A Modern-Day Folk Singer
Growing up around Milwaukee’s Irish Fest, Rory knew he would be a musician from his childhood. From his early roots to today, he fuses the high, lonesome sounds of Appalachia with the traditional and contemporary ballads of Ireland and England. Performing throughout the midwestern states of the US and in Ireland, Rory has taken his songs far and wide.
2016 saw Rory building a bigger presence in the Nashville music scene with performances throughout the city. Continuing off his first release, Roots (2013), Rory has added his own songs to his repertoire alongside the traditional songs he grew up on. In 2020, Rory released a collection of originals entitled: Bootleg Series Volume One: Outtakes and Ramblings (2020). He has appeared on stage with: Rory Makem, Emma Langford, The Drowsy Lads, We Banjo 3 among many others. He has also appeared on various recordings throughout the years, including Milwaukee’s own The Gleasons’ 2017 release: Worries at the Gate. Additionally, he joined Milwaukee’s oldest CeÍlÍ band, Ceol Cairde at the beginning of 2020. In addition to Irish music, Rory is trained in bluegrass music as well. March of 2023, Rory joined up with his banjo teacher, Bob Daniels, and some friends to form Northwoods Bluegrass. Back from a hiatus, Rory is back to his roots with just himself and an instrument. His new sound comes from an idea from Milwaukee multi-instrumentalist, Randy Gosa, who told Rory to change it up and integrate in a 1960’s folk revival type sound like that of Bob Dylan, Tommy Makem, or Tony Rice.
When he’s not working on his music, Rory is behind the scenes working on other aspects of the music business. This includes working operations at Milwaukee Irish Fest, booking agent and stage managing at The Irish Cultural and Heritage Center of Wisconsin, production manger at CelticMKE, or in the studio engineering other artists. In addition, Rory has formed the Astor Street Agency with Chicago native, Ashling Ivers. “My goal in life is to spread not only my own music, but the works of others, as well,” he reflects.
“The well over the past decade of what is by now called roots music in America has risen to include many different artists, some of whom have learned their songs well and some who have suddenly discovered that the songs they already learned quite well, are now new again. Rory certainly suits the latter category.” – Dr. Martin Jack Rosenblum, Rounder Recording Artist
“Rarely do you encounter someone with the passion, commitment, and talent as you do when you work with Rory Modlinski. He’s an absolute joy to collaborate with and we are honored and blessed to have him on this recording!” – Dave Stevens, The Gleasons
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