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 DanĂº, 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!