Fishing With Finnegan, are not in fact a random collective but rather a whole family of musicians. The four Siblings Ryan, born and raised in decidedly Irish Northern Rhode Island, have always been inclined towards the arts in general and music in particular. Being homeschooled, they found their closest friends in one another, and continue to be a tight-knit family. One very important result of all this bonding is that when each inevitably picked up an instrument there were always a number of co-musicians with whom to experiment.
Having a pretty even mix of Irish and Italian in their blood, the Ryans grew up listening to The Clancy Brothers, Tommy Makem, The Chieftans, and Robbie O'Connell, among others (and eating lasagna). Their musical tastes were not limited to the realm of Celtic, of course, and some other early influences were The Beatles, John Denver, various Baroque composers, The Stones, and, of course, The King. As they grew and their tastes expanded (and diverged, in some cases), one or another could be found listening to everything from Barbershop to Trance. Of course, they kept a stack of Celtic albums close at hand at all times, and it remains the dominant genre heard blasting throughout the Ryan household. Some musical heroes are Gaelic Storm, Great Big Sea, Dublin City Ramblers, The Town Pants and the Glengarry Bhoys.
Ben and Mike were the first to venture forth into the world of performing. For several years they had been playing in front of small crowds, at parties and things of that sort, and making a variety of home recordings, under a vast array of band names. Their first really public show (as Scredly's Heroes), on March 18, 2004, was at Patrick's Pub in Providence's Smith Hill district. A boisterous applause did issue forth from the mostly Irish audience, and with this vote of confidence the dynamic duo acquired a sound system and began to play out more and more, and have been gaining momentum ever since. The sisters Ryan, while no less talented (and a good deal prettier), were then as of yet not entirely comfortable in front of an unfamiliar audience, but have since dispensed with their silly shyness and joined their brothers on the stage, forming a dynamic quartet, the likes of which the world has never known! The current band name, which they have decided to stick with, was conceived in the late summer of 2006, and the rest is history.
Of course, the rest of their musical career has yet to be written... so drop them a line and let them know what you think!
(Look at the poodle. Innshecute.)
Mike Ryan: Guitar, vocals, fiddle, percussion
Mike, the eldest and wisest, Has been playing guitar since age eleven. Before that, he played piano, and before that the kazoo, and he has been stretching his vocal chords since day one (to the dismay of all within earshot in those first months). Here we see him with his front-line axe, an '81 Alvarez Yairi DY55, though he likes to mix things up occasionally by playing his twelve-string DG-16 in alternate tunings, which amounts to quite a racket. More recently, he has endeavored to really get good with his fiddle, a project which is beginning to bear fruit. He can also keep a beat with assorted vernacular rhythmic devices, and as such is known to carry around a peculiar assortment of things that go "click". Like all three other siblings, he has a tendency towards the arts at large, and has also been active in visual and theatrical circles.
Ben Ryan: Vocals, accordion, mandolin, whistles, drums, bodhran
Ben is the future leader of the world, so you might as well start pledging your allegiance to him... okay, so it's a lofty goal. Always rather verbal, Ben is the band member who does most of the talking between songs, as one may know or not, depending on whether one has seen the band live. Ben was born in Providence and abducted at an early age by aliens, who left him by mistake deep in the jungles of Africa. After Bushwhacking for several days, he befriended a monkey named Dave. One day, he received a gift from his friend; an accordion!
Ben now plays over 25 musical instuments (most of them well). His current interests include dancing, playing with food, and the What Cheer? Brigade.
Casey Ryan: Vocals, piano, bass, guitar, banjo, bodhran, percussion
Casey first became interested in the bodhran when Ben brought home a $20 synthetic hand drum and began to play it with a tipper, although her love for Irish music and percussion came long beforehand, having spent her childhood listening to the likes of The Clancys and Tommy Makem and banging on pots with kitchen utensils. She has since upgraded to a 16", 8" deep Mance Grady creation. From an instrumental standpoint, of course, her happy place is at the keyboard of her 1927 Baldwin Grand Piano, which, due to its excessively heavy weight and large size, simply cannot follow her to gigs. Recently, she aquired a brand-spanking new (and very transportable) Casio Privia piano, finally bringing her piano-happyness to the stage, but leaving Emma to do most of the bodhraning. Alongside her stand-up bass, aptly named "Baby", and good ol' Uncle Victor the tenor banjo, she has finally made her debut with her guitar, a pretty and rather shiny 12-string Takemine dubbed Alan. Musicians contributing to her inspiration include: The Clancy Bros., Tommy Makem, Gaelic Storm, Great Big Sea, The Beatles, Fryderyk Chopin and Johann Sebastian Bach.
As well as continue her musical endeavours, she plans to eventually enter a life of agriculture in some form. She enjoys horseback riding, contra dancing, glitter, cooking, tomatoes, joining up with The Banished Fools, photography, architecture of the massive and ancient scale and decorating the tree in time for the post-thanksgiving holidays.
Emma Lee Ryan: Vocals, bodhran, guitar, mandolin, percussion
Hmmm? What to say about Emma?
Emma is the youngest member of Fishing with Finnegan (and also probably the coolest). She’s been playing the bodhran (which is also the coolest instrument) for about six years (might I add that six is a pretty cool number in terms of years).
When not playing in the band, Emma devotes her time to chillin' with her dogs and goats, food sciences, theatre (lots and lots of theatre), filming documentries and video letters, and preparing for a career in everything.
Bijou Ryan: Vocals
Bijou is the smallest member of our family; try as she may to surpass Emma in doggy years, she is still a toy poodle, and will thus never be quite as tall as Ben. We’re not really sure of her contribution to our musical aspirations. She is in tow for most gigs, and though we like to think that when she barks at people who are applauding or giving us tips she’s just thanking them, it could be that she just doesn't want the band to succeed.
We don’t think she fancies herself as cute and fluffy as she actually is, but even if she should bite, she really doesn’t have that many teeth.