About String Theory

String Theory is a new celtic folk band in the Dallas area that specializes in high energy Irish trad tunes and songs. Recently ranked one of the top 5 Irish Bands in Texas by the Dallas Observer, the band features Jesse Ramirez on guitar and mandolin, Linda Relph on fiddle and backing vocals, Nathan Kennedy on fiddle, Bill Zauner on upright bass, and Matt Cook on vocals and bodhran. 

 

The band premiered in 2015 with performances at The Celt and Trinity Hall – the leading Irish pubs in North Texas, and has since had over 75 shows between those two pubs. The have also performed in many other venues, festivals, retreats, and weddings. They performed in 2015 at the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat – one of the leading music retreats in the US. They were selected to open for Emmet Cahill of Celtic Thunder. And, they were a featured performer at the North Texas Irish Festival in 2016, 2017, & 2018 as well as Irishfest Atlanta. Other key events have include the McKinney Celtic Music Festival, Irving Canalfest, Sherman Celtic Festival, and the Shamrock Shindig St. Patricks Festival.

String Theory is also a duo/trio that performs at weddings and refined events. The band is quite unique in the Dallas area as the only group that can perform classical pieces and orchestral arrangements of popular celtic songs and traditional wedding classics for a wedding prelude and ceremony, followed by an upbeat Irish pub band performance for a wedding cocktail hour and/or reception. Check out our wedding page here.  

String Theory just re-released a CD self titled. This CD is the inaugural release from the band and is a true musical delight. It features the amazing Celtic finger style guitar of Jesse Ramirez that will remind many of the work of the legendary Randal Bays. It also features world class Irish fiddling from Nathan Kennedy and Linda Relph. Matt provides great vocals and bodhran beats and low strings from Bill are featured through out. It includes many upbeat Irish dance tunes to get your toes tapping, amazing harmonies on traditional Irish songs, wonderful folk marches and waltzes that shows the bands impressive classical and Celtic training, and some of the most haunting Irish airs you have heard.

Meet the Band

Jesse Ramirez is a Celtic finger style guitarist and was born in San Angelo, TX and like most musicians, has been surrounded by music since a very early age. He earned his Bachelor's degree from Texas Tech University in 2011 and earned his Master's of music, performance magna cum laude, from the University of North Texas in 2015. While at Texas Tech, Jesse studied under David Brandon, a direct student of Andres Segovia and professional touring partner of Christopher Parkening. In 2009, As an undergraduate, Jesse was involved in the Texas Tech Celtic Ensemble where he participated in Celtic music traditions of tunes, songs, and dance for 3 years. In 2011, Jesse opened West Texas Guitar, where he taught private lessons in guitar, mandolin, and piano to 30 students. He also instructed at Angelo State University in the department of extended studies for classical and commercial guitar courses. Jesse has been teaching lessons for the past 6 years, and is now a professor of music at Mountain View College and teacher in the Garland ISD. 

 

Linda Relph  is a fiddle legend in the D/FW community. She was a founding member of one of the largest celtic groups to come out of the south, The Kildares, as well as many others like 9/8ths Irish, Needfire, Jiggernaught, and Celtic Cowboys. She has played in other local groups like The Bodarks, Jigsaw, and 5 Second Rule as an occational member filling in for folks on vacation and such. Like Nathan and Matt, she is a member of the prestigious TIMES Session Players, a collection of the best Celtic Musicians in Texas.  

Linda keeps a very active schedule with several bands, and we are beyond thrilled she was willing to join our crew. 

Nathan Kennedy is a national award winning Irish Fiddler who was the first youth fiddler from Texas to compete in the World Championships of Irish Music, the All Ireland Fleadh. He is also a Texas State, national and international champion classical violinist as concertmaster for the McKinney, TX ISD orchestras that won Texas State best full orchestra and concertmaster of the Midwest Clinic’s best string orchestra with competitors from 30 countries and all 50 states. Nathan is an active member of the prestigious Traditional Irish Music Education Societies’ Session Players.

Matthew Cook - Matt  is the lead vocalist of the band.  He also plays Bodhran, mandolin, and octave mandolin. Matt is a highly sought after lighting and sound engineer and does sound for high profile venues and shows.

Matt received his first guitar his sophomore year of High school.  In college he realized his great love for traditional Irish Music & Sea Shanties, born from the time he spent with his future brother-in-law, Brian.   He then took an interest in the Bodhrán, and took classes at the amazing O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat and learned a great deal about it. Armed with that knowledge, he now plays his drum whenever and wherever he can, trying his best to not be one of those Bodhrán players.  Matt had also always wanted to learn the Mandolin, so after many years of talking about it, he just, out of the blue, bought one. From there he has started to learn chords and melodies alike in an effort to bring yet another dynamic to the band.  Armed with his arsenal of instruments, Matt strives to play and sing to the best of his ability and bring life to the wonderful music that he and his band-mates play and love.

Matt is an active member of the Traditional Irish Music Education Societies’ Session Players.

Bill Zauner - Bill is an upright bass player and has played in a variety of genres from celtic to jazz and classical. He grew up in Lubbock, TX and attended Texas Tech where he performed with Chris Smith and Roger Landes' Celtic Ensemble and graduated with a degree with honors in music performance as well as music education. He also plays acoustic guitar, rhythm electric guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin, and vocals.

Bill was in the musical "Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story", and toured on occasion with them as well as toured with the musical "Million Dollar Quartet". He was a member of the Lubbock Symphony for 7 years, and Midland Odessa Symphony for 7 years. He has played with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and several other ensembles. Bill taught high school orchestra in Midland, TX for 4 years, and Galveston for 2 before joining the Lewsville ISD as their orchestra director.