Dan Vaughn, an Irish whistle and flute player based out of Iowa City, Iowa, has been making a name for himself since the early 2000's. Playing with bands and artists such as Gaelic Storm, Flook, John Williams (Solas) and many more. Dan has established himself as one of the premiere musicians in Irish music. Along with gigging, Dan has competed in multiple MidWest Fleadhs (the Olympics of Irish music), winning multiple titles for whistle and flute. This led him to competing in the 2005 All-Ireland Cheoil in Letterkenny, Ireland.

Dan went on to get a Bachelor's degree in Music Performance at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. He focused on playing guitar and developing his composition skills during this time, going on to collaborate with musicians from diverse genres. Dan is passionate about discovering new talent and creating music programming.

In the fall 2022, Dan joined the Iowa based Irish band, Blame Not the Bard. They've performed at Iowa Irish Fest and Kansas City Irish Fest, with plans to expand across stages in the U.S. Fueled by a passion for collaboration, at the 2023 Iowa Irish Fest, Dan debuted his band Sorcha, with Joseph Carmichael on the guitar and Nikki Philbrick on fiddle. With electric reception for Blame Not the Bard and Sorcha during the festival season, Dan has cemented himself as one of the most exciting Irish musicians of his generation.


Nikki started playing the violin over 25 years ago under the instruction of Janet Ault through her public school program in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. She quickly realized it would be a life-long pursuit (as much as any 8 year-old can realize such things) and took to playing as often as she could. In addition to continuing with her studies through the school orchestra program and the Preucil School of Music, Nikki attended numerous musical programs, including the Idaho Viola Camp (McCall, ID), the Red Cedar Chamber Music Summer Festival (Cedar Rapids, IA), Credo (Oberlin, OH), and numerous honor orchestras in her community. Nikki ultimately went on to earn Mount Vernon Community Schools "Outstanding Orchestral Musician" in 2006, and then to obtain a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Iowa, studying with Dr. Katherine Wolfe.

After college, Nikki realized that what she really wanted to do was play fiddle in an Irish band. So, that she did! Nikki currently performs with Blame Not the Bard, an Irish band that tours the country, gracing the stages of numerous venues and festivals, including the Iowa Irish Fest and Kansas City Irish Fest. Nikki also performs with the contemporary Irish Instrumental trio, Sorcha.

In March of 2022, Nikki made her television debut when Blame Not the Bard was featured on the program "Greetings from Iowa" on Iowa PBS. A lifelong learner, Nikki has continued her fiddle studies with Kiana June Weber.

When Nikki isn't busy performing with the band, teaching fiddle to one of her more than 35 students, or serving as a performance consultant for Yume Dance Studio, she enjoys writing, drinking coffee, eating ice cream, and hanging out with her dogs, cat, and husband.


Joseph Carmichael is a guitarist and whistle player from Dallas, TX. Known for his unique approach to accompaniment within traditional Celtic and folk genres.

Joseph was born into a musical family, and began his journey composing on his family's computer, before being drawn to Irish music as a teenager. He is mostly self-taught, and in summers of 2011 and 2013 attended the Burwell Bash, learning under Brian Finnegan (Flook).

Through his free-thinking, sometimes considered "jazzy" chords, and ability to draw from multiple styles, Joseph has established a strong reputation as an accompanist in the traditional music scene in the U.S.

Some of Joseph's most notable achievements include:
-Opening for legendary Irish-American band, Solas, as a member of Flashpoint in 2013.
-Headlining the North Texas Irish Festival in 2019 with Austin-based quartet, The Here & Now.
-In Autumn 2020, during lockdown, Joseph recorded on a track for Brian Finnegan's 2021 "Hunger of the Skin" album

Currently, Joseph is working to complete his debut solo album, "Desiderium" which is set to release in 2024.