|Well known as both a singer and versatile instrumentalist, Bruce Foley has been performing Irish and
American music for over thirty years. Formerly, as a Pittsburgh-based musician,
he played at local pubs, festivals and concerts with Guaranteed Irish and
Hooley and also toured as a sideman with Tommy Sands and Andy M. Stewart.
Bruce now lives in Yonkers, NY and performs in the NYC area.
Check out his new CD: Turning The Tides
February 4-11 2017 - come join the fun on Joanie Madden's Folk & Irish Cruise
The sixth of twelve children, Bruce was born in Buffalo and raised in upstate New York. He attended Franklin High School in Rochester, NY and went on to college at SUNY Potsdam. In Potsdam, he joined with local musicians where he played upright bass, sang Irish ballads and played the tin whistle. After two years he took time off to tour with Carolan's Kind, a ballad group from Ireland. For the next five years he performed with numerous Irish musicians throughout the northeastern United States, gaining a broad repertoire of tunes and ballads along the way. A highlight during this time was performing in Washington D.C. at the Bicentennial National Folk Festival with All-Ireland champions Billy McComiskey and Brendan Mulvihill, being one of twenty five Irish-American musicians to represent the USA during the summer of 1976.
Bruce moved to southeastern Massachusetts in the fall of 1976 and performed initially as a single act and then teamed up with Eddie Dillon and Tom Kennedy and played the Irish club circuit around Boston and Cape Cod. During this time he came in contact with Pete Farley, Dave Paton, Don Krawczyk, Mark Roberts and Paul Crouteau with whom he formed the well-received Irish trad group Clanjamfrey.
In 1980 he married, settling near New Bedford, MA and soon moved to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania where he earned engineering degrees from both Penn State and Carnegie-Mellon University. His son Brendan was born in 1981 and daughter Emma in 1990. Both children were musically precocious and would perform many times with their dad.
Bruce first heard the uilleann pipes in 1968 when the Abbey Tavern Singers performed in Buffalo and Tommy Reck played several numbers as part of the show. Bruce met the legendary Chicago piper Joe Shannon in 1975 and spent many afternoons and evenings in his home. Bruce enjoys the collaborative aspects of music, preferring to play in small ensembles. He has performed in concert as a sideman with Paddy Reilly, Paddy Keenan, James Kelly, Tommy Sands, Andy M. Stewart and often sings with Cherish The Ladies. He has played on a number of recordings supporting Gordon Bok, Cathal Dunne, Mike Gallagher, Terry Griffith, Anne Feeney, Denys Candy, Rick Malis, Mick Martin and Shake Russell. He has also supplied music for several WQED documentaries. He is featured on four CDs with Pittsburgh groups: Guaranteed Irish and Hooley.
Bruce is most proud of his work with the annual Irish Night held every March at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh. Following the tragic death of his son in 1996, he came up with the idea of a memorial concert as a fundraiser for his son's crew team. This annual event has raised well over $400,000 which has been used to purchase numerous racing shells and rowing equipment. The event, team and family have been the subject of the Emmy Award-winning documentary: Row On For Brendan.
Links: Guaranteed Irish | Hooley | Tommy Sands | Irish Night 1998