September 15, 2015

Just taking a breather after an unbelievable summer!  I had a wonderful trip to North Carolina.  I taught at Traditional Song Week at Swannanoa Gathering.  Thanks to Julee Glaub and Mark Weems, Jim & Beth Magill, all my students, and my teacher friends-old and new-it was one of the most marvelous music weeks ever.  After that, I spent a week in Hillsborough playing music with some other great pals.  Thanks to Tim Stambaugh, Eleanor Ellis, Jack Herrick, Chris Frank, Clay Buckner, Taz Hallowe'en,  Bob Vasile, and everyone who sat in-what great bands we had!  Candy Tolley and Gail Schaefer gave us that good ol' Southern hospitality and kept us cooool.  Loved every minute.
Nothing like taking the Mini Wini camper a thousand miles one way, playing a few gigs with Gypsy Reel, then heading out 1000 miles in another direction...whew!  Made it to awesome, beautiful Nova Scotia.  August was the way I love it by the shore-hot and sunny.  Loved sitting in with The Klunkers, meeting and playing with Jim Reid, with Paul MacLellan and Michael Hermiston, with Bill Plaskett and Ronnie MacEachern.  And the biggest and best surprise of all was meeting the Philadelphia band, Runa, at Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival. They recorded my song Jealousy a few years back as title track of their first album, and they now close their shows with an expanded version of the song that includes reels and step dancing at the finale.  They asked me to sing it with them on the Lunenburg Wharf stage!  What a kick!  I had so much fun.  They do it in a different key and a bit faster.  I did fine till the last verse, where Touchstone normally skipped the pause-old habits!  But overall it was one of those unforgettable moments.  To think that a song I wrote in 1982 is still updatable and current!  Thanks, Runa!  Lovely, talented folks.
How did it get to be mid-September here in Vermont?  Still enjoying gorgeous sunny days.  Had some nice reunion gigs with Gypsy Reel, played a fantastic wedding by the sea in Bristol, Rhode Island with Adam Sweet and Jim Bunting as Celticado, and made it back to The Erie Canal for the Waterford Tugboat Roundup with The Boys (and Girls) of Wexford-great tunes with JIm Bunting, Tony Morris, Melissa Murray, and Thomas Doyle.  Love playing on the stage on deck of The Grand Erie canal boat!  Thanks, Mike McGarry, for our 9th year performing at the Canal events.
Now it's back-to-school time!  I start fretted instrument classes at Connecticut Academy of Irish Music in Wethersfield, CT next Sunday, 9/20, 1-4pm. (If  you haven't signed up yet, it's never too late-my classes are customized to student's needs, and we try to accommodate everyone at all levels.)
I'm playing a live show at MOJO Café in Ludlow, VT Friday Sept 18 with Piedmont Blues songstress and guitarist Eleanor Ellis-hot music and spicy New Orleans style food and music.  Gypsy Reel has some nice shows coming up, including the Peru Fair Sept 26 10am, always a blast.  Check the schedule, we're adding new shows every day.  Ray Greenleaf has been singing and playing bodhran with us at some shows, and he adds such great talent and energy to the band.
Keeping fingers and toes crossed that the Cape Breton group I play with, Otis Tomas' The Fiddletree, will be playing in Ireland next May!
Hope to see you somewhere along the trail!