The Sprigs were formed in 2002 by the all-star lineup of Brendan Bulger, James Conway, Marc McGowan, and Billie Knox as the premier American-Irish traditional band in Chicago. Since that time, in various iterations and to rave reviews, the band has toured extensively in North America and Western Europe and has released several recordings. Their most recent release of high-energy, technically dazzling, Irish-American dance tunes and ballads, The Vernal Pool, led to multiple 2015 tours of the US. In 2016 - the original lineup reunites to bring powerful, moving music to stages across the United States.

Marc McGowan
Mandolin   Banjo

Brendan Bulger
Fiddle   Bass

James Conway
Harmonica   Whistle
Guitar   Vocals

Billie Knox
Guitar   Banjo

Marc McGowan: a self taught musician and winner of several North American Fleadh Cheoil competitions on both mandolin and tenor banjo. He was a member of the Galway band Loose Chippings with Mickey McNamara and then formed a very successful duet with singer / guitarist Paric O' Reilly. Along with James, he is a founding member of the trad group Gan Ainm, which eventually led to the formation of The Sprigs.  Also a visual artist, his work can be viewed at:

Brendan Bulger:
fiddle player who was the first Boston-born musician to win an All-Ireland fiddle championship. The New York Times music blog has described his fiddle playing as “so powerful, that you want to sneak a peek at his instrument, to see what’s inside.” Brendan performs and teaches Irish music all over the world, and was named to the North American Irish Music Hall of Fame in 2011.

James Conway: an active musician and teacher in Chicago, he uses fingerpicking, slide guitar, and rack-harmonica  to perform songs from the folk and country blues genres. He also plays  the traditional dance music of Ireland on tin whistles and harmonicas. He received both a Fellowship Award and a Master/Apprenticeship Award from the Illinois Arts Council and has an endorsement with Hohner Harmonica.

Billie Knox: best known as the lead guitarist for the popular European and North American touring band, The Sprigs. Fareed Haque (Garaj Mahal) has described Billy’s playing as “very intricate”. French multi-instrumentalist Julien Biget (Gabriel Yacoub) says “...sui generis". Billie replaced Gerry McKee in Steve West and Chico Welch's Smokin' Shamrocks and will be heard on Seamus Connolly’s much-anticipated and massive anthology of Irish music to be released by Boston College.
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