David Safian
The Young Dubliners, Chas Waltz, left, Brendan Holmes, Dave Ingraham, Keith Roberts and Bob Boulding, are finishing a new album.

The Young Dubliners have a new weapon in the live lineup — piper Eric Rigler.

"Eric has been on our albums, but he's not been able to tour with us," the Dubliners' lead singer/guitarist Keith Roberts said during a phone call from Los Angeles, Calif. "He's incredible. And he's the pipe and whistle player that every producer knows. So, if there's a band in Vancouver that needs whistles or pipes, they call Eric.

"Eric's performed on the 'Braveheart' and 'Titanic' soundtracks and has been all over the country recording his music for other bands. So, we're really lucky to have him in our lineup this time out.

"In fact, having him with us has forced us to rehearse," Roberts said with a laugh. "It's like having a new rocket. And we need to aim it correctly."

In addition to the new guy, the band — Roberts, guitarist Bob Boulding, drummer Dave Ingraham, violinist/mandolinist Chas Waltz and bassist Brendan Holmes — have wrapped up recording a new album, which is due for release later this year.

"We made it a priority that this would be an album of all original material," said Roberts. "Our last album ("With All Due Respect: the Irish Sessions") was a cover album. And to tell you the truth, by the end of the tour last year, I felt I was in a cover band.

"So this time around, we wanted to make a new album with new songs. And let me tell you, it was refreshing, although by the end of the sessions, I did want to jump off a bridge."

The reason for the suicidal thoughts was the fact that the band doesn't want to release mediocre recordings.

"We have a tendency to put a lot of pressure on ourselves," Roberts said. "We have been doing this a long time, and, sure, we have made some mistakes, but we do try to make the best album we can when we're making it.

"That's the reason we're not releasing the new album until later this year. While the recordings basically finished, we didn't want to rush it out. So after this tour in May, we're going to go back and do some touch ups on it. And by then we'll know when the actual release date will be."

Preparing for a tour is a lot like preparing to make an album, Roberts said, "except for the fact that I don't really have to make sure I have a change of underwear when I go to the studio.

"There is a lot of preparation time," he said. "And you have to make sure the songs you play on the road are up to the best they can be.

"Some bands fall into a trap of playing songs they want to play and not playing songs that the fans want to hear," Roberts said. "So, I do try to send out an e-mail to the fan club and see what they would like to hear.

"I gather the requests and take the top five of those requests and make sure we do them. This time around we are not going to play some old staples, but at the same there are songs we need to play or we'll have a riot on our hands.

"At any rate, we're looking forward to coming back to Salt Lake," he said. "We have a great relationship with the city and fans. In fact, we have some fans that come up to us and say 'I was 12 when I first saw you at the Utah Arts Festival.' And their 21 now. It blows me a way."

If you go . . .

What: Young Dubliners, Slaymaker Hill

Where: The Depot, 400 W. South Temple

When: Saturday, 8 p.m.

How much: $17

Phone: 467-8499, 800-888-8499

Web: www.smithstix.com

E-mail: [email protected]