The Lonely Heartstring Band, with Brentwood Bay native Patrick M’Gonigle playing fiddle (second from left), is playing a concert at the Christian Science Church in Victoria on July 25. The Boston-based band is also performing the night before at the Duncan Showroom. (Photo contributed)

Brentwood Bay violinist part of traveling bluegrass quintet

Lonely Heartstring Band plays two shows on Vancouver Island this month

Genevieve Nickel

News contributor

Patrick M’Gonigle, fiddler for the Lonely Heartstring Band, is coming home for a few gigs this month.

He grew up on the Saanich Peninsula at Brentwood Bay and studied violin with founding member of Victoria’s Chamber Orchestra, Yasuko Eastman. She taught using the Suzuki method.

Although M’Gonigle says he eventually developed a stronger affinity for contemporary music, his early years of classical training were an excellent musical foundation for what he’s doing today.

The Lonely Heartstring Band — named for its similarity to the Beatles’ Lonely Hearts Club Band — formed in 2012. M’Gonigle joined twin brothers Charles and George Clements, Matt Witler and Gabe Hirshfeld to play Beatles cover sings for a wedding reception.

Since that modest beginning, they have expanded their repertoire.

“About 75 per cent of our songs are originals, but the audience can still expect a Paul Simon song and a few Beatles songs at our show,” says M’Gonigle.

The Lonely’s, as they call themselves, released their first album, Deep Waters, in 2016 on the Rounder Records label, whose roster includes Steve Martin and Alison Krauss. The Lonely’s are a full time touring bluegrass band and will be playing in Germany in the fall. Although they have achieved considerable success, they try to play in Victoria once a year.

“I always try to bring the band home,” says M’Gonigle.

When Kelly Nakatsuka, the artistic director of the Duncan Folk Festival asked the band if they wanted to headline for the festival they were very happy to do so.

“Kelly goes to our shows all the time and I love bringing the band to the West Coast,” says M’Gonigle.

This will be their fifth time performing in Victoria. The quintet are known for playing tightly arranged music and some improvised bluegrass, along with five part harmony and solos throughout their shows.

You can also catch the Lonely’s performing outside at the Duncan Showroom on July 24 and in Victoria on Tuesday, July 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Christian Science Church on Pandora Avenue in Victoria.

For more information on the band and their upcoming shows, visit www.lonelyheartstringband.com.

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