"This loose-limbed Raven soars effortlessly, Chicagoan John Williams, founder member of Solas and a man who's on fluent speaking terms with concertina, accordion, flute, low whistle and piano, brings a zest to both traditional and original tunes, and he's found his spiritual equal in guitarist Dean Magraw, who's a mean draw when it comes to tune writing, too.  There's enough space in between this pair's playing to let the oxygen molecules truly ignite, whether in the company of a Kerry barndance (The Gypsy Princess) or a madcap foray onto the unknown (Trippin' Into Eden).  What matters most of all, though, is the duo's utter confidence in the music's ability to carve its own identity without a hint of posturing.  An inspired pairing."  -Siobhan Long, The Irish Times April 25, 2006

The 10-year partnership of St. Paul guitar wizard Dean Magraw and Chicago concertina and button accordion player John Williams, formerly of the band Solas, is beautifully documented on the new CD "Raven." This is an Irish-music duo with seemingly limitless scope, adding jazz licks, ethereal film soundtrack sounds, neo-tango flourishes and a jam-band fan corps to their mix of jigs, reels and airs. Magraw's original compositions are evocative standouts, as is "Perdition Piano Duet," a stark ballad Williams wrote for the film "Road to Perdition." -Terry Sauer, Star Tribune June 16, 2006

"Born of a long standing partnership stretching back over a decade, Raven is an album of assured, fully-realized performances that confidently, nonchalantly distort and dissolve boundaries.  Lesser musicians adhere righteously to the lines separating tradition from innovation, soloist from accompanist - but the duo of multi-instrumentalist John Williams and guitarist Dean Magraw interact so effortlessly, and draw from such a wide range of traditions and techniques, that existing borders cease to be relevant.  With one listen, the insight and instrumental skill that went into creating Raven, is immediately apparent.  Repeated listenings reveal a host of subtle musical undercurrents that speak of Williams and Magraw's profound empathy and endless musicianship." - editor, Amazon.com

“Raven is a mindblower!  This CD takes things to another level.  Congratulations on another damn fine Irish CD.”   Terry O'Laughlin  WORT-FM

"Raven is an outstanding new album by John Williams, concertina and accordion player extraordinaire, and the great guitarist Dean Magraw...a really fine one from Compass Records!" WGBH "Celtic Sojourn" with host Brian O'Donovan

"Many people assume that Celtic Music is about resurrecting old tunes, but Raven proves Celtic music can be as new and vibrant as anything you'll hear on MTV." - Vintage Guitar Magazine

"...Chicago's accordion phenomenon!"  -Michael Parrish, Chicago Tribune

The long awaited duo album Raven featuring John Williams and Dean Magraw has just been released internationally on Compass records.  It's a traditionally innovative collection of chestnuts and road tested originals which soars from driven dance tune adventures to dark haunted airs.  John Williams and Dean Magraw step out on this album as composers, arrangers, and improvisers of their own works as well as interpreters of classic pieces from La Bottine Souriante, Frankie Gavin, early Solas, and the thriller Road to Perdition.

Check out the incredible international events celebrating the release of Raven on the tour dates page.

Buy a signed RAVEN now!

A short interview with John Williams




A button accordion and concertina player of enormous integrity and innate empathy with the music,  John received his music from his father Brendan and grandfather Johnny who lit up countless house dances in Doolin, County Clare with reels, jigs, & hornpipes on concertina and button box.

John was born in Chicago in 1967 and his playing has absorbed all the heart and vitality of Clare, together with Irish American influences like Johnny McGreevy, Seamus Cooley, Liz Carroll, and Joe Shannon.  The result is a fluent style, full of maturity, vitality, and tunefulness.



Contact John Williams
Contact the webmaster, Janice Wiegley  w-i-g-s@roadrunner.com  (sorry, but please remove the dashes to despam my address.) 


Tour Dates