Cellar Door


Lead Guitar, Bagpipes.


In the Summer of 2000, then-recent high school graduates Joe Nicholson and Jesse Mitchell (me) started playing in a swing/funk/jazz/blues combo called "Alcatraz Swimteam" in Summit County Colorado; we were joined the next summer by Conor McGahey (then on alto-sax). Late in the summer of 2001, we were all scattered to the winds: Joe went to Adams State College in Alamosa, I to the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, and Conor still had two years of the trenches of high school to muscle through. Three bachelors degrees, one marriage, and five years later, Joe and I decided to try to put something together (the fact that we lived over a hundred miles away be damned). Both of us being Scottish--and both fiercely proud and passionately enamoured of it--we felt the most aesthetically edifying project would be someting that paid homage to our heritage but which also bore all the aggression and energy of the more rockin' music we had come to love during the late 90's and first years of the 21st Century. I had been itching to play some Celtic music for a while, and during my spare time from working on my masters degree in literature, I started jamming with UNC undergrad, thespian extraordinaire, fellow Scotsman, and Summit County native, Glen Moore. I have also been in communication with Conor (our token Mick), who is currently becoming a master of the universe at the University of Denver and who is also getting the Celtic itch (or "Celtch," if you will).

We are just putting ourselves together; Cellar Door exists only in a schematic state of sheet-music, finger-tabs and chord progressions written out on yellow sticky-notes and crumpled napkins, rough track sequencing notes, (semi)-monthly phone calls, and good faith. Right now, geography is our biggest logistical obstacle; we are all spread across Colorado, some of us working on our respective degrees, others tying down loose ends in terms of family matters. Right now, those of us who live in comparative proximity to one another sometimes gather to play small, intimate, acoustic ceilidh-style sessions.

Screen name:
Member since:
Sep 24 2007
Active over 1 month ago
Level of commitment:
Very Committed
Years together:
Gigs played:
50 to 100
Tend to practice:
1 time per week
Available to gig:
1 night a week
32 years


The aesthetic influence for Cellar Door is based on a passage from J.R.R. Tolkien's philological essay "English and Welsh."

Our primary musical influences influences include Tool, A Perfect Circle, Alice in Chains, Rage Against the Machine, Deftones, Mudvayne, Dreamtheater (and LTE, for that matter), 311, Incubus (pre-Crow), Seven Nations, Young Dubliners, Rathkeltair, Old Blind Dogs, Wolfstone, and Albannach.
The music I have been writing and arranging for the past year and a half is inspired by Scottish/Irish traditionals jigs, slips, reels, etc.; but we also have at our core a high-octane, melodic aggression akin to some of the mid-to-late 1990's "art-core" scene (I won't prevaricate: my song-writing is heaviliy and plainly influenced by Tool). There is a sophistication to Cellar Door music that is lacking in most hard rock, with distinct foundations in Celtic form and instrumentation. Many of the songs I've arranged are indeed traditional Scottish and Irish songs, such as "The Parting Glass", "The Dark Isle", "Drowsy Maggie", "The Fields of Athenry", "Follow Me Up to Carlow", "Foggy Dew", "The Skye Boat Song", "Loch Lomond", "Scotland the Brave", "Rocky Road to Dublin", etc.
Many others have done verstions of quite a few of these songs, but I feel that they are very rich and fertile for new interpretation and arrangement, lending to their individual and collective timelessness. (Thank God for public domain)

Members Of Band

-Conor McGahey: Fiddle

-Jesse Mitchell: Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Tin Whistle, Vox

-Glen Moore: Bodhran, Auxillary Percussion, Vox

-Luke Howell: Mandolin