New Orleans – with a touch of Mullen

We (my wife, Dorothy, our cat, Kruimeltje and I) arrived in New Orleans. It was hot and sticky that day, it looked and felt just like I imagined it would (on the way there we’d also visited New Iberia where Tabasco sauce is made and the movie Electric Mist was filmed… so we were well in Louisianna mode). Driving to our RV resort on Lake Pontchartrain we passed over long bridge-roads built over swamplands, then through old neighborhoods and past graveyards. All burials are above ground, so many large creepy vaults, drooping trees and statues provide the ideal location for a voodoo ghost story… or a voodoo doughnut come to think of that!… I haven’t had one of them since Dorothy snagged a couple from the shop along the road the last time I played in Kells Irish pub in Portland, Oregon.

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Michelle, my tour manager, had lined up four gigs for me that week. The Friday and Saturday playing at the Irish House, the Monday playing music for the Irish house Whisky tasting (it’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it!) and the following Thursday at the Old Point Bar across the Mississippi in Algiers.

We went along to the Irish House on the Thursday to check it out – the temperature had plummeted and cozy jackets, scarves and hats had to be dug out of the RV wardrobes. The Irish House is on St Charles Avenue which is one of the main streets leading into the French Quarter. There’s also a handy tram which goes past it right to (and from) the French Quarter. It is more of a restaurant with a pub bit – the food was fantastic – the owner, Chef Matt Murphy has won several awards and has made this place an Irish “Gastropub”. The stage was all set in the middle of the side wall with a small Yamaha PA system… (hmmm… thanks, but no, I’ll bring my own). For the rest it looked like a grand place to play, so we finished our drinks (the guinness was excellent) and leaving our truck parked outside, we hopped on a tram to the French quarter to sample the delights of a cold New Orleans afternoon. When we returned hours later, the Irish house had a guy playing mandolin accompanied by a lady playing fiddle downstairs and a sea shanty choir assembling to go upstairs to sing – this was a busy, active place.

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The gig on the Friday was good, every table was full and there was a fine buzz. I played three sets, mixing it all up a bit and knew that the people there had had a good night – I had played well, sold CDs and met some very happy people. On Saturday, the stage had been moved to the bottom of the restaurant facing the tables (instead of in the middle as on Friday) to make a space for a big screen which was showing the local football team’s game which was on while I was playing… sigh, bummer. As it turned out most heads were turned towards me and not the screen (most people there were visiting and not locals) and I was getting a reasonable amount of participation. During one of my songs, I couldn’t believe my eyes as Feargal MacConuladh, my friend from years ago and musical partner in our duo, Keltic Fire, walked in. He now lives in Barcelona, Spain and was over on business. His product, the Minecraft Gameband, had just been released and launched onto shelves in Target all over the USA. Feargal was traveling around meeting with Target people and was heading for Houston, Texas when he saw my Facebook post that I would be in New Orleans, so he headed over to the Irish House. The fact that he had lost his passport in Charlotte airport was a wee bit of a worry – but didn’t stop him!

 

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We had also made friends in the pub with Sally and Brendan Kelley, just visiting from Ohio (we met them on the Thursday and immediately hit it off) and locals Shannon Woodward & her Helicopter pilot husband – Shannon had a great voice and was singing along and harmonizing, Sally and Brendan had been at a 60th birthday earlier that day… so were in “high spirits” 🙂 . Feargal eventually caved in to pressure and played a few songs with me – it wasn’t quite like old times – we were a bit rusty … but still ok. After I finished at around 10:30pm, we had a wee jam session until midnight. We packed up the gear, Dorothy headed off to our RV and Feargal and I headed into New Orleans to catch up, reminisce (over a wee drinkie or two) and have fun. I got home at 4am after Feargal had just plain run out of steam… he was exhausted… as a newt!

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The whisky tasting on the Monday was a fine event, the Glenfiddich rep was there with 5 bottles of different Gelnfiddichs. I played some Scottish songs to get us all in the mood then we started tasting – each whisky had a delicious wee dish of food served with it…. the beauty of a Gastropub ! They served a dainty scotch egg – which was a quail’s egg wrapped in breaded sausage meat – instead of the huge ones we’d get in Dundee (fae big chookie burdies 🙂 ). the Gastro version, I have to say, was a wee bit superior to those I used to eat!

After the tasting there was an Irish music session, I didn’t join in as Dorothy was needing fed 🙂 … so we had dinner there and I got to know Chef Matt Murphy a bit better when he joined us (he’d been playing the bodhran in the music session). Matt is a fascinating character – from Dublin. Feargal and he had spent time on Saturday talking about their home town .. a thickening of accents was noticeable on both of them. He is a champion chef, a well-known New Orleans personality and one of the few survivors of a deadly flesh-eating disease. “Sure, I’m  more famous for surviving the disease than I am for me cooking and me restaurant…. ” he grinned modestly. A fine lad is Matt, he also set me up with a great recommendation “Bill played here last weekend and took the roof off… ” and put me in contact with a friend of his who may book me in Florida next year and a musician friend who has a list of contacts I could use to get some gigs arranged next year. Great stuff!

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On the following Wednesday, Dorothy and I headed over to Algiers to check out the Old Point bar. It was on a road just behind the Levee on the west bank of the Mississippi. An old neighborhood pub which proved once again that you shouldn’t judge on first appearances as it was old and crumbling on the outside but friendly and full of character on the inside. The people were extremely friendly, as were the dogs, it was a wee bit smokey as the smoking ban hadn’t reached there yet and it had a great stage with a very serious sound system – which I would be happy to use the next day. There was music there each evening but Dorothy and I didn’t wait around – we walked along the Levee with beautiful views of New Orleans from across the water and caught the ferry across the Mississippi to the French Quarter – the weather had improved that day and it was a lovely warm late afternoon – perfect for a sunset ferry ride to eat some gumbo, redfish and other Cajun delights.

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The gig on the Thursday was not well publicized. The posters we had sent over two weeks earlier hadn’t arrived or had been lost, there was a local paper and web site which told you what was on and where… but it only had my name, they hadn’t used any publicity materials from my website. As a result it wasn’t busy – but I have to say, those who were there all got into my music quickly and were singing, clapping, harmonizing, joining in and whooping with each song. I met a country singer (great voice) who had played Nashville for two years before giving it up – he told me about his appearance in the Ryman Auditorium – the old Opry, the epicenter of Country music (Dorothy and I were there for a show a few years ago). I could tell that was a memory that would stick with him all his days. There was a steady flow of people either visiting or returning from shenannigans over the water a wee bit the worse for wear. One such person was a nice looking lady with what looked like a colleague as they both had conference ID badges on a string around their necks. As he stood, or rather swayed, at the bar, she danced around the bar and did a pretty good pole dance in front of me using one of the old wooden pillars. She sang, hooted, danced, got everyone going… then sadly, after a while, left, blowing kisses to everyone, hooking her leg around a few last pillars on the way out while guiding her male colleague, who was sinking fast, out of the pub and into the night. I suspect his downfall had been trying to keep up with her 🙂 . I ended at 11pm … then as usual when it’s not been busy, a couple of people rolled in at 11:15 – one had just arrived from the airport – desperate for live music. I played them an acoustic song, they bought me whisky, gave me a tip and everyone was happy. The Old Point bar – a rare, bit tarnished, gem of a pub, well worth a visit if you fancy a Ferry ride and a chat to some of the friendly locals (you won’t find these everywhere in New Orleans).

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Taking a step or two in Texas

Texas … I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to play in Austin, the music capital of Texas, their motto the same as Portland’s “keep Austin weird”  – yes this would be a perfect opportunity. Not so. Austin is full to bursting with musicians, as a result it’s venues are unresponsive, unwelcoming and unwilling to book traveling musicians. For example, the website of BD Rileys states : NOTE: WE BOOK AUSTIN BANDS ONLY. NO OUT OF TOWN ACTS OR BOOKING REQUESTS PLEASE  In an Irish pub which is not in Ireland ? Come on ! Where do they get any outside influence?… Hahaha – I’m sorry – but that is just ridiculous.

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I eventually gave up trying to book anything there. Michelle, my tour manager joined me about then and stepped up to the task… nothing… try again… nothing… “Earth calling Austin… ” nothing. Time was a-drifting by, so we looked south to San Antonio, within a few weeks Michelle had landed 6 gigs in San Antonio – I wouldn’t even have time to visit Austin – we thought we’d have to cancel our RV park booking in Austin… but we didn’t need to as they (unlike every park we contacted) hadn’t replied to our booking request (there’s a theme forming here). We didn’t go to Austin.

We drove through New Mexico, then West Texas and arrived at San Antonio on the Friday. We drove up to the Highlander bar and grill (my gig the next day) just to check out the lie of the land. Turned out to be a good idea – just as the navigation system sent us on a left turn, Dorothy spotted the Highlander bar on the right – ha-ha- gotcha – you can’t fool Dorothy with that northy, southy, easty, westy stuff!

When you’re playing in a venue you play more often, you forget what it was like the 1st time there (where’s the stage, power, lights, do I use their PA system or mine, how good’s the monitor, who’s the contact person, oh, they’re not there tonight – ok, who’s my contact… ) when you’re touring (as I am) every night is your 1st (and probably last) time playing there – and you are John Snow … you know nothing! So it’s good to check the place out beforehand, if you can, so that you can be organized on the day you’re playing – all you have to do is focus on the music and crowd.

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I walked into the Highlander, there was a lady with long auburn hair dressed in tight black clothes, short black shorts, fishnet tights, high heels, ears and whiskers waving at me in her lacy gloves… yes – it was halloween. I looked away from the waving cat and a man with curly white hair and broad grin exclaimed “Bill!!…” He shook my hand laughing and said how delighted I was to meet me – this was Mike Specia, one of the owners of the Highlander.

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The cat appeared at his side, introduced herself to me and gave me a big hug… she worked there – and had put up my posters – which have my picture on them – so she and Mike felt like they knew me already. Dorothy, bemused, was receiving a similar delightfully warm welcome. We talked and laughed, they fed us, our server brought extra food – deep-fried mushrooms – a house speciality we apparently needed to try (even though we were feeling full we tried them – wow… they were great!!!), more beer… man, this was the Texas welcome everyone talks about – and I hadn’t played a note – that would be tomorrow. I hope I would live up to this great treatment.

The next night, Saturday, was great. Quieter than halloween, costumes were back to normal… well, Texan normal… the people there were exceptionally friendly, Mike brought his brothers and their families along, Mike’s business partner (the other owner – an Irishman – McCabe) was there and each song received applause, smiles and appreciation. I was having so much fun, I only took one break and played on to midnight. When I finished, Mike had to leave with his family – but not before he thanked me profusely and made sure we had food to take away with us (I never eat before a gig – so I had (politely) refused when he offered earlier). I went up to the bar for a drink at the end – and got paid for the night without asking  by a beaming female bartender – full of smiles, praise, compliments… and a pint! You can’t ask for better!

On the Monday, I was playing in the Lion and the Rose British pub in Alamo heights, which turned out to be just out of San Antonio city limits – and they were a smoking bar. It was like going back to my old days in the Back-in-Town in the Netherlands cigar and cigarette smoke mingled with the lovely smell of beer and spirits … I have to confess – I love it! It’s how a pub should smell … sorry – maybe it’s nostalgia … but I liked it.

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I got set up on a stage at the side facing the long bar / restaurant area. I started and so did the crowd – people joined in immediately and an Irishman and Welshman at the bar (good start of a joke there) were loving it and whipping up the rest of the folks. I nodded at the bar manager to check if the sound was ok – she jerked her thumbs in the air – great – turn up! That is a first, I have never been asked to get louder – louder I went, on the verge of feedback and blasted my way through the night… great!

On Wednesday I was due to do a whisky tasting at another Lion and Rose…. well the weather intervened and it rained in torrents all Tuesday and Wednesday – that somewhat dampened people’s wish to go out – so the event was cancelled – and I stayed home and dry. Now, this would have been an epic tasting – they wanted to so an introduction tasting (7 whiskies) followed by a blind tasting (4 whiskies) – part of me was glad it was cancelled – but the whisky lover in me forced me to open one of my bottles as a consolation prize (a lovely 18 year old Caol Ila single cask Islay malt from Montgomerie’s (an independent bottler) which I got from “Total Wine” in Phoenix… deee-licious.

On Thursday I got an email via Michelle from the Lion and Rose in the Forum where I was playing that night – she was being asked if I was going to play music as well as do a whisky tasting. Ooops… that’s the only one I hadn’t been in touch with or visited – so I called the manager – a friendly Texan – who had arranged 8 Irish Whiskeys for me to taste and wanted to be sure I was going to play music too in case there was no-one for the tasting. As luck would have it, he’d chosen three of the Jameson whiskies from the Mahers St Patrick’s eve tasting (130 people in a whiskey tasting… that’s really too many) and three bushmills whiskies two of which I had several (serious) encounters with in my youth… then there were two Powers whiskies, one I knew well and the other nobody knew as it was just released in April this year… so I agreed, did a bit of homework and was all set. That evening, I played 30 minutes, gathered the folks together for a tasting where we nosed, tasted, savored, laughed and chatted our way through the eight generous pours of Irish Whiskey. I musht shay, even thow I lykes my Shcottissh whisshkies… hic… I grew quyte paarshaal to the Powers Signature… Irishh Whishkey… who would have thought… hic!

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After the tasting, the tasters staggered back to the bar and I played the rest of my set … and remembered (again) why I drink lightly during a gig… but I managed fine and ended at 10pm in time for the guy who runs the open mic there every week on a Thursday  to take over. Fifteen minutes later, the guy was still not there, the young musicians (about 5 acts) who were to perform were all there all keen to perform. I had started taking down my PA when I thought – hmmm – I should help them out. So I had a word with the manager who assured me this wasn’t my problem, I could just go – I’d done a fine job and she was happy… it was up to me. Well it didn’t feel right to leave these kids with no venue to play, so I set them up to play through my system, then realized that nobody felt they could do the introductions – so I introduced the acts, got them organized, mixed their sound … and we had a ball until it finished at midnight.

The Friday was surreal, I was playing at the Lion and Rose in Sontera. These places are very nice pubs, every one is a different layout and the theme is good food and good drink. In this one there was a pub area, a restaurant area, a sort of sitting about area then a secluded area. I was to play in the sitting about area. I got set up … and still when I started there was only me in the sitting about area. There were people in all the other areas… but only me, and Dorothy as my sole supporter, in the area I was to play in. Those who know me know I like to get people involved right from the start… but, I couldn’t see anyone and they couldn’t see me. After a quick consultation with Dorothy, we decided I should change my set around and as my 1st song I played “Brown eyed girl”. When I get to the chorus I sometimes stop completely and the crowd keeps going with the “sha-la-la-la-la… ” bit which is a surprise and a laugh to them, “gee’s them up” a bit… and let’s me know they’re “in”. I’m playing the song, it sounds good but I’m looking at an empty space in front of me – so I think, “what the hell… I’ll do it …” it came to the chorus, I stopped and voices all over the place were singing “sha-la-la-la-la… “. After that we all laughed, I made fun of us all – them for being an invisible audience and me for being the lonely guy playing in the corridor… A few people came over to join me, a good friend (ex-colleague Marianne Sheeler) arrived from Austin Texas especially to see me, I played and we had fun with my varied physical and virtual audience until I’d played my time. I got lots of compliments and praise… it will remain a weird memory for me…. and a lesson for us all – make the best of what you’re given, put as much energy and effort into every gig… and it will work out fine.

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We left San Antonio on the Sunday, heading through Texas – next Stop – New Orleans.

By the time I get to Phoenix…

Phoenix! We drove down from Flagstaff (an ear-popping 7,000 feet) into Phoenix (2,000 feet) – the City sprawled out huge before us, build up in the middle of the desert with 3 million inhabitants! … the whole of Scotland has 5 million!…and all we needed was a few groups of happy drinkers to come to my gigs – hey – they were there too!

Phoenix is hot – I mean hot, in the middle of the desert… it’s hot, hot nights & roasting hot days – even in October! (the Phoenicians ( 🙂 )told us it was really cooling down!!!) We arrived 2nd October and I was playing 3rd in the Skeptical Chymist (Scottsdale), 4th in Tim Finnegans (Phoenix), 8th in Fibber McGees (Chandler) & 14th in O’Connors (Phoenix) (that last one was sneaked in by Michelle (my tour manager) after badgering the booking person into submission 🙂 … well done you badgerer you 🙂

Who says you don’t get support when you’re on the road? At the Skeptical Chymist, we had our friends the Mathyssen clan – Tina (Oregon), Mary (California), Brian, Jenny, Rose (Phoenix) all out for a good time – to celebrate Tina’s birthday – and who cares about tomorrow… hahahaha – Tina? Jenny?

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Then in Tim Finnegans the gang of Burkes & Johnsons arrived from Washington (via Palm Desert)  … now we didn’t get pictures of them although there were hundreds taken… does this reflect on the outrageous shenanigans that went on… you know, it just may!) They were a great bunch who really boosted the evening – as a consolation prize here are a couple of me 🙂

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and the next day on the golf course with Kevin… that’s stamina!

2014-10-05 13.55.06Fibber McGee’s, Wednesday, midweek, no ready made support imported (apart from Dorothy – who manages it all with a smile!.  It was a small but very appreciative crowd who stayed longer than they intended (it was a school night), bought CDs and had a fine time. The friendly barmaid from Belfast (Joline) was just great.

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Then lastly at O’Connors, a small friendly Irish pub, I met lots of great locals, happy genuine people, not reluctant to give their opinions, very interested in music and my experiences. As a late booking, mid-week, I had low expectations – but this was very nice – a great way to end my time in Phoenix. the Dewey crew from Lake Oswego and Washington also came along (I worked with Shelley for years and played at the wedding of Shelley & Craig’s Daughter Megan (and new Son in Law Sean (who makes incredible dark, potent Quad beer) – I played bagpipes at the end of their ceremony &  a set of their favorites from Mahers for their cocktail hour)  – it was great to have experienced Mahers go-ers in the crowd!

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So summarising my experience of Phoenix, the pubs I played are top Irish pubs, well worth a night or two to discover them. The decor, the ambiance, the drink selection, the food, the service, the staff were all just right –  they fitted the style of the bar – and were high quality. It was a pleasure to play in each of them – they were all different. The customers – a real mixed bag – the simpler the pub the nicer the crowd with more people out to see than to be seen… as opposed to the higher-end pubs. All these pubs are doing their best to promote Irish / Celtic culture – you can help them do that by seeking them out if you are ever in town – there’s a lot to discover and enjoy… and folks, please, when the musician plays a Celtic song – listen & clap… it may be me 🙂

My next Gig is in Sedona – I hope to experience a Vortex or two while I’m there… then next gig stop San Antonio Texas (3 gigs and a whisky tasting in a week!)… Michelle is cracking the whip!

 

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Thaar be Pyraats round tha’ Bend

Getting a tour set up is probably very easy if you are famous, well known, have a great following… but I’ll tell you, when you are unknown entity (like poor wee me) – it’s tough. So after many calls (where nobody calls back) and emails (where you are delighted if you get an answer) I had managed to set up 4 gigs in Arizona … which was great – but none in my 1st real stop Bend, Oregon which was a shame as Bend is a lovely place, full of pubs and breweries … and it was half way to St Patricks day – why didn’t they know they needed me ! 🙂 . I was grumbling about this to Steve Behrens of 67 Music one Friday after a Mahers gig, Steve sympathized and had a couple of suggestions as he used to live in that area. I followed these leads but still no joy.

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The following Friday, Dorothy was driving us back from a Mahers gig when we ground to a halt in a huge traffic jam on the I84. It had been a great night (as usual in Mahers) and we’d stayed a wee bit longer than intended (ok, ok, Dorothy did her best to drag me away from excessive blethering and Guinness… but got distracted by her own bletheryness 🙂 ).. anyway it was after midnight and we were tired and well and truly stuck in traffic. I checked my email on my phone… there was a new mail from a name I didn’t recognize (Sarah Pollock Holmes), so I opened it … it was a hoot, this was Sarah from the Celtic Rock band 5-pint Mary in Bend inviting me to play a guest spot with them on Friday September 19th at a Pirate party – cool – and she’d written the email in Pirate

So… a few weeks later, I’d played my last 2014 gig in Mahers (see my last post or watch the video), had our short trial run trips in the Washington / Portland area and headed down to Bend, our longest drive in “our rig” for a 5-day stay, explore and of course… Pirate Party.

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Bend is a lovely place, we actually stayed in Sisters which is 18 miles north of Bend. Remember in my last post when I mentioned my 12-string Taylor guitar had eaten its way through 3 batteries on my last evening and even at that the internal pickup had given up on my encore (which actually (to my surprise) turned out really well) – I found a music shop which was a Taylor dealer – Music Makers, Dan, the owner, was fantastic – he called Taylor and after a 5 minute call where the Taylor guy had verified that my guitar was under lifetime warranty (even though I’d forgotten to register it 7 years ago… ooops) – he’d agreed to ship everything needed overnight so that Music Makers could fix it.Sweet! They fixed it and all it cost was $15 for a new set of strings, fitted and tuned… fantastic service!

Anyway, we headed along to the Pirate party place on the Thursday as we hadn’t brought any Pirate clothes with us on our trip (how dumb is that 🙂 ?) and they were doing “fittings” the day before… these were serious Pirates! So we met Ivy who was transforming people into Pirates, Dorothy became “buxom Bess” … and she convinced me to wear my Kilt (very piratey apparently 🙂 ).

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On the Friday, we headed over to the Pirate ranch – a large property which had become something out of the Pirates of the Caribbean for the weekend – complete with masted ship and barrels (with beer tap attached!). I sat in with 5-pint Mary playing Bodhran as they are already a pretty tight band… adding someone who is busking through their songs would probably have diminished their sound rather than adding to it. I enjoyed playing bodhran again – and playing in a band again – being non-essential to the sound was also a novelty as normally I am all there is.

When the band stopped for a break, I got my guitar and did some vaguely piratey songs – getting pirates to goo aaaarrrrrr and whoop and join in with gusto was easier than I thought – they were all well in the mood and all fired up by 5-pint Mary’s superior piratey performance. I went down really well, it was a pleasure playing for such an appreciative bunch of scallywags and wenches 🙂

See my piratey bit here

5-pint Mary rounded off the night, I joined them again for part of the set and we ended the night well… aaaaarrrr! So with lots of happy pirate handshakes, hugs and sharings of rums (and of course some whisky), we headed off back up the road to Sisters – with promises of a repeat performance next year and a bunch of new friends… especially 5-pint Mary – a great band, great musicians – and most importantly – great people who love what they do.

Watch the pirates live stream here (ok, it was live then… and you may have to look through the clips as it has no definite address – it’s about 1hour 32 mins)

For the next two weeks we become explorers around Boise, Salt Lake City, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, Utah… and getting ready for my next performances – Friday 3rd October in Scottsdale, AZ at the Skeptical Chymist, Saturday 4th Oct in Tim Finnegans, Phoenix, AZ, then Wednesday 8th Oct in Fibber McGees in Chandler, AZ… should be fun – watch for my next post to see if it was!

In the Studio – week 2

After a good sleep after my Friday gig, I rehearsed all Saturday, Sunday and Monday then was back in the studio on Tuesday for another 3 days. I had my ups (e.g. the added vocals on “Scots Wha Hae”, the harmony whistle solo on “fields of Athenry”) and downs (I was rustier on the bass than I thought) – there were times where I thought I would never get a track right, then as if by magic (usually a break and a cup of coffee did the trick) I’d nail the part which was stumping me and we’d be off and running again.

As the songs built I really appreciated how Kevin listened to music. A lot of folk songs have people all jangling along playing the same thing on different (or sometimes the same) instruments. Kevin was pushing me to “keep mixing it up” so that each instrument was clear and each part complimented the one before. He was also placing the sound in the stereo mix so that if you closed your eyes you could hear where the bass player, 12 string guitarist, singer etc were standing in a semi-circle facing you. There were some things he said would crack me up – my favorite was on the banjo – “I love it when that stops”. I laughed as Dorothy (my wife) always loved it when the banjo stopped – or didn’t even start 🙂 (my daughter Valerie’s (cruel) comment was the best sound ever is the sound the bagpipe makes when a banjo hits it when it lands in a dumpster).
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Kevin actually quite liked the banjo – what he meant was the sound contrast it gave when instruments would come in, then go out, then come in again… adding color to the sound.

By the end of the 2nd week I had pretty much done every track, but I needed an extra day to finish loose ends and tidy up things which we said we would come back to.

One of those things we came back to was trying to create a feeling of being more in a live setting – but without the background noise, chinking of glasses and uproarious laughter. So I invited people to come along to the audio one Saturday morning. They were my wife Dorothy, my son Kyle (who just arrived back from Japan that morning), daughter Valerie, Valerie’s husband Shady, Shady’s mum, Christine, our good friends (and Irish music lovers) Fergus and Sarah with their daughters Niamh and Siobhain, with me that made 10 “clappers and joiner-inners”. It was a lot of fun, everyone was very impressed by the studio, everyone got headphones (except Sarah – but she was good enough to manage without). I thought it was hilarious when the joking stopped and everyone realized (as we all do in that moment before recording) the “ooops, this is serious, it’s being recorded, immortalized!” I have never seen such concentration on people who would normally be laughing and clapping along casually at a gig. Shady and Kyle became extra animated as they stamped their feet and clapped intent on making maximum noise and being right on the beat. This wee clip that Fergus magically recorded (edited and produced) on his iPhone does a nice job of capturing the mood.

 The “Clappy Clappers”