Raised in Munich, the Austrian fell in love with Irish folk songs early on and has been singing them every since.
“I’m Irish-hearted,” Hruby said with a grin, showing off the Irish harp tattoo on his left shoulder. “To be honest, it puts up the hair on my back.”
Hruby is a soft-spoken young man, until he takes the stage. That’s when the husky serenades and bold guitar riffs emerge. Hruby’s charming green eyes and earnest vocals mesmerize the crowd as he effortlessly harmonizes with “Fiddle Babe,” his supporting act.
He begins the set with a friendly “Cheers to all of you” and softly tunes his guitar until Fiddle Babe naturally syncs up with him.
Hruby plays covers like Star of the County Down on his stickered-up guitar as locals clap along with familiarity. He alternates between toe tappers and stone-faced ballads with charm. A random bar patron approaches the microphone to sing along with Hruby and a lively ambiance permeates throughout the pub.
The emotional versatility of Irish music has captivated Hruby’s attention for the past 10 years. The self-taught guitarist prefers the acoustic, but also plays the bodhrán drum and the tin whistle.
“The tunes catch you in all different ways,” said Hruby. “Some are more serious and some you just have to dance to.”
When he’s not busy doing open mic at the pub, you can find Hruby playing gigs with his band Cluas around Belgium. The band takes its cues from legendary Irish musicians like the Dubliners and Shane MacGowan.