Rhythm Nation

John McSherry of the Olllam picks the tracks that shaped his creative path

The Belfast-born piper plumps for John Martyn, Joni Mitchell, the Bothy Band and others as his artistic inspirations

John McSherry (far left) with the Ollam, rising stars of Irish trad.. Picture: Andrew Potter

Named after the old Irish word for master, the Olllam is a collaboration between Belfast piper John McSherry and Detroit-based musicians including piper/whistler Tyler Duncan, bassist Joe Dart and drummer Michael Shimmin. They joined forces in 2012 for what was intended to be a one-off self-titled album, but the enthusiasm for what’s been dubbed their “neo-acoustic Celtic post-rock” sound set them up for the long haul instead.

“There was such a buzz, we just didn’t ...