Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Seasons Greetings!

A favorite song for this time of year! Fairytale of New York by the Pogues!

Something more traditional to come.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Little Christmas Humor

Happened upon this in my search for Scottish or Irish music to post for Christmas.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dead Irish Blues at Huey's Midtown this Sunday from 4-7

Just got this in the email from Greg Faiers of Dead Irish Blues!

Hey -- Greg Faiers of Dead Irish Blues ( here. Marty and I playing this Sunday at Huey's Midtown 4-7 pm. As usual, when we're in Memphis, Jimmy Crosthwait will join us. We usually perform a mix of Blues/Jugband, Celtic, Hillbilly, and original tunes when we're at "non-Irish" venues, as will be the case Sunday. If the crowd is into the Celtic material, we play more of it!
Below are a couple of links to video clips of the entire band playing up here in PA.
Roddy McCorley

Brian Boru's March / Ray's Favorite
Kelly the Boy From Killarne
Thanks...and Happy Holidays!
Greg Faiers

Friday, December 4, 2009

Let us remember the great Liam Clancy

It's not a feel-good Friday after hearing the news of the passing of the legendary Liam Clancy, aged 74. Thanks to Mairtin de Cogain for the tip.

Along with his brothers and singer Tommy Makem, he helped revive traditional Irish music worldwide during the 1960s, making it possible for us to enjoy this music today. He will be deeply missed; please remember his family, including his brilliant musician son Donal in your thoughts.

Here they are playing Old Orange Flute.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

For those of us who have been waiting, a reward!

Maggie Drennon is BACK! She has a new CD out, called Just Now, which was recently completed in her old stomping grounds of Houston. For more information, go here! I am ordering one today, and will let you know when we get it.

She had taken some time off, and I hadn't heard her sing for a long time. Then, at the 2009 North Texas Irish Festival, she did some sets with her husband, Matthew Williams, backing her. it was as if she had never left, sounding brilliant as always.

This is her first CD in several years, and I can't wait to hear it!

Welcome back, Maggie!!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Feel Good Friday--Celtic Style

First let me say, this isn't an Irish or Scottish song, it's actually Stephen Foster, but it has been sung my many Celtic artists. This particular version is by our friend Beth Patterson of New Orleans.

We first met Beth at CelticFest Mississippi, when she was pulling double duty, playing with both Legacy and the Poor Clares. Beth is a talented songwriter, bouzouki player and has a wicked, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Performing solo or with her group Kalafka, you can expect a variety of musical influences, from the Celtic to the Middle East with some Cajun spice thrown in for good measure.

Don't forget to go see Jimmy Crowley at the Celtic Crossing on Saturday, Nov. 21!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Legendary Jimmy Crowley Live!

Jimmy Crowley, half of Captain Mackey's Goatskin & String Band, will be making an appearance at the Celtic Crossing on Saturday, November 21st from 7 to 10 pm. Jimmy is a lovely man with wonderful stories to tell and great songs to sing! Y'all come out and enjoy him!

Here's a little video of Jimmy with his most recent partner in crime, Mairtin de Cogain, singing "I Know My Love". Unfortunately, Mairtin won't be with Jimmy on this trip to the Bluff City.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Parting Glass

I just saw this on Facebook a little while ago.

"The Celtic Community of North Texas has lost a giant of a man. Last night, our dear friend Curt Marcus suffered a fatal heart attack. He was a beautiful man, devoted to Irish music, his family and the celtic community. He has touched so many lives."

Steve & I had the pleasure of a conversation with Curt on the shuttle bus at NTIF last March. He is a man we've seen there and at CelticFest Mississippi for many years now, but really hadn't talked with until this year. It will be odd being at both festivals and not seeing him there.

Here's a song for Curt.


Friday, October 9, 2009

A Brush Dance for Feel Good Friday

THIS is why we hate that we missed CelticFest Mississippi this year. Here, sent to us from our friend Valerie Plested (the talented fiddler of Legacy and one of the people who put this together every year), is a brush dance with Mairtin de Cogain leading the ceili dancers, joined by his brother Eamonn. Enjoy!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Legacy for FGF!

Crossposted from LWC:

Here are our friends from Jackson (and Orlando), Legacy, who are performing tomorrow at ClanJamFry, the Memphis Scottish Festival, which is taking place at Evergreen Presbyterian Church from 10 AM-5 PM tomorrow. Joining them will be Memphis' own Sallymacs.

For more on this Celtic weekend in Memphis, see the post below; now sit back and enjoy Legacy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


This weekend is Clanjamfry: A Scottish Festival!

Friday evening is the Ceilidh (or dance)(open to the public).
Saturday will be the Scottish Faire with dancing, crafts, workshops, clans, Border Collie demos, children's activities, and great music. (Unsure of the admission)
Saturday evening is a Concert in the Kirk by the fabulous Brian McNeill! ($20 ticket)
Sunday morning there's a Kirkin' o' the Tartans church service, followed by Dinner on the Grounds.

The Cracker & I will be managing the stage, which offers dance and music this year. I'm afraid I don't know much about the dancing, but I know lots about the music from Legacy and the Sallymacs.

Legacy, a tight, powerhouse trio from Jackson, MS (& Orlando, FL) features Valerie Plested on fiddle, Justin Murphy on flute, guitar & bodhran, and Don Penzien holding it all together with the guitar and bodhran (and vocals from all three). Legacy is in the top flight of regional bands performing music from the Irish tradition; their loyal following is both well-earned and deserved. Their skill is undeniable, their arrangements are complex and challenging, and their performances are tight and energetic. And they are really great people too. This is their second appearance at Clanjamfry.

The Sallymacs combine a traditional celtic style with a contemporary rock sound. The Sallymacs have created a high energy Irish-Rock show that will have everyone raising their drinks high in the air while they dance, shout, and sing along. The Sallymacs are Mark Harriman, Mark Yoshida, Todd Nichoalds & Brady Howle. This weekend marks the Sallymacs 10 Year Anniversary Weekend and their third Clanjamfry appearance.

The Evening Concert features the legendary Brian McNeill. I cannot say enough wonderful things about this man. He is truly a legend. He is a founding member of the Battlefield Band. A multi-instrumentalist, Brian plays fiddle, octave fiddle, guitar, mandocello, bouzouki,viola, mandolin, cittern, concertina, bass and hurdy gurdy. He has been described as "Scotland’s most meaningful contemporary songwriter"; add to that his work and influence as performer, composer, producer, teacher, musical director, band leader, novelist and interpreter of Scotland’s past, present and future and you have a man who has never stood still. One of my favorite festival memories was 3 hours with Brian and Ed Miller in a colonial period icehouse that was restored and made into a wonderful listening room. This concert with be worth every penny of the $20 ticket.

In addition to the Clanjamfry events, there are quite a few other things going on, Celtic-wise.

9/25 (Fri) Sallymacs at the Blue Monkey, 2012 Madison Ave.
Show starts at 10 pm. Cover ?

9/26 (Sat) Legacy at Celtic Crossing, 903 S. Cooper St.
Show starts at 6 pm. No cover

9/27 (Sun) Legacy at Celtic Crossing's Irish Brunch, 903 S. Cooper St.
Brunch 11:30 to 2 pm. No cover

9/27 (Sun) The Prodigals at Levitt Shell, Overton Park.
Show starts at 7 pm. No cover. (see here for their policies)

The Cracker & I will try to make as many of these events as possible, but not even we can bi-locate. Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Feel Good Friday Goes to the Dogs!

A huge crowd-pleaser at the Highland Games is always the Border Collie Demonstrations. These dogs are so smart that it is a thrill to watch them work!


Note that these are working dogs and must be kept busy. A bored Border Collie is a destructive Border Collie. The herding instinct is very strong and they will attempt to herd anything that moves, like small children. Beautiful, intelligent dogs that too often end up in shelters. Don't take one on, unless you are equipped to deal with them properly.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

September is Celtic-ful!

CelticFest Mississippi is one of our favorite festivals to attend. It always feels more like a gathering of friends than a music festival. So many events that we attend separate the performers from the festivalgoers, but not this one. This festival is a chance for performers to see old friends and to enjoy hearing other people perform, or in some cases, to play together. Then after the main event, we all go back to the host hotel and enjoy the seisuins. If we lived in Jackson, the Cracker and I would definitely want to be a part of the volunteer team that runs this event. In fact, this event was part of the reason that the Cracker got interested in Celtic music, well with a little influence from yours truly. UPDATE: Their schedule is now up, and you can find it here!

As things are, we do not volunteer at this festival, but not because we don't support it. Mostly because we need a break between events. One of our busiest weekends of the year is the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival on Labor Day weekend. An event that, sadly, will very rarely feature any Celtic music. We've been trying for years, but with only modest success. If you enjoy a wide variety of music, that doesn't include Celtic this year, do check out the MMHF presented by the Center for Southern Folklore.

The last weekend of September is filled with Celtic music! Again, the Cracker and I will be working at Clanjamfry, the Scottish Festival presented by Evergreen Presbyterian Church. In addition to playing at the festival, Legacy, from Jackson, MS, will be performing at the Celtic Crossing and the Levitt Shell will present The Prodigals, a Celtic rock band from the East Coast.

So, to recap. Check out other types of music at the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival (blues, soul, gospel, jazz, country, reggae, klezmer & more). Make the drive to Jackson, MS for CelticFest Mississippi for a great weekend of Celtic music. Visit Cooper-Young Festival and patronize our artist friends. Then come to Clanjamfry to see Legacy and the Sallymacs; the evening concert presents the great Brian McNeill (or have a pint and see Legacy at the Celtic Crossing). Join us for brunch and traditional Irish music with Legacy at the Crossing again on Sunday morning (or go to Evergreen's Kirkin' o' the Tartans, followed by Dinner on the Grounds). Then bring a picnic, blanket and non-alcoholic beverage to the Levitt Shell for some kickin' Celtic rock with The Prodigals. I'm tired just thinking about next month.

Friday, August 21, 2009

CelticFest Mississippi Is Coming!

This week's installment of Feel Good Friday brings us one week closer to CelticFest MS. As I look forward to make the short trek to the Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum, I want to share this snippet from Tim Britton, Uillean piper extraordinaire.

Tim is one of the headliners for this year's event and a perenial favorite. For more information about the event, see the festival website. If you are attending the event, make sure to come to the host hotel, Cabot Lodge Millsaps, for the seisuins that last until the wee hours (sometimes they run into the staff putting out the breakfast bar).

See you there!

Friday, August 14, 2009

CelticFest Mississippi! Coming Soon!

With the coming of September, we enter the busy season for the Cracker and I. After we work the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival (which, alas, has every kind of music, but Celtic), we head to Jackson, MS for a great weekend of music and craic at CelticFest Mississippi. Headlining this year is the group Trian, Captain Mackey's Goatskin and String Band, Tim Britton and Brendan Nolan. In addition, there are great regional performers, dance groups and music & cultural workshops.

For Feel Good Friday, I chose this video of Máirtín de Cógáin and Jimmy Crowley singing "I Know My Love". As Captain Mackey's Goatskin and String Band, joined by Don Penzien and Valerie Plested of Legacy, they emphasize the songs about soldiers and soldiering.


CelticFest Mississippi is completely run by a group of dedicated volunteers. Among those volunteers are Don Penzien and Valerie Plested two-thirds of the group Legacy. Here is Legacy performing at a house concert.


If you are in the area, join us for this great weekend!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Feel Good Friday

This week's selection finds us with Gerry O'Beirne. I've had the pleasure of seeing Gerry at festivals and at a MAMA concert. He is a fabulous musician and even more fabulous songwriter. He played with EJ Jones and Rosie Shipley in The Willow Band, with Patrick Street and in smaller groups as well. He also produced CDs for the Poor Clares and Clandestine. If you want to learn more about Gerry, visit his website.

This is Gerry at a house concert, performing his beautiful song, "Holy Ground".

Friday, July 10, 2009


My pick for Feel Good Friday is this selection from Teribus, a pipe and drum ensemble that is quite unlike the usual marching pipe and drum groups. Teribus, from what I understand, is rather fluid in its make-up, but in this instance is E.J. Jones, Richard Kean, and Kevin Hartnell on drums. E.J. and Richard are two of the best pipers I've heard. Both have played with the traditional pipe and drum bands and have won numerous prizes at those competitions. E.J. has played with numerous bands over the years, including Clandestine, The Rogues, Jiggernaut and The Willow Band. I've seen Richard with Jiggernaut and Poor Man's Fortune, but also know that he has played with Needfire and a medieval band whose name escapes me. Kevin Hartnell is with The Rogues. There's a whole backstory about bands named Clandestine intertwined with The Rogues, but you'll have to research it on your own.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dead Irish Blues in Memphis

I just found out that the Dead Irish Blues have 2 shows in Memphis this week and are making the circuit with shows at Fenian's in Jackson, MS and Enoch's in Monroe, LA. I have not heard them personally, but Memphis music legend and puppeteer Jimmy Crosthwait is performing with them during their Memphis run. Check out their website for more information. Looks like a fun show, especially with Jimmy adding his two cents and washboard.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Feel Good Friday!

Let's Rock!

After reviewing some videos of a SixMileBridge concert that was to become their live album, I find that they were all a little too long for this forum. I still highly recommend checking out that footage.

I settled on this clip of Jiggernaut that was a quasi-reunion at NTIF this past March. It features Wolf Loescher signing his song "Amazing Grace (Again)". Anyone who has ever been to a Highland Games or a Pipe Band Competition will appreciate this song.

Jiggernaut was founded as a sort of Celtic rock supergroup. Killer vocals by Deanna Smith-Scotland, great musicians, originals and traditional songs with a rock sensibility. Jiggernaut is one group that the Cracker & I don't miss while at NTIF!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Feel Good Friday?

Okay, so emotions are not so happy right now, with all the uproar about Farrah and Michael, both of which have little to do with Celtic music and culture. Anyway, I'm taking advantage of the melancholy mood to share an old favorite. Here is the Tommy Sands singing his song "There Were Roses".

Actually, my favorite is Robbie O'Connell singing, but it wasn't available.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Tonight, Celtic Crossing will celebrate the life of the legendary Irish writer James Joyce. Here's more from organizer Vi West:

BLOOMSDAY June 16th Tuesday 5pm----

Bloomsday is celebrated worldwide to commemorate renowned author James Joyce's epic novel "Ulysses". Celtic Crossing is bringing a taste of Dublin culture to Memphis with our very own "Bloomsday" celebration.

We will have special menu items featured from the novel and dramatic readings by the "Memphis Bloomsday Players" Troupe from THEATRE MEMPHIS.... come out and support your local actors and experience a taste of Joycean timelessness!

Congratulations Peggy!!!!

We just received this wonderful news from our friend Peggy Loyd in Little Rock, way to go!

Little Rock Singer-Songwriter

Wins Silver & Bronze Medals at 2009 Midwest Fleadh Cheoil

Little Rock, AR (June 16, 2009) Little Rock singer-songwriter, Peg Roach Loyd received a silver medal for Bodhran and a bronze medal for Newly Composed Songs in English at the Midwest Fleadh Cheoil held in Detroit in May. With the silver medal, Loyd qualifies to compete in the All-Ireland, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2009, in Tullamore, County Offaly, Ireland in August. That competition draws qualifying musicians from throughout all of Ireland and around the world.

Loyd won the silver medal for her skill at playing the bodhran, a Celtic frame drum played with a stick called a “tipper.” Loyd played rhythms for a jig, reel, polka and hornpipe to traditional Irish tunes played on the flute by Mary Walsh of St. Louis, Mo. Both Loyd and Walsh are members of the St. Louis Irish Arts, a not-for-profit cultural organization that teaches Irish dance and music. St. Louis Irish Arts will perform at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View on June 19 and 20 where Loyd will be a featured guest of the group performing at the 2 pm matinee show on Saturday, June 20.

“I am very grateful to Helen Gannon of the St. Louis Irish Arts for providing me with the opportunity to sing with her group performing at the Ozark Folk Center,” Loyd said. “St. Louis Irish Arts is the only school of traditional Irish music located near Arkansas. They are a very talented group of young students and I am honored to perform with them.”

Loyd also won a bronze medal for her song, The Forgotten Ten, which tells the story of Patrick Doyle, one of ten men hung by the British in 1921 during the Irish Rebellion. Loyd heard about Patrick from his grand-daughter, Andrea Van Leirup, who now resides in Little Rock.

“The lyrics paint the picture well,” said Paddy Homan, the adjudicator for the songwriting competition, who complimented Loyd on her song. “Well sung. I felt the power. Very well done,” said Homan.

This was Loyd’s second time to compete in the Midwest Fleadh. She won a gold medal last year for Newly Composed Songs in English for her song, The Fiddler’s Feet and a bronze medal for Singing Traditional Songs in English.

The Midwest Fleadh Ceoil is one of two traditional Irish music competitions held in the North America. The Midwest Fleadh attracts musicians from across the U.S. and Canada. Over 200 musicians competed in over 100 contest categories based on age range and gender.

Loyd plans to compete at the All-Ireland in August even though the contest there is much more competitive. “I am very excited and grateful to have the opportunity to represent Arkansas and the United States at the All-Ireland in August. I enjoyed the competition at last year’s All-Ireland and while I did not bring home any trophies or medals, I heard everyone in the room tapping their foot to my song, and that was a moral victory.”

In Spring 2008, Loyd released her debut solo CD, Carving in Stone. The CD includes three traditional Irish songs and nine original songs of Irish themes and stories written in traditional Irish and American folk styles. Both award-winning songs, The Fiddler’s Feet, and The Forgotten Ten are on the CD. Proceeds from the sale of the CDs benefit three not-for-profit organizations: Heifer International’s Ending Hunger program and music scholarships for the Augusta Heritage Center’s Irish Week and the St. Louis Tionol, two music schools Loyd has attended over the years.

The selection of Heifer International stems from Loyd’s ancestral background. “My great grand-parents emigrated from Ireland during the Great Potato Famine, from 1848 to 1860,” said Loyd. “When I read about how Heifer got started and what they try to do to provide a longer-lasting solution to the hunger problem around the world, not just providing food, but real, practical and economical solutions for families in need, I knew immediately Heifer was a good fit.”

“The other organizations I support are music scholarship programs at two Irish music educational festivals – the Augusta Heritage Center’s Irish Music Week in Elkins, West Virginia, and the St. Louis Tionol. I have benefitted from the music education workshops offered at these two festivals for many years and wish to donate a portion of the proceeds from my CD to help young students who may not otherwise be able to afford to attend.”

Before striking out on her own as a solo artist, Loyd was the former lead singer of the Little Rock-based Irish folk band, Cairde, which performed for eight years throughout Central Arkansas and at regional festivals including the North Texas Irish Festival in Dallas, CelticFest in Jackson, Ms., and Clanjamfry in Memphis.

In addition to the appearance with the St. Louis Irish Arts in Mountain View on June 20th, Loyd will be performing on Friday evening, June 19th, from 5 to 7 pm at the Baker House Bed and Breakfast as part of the Argenta Art Night gallery walk and will play bodhran with the Arkansas Country Dance Society’s Contra Dance Band from 7:30 to 9:30 pm at Park Hill Presbyterian Church in North Little Rock.

Sample audio tracks from Loyd’s CD, Carving in Stone, are available on her website, Her CD is available for purchase locally at the Historic Arkansas Museum in downtown Little Rock and online through, and iTunes. Loyd is a featured performer on theArkansas Arts Council’s Arts on Tour Roster.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

No power? Who cares? The Fuchsia Band went acoustic!

Mairtin De Cogain & company prepare to play acoustic.

My co-blogger and partner, the Lovely Lauren

More preparation!

Getting started; they tried to run a cord and a mic, but it kept screeching.

They sounded marvelous, especially early as the crowd had not yet filled the patio.

Mairtin sings Dick Darby.

All in all, a lovely night, considering the west side of Cooper was out of power (the Crossing used generators) but the east side was up and running (the couple next to us, dismayed by the necessarily light menu of two sandwiches, a salad, a wrap and bruschetta, got beer but got take-out from Tsunami across the street).

Once the late-night crowd arrived, it became more difficult to hear but they soldiered through. Mairtin advised the crowd to check their website as a new album was going to be released next week. All in all, an awesome night despite all the obstacles!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bryan Bowers at Cafe Eclectic Friday, June 12, presented by MAMA

MAMA presents Bryan Bowers at Cafe Eclectic this Friday night at 8 PM, for more information, go to the MAMA website.

He is a virtuoso of the autoharp; here's a part of MAMA's notes:

Credited with resurrecting and redefining the autoharp and widely regarded as its leading virtuoso, Bryan Bowers has enchanted audiences for over thirty years. He grew up hearing and singing the songs of the field hands and railroad workers in rural Virginia, and those songs took deep root. They found an outlet when he picked up first the guitar and then the autoharp while in college. The Dillards introduced him to the bluegrass community, and the rest is history.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Fuchsia Band returns to Celtic Crossing THIS Saturday night!

The lads from Cork via Kansas City are playing this Saturday night at Celtic Crossing, Beginning at 8:30 P.M. Call the Crossing at 901-274-5151 for more information!

I'll be there, we hope to see you as well...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fiddlin', No Foolin'

Brian McNeill.

What else can I say? The man is a legend! Founding member of the Battlefield Band, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer. He can be as traditional as they come, then turn around and rock the place down! In a festival setting, Brian may start off playing solo, but soon the stage is buckling from the musicians joining him. Some of my favorite moments at festivals involve Brian McNeill.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Feel Good Friday - Celtic Style

This week, I'm going back a bit, to Cathie Ryan with Cherish the Ladies. The Cracker and I have had the immense pleasure of hearing Cathie live at festivals and concerts. She is truly a wonderful singer and makes you feel like you're in an intimate environment, even when it's a huge hall. My favorite venue to see her in was at the Celtic Classic, in the Icehouse. Man, what awesome acoustics! Plus she had the full band with her.

Unfortunately, I only heard about the set the evening before. It was Seamus Kennedy's set, but he was joined by Ed Miller, Cathie Ryan, some former Clandestine members (this was right after they took a break) and a few others for a great big sing-a-long. I cannot remember what group I was listening to, but I'm sure it was equally great.

Anyway, here's Cathie Ryan:

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ed Miller and Other Ramblings

What can I say about Ed Miller? I saw Ed for the first time at CelticFest Mississippi in 1995 and I've been hooked ever since. His gentle ballads, spirited songs and "gentle" encouragement to sing along make him a favorite of mine and audiences all over Texas and the rest of the country, too.

My favorite memory of Ed Miller was a magical evening that the Cracker & I had in 2002 at the Celtic Classic in Bethlehem. We had the extreme pleasure of enjoying a three hour set with Ed Miller and Brian McNeill. They played together, separately and together again and the end came too soon.

This was made even more amazing by the venue, The Icehouse. It, literally, a 17th century icehouse that has been preserved and renovated to be a fantastic performance space. The acoustics are beyond excellent and it is truly a listening room. I've seen several exceptional performance in this venue, including Danú, Cathie Ryan, Clandestine, Old Blind Dogs, and the aforementioned amazing set with Ed Miller and Brian McNeill.

I love seeing Ed at festivals! I always try to see him more than once and am rewarded with different songs at each set. He has such an vast repertoire that he can easily play 4 or 5 sets at a festival and not repeat anything. Of course, you always risk missing a favorite song by missing a set. With his background in folklore, you always get more than just a song; you get the history and culture behind it.

As much as I enjoy Ed playing alone, he always has great people joining him on stage, by design or by chance. At NTIF this year, he had Scooter Muse and Jill Chambliss with him, which was a nice combination. I always love seeing him with Rich Brotherton and John Taylor or Brian McNeill. I remember NTIF one year where they had so many performers stopping by to join in, that they ran out of mikes and were sharing.

So right now, I'm listening to one of my favorites of Ed's--Prince of Darkness. Written by Brian McNeill, this song is about mining in Scotland, inspired by Brian's visit to the mining museum and a conversation overheard between the guide and some visitors who asked about his clan, to which the guide replied, "The union is clan enough for me." As Ed has often said, "You give a songwriter like Brian a line like that and you're going to get a song."

Ed isn't playing in Memphis until next January's Burn Night, but he has many CDs available for purchase through his website. Also I've heard great stories about his Folksong Tours of Scotland. I would love to take his tour someday. Check out Ed's website.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tufer FGF!

Since I've been so lax, here is a bonus selection.

The Cracker & I saw Loescher & Kenneth at the North Texas Irish Festival in March. Always great energy and something unexpected with those two! And special guest Gordon MacLeod!

Feel Good Friday Returns!

Sorry for the long absence. Life got in the way a bit. Here are the Poozies!

Monday, March 9, 2009

As promised, a blowout at Celtic Crossing from Saturday through Tuesday for St. Patrick's Day!

Click on the picture for the full effect.

Saturday evening and Sunday Brunch, our friends Valerie Plested and Don Penzien of Legacy will join Mairtin de Cogain and Jimmy Crowley for great traditional Irish music. Local faves the Sallymacs play Monday night at 8, and headline on St. Pat's at 9 PM Tuesday.

Come to the Crossing for a weekend-long party!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

It's over, and it's been wonderful.

There will be pictures up when we get home, but we are back at the hotel after a terrific North Texas Irish Festival, and we have some good news. Coming up Saturday night anfd Sunday for brunch, Legacy, along with Jimmy Crowley and Mairtin de Cogain, will be appearing at Celtic Crossing; more on that when we get back.

Highlights of the weekend included great sets by Clandestine, Ed Miller (who had Jil Chambliss and Scooter Muse of Henri's Notions playing alongside him), Slide, and the return of our friend Maggie Drennon, who has been battling illness for the last few years. Her voice was impeccable, like she'd never been away.

Last night's sessions were split up; there were three Irish sessions, and one Texas-flavored singer-songwriter circle that was awesome. While Lauren stayed with the straight sessions, I went to the Texas session, led by the Trinity River Whalers and Betsy Cummings of Beyond The Pale. Put it this way: it's the first session I've been to here where I could sing along, like on the rendition of Billy Joe Shaver's "Georgia on a Fast Train". It was different, and a lot of fun.

All right, enough for now, back to Memphis tomorrow!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Feel Good Friday!

Please enjoy this selection by Smithfield Fair from the Scottish Festival in Arlington, TX. "Long Ships" is always a crowd pleaser and encourages participation.

The Cracker & I are on the road to the North Texas Irish Festival today. We have a full weekend of good music, good food, good friends, good craic! Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Music at Celtic Crossing!

I just found out that the Celtic Crossing has a special show tomorrow night (March 3rd). There will be a seisuin first, then at 8 pm a show with Danny Burns and Laurence Nugent. For more information, see the Celtic Crossing's Event Schedule.

Now I haven't seen Danny Burns, but the Cracker & I saw Laurence Nugent with Aoife Clancy on a couple of occasions and were mightily impressed. If you want to check them out, try their myspace page.

Maybe we'll see you there!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Feel Good Friday

With all the talk about Eileen Ivers playing in area this spring, I am reminded of the first time I saw her play. We were at CelticFest Mississippi in 1995 and one of the headliners that year was Mick Moloney with Eileen Ivers & Seamus Egan. This was the first year that we went to CelticFest, and the Cracker wasn't even sure he would like Celtic music. (He's come a long way!)

This clip is Eileen Ivers & Seamus Egan with John Doyle, who will be playing at NTIF next weekend, and it is from shortly before that first (for us) CelticFest.

(I know it's long and there's a woman talking at the beginning, but be patient and you'll see why these folks are at the forefront of Celtic music today.)

Upcoming Events

My friends at MAMA have asked me to put this up for everyone. Unfortunately, I'll be at NTIF for this concert, but encourage all you Celtophiles to check it out.

Sara Grey and Kieron Means
8 p.m. Saturday, March 7, 2009
Otherlands Coffee Bar
641 S. Cooper
Tickets are $12, available at Otherlands and Davis-Kidd Booksellers
More information is available at the MAMA website

In addition, another friend has sent me this list of Celtic event coming up this spring:

March 14
Feile Franklin
Irish dance and music performances on Main Street. Two stages of continuous dance and music

March 21
Celtic Soul
Eileen Ivers
with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra
For tickets and information, check here.

April 4
Celtic Celebration
Memorial Auditorium, Chattanooga
Eileen Ivers is playing
Chattanooga Symphony & Orchestra 423-267-8583

May 16-17
Gatlinburg Scottish Festival and Games
Concerts, highland athletics, bagpipe competitions, dancing & demonstrations

Friday, February 13, 2009

Feel Good Friday!

This week's selection is Ashley MacIsaac from Cape Breton--brilliant fiddler, but controversial in life. This is a traditional fiddle tune, but with his own twist.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


In one month, the Cracker and I will be heading to the North Texas Irish Festival in Dallas. This is the 2nd largest Irish Festival in the US. We've been going to the festival, one or the other of us for 11 years and is it worth the trip! In addition to the music at the festival, which is held at Fair Park, the host hotel is the scene of some great seisuins! Every meeting room, bar, hallway, nook and cranny will have a group of folks making music! (A group of our friends in particular tend to favor a back hallway.)

The festival itself is nothing to sneeze at. They offer 11 headlining acts and 28 featured acts, filling Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday with Irish music (well, actually they throw in a little Scottish and even Breton, or French Celtic). For you dance aficionados, there are several dance schools in attendance and the local feis coincides with the festival. They have a stage just for the little ones and lots of vendors selling their wares (I've been known to start my holiday shopping here).

Performers include the following:
Liz Carroll & John Doyle
Mairtin de Cogain
Jimmy Crowley
Seven Nations (ROCK ON!)
Ed Miller (the "Token Scot")
"Scottish" Rogues (kick-ass drumming & piping!)
Poor Man's Fortune & Bourree Texane (the Brittany connection)
Jim Flanagan
the triumphant return of Memphis favorite--Clandestine!
and many more!

Here's a video that gives some of the flavor:

We'll be stopping for the requisite Whataburger on the way down, and eating at one of our very favorite restaurants--Cafe Brazil--probably several times while in Dallas. It's a great event, not a bad drive, and awesome music! Join us!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Old Forest Jamboree at the Hi-Tone on February 18!

While it may not be all that Celtic, this is to benefit a good cause. Naomi Van Tol sends us this:

Hellooo, all you Old Forest lovers!

If you need a break from the winter doldrums, please join CPOP for a foot-stompin' benefit concert to mark the first anniversary of the Teton Clearcut. We figure the best way to pay tribute to four acres of lost old-growth forest is by celebrating the 150 beautiful acres that survive.

The first annual Old Forest Jamboree will begin at 7:00pm, Wednesday, February 18 at the fabulous Hi-Tone Cafe, 1913 Poplar Ave. The cover charge is $10 and all proceeds will support the work of Citizens to Preserve Overton Park.

Here's our awesome lineup -- visit their websites to hear music samples!

* Jimmy Davis -
* Giant Bear -
* Bluff City Backsliders -
* Hoots & Hellmouth -

We are thrilled and grateful that so many talented musicians are willing to give their time and support to the Old Forest. Y'all come dance with us, and don't forget to invite your friends and neighbors!

Thanks for your support,


P.S. Don't forget that we offer free public nature hikes in the Old Forest of Overton Park on the second Saturday and last Sunday of every month. Hikes meet at 10am at the east end of Old Forest Lane, next to the Rainbow Lake parking lot. Everyone is welcome!

Friday, January 23, 2009

FGF - Celtic Style

I saw this band at the Folk Alliance last Feb. and enjoyed the little that I got to see. Here are The Strangelings.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Road Trip!

Each year as the New Year begins, the Cracker and I begin planning our assault on the North Texas Irish Festival. Their website has the list of performers up. This festival always provides a great weekend of entertainment. We head down on Friday, stopping in Texarkana to get the Cracker his Whataburger fix. On Friday, we'll either head down to Fair Park for the evening's music or hang out at the hotel to listen to the seisuins.

Seisuins (or sessions), for those who don't know, are where musicians gather together for the joy of playing. Sometimes the most amazing music comes out of seisuins; sometimes new bands are formed at seisuins. I have this great memory of Eileen Ivers playing at a seisuin in Dallas with a family of youngsters. At NTIF, you just wander the ground floor of the host hotel and you're likely to find seisuins in empty meeting rooms, hallways, nooks and crannies, anywhere there is a space big enough for a couple musicians.

Then there's the actual festival! We go at the beginning and stay until the end, or close to the end. We may do a little shopping with the vendors and the CD booth, but it's mostly about hearing as much music as we possibly can. Oh, visiting all the doggies with the different rescue groups--Irish Wolfhounds, Greyhounds, and little dogs too.

Here's a video that gives a flavor of NTIF from 2007

This one shows more of the dancing, but we usually don't see a whole lot of that:

NTIF is a time when we get to see friends that we only see once or maybe twice a year. I have been going to NTIF since 1999, without missing a year. The Cracker didn't travel with me for only 3 of those years. Anyway, we highly recommend this event.

In addition to the music, the seisuins and the old friends, we also get to eat at one of our favorite eateries, Cafe Brazil. Yummy!

We'll see you in Dallas, March 6-8!