Category Archives: video

The Master

I was talkin’ to Luke today about the Planxty video below. Somewhere in our conversation, I was reminded of this video of Matt Molloy and Dónal Lunny. First, Matt Molloy is the master of all masters in the Irish flute world. However, in this video he is being closely watched by another flute master. Watch as the camera pans right around 1:08 and you realize that Matt is not just playing for any audience. In fact, he is playing for James Galway…who looks concerned that he may not be able to top Matt’s chops.

Alright, I promise, no more videos for awhile. I just couldn’t stand to have that IE6 post at the top of my blog for more than ten minutes.

The Blacksmith

I heard The Blacksmith on the Celtic Sojourn the other morning. Man, what a cool song. It is an old classic by a band called Planxty. After hearing it on the radio I realized I did not own the Planxty album this was first heard on. Had to fix that problem right away.
Here is a great video, probably from ’72 or ’73 of Planxty playing The Blacksmith. Though our modern ears have grown accustomed to the sounds that Planxty created, it is worth noting that nobody had really heard bouzouki in Celtic music until Andy and Donal came along. And those strange Eastern European melodies…forget about it.

Dónal Lunny on bouzouki
Andy Irvine on mandolin
Liam O’Flynn the uilleann pipes
Christy Moore on harmonium and bodhrán

In almost forty years no one has done it better. Check out the Balkan inspired weirdness at 3:24. Mighty.

The Groton Session

With Halloween approaching I thought it only appropriate to continue my trend of playing sessions in places that are haunted.
Common Ghost
So, last night I trekked up the road with Unstachio to The Stagecoach Inn in Groton, MA. Sadly, I didn’t encounter any ghosts but I’m happy to report that there was a lot of spirit. Vicky the bartender, Aisling, the woman who organized the session, Mary, Martha, Kevin, Raymond, Peter McGuire, Laurel Martin and all the other fine musicians were warm and welcoming.

One nice thing they do at their session is have monthly workshops where they bring in a seasoned musician to provide instruction during the early part of the evening. Well, unfortunately, I missed the early part. However, once the session got moving, Unstachio and I did get to have a go at backing Tony DeMarco, this month’s special guest. Tony is a universally known and respected Sligo style fiddle player from Brooklyn, NY. I can’t tell you what he thought, but I thought it was quite fun.

Here is a video of Tony with the legendary Kevin Burk. The video is not much to look at, in fact you can hardly see Tony, who is on the right side of the video. The audio is quite good however, and makes it worth a listen. Incidentally, they open their set with Paddy Clancy’s, which is the same tune I posted the other day.

Also, I should mention, that Tony has a new album that can be found on his website. Also, he will be performing this Friday, October 3rd, at the Kendall Tavern in Leominster, MA at 8pm. Apparently there is a session to follow. For more information and tickets contact Aisling. Should be a fun night.

Memories of Westbrook

The Mariners at Westbrook
From top to bottom this past weekend was one of the best Westbrook Musters I can recall. The weather was beautiful, the music was a blast and the company was great. Here are just a few highlights for me. Feel free to reply with your own.

  • Deb, it’s so nice to see April again.
  • John E. Boy, thanks for the interpretive Irish step dancing.
  • Alan, that spider nearly killed you, glad I could save your life
  • Dan, if ever you need any attire correction in the future, you can count on me. Besides I don’t want you to embarrass the rest of us
  • Beave, good man on ye ol’ goat skins. I guess we’ll have to continue carrying the Gary & Ralph torch since there are no others.
  • Richard Benoit, nice chatting and playing tunes with you. I’ll be sending some music your way.
  • Katie, you are sooo grass roots. Thanks for advertising our session before I knew we were having one. Also, thanks for making me feel good about B minor.
  • To those two girls from Delmar who said they were going to go find Wi-Fi so they could check out my web site … you girls rock!
  • Tim, impressive flute playing. Glad I could convince you to play one more tune.
  • Bosse, I can’t believe you played Shenandoah in F! Cool. You’ve come a long way in a short time.
  • Deirdra, mighty whistle playing. With a little more practice, you should be able to get those tunes up to speed  ; )
  • Jeff, glad you found us.
  • Craig, ninety seven versus of The Humors of Whiskey and I could see the finish line for the first time in three years. But, once again, defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory. Someone has to take the blame.
  • Mountain, you should play that Em tune like nine times through. Good shtuff.
  • Kate, bring your pipes to Sudbury, we’re putting you on tape.
  • Tish, your fifing rules.
  • Biscuits, you would have been proud.
  • McGraw, you know how to make ’em. Thanks for bringing them down. I’m so happy you all came. It was the best part of my day.
  • Max, I know you can’t read, but Happy Birthday my little punky pirate.
  • Sudbury and the Troopers, Great performances. Thanks so much for playing my tunes.
  • Rachael, thanks for starting Blackwater Tide in the jam. I guess I should re-learn it now.
  • The only downer of the weekend was that Mr. Dukes and The Salad Queen did not make an appearance. I hope you guys show up at Sudbury because my fans hate it when you’re not there.
  • finally I’ll leave you with Eighteen fifes, Six snare, Six bass, Eight flags, Three gunners, Two prisoner handlers, One prisoner, One musketeer, One Jeff, One Commode and, apparently, a fair young maiden. Boom.

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John Stone’s Session on YouTube

Just got wind of this YouTube video from our concert at Framingham State College back in March.

Although the recording is quite saturated with reverb, it gives a sense of the fun we had. The group of musicians playing can be found at John Stone’s Public House in Ashland, MA on Tuesday evenings. While this chapel gig was fun, I don’t think it really compares to coolness that happens on Tuesday evenings at John Stone’s. Besides, they weren’t serving pints in the church.

Happy St. Pat’s Lark

Ok, someone…not really sure who…sent me the following video. It stars both yours truly along with some of the other musicians from the John Stone’s session. I’ll let you figure out which one I am. Incidentally, the tune that we are vigorously stepping to is called Lark in the Morning. I guess I always assumed that Lark referred to a bird. In this case, however, it appears that this video is a different kind of ‘Lark in the Morning’. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all.
Lark in the Morning