A few weekends ago, we put a wrap on our 2012 season with a weekend at (where else?) O'Malley's Pub in Weston. It was a COLD weekend, with the temperature getting down as low as 17°. But it was positively toasty in the Pub! Friday had a rather hard start. The crowd was at-capacity by 7:30, and we had barely gotten into our second number when we started experiencing some intermittent signal-loss from the guitar. Bit by bit, we swapped out everything that could be swapped out (and that amounted to EVERYTHING) before we finally got to the culprit - a bad mic-cable (which should have been the FIRST thing to swap out). In all, the process took about 20 minutes but the crowd was good-natured and forgiving. Once we were finally back on-track, it turned into a great night. Holly, Laura, Sean, Tyson, Stephen, and Jesse (and Damien on the door) took expert care of the patrons all night long. It was great to see Bob (down from Cedar Rapids); Mike and Allison; Bryan and Wendy; Stephen and Kendrick; and Rel, Michael, Catherine, Trisha, and Matthew. And a warm welcome to new friends and fans Cannon; Joshua and Nicole (our talented landing-dancers); Jon, Seth, Dale, Paul, Alisha, Cody, and John and his big, friendly-drunk crew of Country Roads singers. Saturday night was a great night from the word go, notwithstanding Mark's voice being a little on the overworked side. It was another full night early on, which was all the more amazing considering that the upper pub was full for Bob Reeder. The crowd was VERY responsive... and generous - over the course of the night, a Black-and-Tan, two shots of Tullamore Dew, and four Irish Car-Bombs made their way to the stage, all for Mark. It was a worthy undertaking (one which would culminate in Bob driving back to Blue Springs), but Mark was up to it. Penny, Meredith, Laura, Ray, Stephen, Tyson, Nick, and Jesse (and Aaron at the door) kept the customers satisfied. It was our pleasure to see Bob and Lloyd; Michelle, Laura, and Heather and Ted; Marion and Diane, and Mike and Cindy; Gloria, Katherine, Sundra, and Suzanne and Gary; and Stephen and Kendrick. And a warm welcome to new friends and fans Jim; Chris and Scott; Francis; Donna; Sandi; Ben; Jim; Francis; and our birthday-celebrants Heather and Adam. It was a great wrap-up for season-16 (THANKS for being part of it!), and we're looking forward to our first O'Malley's weekend of season-17 in February.
SALADO SCOTTISH CLAN GATHERING & HIGHLAND GAMES
Last weekend, it was our pleasure to make our debut appearance at the Salado Scottish Clan Gathering & Highland Games. It was the 51st anniversary of these Central Texas Games... and after 50 years, it was about time for them to have us down. We had the good fortune of hooking up with George Shott (the President of the Central Texas Area Musem, which holds the Games) this past summer in the Glen Finnan Tent at the Texas Scottish Festival, where he booked us on the spot. The weekend began with a drama-filled flight to Austin. The first leg (KC to Dallas) was delayed fifty minutes on account of the plane arriving late, which would not have been so bad if it weren't for the fact that we only had a thirty-five minute layover in Dallas to get to our connecting flight to Austin. They committed to holding that leg if the first leg pushed back by 4:55... which it did to the minute. When we got into Dallas, we made the mad dash to Gate-8 to be three of the last five passengers on the plane. After a few minutes of bag-shifting, we were able to stow the dulcimer into an overhead bin and buckle in, and then we were off to Austin. Bruce (Mark's brother) met us at the airport and drove us back to his Round Rock home where we unpacked, picked up Lupita, and bundled off to BJ'S Restaurant and Brewhouse for a late dinner. Then it was back to Bruce and Lupita's to crash for the night. The next morning, we took a couple cars and headed out to breakfast at the Corner Bakery, and then drove up to Salado for day-1 at the Gathering. Right off the bat we hooked up with George (and his son Angus) who showed us around. We unloaded at the Bannockburn Tent - which we would share with Jed Marum, Seamus Stout, and Rod Campbell & Tom McKenna. It was a fairly lovely day, and the audiences were nicely-sized and quite receptive. After our first set, we high-tailed it over to the Stirling Tent to catch the one set by Ed Miller that we'd be able to see all weekend. The day was three sets long, and the crowd thinned out as dusk came on. When the day ended, we headed up to Belton for dinner at the Oxbow Steakhouse with Bruce and Lupita, Ed, and Jed. Then we took a walk across the parking lot to check in at the La Quinta (the sponsor-hotel for the Gathering). Charlene, Erin, Jeff and Peter (from Rising Gael) and Sean (Kyle Carey's partner) were lounging about the foyer jamming, so we stayed up with them and Jed and hung out for an hour or so before heading off to bed. The next morning, we had breakfast with Ed before heading back to Salado for day-2 at the Gathering. Deb turned up shortly before our first set (Frank, unfortunately, was dealing with work), and Bruce and Lupita arrived just as the set was beginning. We had one more set that day, and then we were done and heading off to the airport. We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare, and our flights home were (relatively speaking) fairly uneventful. It was great to see Deb; Meghan and Ron; Ed; Jed; Deanna and Craig; George and Angus; Damon, Jan, Billy and Jarrod (Seamus Stout); Brian (and Heather), Jimmy, and John (Scotland Rising), and John, Dylan, Mike, and Paul (Cleghorn). And a warm welcome to new friends and fans Charles; the Shaws; Becca; Vic, Mark, Matt and Jonathan; Tristan and Nisha; Justin and his daughters; Sean and Kyle; Tom (Beadnell); Rod and Tom; and Charlene, Erin, Jeff and Peter (Rising Gael). And a very special thanks to Bruce and Lupita (and Jiggs) for hosting us and driving us around all weekend!!
WESTON IRISH FESTIVAL
This past weekend, we made our way back up to O'Malley's Pub to perform at the Weston Irish Festival. It was our seventh appearance at this Festival - which was celebrating their thirteenth anniversary... and the rainy weather seemed entirely (albeit unfortunately) apropos. The Festival ran Friday night through Sunday, but both of our sets were on just Saturday. We arrived at about 11:30. just as the Langers Ball was sound-checking on the Courtyard Stage, and headed down to the bottom cellar for our 1:00 set on the Hall Stage. We were pleasantly surprised at how attentive the crowd down there was - unusually so given how big and rowdy it was - and the set was a blast. Kudos to Ken (the Hall Stage sound-man) for his exceptional work downstairs. We cleared out as the Langers Ball came on to follow us, and headed upstairs to wait for Bob Reeder to finish on the Pub Stage to play our 3:00 set there. We lost some time in the transition as the fiddle seemed adamantly opposed to giving any of its signal to the sound-board... but once we got going, the crowd ate it up and that set was a blast as well. We wrapped up and handed the stage off to Eddie Delahunt & Gabriel Reyes. Eddie was the workhorse at O'Malley's in the mid-1990s (when it was just getting going and before Sean had begun the big renovation), and it was great to see him again in his 'natural element'. We stayed as long as we could watching Eddie, and then packed it in and headed off for the van - but the evening was hardly over. It was great to see Dennis (out from Cincinnati), Ellen and Justin; Mike (out from Ft Leonard Wood); Mike and Gayla; Marion and Dianne; Scott and Louise (down from Maryville); Brian; our friends from Jiggernaut (Deanna and Craig, Matthew, Garren, Rodger, and Richard and Janell) and Flannigan's Right Hook (Ben, Matt, and Shane and Abby); Jennifer; and Steve and Kendrick. And a warm welcome to new friends and fans Denise and Lee; Ben and Mark; Mike; Lena; Wayne; Cameron; Steve; Mary and Jack; Mike, Keith, and Victoria; Kevin and Emily; Kevin and Lloyd; Chad; Shannon Marie; and Shannah. And more kudos to the tireless staff - Chris, Jeff, Steve, Justin, and Meredith in the bottom cellar; Penny, Lynn, Carolyn, and Holly in the upper cellar; Ray on the middle landing; Peter and Aaron in the foyer; and Mike and Corey doing what it takes where it takes. But like we said, the evening was hardly over. Driving away from Weston, we headed off to Wyandotte County Park to join in celebrating the nuptials of Rachel Bowerman (our partner from version 2.0) and Dave Deering. They were married at James P Davis Hall (where eleven years earlier, we played at the wedding of Keith and Jen Benjamin). It was a lovely ceremony and celebration, and we got to see a lot of friends that we don't see enough of anymore. A great Saturday!
This past Saturday, we played a special Saturday-evening-only at O'Malley's Pub. It was Apple Fest time up in Weston, and the pub was full by the time we arrived - upstairs and down. Mike had just finished clearing the stage and we set up. Whether by way of some feat of extraordinary effectiveness or a rift in the space-time continuum, we ended up all set-up and ready to go in less than 45 minutes, leaving us over an hour before show-time. So we ate, visited with friends, made friends of other patrons, and otherwise dawdled until Mike returned and began the sound-check. The evening started out big and just got bigger. Mark had been fighting off a bad cold, and his voice was mostly shot by 11:15 - leaving the girls to finish the show off as he limped along until midnight. That one hitch notwithstanding, it was an otherwise all-around exceptional night. An off the wall request for a Christmas song led to a performance of Joy To the World (a la Hoyt Axton/Three Dog Night) and the possible addition of the piece as one of our battery of bungee-cord songs. It was great to see Mike (out from Ft Lost-In-the-Woods); Bob (down from Cedar Rapids); Garry; Big Steve; Linc; and Marion and Dianne. And it was our pleasure to welcome new friends and fans Aaron; Quentin and Monica (celebrating their 4th anniversary); Mike and Randy (who was returning to O'Malley's for the first time in 20 years - before Sean began the renovations); Shanna; Angie; Beth; Will; Chad, et al (celebrating Shanna's birthday); and Erik and his big bachelor party. We'll be returning to O'Malley's in a week for the Weston Irish Festival. Come on out and see us then (AND the other fifteen acts as well)!
The Fall run drives on. This past weekend, we came to Mike Coakley's rescue by stepping in for Reverse Cowboy up at O'Malley's Pub. Friday night started out rather subdued, but picked up gradually over the first hour or so. Around 9:45, though, about 50-60 folks came down the stairs and for the next hour-and-a-half, it was standing room only. We trotted out some crying-in-your-beer songs earlier in the night than we usually do in response to a couple of requests to honor the memory of some fallen heroes. It was great to see Garry; Bob (down from Cedar Rapids); Marion and Dianne; and Big Steve. And a warm welcome to new friends and fans Dan and Misty; Mark; Brandon and Carrie; Terri; John; Clark; and Dana. Saturday night was pretty strong right from the word go. It was marked by the phenomenon of celebrating five (count them - FIVE) birthdays in one night. What more can an Irish band do with five birthdays than to line them all up on the landing and have them sing Shel Silverstein's The Unicorn? They were so enrolling that the audience actually followed along with them and all their actions. Big Steve was back as was Bob (who arrived late after attending the Rogues Gallery's Annual Pig Burning and Belly Crawl). It was great to see Jack and Angie, Maggie, and Kaitlin and Megan (O'Malley - no relation). And a special welcome to new friends and fans Brad; Justin; April; Cheryl; and Amy. It was a great weekend overall.
OKLAHOMA SCOTTISH FESTIVAL
A couple weekends ago, we had the pleasure of returning to Tulsa for the fourth time to perform at the Oklahoma Scottish Festival. It was a busy and utterly enjoyable weekend that started off Friday evening with some authentic Scottish weather - brisk, breezy, drizzly. Roger met us before we were even unpacked, and would be with us the entire weekend. We squeezed in an early set in the Edinburgh Tent between Jed Marum & Hugh Morrison and the trio of Celtic rock bands that followed (Cleghorn, Murder the Stout, and Celtica). And we followed that up an hour later with a mid-evening set in the Glasgow Tent before yielding the stage to Jed. Ed Miller was one of the new acts at the Festival this year, and we stayed until the end of the night to catch his set. We started late (12:00) on Saturday with our first set of the day in the Glasgow Tent. Bob and David were up from Irving and Sherman respectively, and met us at the tent. It was an 'all-business' day with three sets between noon and 6:00 (a second set in the Edinburgh Tent and a third in the Glasgow Tent), so there wasn't a lot of time to cavort. But what we lacked during the day, we more than made up for after we were finished. We stuck around at the Glasgow Tent to catch sets by Jed and Ed, whom we joined onstage for a few songs. Then we headed off, with Ed, Jed, Bob, Dave, and Roger to Lanna Thai for some exceptional Thai food and some unexpectedly great jazz music by Danny Timms and Steve Hickerson. We were up, out, and on early then next morning, playing on the Outdoor Stage at 10:45. Then after a small break, it was over to the Edinburgh Tent for another set. One of Sunday's highlights was joining Kevin and Dave (Murder the Stout) and Harry (Celtica) for a game of Bocce. We played our final set in the Glasgow Tent, bringing Jed up onstage with us... and then the four of us finished out Jed's set (right after ours). It was a great weekend all around. Kudos to Tucker, Colby, and Matt for exceptional sound all weekend long. It was great to see Murder the Stout (Hugh, Jason, Dave, Kevin, David, and Neil) and Cleghorn (John, Dylan, Mike, Paul) again, as well as to meet the gang from Celtica (Gwendolen, Gajus, Duncan, Harry, Lukas, and Josy). It was also great to see Shane; Charlie and Donna; Derryl and Mary, Heather, Rachel and Aiyanna; Jason; and Becky. A special welcome to new friends and fans Denis; Pamela; Damon; LaDonna; Sarah; David; Olivia; Craig; Doug; Mark and Gay; Lynn and Gary; Larry; Gina and Andrew; Michael; Jim; Cheryl; Mariann; Terry; Amy; Jack; Charlotte and Dr Watson; Katie; Emma; Timothy; Christian; Sid; and Matthew. And a SPECIAL thank you to Steve, Eric, and Kory for having us back down again. We look forward to returning next year.
SOUTHWEST MISSOURI CELTIC HERITAGE FESTIVAL
We spent a great weekend down in Buffalo at the Southwest Missouri Celtic Heritage Festival. It was our third year headlining for the one-day Festival - which was celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. We arrived just as the Lads of Tallymoore were kicking off their opening set. Originally an a cappella quartet, the Milwaukee-based Lads (Matt Voell, Sean Ward, Jason Fricke, and Matt Ecclestone) have been infusing instruments into their arrangements as well as fiddler-lass Erin Hoffman to come up with an enthusiastic sound that made them a hit at the Festival. After their performance, another new addition to the Festival this season - the Farnum Family (Norm, Trish, Daniel, Benjamin, and Hannah) took the stage with their delightful fusion of Celtic and Old-Timey styles. After a parade and a Bonniest Knees Contest, we took the stage for the first of our two sets. Then each of the bands played one more set before the evening ended with an utterly fun jam that included Jon and Heidi Reneau, Tom Meehan, and Two Cents Plain (Kathleen Hilmer and Meg Burns). Kudos to Jeffrey and Amie for the excellent sound-man work. After the Festival, we went out to our favorite Buffalo eatery - the Maple Street Grill - accompanied by Mike (down from Ft Leonard Wood), Kevin and Michelle (down from Osceola), and Lee and Lee Ann. After a big and fun dinner, we drove to the home of Lee and Lee Ann to visit and spend the night. The next morning, we had a leisurely home-made breakfast courtesy of Lee Ann before driving home. It was great to see Jason, Mark and TJ, Kristi and Paul, Kevin, Robin, Derryl and Mary, Heather, and Darby. A special welcome to new friends and fans, Ty and Courtney, Earlene, Rose and Sharon, Pamela, Denis, Damon, and LaDonna. And we're looking forward to returning to Buffalo next September.
August 31st - September 2nd
KANSAS CITY IRISH FESTIVAL
We had a great time out at the Kansas City Irish Festival this past weekend. It was the 10th Anniversary for the Festival which has vaulted into the Top-10 list of biggest Irish Festivals in the US. With 28 bands and artists scattered over six stages, plus Irish dancers, music workshops, theatre, comedy, ceilidhs, and Mass, there was something for everyone down at Crown Center Square... including a little bit of authentic Irish weather. We played on the Atrium Stage inside Crown Center both Saturday and Sunday afternoon. A big "THANK YOU!" to all of our fans who turned out to support us - too many of you to name, but we appreciate each and every one of you for being there, and for coming up to say "hi" and visit for a while. We enjoyed sharing the stage with Rob Gavin (always a treat to see Rob), Jonathan Ramsey (St Louis' golden-Bieber-haired treasure who was once a fixture at Harling's), Bob Reeder (the patriarch of Kansas City's Irish music scene), Ellis Island (Omaha's fine duo of Dave Marsh and Mick Doyle), Tin Cup Prophette (Amanda Kapousouz and Jeremy Wheatley - great music), and the Darren McMullen Trio (along with Jason Roach and Colin Grant - truly outstanding music). They all made it difficult to actually get out of Crown Center before the evening began. And there was plenty of great music to be had outside of Crown Center... the Elders, the Young Dubliners, Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul, Gaelic Storm, McPeake, Sprag Session, Scythian, Millish, Pogey, Goitse, Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Ashley Davis, Kelly, the 3 Dollar Band, Flannigan's Right Hook, and Eddie Delahunt. It was great to spend some quality time with Kathleen Jackson and Richard Jones (up from Dallas) on OUR turf - for lunch, lunch, and dinner! And also with Mike Moran (over from Ft Leonard Wood) with whom we spent most of the weekend and dined (x2). A special welcome to new friends and fans Jo and Jim, Bill, Jennifer, ZoAnn, and Susan. And a very special "THANK YOU" to David Shaughnessy for bringing us out to KCIF to be part of their big 10th Anniversary year!
This past weekend was a really interesting weekend at O'Malley's Pub. Friday night was a busy, noisy weekend. There are these evenings that occur like a paid rehearsal... that no matter how hard you work the crowd, you just don't win them over... THAT was Friday night. Shout-outs to Garry; Heather; Dave; Jon; and Ryan. Saturday was a similarly interesting evening. During the summer, the Pub holds what they call their Third Saturday Concert Series, where they feature performances from jazz/blues bands on the Courtyard Stage... which was what was going on while we were downstairs playing. And on a beautiful Saturday evening, there's a pull to be outside... and there you go. Despite the come-and-go crowds, we did have two birthday celebrations, so we had the celebrants and the girls go to the landing and lead the crowd in The Unicorn. Shout-outs to Allyson; Chris; Brad; Ron; Judy; and John and Carol.
Thanks to the wonderful efforts of Kelly Hill Dougherty, this past Saturday found us performing the first of two concerts in the Summerfest concert series presented by the Kansas City Irish Center. Summerfest, and its partner Winterfest, are the performing artist series that the Irish Center holds to bring new people in. With a fair amount of rearrangment, enough chairs were put out to be able to accommodate 100-some people - which we were able to deliver without breaking a sweat. It was a great concert for a great crowd in a really great venue... if you have not been there already, make a point to visit the Irish Center. A good opportunity would be Saturday, August 18th, to see William Morris. Shout-outs to Garry; Mike; Marilyn; Claire; Hank; Rita; and Steve.
For the second time this year, we've had to say goodbye to one of our dear friends - Jeannie Dybdahl-Towns, who succumber to a brain injury she suffered in being thrown from a horse. Jeannie has been a long-standing close friend and fan of the band whom we met out at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival - where she performed, managed, and crafted. A kind and generous, gracious, and perennially-upbeat woman, Jeannie had a positive influence on everyone with whom she interacted. Just nine months ago, she married another good friend of the band - Garry Towns - making them a perfect couple. We had many great times with Jeannie... and our lives are all the richer for having done so. Our hearts go out to Garry and Jeannie's family.
Yesterday found us performing out at Powell Gardens in Kingsville MO at the reception of Rachael Lane and Daniel Tush. It is an honor and privilege to share in that day for folks. There was a (mildly) humorous aspect to this performance... we did it in costume. Rachael indicated it was medieval themed, and asked if we would be able to follow in that theme... which, of course, we are (so far as Renaissance costumes kinda go). What we discovered was that Rachael's dress, being an Arwen Undomiel wedding gown, did have a slight medieval look... and that was about it. Everyone else - groom, wedding party, and guests - were dressed in conventional clothes. So basically, it was Rachael and the band dressed a la medieval style. It made for a lovely afternoon of... interesting... looks from the guests. AND it was a lovely afternoon.
SHERWOOD HOUSE CONCERT
Another week, another road-gig. It was a doubly-enjoyable Sunday for us yesterday as we not only got to perform at a house-concert... we also got to do so at the home of two of our favorite friends/fans - Charlie and Dona Sherwood. The Sherwoods are movers and shakers in Tulsa's Celtic music and Scottish communities, and have opened up their home to many Celtic greats... Gerry O'Beirne, Robbie O'Connell, Ed Miller, Long Time Courting, et al. To figure into that list is definitely a compliment. We made the four-hour drive to Tulsa, found their beautiful home, and brought all the instruments in. We visited and noshed for a while, then got tuned up and gussied up, and waited for folks to arrive. We performed to a very friendly crowd of about 40. After the concert, we had a short amount of time to visit and make our goodbyes before getting on the road and making the drive back to Kansas City. We'd say we're looking forward to a return-performance for the Sherwoods... but they're already in the process of making plans to move to Colorado. We guess the next time we play for them, we'll be flying out. Shout-outs to Charlie and Dona; Mariann; Kym; Roy; Tony; Andrew and Rebecca; Karen; Walter and Lois; Mark and Gay; and Jane.
TEXAS SCOTTISH FESTIVAL
We headed down to Arlington TX for our sixth consecutive appearance at the Texas Scottish Festival - there's very little more rewarding for a band than a big festival adopting you into their slate of regular performers. This year was a BIG year for the Festival in that they shifted their weekend from the first weekend of June (what we lovingly refer to as SweatFest) to the first weekend in May. It was a gutsy move - a shift in schedule always causes a hit on attendance, not to mention rescheduling to a weekend that places squarely at odds with Scarborough Renaissance Festival (which ties up a LOT of Celtic music lovers) and Dallas' Cinco de Mayo Parade and Festival (which ties up everyone else). But it was a great move - the weekend was on the warm side of beautiful and the crowds were very good for the first year of a move. We flew in Friday afternoon, and Bob picked us up at the airport and drove us straightaway to... On the Border, where we had a great lunch before heading over to Maverick Stadium, the new home for the Festival over at UTA. We turned in an opening performance in the Glen Coe Tent that ended just before the formal Opening Ceremonies. Then afterwards, we caught a set from Ed Miller (and friends... John Taylor, Jil Chambless, & Scooter Muse). Then we headed back to Chez Bob and crashed. The next morning, we hit the grocery store for lunch-foods, drove through McDonald's for breakfast, and arrived at the stadium early. We would end up spending the rest of the weekend performing on the Glen Finnan Stage with Jed Marum, Margaret Lyle Gravitt, and Jim McCrain. We turned in three performances during the day and spent an amount or time hanging out with the performers over at the Glen Coe Tent (Brian McNeill, Ed, John, Jill, and Scooter). At then end of the day, Rachel and Mary went over and turned in a couple of performances at the Lassies Galore mash-up before all the (acoustic) performers hooked up for Fiddle Faddle. Afterwards a handful of us (including David Shaw and Kendall Rogers) headed over to Pappadeaux's for a late Cajun/Creole dinner. Then once more we headed back to Chez Bob and crashed. Sunday morning was a re-run of Saturday morning, only we slept in a little longer. We turned in two more performances on Sunday, and made our goodbyes (unfortunately missing out on the big finale set). With a late flight, we had time to squeeze in dinner at TGI Friday's before Bob dropped us off at the airport. Then it was home to Kansas City. Shout-outs to Casey; Earl; Carol; Judy; Adam; Kathy; Mark; Leah and the fam; and (of course) Bob and David.
This past Saturday found us driving over to Lenexa's VFW Post #7397 for the Kansas City Rogues Gallery's 10th annual Spring Hoolie. Credit Dan Robertson for originating the Hoolie - which could best be described as "We can put on the show right here in my uncle's barn"! It's a fun show for us in that it's the biggest all-request show we do with the audience choosing 100% of what we perform... which provides some pretty interesting moments when the choose something we haven't performed or rehearsed for... years. The attendance seems to grow year by year. Saturday's audience overflowed into the main room of the VFW... in fact it seemed like there were more people out there than in the room where we were. Again, the palpable sense of absence was prevalent, and there was a bittersweet moment of special acknowledgement of Pat Patterson by his family and friends as well as toasts to our absent friend throughout the night. And as usual, the party ran long, and we had to break down and get out in a hurry.
ST PATRICK'S DAY @ O'MALLEY'S PUB'S
Saturday, we celebrated Lá Fhéile Pádraig, along with the 3 Dollar Band and Bob Reeder, at O'Malley's Pub. We got there at 11:00, got set up, and kicked the Kansas City area's biggest St Paddy's celebration off at noon. The Hall Stage was already close to full, and filled up within the hour with a very lively crowd. Our set motored along quite nicely along with the crowd. Four o'clock came quickly and we wrapped up our set, packed up, and handed the stage off to the Three Dollar Band's Adam Braunschweig, Keith Van Winkle, and Chris Carr who took the next 4-hour shift. And about 8:00, Bob Reeder kick off his own set upstairs in the small pub. An hour after packing up, we headed out to Kato Japanese Cuisine (I-29 and Barry Road) for the traditional St Patrick's Day sushi-dinner. Everything was right with the world. Shout-outs to William; Adam; Tim; Ted; Marion and Diane; and Mike and Gayla.
IRISH-AMERICAN CLUB / EMMA CHASE MUSIC HALL / ST PATRICK'S CHURCH
This past weekend was a busy one in our run-up to St Patrick's Day. It kicked off with a performance for the Irish American Club of Johnson County. We made our way over to Old Shawnee Town around mid-afternoon, and had the sound-system set up by the time folks started arriving around 6:00. Friends Damian Stack and Seán Moriarty were the travelling dignitaries from Listowel who came to visit this year. We played a set, and then yielded the floor for the official program - the clubs officers were recognized and honored, as was the Mayor of Shawnee, the Club's VIPs and honorees, and then the visitors from Listowel. And then we played a second set. Afterwards, we headed over to Jake's Place for a very late dinner, and then home. The next day, we piled in the van and drove down to Emporia to the home of Ray and Beth Cole. We had a nice long visit before following them over to Cottonwood Falls for a concert at the Emma Chase Music Hall. The Music Hall operates in conjunction with Sue Smith's Emma Chase Café - which was our first stop. After checking in with Sue, we went over to the Music Hall and set up our equipment and instruments, and then came back to the café for an utterly-tasty dinner of corned beef and cabbage, potatoes, and pie. Afterwards we headed back to the Music Hall for a concert to perhaps 75-80 folk music lovers from in and about Cottonwood Falls. Then it was back to the Cole homestead for some more visiting and then to bed. Shout-outs to Jason and SueAnn; Joe; Kathryn; James; Linda; Jackie; Patty; Alan; Amy; and Kris. The next morning, we were up quite early for a sit-down breakfast with Ray and Beth, and then off to Emerald for our eighth appearance at St Patrick's Church in their annual St Patrick's Day fundraiser-dinner. This gig is an absolute pleasure for us to do. The parishioners there are great and it's a genuine contribution... and the dinner they serve is the best farm-cooking around (no slight to the Emma Chase Café, of course). After the performance, we packed up and headed home. Shout-outs to Stan; "Dancing" Nancy; George; and Arlene.
NORTH TEXAS IRISH FESTIVAL
Our appearance at the North Texas Irish Festival this past weekend marked the fifth consecutive time we've been one of the featured performers at the Festival... and what a weekend it was! We started out with a late-morning flight to Dallas' Love Field, where Bob Harmon picked us up and whisked us off to the Doubletree/Campbell Center - new digs for the Festival as host hotel - where we checked in, dropped off our bags, spruced up, and then piled back in to Bob's Nitro to head down to Fair Park and the Festival. We arrived just before 5:00 with more than enough time to set up for our opening set at the Star and Harp Pub Stage. Our friendlies were already arriving, and it was a great set. We wrapped up and handed off the stage to the irrepressible Seamus Kennedy. We sold and signed a few CDs, caught half of Seamus' set, and then headed off to see what else was going on. After another hour, we packed up the van and headed back toward the Doubletree, stopping at In-N-Out Burgers for a late dinner. Back at the hotel, some of us stayed up for some visiting and a couple of beers with the milling-about-ers, and then off to bed. It was a late morning on Saturday give that the day's set was at 5:15. Bob picked us up for breakfast, and we ran around the corner to Henk's European Deli for one of their utterly delicious breakfasts. After breakfast, Bob took us back to the hotel, dropped Mary off (she would come out later by shuttlebus), and took us to the Festival. We headed over to the Star and Harp Pub Stage again (where we'd be performing later), caught a set by Ed Miller and friends (John Taylor, Jil Chambless, and Scooter Muse), and half a set from Seamus Stout before taking a spin around the site. We came back in time to catch half a set from Seamus Kennedy, and then got tuned up and turned in a set of our own to a fairly packed crowd. After breaking down and as we packed up, we were able to catch most of a set from Beyond the Pale, and then most of another from BEHAN before heading off for another tour of the Festival, catching a little each of Eileen Ivers and 5 Second Rule. Then we headed back to the hotel and the plethora of sessions. Mark just drank a few beers, visited with a lot of folks hanging out at the bar, then wandered around listening on a few sessions (having lost track of Mary and Rachel - no reports on them). Then it was off to bed. The next morning, we got packed up and out the door early, hooked up with Richard Jones, and headed off to another great breakfast (Dallas has the BEST breakfasts!) at BUZZBREWS Kitchen. After breakfast, Richard deposited us at the Festival where we headed over to the Trinity Stage (one of the two main-stages!) where we put on the opening set there to an impressing good-sized crowd. We handed off the stage to Dan Possumato & Jamie O'Brien. We caught a little of the Jig Is Up and a little more of Ed Miller (and the gang), and then Bob took us to the airport and we headed off for home.
This past weekend, we headed up to O'Malley's Pub for our second weekend of the year up there. And it was quite a different weekend from January's. It was a nicer weekend... and one that saw the return of the Rogues Gallery. Friday night was a big, busy night, with folks turning up from everywhere. Mike; Jack and Angie, and Maggie; Jordan; Kevin and Michelle; James, Nathan, and Jared; David, Jason, and Tyson; Robbin and Brenda; Johnny and Shanley; Peter and Josie; Big Steve; Luke and Anna, and Bill and Gina (who had, curiously, researched us specifically and came out to see us); and Patrick and his (unnamed) friend. Saturday night was another big one that included Dan and Norma; Carol and Mike; JR and Dana; Gary and Jeannie; Jason and SueAnn; Kim and Adam; Sean and David; Bill and Kathleen; Big Steve, Kendrick, and Zack; Karen and Elaine; David "Sicilian" and his lady-friend; Chris and his entire table; and James (who, we've learned, speaks Russian when he's... inebriated. The Rogues were back, on a mission to celebrate the memory of their fallen comrade, Pat, and every favorite song requested and sung.... from the opening of the night to the parting glass. It was a great night.
ROBERT BURNS SUPPER
For the 9th straight year, we had the exceptional fortune of making the 4-hour drive down to the Home Builders Association in Tulsa for the Scottish Club of Tulsa's Robert Burns Night. The evening is one of our hand's-down favorite gigs. It's a splendid night... handsomely-dressed couples (some of our FAVORITE couples), excellent food, the water of life, good humor (and... eh... other humor), and recitations of works penned by the Man of the Night. We love going down there, and they love having us. Gigs really don't get much better than that. We arrived and met up with our friend Roger - who has become a fixture at the Dinner. Roger helped us get set up, then we dashed around the corner to get ready. We returned to find people beginning to traipse in, and did a small set during cocktail-hour. Then we retired to a table we had staked out and thereal festivities began... a great performance from the City of Tulsa Pipes and Drums and Rick Ewing... a speech and toast to the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns... toasts to the Lasses and to the Lads... and to Scotland and the US... and an incredible dinner. Afterwards, we performed for a couple hours for the listening and dancing pleasure of everyone there... and boy-howdy do those people love to dance! When the evening wrapped up, we sang our Auld Lang Syne, made many long goodbyes and headed off to the hotel. Then drove home the next day. Shout-outs to Roger; Charlie and Dona; Derryl, Mary, Heather, and Aiyana; Rick and Christine; Steve and Aleah; Eric and Donna; Michael and Vicki Cox; Richard and Kami; and Bruce.
We are deeply saddened to pass along word of the passing of our dear friend Pat Patterson. After a gallant battle against brain cancer, Pat left us all for a new world. We had the opportunity, this past Sunday, to drop by and visit him on last time. Pat (along with his cohorts Dan and Larry) began following Mark and Sean as The McGuire Brothers in 1996. They became regulars - avid fans who attended virtually every performance we did. As we morphed into Limerick Junction and eventually into Tullamore, their fanship evolved with us, and they became our first and most faithful fans and friends. Pat has been present with us for all of our 15 years - with his support, his humor, his wit, his stories (and even his $1 bills!). His friendship, loyalty, graciousness, camaraderie, and service to his country are all appreciated... by many. Our lives are richer for having known him. He will be missed. Our warmest thoughts go out to his wife, family, and friends. Godspeed Pat.
This past weekend, we kicked off our 16th season in the pub where we've spent more hours performing than anywhere else EVER - O'Malley's Pub. It was a low-key weekend as far as O'Malley's weekends go... due, no doubt, to the 10° weather and the snowy-slushy mix on the roads. Friday evening began with four tables, and never really got full. There were a couple surges, but other than that it was a fairly temperate evening. Shout-outs to Bob, Steve, and Kendrick (which should tell you how low-key it was). Saturday was a little bigger. Notwithstanding the noteworthy absence of our trio of most ardent fans (the Rogues Gallery) and their wives, the crowd was fairly responsive. The evening was marked with two birthday celebrations (necessitating the use of BOTH the Volga Birthday Dirge and The Unicorn)... but we gives the crowd what they likes. Shout-outs to Bob, Steve and Kendrick, Marion and Diane, and Mike and Gayla. A nice kick-off to Season 16.