It was nearly 15 years ago that Patrick Murphy of Cork City, Ireland, joined a band playing at O'Brien's pub in Santa Monica, Calif., a band that would be spotted by a Hollywood talent scout and end up as the "party band" in steerage in the blockbuster movie Titanic.
The band became Gaelic Storm, released its first album in 1998, began touring with the likes of Lyle Lovett and Emmylou Harris, headlined festivals on three continents, released still more albums (eight and counting), attracted a loyal following and branched out with new sounds and styles while becoming one of the top bands in the Celtic music world.
On Saturday, the Storm returns to Pasco-Hernando Community College Performing Arts Center for the fourth year in a row, and if previous concerts are an indication, their fans will fill every seat.
Gaelic Storm's hallmark sounds are upbeat Irish jigs and reels and mournful Celtic songs, but they also have a touch of African drums, Cajun-style accordions, and Irish bagpipes, all done with energetic flair and good humor.
The band's most recent album, Cabbage, debuted at No. 1 on iTunes' World Music chart in August. Previous hits include the fast-paced Bring Yer Wellies, the impish Kiss Me I'm Irish, and the quirky story-song The Night I Punched Russell Crowe, based on a true story.
One of the band's concerts was shown in full on the HDNet channel, and one of their tunes was adapted for a Hallmark greeting card. The band has more than 125 tour dates a year (and growing) and consistently sells out performing arts centers and sets merchandise sales records.
Gaelic Storm kicks off the PHCC concert season that continues with:
• Phil Dirt and the Dozers doing hits of the '50s and '60s at 8 p.m. Feb. 12 ($30 and $25)
• Vegas, Soul and Rock 'n' Roll, a salute to music from Big Band to Bandstand, at 2 p.m. Feb. 19 ($20 and $15)
• Strawberry Fields, a Beatles tribute, at 8 p.m. March 12 ($30 and $25)
• Martin Preston's tribute to Liberace at 2 p.m. March 19 ($20 and $15)
• The Crystals doing hits from the '60s at 2 p.m. March 26 ($20 and $15)
Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, seniors, season, evening and matinee ticket packages, PHCC students and faculty.