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Brotherly Love

Rochester’s original Irish Folk duo

The Dady Brothers is what happens when you take a glass and fill it half-full with traditional Irish music, add in a quarter of bluegrass, a helping of Americana, top it off with a pinch of rock and roll, then shake it together and let it explode on stage.

The Dady Brothers is what happens when you take a glass and fill it half-full with traditional Irish music, add in a quarter of bluegrass, a helping of Americana, top it off with a pinch of rock and roll, then shake it together and let it explode on stage.

Every performance is impressively energetic, as the selftaught multiinstrumentalists execute their original brand of music as an entertainingly hypnotic, unrehearsed dance. With the ease of their back-and-forth banter, the perfect synchronistic timing of each song, Joe with a banjo, John with an upsidedown six-string guitar, one could imagine them as twins.

However, that’s not the case. Joe is the youngest of six children and John is two years his senior—but with a repertoire of hundreds of songs, self-written and covered, tours spanning over three decades from Alaska to Ireland, it’s easy to see how they might resemble each other in thought and action.

“It’s uncanny that not only do we finish each other’s sentences ... we call the same tunes on stage [and] accidentally wear the same shirts,” says Joe Dady of his brother John, with a laugh that makes you want to reach out and hug him.

Dady Brothers

As purveyors of great music influenced by folk heroes such as Pete Seeger and Earl Scruggs, they believe their upbringing had something to do with their longevity as professional musicians, a job that many dream about but few can reasonably achieve.

“We’re very lucky that both our parents were supportive of us,” says Joe of their childhood in Rochester’s 10th Ward. After graduating from high school in the ’70s, following a brief stint working in the DuPont factory where their dad (a musician in his own right) worked alongside them, they decided to trade college for music. Their father provided them with the financial support needed to pursue their dream.

With a nostalgic lilt, Joe says, “They thought it would keep us out of trouble if we played music. Be careful what you dream about, it may end up happening!”

It sure did happen for the Dadys but not without a little refining. After leaving the factory, they sought out opportunities to play professionally around Rochester and on the road, developing their trademark stage presence by taking a few cues from the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem as well as personal and divine inspiration. They soon found that their current lifestyle needed some adjustments.

“We put the plug in the jug,” Joe says. Briefly abandoning the bar scene to further their resolve, they forced themselves to expand their venue choices to libraries, folk clubs, schools and state penitentiaries. They are currently celebrating more than 30 years of sobriety and now frequent a variety of stages, pubs included. When Joe is not writing in his home on Conesus Lake or John in Hamlin with his wife, Carol, (whom he credits for her immeasurable support in keeping them going all these years) and six children, they lead music and cultural tours in Ireland. They also have an upcoming Caribbean Folk Cruise in 2016. The former has been running for 25 years and sells out months in advance.

No strangers to charity work, the Dadys have raised thousands with their music, benefiting a wealth of causes.

Their talents (as well as John’s daughter Mara) also extend to the theatrical stage on their most recent musical play, “Beautiful Dreamer,” based on the life and music of Stephen Foster (May 2015).

Both John and Joe agree that it’s the energy of the crowd, their vast array of musical influences, and divine inspiration that keeps them going and keeps them creating and bringing their diverse live performances to hearten all generations.