for her Irish roots. She supports peace in Northern Ireland and the Republic.  When she becomes rich and famous, she will have her cottage on the Northern Coast of County Donegal and split her time between the two coasts. Loretta's original songs about the Molly Maguires are rich with history and lore about the era.  Loretta performs lead vocals as well as brings the rousing beat of the bodhran and haunting touch of the tin whistle to the band's music.


Some of The Troubles original songs can be heard right there on our ReverbNation music player on the bottom of this page.