Pyrrhic Victory 4:430:00 / 4:43
George Kelly: Vocal. Slide Guitar
Mark McCoy: Acoustic Guitars
Ryland Kelly: Bass
Dennis Sheridan: Percussion
Tyler Duncan: Uilleann Pipes & Bodhran
Russ Miller: Soprano Recorder
Julien Labro: Accordion
And the trumpets played triumphant sounds
Conquest o'er the foes declared
A hush was heard throughout the crowd
The battle won but not all spared
And the fallen comrade did lay prone
A warrior for the noble cause
Triumph bought with blood and bone
While they one so much was lost
They took the bitter with the sweet
Counted up the casualties
The survivors left the scene
Took home the Pyrrhic victory
Out of the deep south he came
From obscurity appeared
Played the slide like Elmore James
The people gathered 'round to hear
But on the altar of the blues
The fires burn both night and day
He was sacrificed too soon
Payment to the piper made
It's so hard now that he's gone
Echoes of the songs remain
Can't find the way to get along
All that's left a sad refrain
You thought that revenge was sweet
Made sure that you served it cold
Put his business in the street
Then you got to watch him crawl
Your last laugh had a hollow tone
Another win like that and you'll be lost
As you slowly turn to stone
All you're left with is the dross
Behind the Song
This song sprang from an article I read in the baseball section where the team won the game but one their players was injured, and was referred to as a Pyrrhic victory. I thought it was an interesting subject, so I did a little research, wrote about 15 verses, reduced it to three and voila. The groove is loosely based on Van Morrison's song High Summer.
We thought it sounded a little Celtic, so I started looking for someone who played the Uilleann pipes. I had many times heard them put to good use by Van Morrison and Mark Knopfler. So I set out to see if there was a piper in the area, which I thought was not a very promising prospect.
Through a little internet research, I found a singer called Kitty Donohoe in Ann Arbor that had used Uilleann pipes on some of her recordings. I emailed her to get more info, and she told me about Tyler Duncan. I went to see him with his band Millish at a coffeehouse on St. Patrick's Day. Tyler was around 15 years old at the time. Also in the group was future virtuoso violinist Jeremy Kittel. Tyler and Jeremy have a Grammy nomination to their credit.
Tyler is now a multi instrumentalist, producer, composer and one of the best pipers in the world. About fifteen years later, he played the Uilleann pipes and bodhran on my cover of U2's I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.
Another huge future talent lived in my house at the time. It took some convincing, but I managed to get Ryland Kelly to play bass on the track, giving him his first recording credit at age 14.
Julien Labro, another virtuoso in the making, played accordion on the song. Julien is now one of the foremost accordion and bandoneón players in both the classical and jazz genres.
So yeah, I'm very fortunate to have had that level of talent on the record.
"Pyrrhic Victory is a Celtic influenced finish and is the type of song that Mark Knopfler is so proficient at. Kelly saves his best for last and does his song-writing reputation no harm at all."
Net Rhythms UK
"The concluding cut, Pyrrhic Victory, is also strong, and has an historic and epic reach that marks Kelly as an artist and writer to watch."
Jim Angehr, Blues on Stage