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. Photo contributed

Former Brentwood Bay fiddler brings band home from Boston

Lonely Heartstrings Band featured in three Island shows

Genevieve Nickel/Victoria News contributor

Patrick M’Gonigle, fiddler for the Boston-based Lonely Heartstring Band, is coming home for a few gigs on the Island.

M’Gonigle, who grew up in Brentwood Bay, says when the band was contacted by Islands Folk Festival artistic director Kelly Nakatsuka about being a headliner for this weekend’s event in Duncan, they were very happy to do so.

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

The quintet composed of twin brothers Charles and George Clements, Matt Witler, Gabe Hirshfeld and Patrick M’Gonigle got together in 2012 to play Beatles covers for a wedding reception. Since then, they have expanded their repertoire.

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. These days they are a full-time touring bluegrass band and will play in Germany in the fall.

Although they have achieved considerable success, they still try to play in Victoria once a year. Next Tuesday’s show at the Christian Science Church on Pandora Avenue will mark their fifth time performing in the city.

M’Gonigle grew up on the Saanich Peninsula and studied violin with a founding member of the Victoria Chamber Orchestra, Yasuko Eastman. Although M’Gonigle eventually developed a stronger affinity for contemporary music, he says his early years of classical training provided him with an excellent musical foundation.

“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,” he says.

The quintet is known for playing tightly arranged music and some improvised bluegrass, along with five-part harmony and solo vocals throughout their shows.

You can catch the Lonely’s performing at the Islands Folk Festival on Saturday at 9 p.m. and Sunday at noon. They’ll also be at the Duncan Showroom on Monday (July 24), with the Victoria show set to begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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

editor@vicnews.com

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