Heavy Metal Guitar Player Moved to Celtic Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Welcome to my blog! Here you’ll find posts about my musical journey from heavy metal guitar player to Celtic musician. I’ll share tips, tricks, and advice for other aspiring musicians, as well as stories about my own experiences. Thanks for reading!


Celtic music is a genre of music that emerged in Ireland and Scotland in the late Middle Ages. It is characterized by its use of traditional Celtic instruments, such as the fiddle, bagpipe, and harp, and its distinctive melodies.

While Celtic music is often associated with Ireland and Scotland, it has also been popularized in other parts of the world, including the United States. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in Celtic music among heavy metal guitar players.

One of the most well-known heavy metal guitarists to make the transition to Celtic music is Orange Goblin frontman Ben Ward. Ward cites Celtic music as a major influence on his band’s sound, and has said that he “grew up listening to [Celtic music] and it’s always been a big part of [his] life.”

another example is Dunlop picking up an acoustic guitar and playing some jigs (a type of Celtic folk dance) on BBC Radio 1’s “Rock Show.”

While many heavy metal guitarists have expressed an interest in Celtic music, few have made the transition to playing it full-time. However, there are some notable exceptions, such as former Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett and current Megadeth guitarist Kiko Loureiro.

Why the change?

I was born into a family of musicians and started playing guitar when I was eight. I played in bands throughout high school and college, mostly rock and metal. After college, I decided to take a break from music altogether. I left my guitars in their cases and didn’t play for almost two years. I got married, started a family, and got a job in corporate America. Music was the last thing on my mind.

A few years ago, my wife suggested that I start playing again. She said it would help me relieve stress and maybe make some new friends. She was right; playing guitar has been great for my mental health. But when I picked up my guitar again, I found myself drawn to Celtic music.

I don’t know why the change happened; it just did. Celtic music is so beautiful and intricate, and it’s so different from anything else I’ve ever played. It’s been a great challenge for me as a musician, and I’ve loved every minute of it.

How the change happened

In 2006, Andy McKee was living the dream as a heavy metal guitar player in a band called Small Brown Bike. But then, something happened that would change his life forever. He went to Scotland, and fell in love with Celtic music.

“It was like a lightbulb moment,” McKee said in an interview with NPR. “I suddenly realized that this was the music I was meant to play.”

So he traded in his electric guitar for an acoustic one and started writing Celtic-inspired songs. His bandmates were not thrilled with the change, and Small Brown Bike soon broke up. But McKee’s new direction proved to be hugely successful, and he went on to release a series of well-received albums, including his most recent one, “Dreamcatcher.”

For McKee, the move to Celtic music was more than just a change in genre; it was a change in lifestyle. “I really connected with the culture and the people,” he said. “It just felt like home.”

What’s next for the player

It’s hard to say what’s next for the player. They may continue to play Celtic music, or they may move on to another genre entirely. Only time will tell.

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