Hi friends! Last entry was a full year ago...shame on me! Well, to be fair, I haven't been idle the past 12 months. Loads of gigs (thank God), really having fun with the music lately. A joy and honor to play Jeannie and John Callahan's wedding last Saturday...so much fun, and my band (Tony, Derrick, Ray and special guest vocalist Kathleen Fee!!!) were slammin'! Bagpipers, guest singers, and the bride and groom got up to sing (great stuff). The week before held another huge highlight in the life of this wee band. The wedding of Colm and Kathleen Neilson. Kathleen is the daughter of Walter Ensor (guitar/vox from Celtic Cross). Great wedding out in Rockaway. Still looking for places to play for the masses and I'll devote some energy to getting some 'public' gigs on the agenda for sure. As April turns to May, my thoughts turn to the end of my 15th year in the classroom. Summer is coming, checking the surf reports daily, getting ready to hit it again. Got the Buffett tickets for Aug. 31st at Jones' Beach to mark the passing of another year. Oh yeah..finally in the studio to begin recording... stay tuned....Aloha!!
Now...where were we? Looking at the last entry, I have been clearly derelict in my duties. Not to worry, (the two of you out there) I've just been busy! Haven't stopped to count the gigs, but each year it comes out to around 80 or so. It's this teaching thing during the day that's taking up the time. I do love it, though, yapping on and on ad nauseum (like this blog) about world history. January and February were very quiet (gig-wise) but that's ok, too. I have come to the conclusion that I need a clone, because as much as I love to be out, movin' and groovin', I love to be home as well. So, there it is! Looking at the music schedule for 2009, it's shaping up to be another nice year. Still fooling them after all these years. Goal for 2009? Get a cd done. I've heard some really great ones lately. Love Celtic Cross's latest. Also, John Nolan's Rake of Reels should be required listening. He is a master of the box and a good friend as well. Oh yeah... the box player for Girsa...holy cow! Blathin Loughran is the reel deal! Very impressed. Got my Jimmy Buffett tickets for AC in August. Jimmy is 62 now, and I can't imagine what the hell I'm gonna do when he stops touring. Any way, life is good, I'll be surfing again soon, and hopefully seeing you all at a gig or some other really happy occasion.
To my loyal readers (the two of you )...Greetings from command central. The summer and fall in 30 words or less. Loads of swimming, running and biking (triathlon stuff), shuttling the boys to and fro day camp, surfing my brains out in August and back to school in September. Along the way an auld gig or two. Some fun nights up at Four Green Fields. The folks up there are the ultimate Craic dealers in NY. Just nice people out to have as much fun as possible. Love it up there. We've played some great weddings of late and taken the chance to see faces friendly and familiar at all of them. The fall has been busy with gigging , but I stole a few days in September/October to sneak down to Sea Girt and Spring Lake to paddle out into the waning hurricane swells. Pity I waited til 36 to start this surfing thing. More recently, the band was up in Ellenville for Gertie Byrne's fall weekend. Fun gig, although we had to compete for audience with a full on ceili. Tough going. The set dancers are beyond mad for it, but I think we held our own doing what we do. I'm looking back now... Tony, Derrick and I have been playing together for coming on 13 years. We were Summerwind back then, working for Jim Cunningham. Back then, we must have played a few hundred weddings and dances (from 1995 to 2001). I just recently retired the bass guitar that did all those gigs. Poor thing just gave up the ghost. Oh well..time to shop for a new one, hopefully just like the old one. See, we men shop to replace! Cheers til next time!
Hey there! Been a while...I should write, right? Not much to report...gigging a good bit these last two months since the end of March. More private parties and weddings than anything else. Great time at Christine and Pat's wedding on May 3rd. Also did a gig at Blackthorne Pub in Kenilworth with Buddy Connolly and the great Keith Samut. Gave myself a fit of the giggles by throwing Paul Anka's "Diana" in the middle of a set. Also popping up were some tunes by the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Tonight we're at the City Island Yacht Club and tomorrow a benefit spot at Rory Dolan's in Yonkers. Mark Donnelly is on drums tomorrow, so that'll be great. School is winding down (Thank God) and still piles of grading to go through. The surfboard is in the basement ready to get wet. Every once in a while I go down, rub a little wax on it, and whisper gently...'soon'. Staring hard down the barrel of birthday #41 on 24 May. Naturally, we'll be playing a really fun wedding for Theresa and Tony on that day. Hopefully some gigs in public coming soon. Til next time, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars. (big Casey Kasem fan).
The perfect storm! Three nights of dances in the same banquet hall. Friday night was County Waterford. Thanks to the Whelans for the gig. Must make a point of visiting Waterford next time in Ireland. The Leitrim Dance was on Saturday night. This is my father's home county. Loads of familiar and friendly faces there. My dad was the president of the Leitrim Society so we have a backlog of great memories with the people. From the stage, I kept thinking I would see him on the dance floor, smiling and laughing. Alas, not to be. He passed nearly four years ago. Miss him, every day. Back in '94, he and I went to Ireland together. This was before marriage and children for me, so it was all hijinx and some shenanigans as well. After a great session of music and liquid refreshment, we caught a ride from Desi Foley's pub in Keshcarrigan back to the digs in Drumsna in the back of a hearse. It certainly beat the long walk. Sessions on the canal with Mick Woods (flute) and Peter Cullen (button box). Very welcoming vibe among the musicians and the consumers of the craic. Any way, back to present day. County Longford dance was on Sunday. Great crowd, dancing from the get go. John Prunty got up and did a few songs including one about seeing Gene Autry films as a kid, complete with a little yodeling section. Loved it! It is an amazing and unique phenomenon to see people from the same spot in the old country come together for a good time. From where I stand on the stage, I see a people holding on to the tradition. I hope they never let go. Peace, til next time.
March 8 and 9
The silly season has cranked up again and we were on the road playing in Hewlett, NY on Saturday night for a Hibernian Dance. Thanks to Pat Kerins for bringing us out. Nice people, good corned beef. 60 MPH winds made the drive home interesting. It's always fun when some people request "Danny Boy", and others beg you to not sing it. The decision comes down to 1) are the ones requesting bigger than you or are they trained in the martial arts? Sunday found us in the Pearl River Elks Club on Parade Day. Great to see the Taylors again. They single-handedly supplied the entire last hour set list. Loads of rebel songs. After the gig, I shot up to New City to catch Celtic Cross in the tent behind Doyler and Dunney's. That was great fun. They sounded fantastic. Saw lots of friendly and familiar faces and crushed the thirst with a Smithwick's or seven.
Grasshopper on the Green, Morristown, NJ
Wild gig with Buddy Connolly and Tony Marino. The joint was jumpin' and we all had way too much fun. It seems as though most in attendance were either off on Monday for President's Day, or planning on banging in, or answering the bell and hiding in the auld cubicle shuffling papers. For those who went to work, we salute you and applaud your efforts to stimulate the economy! Great to see Timmy (manager) and his lovely bride, celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary. Thanks to Janet for braving the floods to hear us do the big hits (joking). This begins a weeks' holidays from the day gig (teaching high school history). Good Lord! I can hear the drums beating in the distance signaling the start of March Madness. Be well, friends. Stay warm and dry til next time!
February 10, 2008
Tommy Foxes', Bergenfield
A really fun night with a great crowd. During our load in, the temp dropped about 20 degrees and snow was swirling everywhere, but the people still showed up. Amazing dancing all nite long. It reminded me of an Irish wedding, but alas, no one got hitched last nite. Great to see Jimmy and Rosemary. Plenty of Donegal songs for Doc, and also a swingin' Seige of Ennis. Great stuff...pity I had to wake up for school this morning. Thanks again to all for coming down!
January 26, 2008
Grasshopper Also, Carlstadt NJ
Great fun to play the 'hopper with the whole band. Also, thanks to Jimmy the Rebel, Phil and Janet, and Collette Glynn and Mom for making it out to see us. Nice to meet Sharon and Joe, who are getting married in July. One of my favorite places to play for many years. Delicious food and nice folks working there. Looking forward to getting back there soon. That's all for now.