THE EARLY YEARS (1997-2001)
Mark founded the band in 1997 as a duo with Sean Foree (guitar and mandolin, presently of the Jolly Rogers), performing at a handful of Renaissance-festivals around the Midwest. In 1998, we added Mary and Jen Williams-Bowman (fiddle).
By early Spring of 1999, Sean had moved on to round out Brollywacker, Jen moved to Toronto to attend college, and we added Sonya Baughman-Andrews (whistles and recorders).
This became our first watermark line-up - remaining together for three years, performing at various Renaissance-festivals and college coffeehouses, and recording our first CD, Timber & Stream.
THE TRANSITIONAL YEARS (2001-2004)
These years were transitional in every facet of the band's existence. In late-2000, the band permanently added fiddle into the line-up when they began working with Amy Carriker-Weeks.
In 2001, Sonya left the band, and they replaced her with Rachel Bowerman-Deering (whistles and bodhrán, presently of Dog Tree). Toward the end of 2001, Amy left, and the band added Tara McCullough-McNeal (fiddle).
This became their second watermark line-up - remaining together another three years, and seeing the band shift from a predominantly Renaissance festival band to an Irish/Scottish festival band. It was in this era that the band also began to transition their material to be more reliant on instrumental arrangements.
In 2004, Rachel and Tara announced their intention to leave. Friend and super-fan Lloyd Camp stepped up to finance the band's production of their second CD, One For the Road.
THE DEFINITIVE YEARS (2005-2014)
The addition of Rachel Gaither in 2004 has always been somewhat of a lightning-strike for the band. A mutual friend, Roger Ruffner, brought Rachel and the band to each other's attention and, after a brief interview and try-out, she took her place as the heart of the band.
In the same timeframe, the band also added wunderkind Neil Womelduff (bagpipes, whistles, banjo, mandolin). The new line-up worked through the winter and took over performances from the outgoing line-up in April. In late-May, Neil endured some personal circumstances that pulled him away from the band.
The resulting line-up became the defining line-up of Tullamore. Between then and the Summer of 2014, the band re-invented itself as a world-class band. They began working with Phil Smillie (Tannahill Weavers) as a producer, re-branded themselves, elevated their arrangements and performances, and recorded two more CDs... Wild And Wicked Youth in 2007, and a live-concert recording Six Strings & Coffee Beans in 2012.
They also began their international touring career - conducting two conventional tours of Ireland (2007) and Scotland (2008), and two bus-tours of Ireland (2011) and Scotland (2013), and performing in two dozen concert-venues overall.
THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD (2014-2019)
In the run-up to getting married, Rachel moved to Southeast Virginia's Hampton Roads, and announced her intended departure from the band, agreeing to fill in until we could replace her. That announcement notwithstanding, we (with Rachel) conducted our fifth international tour - another bus-tour of Ireland - and recorded and released our fifth CD Two To Get Ready.
In the meantime, we began searching for someone to fill Rachel's figuratively gigantic shoes. We captured the interest of a young up-and-coming fiddler/vocalist, but conversations petered out before rehearsals could begin.
We then connected with Kelly Bohling (fiddle and vocals, Dorian's Wheel, Scarlet Town) who moved through rehearsals famously and turned in one performance in April 2015 before personal circumstances pulled her away from the band.
We then called upon Houston's Kristen Jensen (fiddle, vocals, accordion, percussion... Poor Man's Fortune, Earl Grey In the Morning, Gypsy Dance Theatre) to round out the band. Kristen began rehearsing with us in the Summer of 2015, and performing with us in January of 2016. Personal circumstances pulled Kristen away from the band after a half-dozen performances, and we relied on Rachel to finish out the 2017 season.
In early-May of 2017, we solicited and gained the interest of Kathryn Stowe Powell, a D/FW-based devotee of Scottish fiddle-style who worked informally with a few of the area's artists, most regularly with Jed Marum. With a handy low-latency internet tool called JamLink, we began rehearsals with her. A couple weeks later, we pulled Michael Coakley into the fold. Our friendship and performing-acquaintanceship with Mike was a matter of history as he is one of the co-proprietors of O'Malley's of Weston, the sound-man at O'Malley's Pub, and had been joining us onstage for years before he accepted our invitation to join the band. After six months, the distance proved to be too much a detriment for Kathryn, and she regretfully bowed out of the band. For nearly two years, we moved forward as a trio - Mark, Mary, and Mike - for the smaller gigs... and adding Rachel for a bigger sound for the bigger gigs.
THE DENOUMENT (2019 - Present)
It was the advent of recording "Bent On Rambling" that saw Rachel rejoin the line-up as a regular member. The reality is that since her joining the band in 2004, Rachel has been part of the heart of the band... and her prodigal return to the band has been more a matter of a "joyous homecoming" rather than merely a "happy reunion".