Tim J. Sanphy Jr.
Tim Sanphy, one of the original members of Kilrush, is the front man and multi-instrumentalist for the group. In addition to lead vocals, fiddle and tenor banjo Tim has also penned some of the songs Kilrush fans love the most, including “Lily’s Ghost”, “Wild As The Heather”, and “Banks of the Margaree” to name a few.
Music was a driving force in Tim’s life from an early age, growing up in a home filled with music from The Clancy Brothers to sea shanties sung by his father. Initially a classically trained guitar player, Tim took up the fiddle as a young man and a lifelong passion was born.
Tim has a wide variety of musical influences, among them Cape Breton fiddlers Buddy McMaster, Brenda Stubbert and Joe Cormier. Also renowned Irish fiddlers Ed McGowan, Kevin Burke and Martin Hayes. Tim also credits banjo player Gerry O’Connor. Other musical influences include The Chieftans, The Elders, Joe Satriani, Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, and Pat Kane.
Chris Sherwood joined Kilrush in July 2005 after being invited by Tim to play bodhran with the group at the Great American Irish Festival (for which Tim has never forgiven himself). He later began to play guitar when needed as well as incorporate various percussion instruments to the Kilrush sound such as congas or the djembe. He now plays mainly guitar as well as provides backing vocals.
Chris's musical taste ranges "from ABBA to Zeppelin" as he puts it, with emphasis on country and bluegrass, the music he grew up hearing his family play as a child. Some of his biggest musical influences are James Taylor, John Denver, Garth Brooks, Luka Bloom, Christy Moore and Pat Kane, who provided the introduction to Irish/ Celtic music in the first place..
Chris lives with his wife Abby and two sons outside of Elmira NY. In 2020, Chris released his first novel, "In Times Of Trouble" and is currently working on the sequel. In addition to writing and music, Chris enjoys collecting vintage toys and country living in general.
At the age of five, Todd was given his first mix tape. A compilation of radio songs by artists such as Joan Jett, The J. Geils Band and “Weird Al” Yankovic, it sparked an urge to consume as much new music as he could get his hands on, covering a wide range of genres and styles.
In grade school, Todd played the Baritone Horn, Trombone, and Tuba. When he joined his first rock band, he gravitated toward the rhythm section, and bass guitar seemed the natural choice given his background in the “lower register”. Over the next 20+ years, Todd has played in a number of rock bands, as both a bassist and drums.
Prior to joining Kilrush on bass in 2011, Todd’s knowledge of Irish music consisted only of a couple of Flogging Molly songs and the drinking songs he had heard performed in area pubs. His aforementioned affinity for varied musical styles caused Todd to jump at the chance to try something new, a trend that continued when he made the leap from bass to drums, succeeding Paddy O'Hare who departed the band in 2016. In 2020, Todd switched back to being our bass player.
Dave Rice joined Kilrush in 2014, lending his guitar talents in addition to accordion and other instruments. You'll currently find him keeping the beat as the band's drummer.
Originally from Conklin, NY, he started playing music early in life. Forming garage bands with his brother and friends soon led to his first tour with a local punk band at the age of 14. In high school, Dave's influences expanded into everything from traditional folk to hip-hop. While primarily a guitarist Dave has also served as drummer, bassist and keyboard player in numerous bands from the early 90's to present day. His unique style was developed by working with many different genres, as one style influenced another and became a new sound altogether.
In 2001 he opened his recording studio Basement Audio. Over the last 15 years, he has produced over 300 recording projects and collaborations, as well as 23 of his own original solo albums. This also allowed Dave to take the reins with the production of Kilrush's 2015 album "Spree!".
About The Guys
In 2001 a group of musicians from the Elmira- Corning Region began meeting up to play informal trad sessions in local pubs and coffee shops. Over the years the band evolved and began to play a more contemporary style, infusing the influences of other artists and genres to reflect the Irish-American experience. This resulted in a high energy, crowd pleasing style with all the elements loved in a traditional Irish band, a sound the band refers to as “Triple Distilled Celtic Rock".
Kilrush plays events and festivals across New York and Pennsylvania including the 2012 AOH/LAOH National Convention, Great American Irish Festival, Irish 2000, East Durham Irish Festival, Hooley on the Hudson, North Country Goes Green and more. The band has been honored to share the bill with well known international acts such as Gaelic Storm, Enter The Haggis, Scythian, and the Dublin City Ramblers to name a few.
Kilrush has released three full albums: “On This Shore” and “Keltoi Anam” which showcased the group’s traditional roots. “Spree”, released in 2015, showcases the band’s more contemporary sound and includes fan favorites such as “Lily’s Ghost” and “Banks Of The Margaree”. In 2010 Kilrush was featured on WSKG-TV’s “Expressions”, which aired across New York State.
2021 marks the band’s 20th anniversary.
Kilrush credits their longevity and success to the love and support of their fans everywhere, ( who they consider family ), but also to the fact that after 20 years, Kilrush continues to be fans of the music themselves.