Dropkick Murphys are set to stage their annual St. Patrick's Day tour, but they'll be doing so without one of their vocalists. The group has revealed that Al Barr will be stepping away from the group for the time being as he and his family tend to his ailing mother.

In a video message with the rest of the band, Barr explained, "I have been out of the picture for the last few months as my mother's health has been in decline. She recently suffered a massive stroke and is also suffering from Lewy Body Dementia. These challenges are ones that my sister and I are facing head on together. However it is unfortunately going to keep me from being out on the road with the band." The singer kept it open ended as to when he would return to the concert stage.

The group's Ken Casey, who will handle all lead vocals on the tour, later put his hand on Barr's shoulder, stating, "Family first. We support this guy."

A more extensive statement concerning what this means for their upcoming dates was also released by the group. It reads as follows:

Hello everyone -

We've been hard at work rehearsing for the first St. Patrick's Day Tour in THREE YEARS.

This morning, we have very sad news to tell you. Over the last few months, Al's mother, Ingrid, has suffered a series of strokes. She has also been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia. Al, his sister and wife have been caring for Ingrid round the clock for months. Please join all of us in holding Ingrid in your prayers.

Dropkick Murphys have always been about FAMILY. And in the spirit of FAMILY FIRST, Al has had to make the very difficult decision to stay home for the rest of the year to care for his Mom, so he will not be with us on the upcoming tour or in Europe this summer. We appreciate your compassion for Al's family, and we know as part of our family you will understand and support us in dealing with these difficult times.

THE SHOW WILL GO ON with Ken covering most of Al’s parts...along with some special guests like Jesse Ahern, Mikey Rivkees from The Rumjacks and Jen Razavi from The Bombpops joining us on vocals as well. Al will be cheering us on from home - and we will see each and every one of you starting next Monday when the tour kicks off in Reading, PA!!

Dropkick Murphys

The tour gets underway Monday, Feb. 21 in Reading, Pa. and will continue stateside through March 20. The band will then venture off to Europe on June 7 to start another tour leg in Bergen, Norway. See all of their scheduled dates and get ticketing info here.

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