Friday, December 26, 2008

FGF - Last Christmas Hurrah

I just thought that this would be refreshing for after the mad holiday rush. (This one's for our friends Ann & Pete.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Feel Good Friday

This week I'm moving away from the holidays and onto a great Celtic rock band from Kansas City--The Elders! The Cracker and I had the pleasure of seeing them at NTIF twice. I would have given almost anything to see them in Bethlehem at the Classic this year, but we just couldn't make that happen. I'm sure the town of Bethlehem didn't know what hit them! Anyway, here's a personal favorite of mine, "Packy Go Home". Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Music at the Celtic Crossing

I just received an email reminder about tonight's seisun at the Celtic Crossing. Apparently, there will be a seisun next week as well (they are usually biweekly), as a prelude to a performance by the fine Irish singer, Jimmy Crowley. Jimmy is a great traditional singer. I've included a short video of him with Mairtin de Cogain of the Fuschia Band. The two have toured together over the last couple years, really showcasing traditional singing and storytelling.

I will also mention that if you haven't been at the Celtic Crossing for the seisun, you really should check it out. Seisuns are a chance for musicians to gather and play together, learn new tunes and enjoy some craic. The seisuns are part of what makes the festivals like CelticFest Mississippi and North Texas Irish Festival so much fun. Any and everyone who plays will join in. Often you find folks who play for the fun and love of the music, alongside internationally renowned musicians. We often enjoy the seisuns as much as the scheduled performances.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Feel Good Friday--Holiday Style!

In order to get you into the holiday spirit, here are our good friends Smithfield Fair singing "Deck the Halls".

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Man's A Man for All That

I'm a little early for Feel Good Friday, but since it's the holidays, here you go. I've chosen the Robert Burns classic "A Man's a Man for All That" as sung by Jim Malcolm, formerly of Old Blind Dogs. What a voice that man has!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Feel Good Friday!

After last week's hanky-fest, I've chosen a slightly more upbeat song for FGF. This is a favorite of the Cracker, since we saw Robbie O'Connell many years ago at CelticFest Mississippi. Sorry the video quality is not better, but the song is worth it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

FGF Celtic-Style

Okay, folks, get out your hankies. I've chosen Smithfield Fair's Greyfriar's Bobby, about a Edinburgh constable and his loyal canine companion.

This wonderful song is based on a true story.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Feel Good Friday again

The lovely Lauren has chosen Mairtin de Cogain and the Fuchsia Band for our FGF selection this week, enjoy!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Feel Good Friday

the Lovely Lauren has chosen the Old Blind Dogs for Feel Good Friday this week! I hope you saw them at the ClanJamFry evening concert, they were outstanding.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

CelticFest Tennessee

I have received a report that CelticFest Tennessee is worth the drive to Jackson, TN. I haven't been to this event, because it coincides another annual event. I know that the headlining band is Needfire, from Dallas, TX. It's been awhile since I've seen them, but I understand one of my favorite pipers, Richard Kean, is playing with them now. This looks like a nice one-day event and the Cracker & I wish we could attend, but we have a previous commitment. If you want more information, check out the website:

Friday, October 3, 2008

We're joining the Feel Good Friday network

As we have done at LWC for some time, we devote Fridays to music videos we like. Here are the legenday Old Blind Dogs, who I hope you saw two weeks ago at ClanJamFry's evening concert. If not, well, here they are!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Kulá & Tröen Tore It Up!

Kulá & Tröen were blazing last night at the Levitt Shell! If you missed the concert, boy did you miss out!

It was a beautiful night, just cool enough to be comfortable and to keep the mosquitos away. We brought our chairs and sandwiches to enjoy before the music started. It was a nice crowd, if a little sparse. When we arrived a little after 6 pm, the crowd was mostly familes who must have come for the earlier "Makin' Music Muscles" workshop. People started filling in as it got closer to 7 pm. It was a mixture of people in chairs or on blankets. Many of the folks with school-age kids left when the band took a break about halfway through the evening, but quite a few stayed to the end.

This group of musicians continues to amaze us! It seems like each time we see them, they get better and even more amazing. The music was a mixture of traditional tunes and their original music, which was mostly composed by the members of Tröen. Tröen is a group of 5--2 from Kula and 3 of their proteges. In this case the students are definitely pushing the teachers. While the larger group is fantastic, the smaller group is truly pushing the boundaries.

My only regret of the evening was that WindDance was not performing as well. I hope that the Levitt Shell will have them perform next time. The venue would be excellent for a dance show.

Speaking of which, I noticed on the Shell's schedule that the Memphis Youth Symphony and the New Ballet Ensemble are presenting "Peter and the Wolf" on September 27th at 5 pm. When I was a kid, we had a recording of this composition that was narrated by Captain Kangaroo (olay, so I'm dating myself). I would highly recommend this for anyone with children. It's such a wonderful presentation!

Keep in mind that Clanjamfry is this weekend! Rose Creek Village is hosting Village Fest next weekend, featuring performances by Smithfield Fair, in addition to Kulá and Tröen.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Show You Shouldn't Miss!

Last weekend, the Cracker & I were at CelticFest Mississippi and heard Kulá and Tröen performing together. They filled the room for an 11 am set on a Saturday. Remember that most people don't get to the event until after noon. Regretably, our schedule did not allow us to see them at their second performance, which we heard was also packed.

Fortunately, we get two other chances over the next two weekends. They will be performing at the Levitt Shell on Sunday, Sept. 13th at 7 pm. It is also my understanding that they are offering a special children's workshop at 5 pm. These young men are superb musicians. I'm not sure if WindDance is joining them, but their Celtic freestyle dancing is very exciting to see.

The new Levitt Shell, formerly the Overton Park Shell, offers lawn seating, with limited bench seats for physically challenged patrons. You may bring blankets, lawn chairs, coolers (non-alcoholic beverages only), a picnic. There will be food and drink concessions available. For other policies, check their website

Both groups will be performing at Clanjamfry, on Saturday, Sept. 20th at Evergreen Presbyterian Church. Also performing during the Scottish Faire are the Border Collies and the Hooligans. Both groups are new to me, but come recommended highly. I'm excited about the whole day! The Scottish Faire also offers a 5K Run, bagpipes, Clans & societies, sheep herding demonstrations, bagpipes, a Heritage Tent, contests and games for young and old, and did I mention bagpipes! A full day of activities for just $5 adults, $4 seniors, $2 students/children 5-12/military ID & family, chuildren age 4 & under free. What a deal!

Even more excitement will be had at the Clanjamfry Evening Concert by Old Blind Dogs! The concert is in the church from 7 to 9 pm. Tickets are $20 and worth every penny! The Cracker and I saw them in Bethlehem last fall and they were awesome! Do not miss this opportunity to see these world class Scottish musicians.

On Sunday, if you're still able to move, there is a Kirkin' of the Tartans church service at 11 am, followed by Dinner on the Grounds, provided by the members of the church. We've never been able to make it on Sunday, after the full day Saturday and all the events of the previous three weekends.

Next post--Village Fest, featuring Kulá and Smithfield Fair.

Monday, August 25, 2008

An Event-Full September!

The schedule is up for CelticFest Mississippi! Go here to plan your listening pleasure for the weekend.

If you can't get away, here are a few other options:

Sunday, Sept. 14 at 7 pm, Kúla is playing at the newly renovated Levitt Shell in Overton Park. This is part of a month of free music being offered at the Shell. For more information about the Levitt Shell or their schedule of events, go to

Sept. 19-21 is Clanjamfry: A Scottish Festival.
Friday (19th) Ceilidh
Saturday (20th) 5K Run, Faire, and an Evening Concert featuring Old Blind Dogs!
Sunday (21) Kirkin' of the Tartans and Dinner on the Grounds

The Faire offers games, dancing, vendors with crafts and food, children's area, sheep herding demos, Scottish Clans, and music from Kúla, Hooligans and Border Collies. For schedule and more information, go to

The Evening Concert with Old Blind Dogs should be absolutely wonderful! I saw them last September in Bethlehem at the Celtic Classic with their new line-up. Excellent! As a friend of ours said in introducing them, "They're not old; they're not blind; and they're definitely not dogs. And their music is good too."

If you are a fan of Kúla and other world music, you might enjoy their VillageFest on Sept. 27. There's more information about this event at I can tell you that Smithfield Fair will be there to perform. Other performers include the talented folks of Rose Creek Village Arts. Selmer is just a couple hours from Memphis, and worth the drive.

As some of you may know, the last weekend of September is also the Celtic Classic in Bethlehem, PA. This one of the largest Celtic Festivals in the US, gathering crowds of over 260,000 people and it's FREE! Of course, it is a little far afield. An excellent line-up usually makes it a worthwhile trip. Check their website for more information:

For non-Celtic music, check out the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival this weekend in downtown Memphis.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Feel Like a Road Trip?

As I was tooling around the World Wide Web, I discovered the Western Kentucky Highland Festival is coming up in Murray, KY. Murray is just about 3 hours away from Memphis. I only know about the event from their website,, but their Saturday evening concert (9/13/08) is a performance from Isla St. Clair. Now her I know!

My introduction to Isla St. Clair was as a young child, when my grandfather ordered the National Geographic Society album, "Music of Scotland" (okay, I'm dating myself, because this was an LP). She sang 2 or 3 beautiful songs on the album and I loved it! This was my first introduction to Scottish traditional music. The album also included a couple songs from Jean Redpath, a couple pipe bands and some other performers whose names I can't remember. Many years later, I would remember this album, when another friend introduced me to The Chieftans.

Anyway, Isla St. Clair has a beautiful voice and would be completely worth the drive to Murray, KY. The only problem is the timing. CelticFest Mississippi is the weekend before and Memphis' own Clanjamfry is the following weekend. Too much going on in too short a time frame. If anyone make the trip, let me know how the concert was.

Note: I'm not sure the above album is available anywhere, except maybe a used record store.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

CelticFest Mississippi Site Updated

This morning, much to the glee of the Cracker, we discovered that the CelticFest Mississippi website has been updated to include information for the coming festival.


Jimmy Crowley
County Cork’s Jimmy Crowley, a singer/songwriter and bouzouki accompanist central to the Irish folk scene since the late 1970’s. "Jimmy Crowley is a musical icon in Irish tradition…. the lift and lilt of his voice is the listener's joy,” says Micheál Ó Súlleabháin of the Irish World Centre.

Randal Bays and Dáithí Sproule
The second featured headliner for 2008 are returning duo Randal Bays and Dáithí Sproule. Among the many Americans who play Irish fiddle, Randal Bays is one of the few to find serious acceptance and respect for his music in Ireland. His serene demeanor certainly belies the power in his playing. The other half of the duo, Dáithí (pronounced DAH-hee) is, without condition, one of Irish music’s greatest guitar accompanists. Dáithí’s playing is both sensitive and driving, with no small amount of virtuosity. His rendering of traditional songs from his native Northern Ireland round out the duo’s musical vocabulary.

Many of the usual suspects are playing there as well--Legacy, Smithfield Fair, SPOT/Albert, Spirits of the House, Michael Harrison, Jim Flanagan, etc. For a complete list, go to

Please note that I was mistaken about the Cabot Lodge rate--it's $85 per night (not $82 as previously reported).

We hope to see you all there at this lovely, laid-back event, that always manages to feel more like a family reunion.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

All your links are belong to us

Or, something like that. As a favor to the Lovely Lauren, I have updated and fixed all problematic links, and added some new ones; you will note that immediately below the ClanJamFry link are two of the bands playing there this year, but we'll have more about ClanJamFry later.

Enjoy your links!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

CelticFest Mississippi Is Coming Soon!

We just made our reservations for the CelticFest Mississippi 2008, held in Jackson, MS on September 5, 6, 7. This is one of our favorite festivals for several reasons:
  • Some of the best performers in the region.
  • Laid-back atmosphere.
  • Comfortable environment--stages are mostly inside with air conditioning and indoor plumbing!
  • Economically priced for a weekend of music (last year it was $12 for adults).
  • Plenty of food and craft vendors (sometimes I pick up Christmas gifts here).
  • Our friends have felt comfortable allowing their teens some freedom here, since it is an enclosed environment.
  • Ceilidh and song circle on Saturday night for anyone to participate.
  • Did I mention the really great music?!
After the dancers poop out at the ceilidh, everyone goes back to the host hotel for the sessions. This is part of the event that we missed out when we were going at first. We thought we were being smart and staying at a cheaper hotel. Well, it wasn't that much less money and we were missing the sessions that ran late into the night. When I say late into the night, I mean that when you get all these musicians together, they take advantage of the opportunity. We've witnessed some killer sessions that ran until the wee, wee hours of the morning.

The host hotel is the Cabot Lodge Millsaps . Be sure to say you're there for the Festival to get the special rate of $82 per night.

For more information, visit the Festival website at

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Whatcha doin for St. Pat's?

I have ideas!

Legacy is returning this coming Saturday to Celtic Crossing to play for us from 3Pm-8Pm as part of the Crossing's St. Patrick's Day Weekend.  it will be a great time; they recently played the North Texas irish Festival and wowed the crowd as usual.

The complete Crossing weekend is as follows:

Friday March 14
Kick Off Bash with Irish Bagpipers
DJ Aaron until close

Saturday March 15
3pm Legacy: Traditional Irish Band
Kings of the Delta at 9pm
DJ Aaron 11pm till close

Sunday March 16
Reel McCoys 11.30am
Irish Dancers 1pm
Bob & Susie Salley 3pm
West Tennessee Swappers 8pm

Monday March 17
Reel McCoys 1pm
Irish Dancers
Punching Nicholas 3pm
Bagpipes with Dave Corbett 6pm
Corn-fed Mafia 7pm
Rusty Lemon 10pm

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I hope you made it to see Legacy...

Justin Murphy plays flute while being joined by special guest piper Ray Tyler of Kula.

From left to right: Don Penzien, Valerie Plested, Justin Murphy

Their two-day gig at Celtic Crossing went well, even if these pix were so-so, I took them from my cell.  They played from their vast repertoire, and included selections from their recent collaboration with Jim Flanagan, An Irish Christmas (there were some non-holiday tunes on there as well).

There was a good crowd on hand for both Saturday night's show and Sunday's brunch show, which was out on the porch in a heated tent.  Their friend Scott Cole joined on a couple of songs both days,  and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

We will see them next at the North Texas Irish Festival in Dallas the weekend of February 29-March 2, for which the schedule has been posted; more about that in a later post.  Go to Legacy's website for links, bios and more info!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

MAMA presents Clive Carroll on February 16 at Otherlands

From the MAMA website brings this news:

8 p.m. Saturday, February 16, 2008
Otherlands Coffee Bar
641 S. Cooper
Tenth Anniversary of MAMA

Clive Carroll is not exactly a household name on this side of the Big Pond, but if you have any doubts about where you should be on February 16th, ask anyone who was fortunate enough to be in attendance at Carroll's first MAMA appearance a year ago, when this genial, unassuming Briton stepped onto the Otherlands stage with a guitar and stood the audience on its collective ear. With a repertoire ranging from traditonal Celtic tunes to John Dowland lute pieces, from Isaac Albeniz showpieces to original compositions, Clive Carroll marries astonishing technical virtuosity to innate intelligence, exquisite taste, superb training, and a wide-ranging, endlessly inventive musical imagination.

Simply put, if you have any interest in hearing the acoustic guitar played as well as you are ever likely to hear it played, do not hesitate. Don't pencil him in. We expect this show to sell out early. We also predict that, the next time Mr. Carroll comes to town, he will be appearing at a much larger venue, and you will have to pay a lot more money to hear him.

No excuses will avail, then. Getting married on the 16th? Bring the bride. Bring the groom. Bring the clergy. Exchange vows during the intermission, and you can tell your children that Clive Carroll played at your wedding. Have surgery scheduled on the 16th? Bring the surgeon. Bring the anaesthetist. An anteroom at Otherlands will be specially sterilized for your convenience. The music of Clive Carroll will no doubt promote your postsurgical healing.

The author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland wrote under a pseudonym, so Clive is most likely not a blood relative of Lewis Carroll, but he is undoubtedly his spiritual heir: What the latter-day Mr. Carroll does with a mere six strings and ten fingers is sheer Jabberwocky. It can't be defined, only appreciated. Do not miss this opportunity to appreciate the amazing artistry of Clive Carroll.

Tickets are $15, available at Otherlands and Davis-Kidd.

A SUPER musical weekend in Memphis

Crossposted from LWC..

As if it were not enough that Papa Top's West Coast Turnaround is having their CD Release party at the Hi-Tone on February 8 (10 PM, $10 cover WITH new CD included), I have more great news:

Legacy brings their outstanding brand of traditional Irish Music to Celtic Crossing at 6:30 PM on Saturday, February 9 and then they come back to play Brunch at the Crossing on Sunday, February 10 at 12:30 PM. You may remember them from their great sets at ClanJamFry last September; they are perennial performers at events like the North Texas Irish Festival, the Northeast Louisiana Celtic Festival, and their own CelticFestMississippi.

Come on out to the Crossing on Saturday night, Sunday afternoon, or BOTH to see these terrific musicians, and you will be rewarded with great tunes and maybe a ballad or two. I'll be there, I hope you will as well!