The Saw Doctors are known in Ireland for ridiculously catchy songs and for rocking the road week after week from Galway to Melbourne. They’ve hopped up countless crowds, including at two inaugurations of Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, with upbeat anthems to everyday people.
Bittersweet portraits of everyday people and the landscape that surrounds them are what the band does best. The Saw Doctors have a Springsteen-like ability to get at the poignant perspectives of ordinary folks: the lovesick pub regular, the guys on the corner, the wise old woman who greeted all comers with a slice of bread and butter.
This ability flows from the roving group’s strong ties to Tuam and to the lives and stories of the people in it. It’s a town of wits and eccentrics, folks like cartoon artist Squigley McHugh, who humorously sketched the Saw Doctors as superheroes for their stage backdrop. Tuam is known for its gregarious, sometimes overly curious conversationalists. It’s a place where people still pop down to the pub in the afternoon, looking for a pint and a good gossip.
The down-to-earth feel and the Tuam wit have universal appeal. “People sometimes say that a song about Tuam or Galway or Ireland won’t matter to people abroad. That’s like telling Bruce Springsteen that he is wasting his time writing about the Jersey Shore,” Moran reflects. “Songs are about sharing feelings and emotions and ideas. If you have ideas and emotions that people can relate to, then it works no matter where you play.”
Although the Saw Doctors have released only seven studio albums over their two-decade career, their live shows have brought them international renown.
- Rushville Republican