Wenches & Rogues rocks back into action with first new music in seven years

(left to right) Brent Stadnick, Booker Blakley, Kristen Ratzlaff, Trevor Merrigan, and Alan Nieman perform in Saskatoon Celtic rock band Wenches & Rogues. The band's new single "Banshee" comes out on March 17, 2023. (Supplied / Photo by Jeremy Britz)

Celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day the right way — dressed in green, drinking a pint, and listening to a brand-new single from a Saskatoon Celtic rock staple.

For the first time in seven years, local band Wenches & Rogues is releasing new music. The new single, titled “Banshee,” officially comes out on Friday, March 17 — St. Patrick’s Day. The band will debut their new song live at their concert at Amigos Cantina.

“It’s going to be a hell of a show. We can’t wait to play it,” guitar player Trevor Merrigan said.

Merrigan, also one of the founding members of the band, said “Banshee” has been in the works for several years. However, like so many other things in the entertainment world, the COVID-19 pandemic slammed the brakes on recording new material.

“We wrote and arranged quite a bit whenever we could during the pandemic,” he said. “A lot of what’s coming out now … most of it has been written for a year-and-a-half.”

Wenches & Rogues is well known for their signature, Irish-infused music. Using traditional themes and instrumentals, the band fuses that Celtic sound into rock and (occasionally) heavy-metal styles.

Merrigan called “Banshee” a return to the roots for Wenches & Rogues, pulling on the more Irish, punk-ish rock sound of the band’s early years.

But Merrigan also said fans of the band are going to be able to tell a distinct difference between the last music produced by Wenches & Rogues.

“We’ve come to demand more of the band and of each other as individuals,” he said. ” ‘Banshee’ itself, compared to older music, I think is a lot more refined. You can tell we’ve done the work … you can see the development and evolution of making the music a little bit more sharp.”

It’s also a return to the truly traditional roots. Merrigan, being of an Irish background, said releasing a song titled after the terrifying spectre from Irish folklore on St. Patrick’s Day was no coincidence.

For him, it was just the perfect mix.

“It’s a very traditional-themed song, so we figured St. Patrick’s Day would be the best day for the release.” he said. “It probably is our biggest show throughout the year — it’s like New Year’s Eve for a disco band, for us.”

The Celtic rockers won’t be satisfied with only “Banshee,” either. Merrigan said there’s plenty more new material in the back pockets of Wenches & Rogues’ kilts — enough for an EP later in the year, and maybe a new album not too far down the line.

Merrigan also teased that “Banshee” might not be the only new music the band shares with Saskatoon on St. Paddy’s Day.

“They’re going to hear everything that’s about to be released. We’re going to play everything on the EP,” he said. “You’re going to hear a lot more of the Celtic punk we used to do. It’s going to be a danceable party … Friday’s going to be a busy day.”

Wenches & Rogues’ new single “Banshee” comes out Friday, March 17. The band is will be playing their release party / St. Patrick’s Day concert at Amigos Cantina. You can pre-save the new single on Spotify with the link here.

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