As a teenager, Anthony Furey didn’t want to follow in the footsteps of his father, George Furey, prominent member of Irish folk band the Furey Brothers.
In an act of defiance, he tried his hand at football and worked towards becoming a sporting star. But Anthony’s stubborn mindset came with its shortcomings, and things changed when George went on tour and he spent more time hanging out with his mates who were experimenting with instruments.
It wasn’t long before he voluntarily switched his footy boots for the guitar. “I think I was trying to be a bit of a rebellious teenager,” he remembers.
“A lot of my friends were playing guitar and we were sitting around in a place called Tyrrelstown in the city in Dublin (Ireland), playing football and guitar. We were maybe 12, or 13, or 14, trying to show off and play instruments.
“My dad didn’t discover I was playing until one day he popped his head into my bedroom, saw me, gave a nod and walked out. He had a good ear. It was the reaction I was hoping for.”
Anthony’s love for music saw him attend a music college in Dublin where he met and befriended Paul Butler.
When college wrapped up, Anthony moved to Holland for about a year while Paul worked as a music teacher in Dublin.
Upon Anthony’s return home and in a twist of fate, the pair reunited and began playing together before forming their band, The Young Folk.
“The name (of the band) kind of came about a few years ago. It’s a bit of a play on words, as in new folk kind of music back then. We were using a lot of different instruments; I think maybe 20 something instruments from electronic to drum machines,” says Anthony, TYF’s lead vocalist and guitarist.
From there, the band added two new members and started performing shows around Ireland. In 2014, TYF released their debut album The Little Battle which was recorded in five days.
“We released an EP in October that year, and we got asked if we’d like to go to New York to play and represent Ireland with a few other bands. But they asked us if we had an album and we didn’t,” Anthony says.
“We all had full-time jobs, but myself, Tony and Carl (ex-members) wrote nine songs in one day just so we could play.”
The Young Folk’s sophomore album, First Sign of Morning, was recorded over a nine-month period. Playing shows in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Scandinavia, America, New Zealand and Australia, The Young Folk will return down under as part of Portarlington’s National Celtic Festival.
Anthony says he’s excited to get back to Australia despite the fact he checks under his hotel pillow each night for spiders and snakes.
“We absolutely love it (Australia) – we’ve been over there during summer the last two years,” says Anthony.
“Festivals in Australia are really good for getting people together. In Ireland, you get booked into a festival and you’re there for three or four hours before you go back home. In Australia, it’s more like a little gathering.”
Anthony says audiences can expect “a bit of Irish humour and good music” at TYF’s show at NCF.
The Young Folk will perform as part of NFC from June 7 to June 10. For tickets and this year’s program, visit nationalcelticfestival.com.