The Barley Boys

The Barley Boys, a Celtic-style cover band, will head to Kennedy Plaza, Atlantic City, for a family-friendly show 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14.

Not many people get the inspiration to form a band while they're traveling throughout a foreign land.

The Barley Boys began 20 years ago, when lead songwriter Mike Babick was visiting Ireland.

"I was exploring my heritage," he says. "And just wrote a few songs while I was over there."

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Those few songs "really took off in Philadelphia," according to Babick, who decided to make the band a more permanent endeavor. Their sound merges traditional Celtic with modern-rock sensibilities, which manager Carrie Auereach describes as "a mixture of great storytelling with a real love of life."

Sets include plenty of recognizable Celtic tunes, but most are given a modern overhaul.

"We rearrange them, and make them our own. We rock them out more," Babick says. The band's original songs follow in this tradition, with inspiration coming from "love for a woman, drinking, partying, or fishing. I have a great affinity for the water."

This aquatic influence shines through in their choice of covers. Harry Belafante's classics "the Banana Boat Song" and "Shake Senora" liven up the dance floor, alongside other classic sounds from the Caribbean.

Due to their adherence to the classic Celtic sound, the Barley Boys' original songs are just as popular as their cover choices. "I'm Sorry, Honey," "Drunk Again," or "Too Drunk Polka" are audience favorites, especially amongst the more liquidly liberated among the crowd. "There's always a line for CD's when we're doing the funny ones," says Babick. Despite this, the show is suitable for all ages. "We keep it clean. We're here for the family - it's a singalong!"

In addition to the island vibe, the performance also includes some more traditional cover songs designed with a Jersey Shore crowd in mind. The set's standout is the Band's "The Weight," with the Rolling Stones and other classic rock acts getting fair measure as well.

"Oh, and I'll throw some Jimmy Buffett in there, too," Babick says. "To try and keep that upbeat vibe."

LEARN MORE: Visit and like the band o•Facebook.

THE MEMBERS: Michael Babick, guitar, vocals and songwriting; Arty Artymiw, Violin, vocals; Michael Kurman, bass, vocals; Andy Meyer, drums and percussion.

COMING UP: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, Veterans Bicentennial Park, Beach Haven. The concert is free.

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