HARP & SHAMROCK CELTIC MUSIC BENEFIT
The 2004 season went out with a big bang at Saturday's 4th Celtic Music Benefit, sponsored by the Harp and Shamrock (the Bob Reeder Fan Club), and hosted by Kyle's Taproom. Kathy Murphy-Revell and Bob Reeder conspired on yet another successful fund-raiser for the Children's Mercy Hospital Speech and Hearing Section, with a night of great entertainment, raffles, and auctions that doubled any of the previous three. Bob Reeder kicked the night off, and emceed throughout the night. Eddie Delahunt and friends - Mike Fraser and Timothy MacBain, and Wayne Kahre (from Kilkenny Road) - came on after Bob, and kept the crowd clapping. We followed, wrapping up "the show" with our set... but the real evening ended with the jam that immediately ensued. Special thanks to Dr Cynthia Jacobsen, Linda Enlow, Brian Greenstreet, Pat Albrecht, Steve & Teresa Sample, and Paula Musgrave.
The weekend at O'Malley's Pub started out slow, with about six people sitting in the pub about five minutes before Friday night's first set. It was a very enjoyable evening, having turned out to be one of those 'coffeehouse nights' - the behavior being inexplicably good, the noise-level uncharacteristally low, and the crowd unusually attentive. All of this was due, in no small part, to the fact that the larger (noisier) part of our fans were holding out for Saturday night's CD RELEASE PARTY. What turned out to be one of the most rewarding nights in the life of the band started when the early party-ers began arriving at 4:30 (for an 8:00 show). The pub was full by 7:30, and people kept arriving... and boy howdy, were they in the mood to party or what?!? In addition to the music, there was a preview of the new CD One For the Road, a mix-CD of some special musical selections to honor our die-hard fans, and a ton of give-aways (courtesy of super-proprietor Sean O'Malley). Honorable mention goes to Donna (who came up from Oklahoma City) and Patrick, Danika, and Mike and Mary (all the way from Dallas), as well as superfan, friend, and Man of the Hour, Lloyd Camp, whose tireless prodding got us off our collective keisters and onto a CD.
WESTON IRISH FESTIVAL
Sean O'Malley could not have hoped for a better weekend for the 5th anniversary of his Weston Irish F
estival. The weather was gorgeous and the turn-out was huge for what has become the country's biggest small Irish festival. Between the upper cellar's intimate pub stage, the lower cellar's lively hall stage, and the outdoor courtyard stage, Sean packed such greats as the Makem & Spain Brothers, the Young Dubliners, the Clumsy Lovers, the Glengarry Bhoys, and Connie Dover, as well as regional and local favorites like the Elders, the Kissers, Brigid's Cross, Ellis Island, Shenanigans, Dublin's own Eddie Delahunt, and Bob Reeder. We opened the courtyard stage Saturday and Sunday to some very big and appreciative crowds, and had a set in the lower cellar later Sunday afternoon (where it was a bona fide madhouse). The real treat of the weekend was sitting through one of the Makem and Spain Brothers' utterly enjoyable sets.
OKLAHOMA SCOTTISH GAMES & GATHERING
One of the new festivals we've been fortunate to add to our fall line-up was this past weekend's Oklahoma Scottish Games & Gathering in Tulsa. After a big splash at the Robert Burns Gala this past January, both the Scottish Club of Tulsa and ourselves were more than eager to work with each other. The exceptional Men of Worth, Scotland Rising, and the Moore Dancers joined us onstage to make the Festival's silver anniversary a weekend to remember. It was our pleasure to spend the weekend trading songs and stories with Donnie and Jimmy, and visiting with Bryan, Daniel, John, and Lars. And Aaron, Dory, and Roger got in on the fun, making the trip to Tulsa with us. The weather was grand, and there was plenty to see AND buy. Which we did. We're definitely looking forward to year 26.
O'MALLEY'S PUB / KANSAS CITY IRISH FESTIVAL
It was a banner weekend for us as we made our 6th appearance of the year at O'Malley's Pub. From all appearances, Friday night looked to be a fairly mild night. Until about five minutes before show-time, at which point nearly 100 people came waltzing down the stairs - a wedding party, there to celebrate the upcoming nuptials less than a day away. It was was a big, busy, boisterous crowd that battled the P/A-system for dominance of the airwaves (which led to the occasional feedback demon rearing its ugly head). But they liked our music, so all was forgiven.
Saturday night was a band's dream-night... the crowd was big, loud, and appreciative - staying quiet to hear the music, and reacting big when the music was over. It was like being a band in a movie.
Sunday afternoon found us down at Crown Center for the second annual Kansas City Irish Festival. After a foot of rain washed away the first year's attempt in Berkeley Park, the Festival committee moved the location to Crown Center... and it was all great. A great location, great layout, great weather, great crowds, and great music. We were joined by a couple dozen other great acts including the McCabes, the Young Dubliners, the Elders, Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul, Shenanigans, Tin Cup Prophette, Eddie Delahunt, and Bob Reeder (to name a few). we're already looking forward to next year's festival.
OHIO RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
It was yet another month off, in the middle of an unusually slow Summer, before we made our annual pilgrimage to Harveysburg OH for our guest appearance at the Ohio Renaissance Festival. Friday's day-long drive out ended with a fun night of pizza and games (and a little computer-doctoring) with Dennis and Ellen at Chez Fox. Saturday brought with it the Ohio Valley's own muggy version of "fun in the sun"... "bet that you'll sweat". But a temperature of 93° and a humidity of 100% couldn't put the damper on a great day (or two) of catching up with our Ohio fans and friends, the Swordsmen, Minstrel Woode, Theatre in the Ground, Bob Ford, and Steven K Smith to name a few. Saturday evening found us having a killer dinner at Cincinnati's Dubliner Pub and grooving to the simply outstanding music of Roger Drawdy and the Firestarters. The weekend at the Festival was followed by a Sunday evening of friends and sushi at Ando's... which we serendipitously) managed to find after learning it had left Lebanon for the outskirts of Cincinnati. Monday morning, we bid adieu to Dennis and Ellen and made the l-o-n-g trip back to KC.
After a six-week break, we found ourselves back up at O'Malley's Pub where we dusted off the cobwebs from our performance for an unusually large mid-Summer crowd. And having been two full months since playing at O'Malley's, we were hard put to pull off a Friday night without being issued any PUIs. We three onstage were almost as giddy as the folks offstage, and a huge table of GIs made for a night full of banter between the crowd and ourselves. Saturday night was a fairly big night, what with the LIVE RECORDING SESSION. All of the die-hard fans showed up to be a part of what would become our second album - One For the Road. The night, overall, was a load of fun... the recording session was an absolute blast. And we're looking forward to a CD-release party when we play O'Malley's in a couple of months.
KANSAS CITY SCOTTISH HIGHLAND GAMES / JOYCE'S IRELAND / CELTIC BLOCK PARTY
We returned from our brief furlough and began the Summer with a mini-marathon weekend. Saturday morning found us out at Wyandotte County Fairgrounds to perform at the city's longest-running Celtic event, the Kansas City Scottish Highland Games. Tucked neatly between performances by Rowan and Trinity, we turned in a couple of very well-received sets before packing up and heading to Lawrence for a feature appearance following the Keynote Address of KU's Joyce's Ireland. Marking the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday, the celebration included a two-day interdisciplinary conference, readings of Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake, and live music all around Lawrence by Eddie Delahunt, Shenanigans, Uncle Dirtytoes, the Kelihans, Rowan, and Jonathan Ramsey.
Sunday afternoon found us back in Brookside, taking the stage with the Elders, Bob Reeder, the Kelihans, and Jim Cosgrove at Governor Stumpy's for their second annual Celtic Block Party benefiting Operation Breakthrough. It was one hot afternoon, but that didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd who showed up in droves to make the fund-raiser a success.
We wrapped up our Spring run with a weekend at (where else?) O'Malley's Pub. Leavenworth's boys in uniform were out of school, so Friday was just a bit on the placid side. Saturday night, however was reliably raucous. With the Spring run over, a three-week break a few hours away, and vacations looming in the not-so-distant future, spirits (of all sort) ran high. Other than that, there really wasn't much to write about. Finis.
OKLAHOMA RENAISSANCE FAIRE
After a weekend off, the band took a road-trip to the Castle of Muskogee for their second weekend at Oklahoma Renaissance Faire. Pleasant weather was the rule, and there was plenty of opportunity to visit with Ruby and family, the entire T.Gray clan, Lorna and Donna (et al), and others far too numerous to mention yet no less dear. Saturday night included playing for a King's Feast before running out to dinner at Applebee's with Terry Elton, Bryan Wendling, and John and Al of Smee and Blogg.
April 30th - May 2nd
SPRING HOOLIE / OKLAHOMA RENAISSANCE FAIRE
So... in just over a year, what started out as an intimate performance for Norma Robertson's birthday has become the Rogue's Gallery (2nd Annual) Spring Hooley (way to go, Dan!). Which is just what we were up to Friday evening. A few dozen fan-friends showed up for the all-request night (or, as we like to call it, Tullamore Unplugged). The baton got passed around the room, like a hot potato, at least twice... and the requests ranged from old standards to off-the-dusty-shelves to throw-them-against-the-wall-and-see-if-they-stick. There were more than a few surprises, not the least of which being an honorary bottle of John Powers & Sons, the best Irish whiskey known to man...
The next morning, it was up at zero-freakin'-dark-thirty for a not-so-leisurely drive to Muskogee OK for the first of two weekends at the Oklahoma Renaissance Faire. With the off-again/on-again weather, it was an interesting first day (to say the least) with performers hurrying from shop to shop looking for a dry place to perform. But Saturday evening's dinner at El Chico's, and some nice visiting with Ray and Beth Cole, Jeremy and family, and the Bilge Pumps, made for an overall outstanding weekend.
April 9th - 10th
CASTLETOWN GEOGHEGAN / the DUBLINER
This past weekend featured a two-night mini-mini-tour of a couple of pubs - Castletown Geoghegan, in Belleville IL, and Cincinnati's Dubliner. Right off the bat, Mark gets the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate for scheduling two gigs on Easter weekend. That said... a half-day of work preceded an adventure-filled trip to St Louis where the girls met up with Mark at the Strobl home (Mary's Ma and Pa), and from there off to Belleville for a reunion with the Brothers Gagen and a fun night of music. Kudos to Rachel's sister and hubby (over from St Louis) who participated (in their own way) in the Friday-afternoon hijinks, AND to Mark's big band of well-lubricated in-laws (over from Desoto/Festus/St Louis/Dupo) who were nearly a show in their own right. (One word of wit and wisdom from Aunt Judy - "Tanqueray".)
A not-so-brief Saturday jog to Cincinnati took the band to the elegant Motel 6 and the Dubliner (not necessarily in that order). It was another evening of great fun, and our pleasure to hook up again with Dave, Dennis, Mary, Ellen (who's NOT taller than Mark), Justin, Phil, Eva, and Alejandro (COSTA RICA!). Honorable mention to Lloyd, who was with us in both cities... the man gives new meaning to the word 'fan'.
NORMAN MEDIEVAL FAIR
After missing the Norman Medieval Fair for a season, we were quite ready to settle in to the new surroundings. Reaves Park didn't seem as picturesque as Brandt Park, with the graceful duck-pond. But nobody missed those huge traffic jams at the ONLY bridge across the pond or the interminable walk to circumnavigate the pond to avoid said jams. Contrary to the forecasted less-than-hospitable weather, it turned out to be a wonderful weekend, and the crowds were out in the thousands. The friendly faces abounded (in fans and performers alike), among them... the Rogues (with Dapper Doug, their weekend stand-in), Smee and Blogg (the Just-How-Many-Shows-Can-We-Do-In-A-Day? duo), the Bilge Pumps, Queen's Gambit, Boru's Ghost, the Counterfeit Bards (with Lee "How Does It Feel" Agnew), Dan - the Duke of Danger, Harmless T Jester, and Owain Phyfe (always a pleasure)... and, lest we forget, Lorna, Donna, Ruby, Brett, Jeremy, Christy, Mom, and Dad. Some afternoon bocce, good eats at Don Pablos and Gaijin (with Randy, Doug, Nelson, and Cash), and a comfortable stay at Chez Myers rounded out a great weekend.
ST PATRICK'S DAY @ O'MALLEY'S PUB
What can you say about O'Malley's Pub that hasn't already been said? Maybe it's too bad you can't fit another couple hundred people in the place...? It goes without saying that St Pat's in the Midwest's "Irish Underground" was nothing less than an all-out blast. The pub was mostly full when we showed up at 2:30 to begin setting up. And it just got fuller. A large number of Tullies were there (all die-hards) and made us feel at home, despite the 4:00 start-time. We were in for a special treat (as it always is) with the arrival of the Dancing Murdock Lassies - McKenna and Mother (although Mom remained firmly attached to her chair). Shortly after we started playing downstairs, Red McWilliams kicked it into gear in the upper cellar (where he performed all the live-long day). The fun downstairs was non-stop (save for one small break) until 8:00 at which point we brought it to an end, and Kansas City's Irish balladeer, Bob Reeder, came on. Interestingly enough, Bob's fans had inconspicuously infiltrated the audience so effectively that, by the time he started, the audience seemed instantly transformed into the Bob Reeder Fan Club. Spooky. All in all, it was a great St Patrick's Day celebration.
O'MALLEY'S PUB / ST PATRICK'S CHURCH
This past weekend at O'Malley's Pub was the home-stretch in the busier-than-busy count-down to St Patrick's Day. Friday night was a mostly typical Friday night, with the boys from Ft Leavenworth being slightly more into the music than usual - no doubt because of St Pat's being right around the corner. We had to pace ourselves on account of how much would be going on over the course of the weekend, and Mark has discovered that the tabasco and pepper in a Red Hugh can keep your voice going and going and going... Saturday was Snake Saturday in North Kansas City. Sean was continuing the celebration, O'Malley's-style, with music upstairs and down. We played in the bottom cellar from 4:00 til 8:00. Bob Reeder and Eddie Delahunt both came on at 8:00, playing upstairs and down respectively, and finished out the evening. Hanging out after getting offstage was the first chance in a good while we had to catch one of Eddie's performances (a downside of being a performer - always gigging opposite your favorite performers). It was fun to hang out in the Rogue's Gallery for an hour or so listening to Eddie before heading home.
There couldn't have been a more likely venue for a mid-Sunday dinner and performance than St Patrick's Church in Emerald KS. Tucked away into this tiny town about 15 miles southwest of Ottawa, one might be tempted to refer to the shindig as a quaint, little celebration. But it was neither quaint nor little. As a matter of fact, in an exploit of appropriately biblical proportion, they managed to feed the multitudes - a number of people that at least doubled the number of chairs they had set up to seat them. As for the dinner, we were hard-pressed to say which was more delicious - the Irish stew or the corned beef. Up until this year, the annual celebration has featured Irish music via CDs... so it was a novel experience for one and all, one that was warmly received by everybody (with the exception, possibly, of the folks sitting right in front of the speakers).
INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS DAY
We returned to the University of Missouri-Rolla - the site of our first performance ever - this past Sunday with our showcase appearance at International Student's Day. A lot has changed since that day Mark and Sean walked into the Student Union as Limerick Junction - repertoire, line-ups, and (most importantly) that albatross of a name. Anyway, the day was organized by UM-R's International Students Club, and celebrates the customs, cuisines, and arts from the native countries of the club's members. The buffet was nothing less than delicious, and the displays sprinkled throughout University Center East could only have been improved upon if they were selling the wonderful crafts they were displaying. The exhibitions consisted, primarily, of exotic fashion, dance, and music. Congratulations to Tihana and her staff for conducting such a great celebration.
FORD FREE FRIDAYS
Friday evening's concert at the Atkins Auditorium went quite the distance in spoiling us. Our performance wrapped up the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art's World Music Series - one of the programs that make up Ford Free Fridays, a visual and performing arts outreach program sponsored by the Ford Motor Company. Most of our performances are in front of friendly audiences - at festivals or in pubs where listeners are expecting to hear Celtic music, and mostly accepting of those characteristics (quirks) that make the genre of music what it is. The Ford Free Fridays crowd was far more mainstream, a few hundred people there to hear whatever fine art is on the bill for the evening. And their rapt attention and enthusiastic response did wonders to dispel any notions that the appeal of our music relies on any particular niche. We were happy to convert several handfuls of listeners into fans. And our warmest thanks go to those few dozen Tullies who came out to support us for this crossover performance.
MVFS METRO ARTISTS CONCERT
Saturday evening's appearance at Community Christian Church was our second in a month (no small feat) as we reprised our 2002 performance at the Missouri Valley Folklife Society's fifth annual Metro Artists Concert. The concert series is MVFS' venue for showcasing the Heartland's finest in Celtic, bluegrass, and folk music. The Bluegrass Brigade joined the ranks of the outstanding bands that have appeared as Metro Artists over the past few years - Tullamore, Spontaneous Combustion, Shenanigans, the Ironweed Bluegrass Band, the Elders, Cavan, and Doug Goodhart & David Agee. The Bluegrass Brigade turned in a great performance displaying the mastery that only twenty-five years of performing together can bring. We were honored, not only to follow them onstage, but to be joined by them for an ensemble number to wind up the evening.
ROBERT BURNS GALA
Scottish pageantry, and tradition abounded this past Saturday evening, at the Scottish Club of Tulsa's Robert Burns Gala. Held in downtown Tulsa's swanky Petroleum Club, the affair honored Scotland's national bard with a traditional haggis, good Scotch whiskey, a wonderful buffet, some rousing piping by the City of Tulsa Pipes and Drums and recitals of works by and about Robert Burns. A few Club ceremonies and awards paved the way to a couple hours of singing (by ourselves) and dancing (by everyone else but). Eloquently led by SCOT President Eric Robertson and Emcee Bruce McIntyre, the evening was one to be remembered.
This past Saturday evening found us performing to a standing-room-only crowd, at the Plaza's Community Christian Church, the opening act for a dozen of the world's finest pipers and drummers, for MHAF's Winter Storm III. Sporting an international, all Gold-Medal roster of the world’s best pipers and champion Scottish drummers, this concert is the crowning jewel for what has become one of the premiere piping and drumming events in the world. Now in its third season, the concert caps off the Missouri Highland Arts Foundation's annual weekend of workshops and competitions. For those of you who are staggered by the idea of three hours of piping and drumming, put this on your calendar for next January and discover how incredible of evening it will be.
The 2004 season started as early as the 2003 season ended. As far as the Tullies are concerned (our die-hard Tullamore fans), Sean O'Malley could rename his pub Where Else - due (no doubt) to our frequent appearances there. Our die-hards will ask us "Where are you guys playing next?" to which we'll respond "Where Else?". Where Else (in case it isn't painfully obvious by now) is O'Malley's Pub - the pub you've been practicing for. A must-see for Kansas Citians and visitors to the area alike, the pub is built into the three cellars that once helped house the Weston Brewing Company - an otherwise cool cabaret that heats up when the music and crowd swing into high gear. About half of our Saturday-night regulars showed up on Friday night to join the contingent of Combined Arms Center students who float over from Ft Leavenworth (honorable mention to Joe Berg). This left Saturday evening just a little less of the madhouse it ordinarily turns out to be. We test-drove a good bit of the Scottish material we'd been working on over the previous couple months, with varying degrees of success.