The Hedge Band was formed in 2005 by Laura Byrne, Donna Long, Pat Egan, and Billy McComiskey- four of Maryland’s pre-eminent Irish traditional musicians. All perform, teach, and are recognized and respected in Maryland and far beyond its borders.
Donna Long has traveled the world playing the piano and fiddle and entertaining audiences with Cherish the Ladies. She continues to foster an impressive music studio in Baltimore, where she teaches both fiddle and piano.
Her recordings with fiddler Brendan Mulvihill and her more recent solo recording Handprints are highly acclaimed. In 2001, she was commissioned by The Library of Congress to compose music for piano and fiddle which she titled “Before the Snow Falls” and “Pandora’s Box."
Pat Egan is from County Tipperary Ireland. He spent years performing in Westport, Co. Mayo before moving to the U.S. to join the band Chulrua. Also known for his work on the great recording “Music at Matt Molloys”, Pat still tours internationally with Chulrua which includes highly esteemed musicians Paddy O’Brien, accordion and Patrick Ourceau, fiddle.
Laura Byrne is one of only a handful of musicians to successfully cross over to Irish traditional music from another discipline. She graduated from the Peabody Conservatory of Music in 1995 for classical flute but now is highly regarded on both sides of the Atlantic for her proficiency in the Irish traditional style. Her solo recordings Tune for the Road (2005) and Lucky Day (2010) received rave reviews and receive radio airplay in the U.S. and Ireland.
She released an acclaimed duo recording in 2014 with New York-based Sligo style fiddler Rose Flanagan. In 1999, Laura was the winner of the U.S. Eastern Fleadh Championship in New York. Laura founded and directs The Baltimore Irish Tradions Fest and teaches Irish flute at Goucher College.
Billy McComiskey is one of only two American born musicians to win the senior All-Ireland Championship. Billy is credited along with Brendan Mulvihill and Andy O’Brien for bringing Irish traditional music to the Maryland/Virginia area by way of their trio The Irish Tradition. Regarded as one of the world’s greatest button accordion players, he also recorded and toured with fiddler Liz Carroll and guitarist Daithi Sproule in their group Trian. His solo recording Making the Rounds was recently re-released on Compass Records and he released his newest solo recording Outside the Box on the same label in 2008.
The musicians of the Hedge Band have performed independently of each other at countless festivals and venues around the world including the Kennedy Center, The White House, Lincoln Center, and many other great venues across the U.S. Mexico and Europe. Laura, Billy, and Pat are recipients of Maryland State Arts Council grants.