Katie Carroll: Meet The Bearded Irishmen

Katie Carroll
On Friday night at McKnight's Irish Pub, The Bearded Irishmen can be seen playing a few of their original ballads along with covers, while also sipping on a Guinness. This Friday, they will perform at 7:30 p.m.
Courtesy Photo

Writer’s note: Tons of great bands make their way through our town, but there are plenty of talented musicians that make Steamboat their home all year round. This new series for Explore Steamboat will profile local bands once a month. Meet your fellow residents that live with an instrument in one hand and skis in the other.

Last Friday night, I headed to McKnight’s Irish Pub & Loft to sit down with The Bearded Irishmen duo, Jordan Brenegan and Ben Wood. We sat down at the upstairs bar with a couple Guinnesses (vodka and Red Bull for Ben), and talked music, beer and facial hair. I have to say, this bearded duo is the perfect inaugural local profile. Who knew I would laugh so much?

Katie Carroll: Why Steamboat?

Jordan Brenegan: I’m from Wisconsin originally. I decided to give it (Steamboat) a try after I graduated. I moved here four years ago and got married two years ago. I really like it because I fly fish all summer and snowboard a lot (in the winter).

Ben Wood: Originally from Houston. A friend asked me if I wanted to go to Steamboat, and I said I don’t even know where that is, but yes I’d love to. The saying is absolutely true. Come for winter, stay for the summer. My land!

KC: Describe the town’s music scene in three words.

BW: Lacking in jazz.

JB:OK, I’ve got my three words: Not enough metal.

BW: Shout out to Sandrock Sound, though, they’re doing some awesome stuff.

KC: What’s the difference between being a house band and making the local music circuit?

BW: We haven’t really played anywhere else yet because we don’t have a lot time to ourselves. The real goal is to get out an EP. We do covers, but we also do some fusion stuff, as well — something that keeps us interested.

KC: Wait, are you working on an EP?

JB: We probably have an EP recorded already … we need to perfect it.

BW: Honestly, if I can really hunker down, I think we can get it done in a couple weeks.

JB and BW: Cheers!

KC: You work at an Irish pub. What’s your favorite Irish beer?

JB: Guinness.

BW: We like our car bombs.

KC: What is it about bars and the relationship between beer and music?

JB: We love having fun up there.

BW: You’ve got the beer flowing and this social atmosphere. It brings the band a lot closer to the audience, as well — gives them a chance to banter. You lose that intimacy and connection in a larger venue. With a small house like this, you can really engage them and you can get this Q&A thing going and all of sudden you’re having a good time drinking beers. There’s something to be said for when you can buy a shot for the band and they’ll come down and drink it with you.

KC: Where did the name come from?

JB: Technically, our name isn’t The Bearded Irishmen.

BW: You can’t print our real band name in the paper.

JB: It’s a fun name for a couple guys who are playing music and goofing around.

BW: A lot of the times he and I will glance at each other …

JB: We just create something completely new.

BW: On the fly.

KC: Whose beard is better?

BW: Jordan’s got so many colors going on, if you’ve seen his glistening in the sun.

JB: I’d say it’s a tie.

The Bearded Irishmen play at 7:30 p.m. Friday nights at McKnight’s Irish Pub & Loft, 685 Marketplace Plaza.

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