Tag Archives: waltz

Evening with Eamon

Eamon Marshall
In December of 1999 there was a tragic accident that took the lives of six Worcester fireman. It is quite possible that the number might have been seven had Eamon Marshall, a fellow fireman, not been in the hospital for some planned surgery. Instead of being on the scene with his unit, he heard the crushing news as he was recuperating at his home. As any good firefighter, he regrets not being there to help his men and, as evidence, their pictures still hang on his refrigerator as a reminder of all that was lost.

I met Eamon a couple years ago, long after the fire. Selfishly, I am glad he had a medical issue that kept him from the heat of that day. I am glad because I have had the great pleasure of playing some wonderful music with him and, consequently, my life has been enriched.

Eamon and his brother Jimmie both started playing the button accordion when they were young boys. I can only imagine that the sibling rivalry to out-tune each other is one of the things that shaped Eamon into the fine craftsman of his instrument that he is. But, instead of taking my word for it you can judge for yourself.

A few evenings ago I went to Eamon’s home, set up a couple of microphones and the two of us just played. We did not worry too much about getting the perfect take. In fact, most things we played only once. And while there my be a few missed notes and disjointed endings, the overall feeling was quite nice.

It makes me wonder how many people around the world are sitting in their living room with friends making great music. Music that will never be heard. Fortunately, this is one evening that did not slip into the ether without being captured.

Below are a couple of highlights. The first recording is of a lovely waltz that I learned from Eamon. He tells me it is called Matthew’s Waltz.

The Maltese Cross is the first tune of the second set. It is a tune that Eamon wrote. The Maltese Cross is the insignia that Eamon’s unit wore on their uniforms. We could not remember the name of the second tune in the set. If anyone knows, please leave a comment and let me know.

If you want to hear Eamon play live he is often found at the sessions at John Stone’s in Ashland, MA on Tuesday evenings.

Firebox Studio

About a month back I bought a FireBox from PreSonus for doing some home recording.

The Firebox

I finally got it all set up and had a chance to play around with it. Here is a picture of my luxurious studio, which now includes my new FireBox.

My Studio

Between the FireBox and my computer is a new air filter for our house. I was using it to block some of the noise from the laptop. I know this is not ideal but I was really just experimenting.

The FireBox has two microphone/instrument preamps, which means that I can record two tracks at once. Since I only own one condenser mic I decided to try an experiment. I plugged my mic into one input and I plugged my guitar, which has its own internal pick-up, into the second input. The result was that I was able to record two tracks simultaneously. Below is a screen shot of Cubase LE, the mixing software that is bundled with the FireBox. You can see the two tracks at the top part of the image.


Due to the fact that they were very different inputs the result was two tracks of entirely unique tonal quality. The track that was created from my pick-up has a much more electric feel and a very full bass sound whereas the mic’ed track sounds acoustic. I mixed the two together to achieve the final result. I am not a recording engineer so I feel I still have quite a learning curve ahead of me with regards to understanding how to mic and mix this stuff.

The tune I recorded for this experiment is called South Wind. I have also seen it called Martinmass Wind. This is my adaptation of John Renbourn’s beautiful version that I ripped off from his lovely Wheel of Fortune album, which through the years has remained as one of my favorites.


I am playing in a DADGAD tuning whereas John plays it in DADGBD.

Banks of the Bann

This track exemplifies everything I love about the fife. I learned this traditional tune from a John Renbourn album called Traveller’s Prayer, which is a lovely album. I added a couple of voices and recorded this back in 2000 at a studio called Melville Park just prior to my first child being born.

Here is a link to the chart:
Bann 1

This and other recordings from that time period were my second failed attempt at recording a solo album. I believe I am now starting my third attempt. Anyhow, I’ve decided to publish music from those recording sessions under the internet album title of ‘Castaway’. The title feels appropriate to me since these recordings have essentially been cast away, never to be finished and now they will be Podcasted away. Anyhow, enough, here is Banks of the Bann:
Banks Of The Bann by baconworks