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Direct from Ireland...


Martin O'Malley--known for his love of all things Irish, especially the music--is importing one of his favorite Irish bands for his inaugural ball tonight.

"There's some real poetry to their songs," the Gov-elect said of the Saw Doctors last week, in between comments on whether the state will pay for the geographic index of the Thornton education formula.

The geographic index is of course, is a weighty issue occupying O'Malley and his aides as they prepare to present the administration's first budget plan to the General Assembly. But when asked about the Irish rockers flying directly from Dublin to take the stage at tonight's inaugural gala in Baltimore, he seemed thrilled at the diversion.

He first saw them play nine years ago at a festival of Irish music in New York. He bought their CD and was blown away. "It's all original stuff," O'Malley said, describing the band's sound as "Irish folk meets the Beatles."

He met them a few years later when they played the 930 Club in Washington. At the time, O'Malley was tracing his family geneology back to western Ireland.

The band got its start in a bar in County Galway, O'Malley's ancestral home. He asked the bass player if he knew of a rural crossroads where he heard his great grandfather lived. The musician took a photo of a wide spot in the road with three houses. One of them turned out to be his great grandfather's home.

O'Malley's own band, O'Malley's March, has warmed up for the Saw Doctors a few times. O'Malley's March has no plans to play at the inaugural festivities. But will the new governor make a guest appearance with the Saw Doctors?

"I don't want to be presumptuous ," he said. "If they ask me to, I will."

The the tenor-elected-governor of Maryland broke into "Green and Red of Mayo," one of the band's biggest hits:

"Oh the green and red of Mayo, I can see it still.
Its soft and craggy boglands, its tall majestic hills
Where the ocean kisses Ireland and the wave caress the shore
The feeling that comes over me, to say forevermore, forevermore..."

Lisa Rein

By Phyllis Jordan  |  January 17, 2007; 6:32 AM ET
Categories:  Governor  
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Next: Scenes from an Inauguration

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