Seamie O’Dowd, a native of Maugheraboy in Sligo Town, is the son of noted Irish musicians Sheila O’Dowd (nee. Regan) and fiddle player Joe O’Dowd, both from the Irish music stronghold of South County Sligo. Both parents were a strong influence on Seamie’s musical development.
Growing up, Seamie began attending Irish music competitions and music sessions where he made contact with and learned from other musicians. Among those musicians were a young accordion player called Shane Mitchell and a tin whistle and accordion player called Liam Kelly.
A few years later Seamie and his father Joe were regulars at the music sessions in the Trades Club, which brought him into contact with musicians from all over the world as well as locals such as Verona and Johnny Henry, John Joe Gardiner, P.J. Hernon, Carmel Gunning, Fred Finn and Peter Horan. A group of Californian musicians living in Sligo, called Pumpkinhead, exposed Seamie to Appalachian and American folk.
Seamie O’Dowd was noted for playing the mandolin, fiddle, and bodhran but it was through the guitar that he started to explore his interest in rock and blues. Sligo’s diverse music scene enabled him to get involved with musicians from electric rock, acoustic bluegrass or country blues.
In the late 80’s he began to play some in traditional Irish ceilis with Shane Mitchell, Liam Kelly, Brian McDonagh and Michael Holmes. He and fellow Sligo guitarist/singer Gerry Grennan then formed a duo that played bluegrass, Irish traditional and ragtime to blues and acoustic rock. They toured Ireland and Germany, sometimes as a trio with a mandolin/guitar player from county Roscommon called Brendan Emmett.
Seamie spent the mid 90’s playing gigs mainly around Sligo and the North West of Ireland, including performing with Cathy Jordan. He learned to play the harmonica by this time and began to play more traditional Irish music. He joined a Celtic rock band called The D.T.’s, an energetic but short-lived band that took Sligo by storm with the piping of Jarlath McTiernan backed with a powerful electric band. After the D.T.’s disbanded, Seamie joined Dervish on fiddle, guitar, and harmonica. He subsequently pursued a solo career and most recently has joined forces with Máirtín O’Connor and Cathal Hayden.
Instructor – Guitar