Welcome


Welcome to my website!

Come in, sit down, relax, converse
Our house doesn't always look like this-sometimes it's even worse!  (from The Trivet Song)

I am looking out at Saltash Mountain, here in beautiful Belmont, VT.

Be sure to check my scheduled shows on the right  to see where I will be playing.

I am scheduling new private students in all levels of mandolin, tenor banjo and guitar, so contact me if you would like to work with me, at my studio in Belmont VT, or on Skype. If I am traveling in your direction, I can also arrange to meet you.

I have cds available at my Store, and Free Listens on my Music Page.


 

January 22, 2018 

Happy New Year! Started out with a quick escape from the lovely Vermont deepfreeze (how many days of 20 below zero??) to Durham NC (just in time for their freak snowstorm that shut down the state for 3 days!!) Had a blast playing music with Bob Vasile, Revisited the place where Touchstone was born, once The Cat's Cradle, then Rhythm Alley, then the Skylight Exchange, now the Nightlight. Bob and I played, and it was so great to see our friends who braved the icy roads to come out that night. We went to Charlottesville VA the following night and played at the Tin Whistle pub. Thanks to Cece Conway for making these events happen. Bob was awesome on bouzouki, guitar, and vocals. Thanks to Bob and Barb for hosting us.

Back in Vermont, having some fun playing Wednesdays at RiRa Pub in Burlington VT with Graham Parker and Silas Hamilton of Gypsy Reel. Thursday night sessions continue every week at The Killarney Pub in Ludlow VT. (If it looks like I'm double booked on these recurring events, there will be someone, probably from Gypsy Reel, filling in for me in VT) Playing some Old Time and Americana music this weekend with The Shrewdberries Live at Mount Hollywood Studio. Looking forward to my first gig in Boston in ages, at the Burren in Somerville, with Silas (and maybe a surprise guest or 2!) Gypsy Reel leaves for Guatemala the next day. Will fill in gig details as I get them. Looking forward to seeing our Lake Atitlan friends soon!

Check my Events schedule. I'll be teaching Sundays at Connecticut Academy of Irish Music in Wethersfield CT (www.ctirishmusic.com)-enrollment now open. And when we get back from Guatemala, it'll be almost time to start celebrating St. Patrick's Day!

Meanwhile, I am finishing up the mixes for a new solo cd, featuring Scottish songs and Shetland Isles tunes, The Tartan Project. Will post ordering info soon! The days are getting longer!

October 21, 2017 

Autumn leaves are falling, days here in Vermont are bright and sunny, and it's time to dream new projects into existence. The new Gypsy Reel, Live 2017, is done, out, and being played on radio stations around the US. I will add it to my titles to purchase here; meanwhile, just email me if you'd like a copy.

Our Mount Hollywood Studio has moved into a new dimension. Now, in addition to being a full service recording studio, we are doing live performances and streaming on Facebook! Had a great response to our first concert. More in the works! 

I had a wonderful summer in Nova Scotia, and thanks to a great new session at the Saltbox Brewpub in Mahone Bay led by Eilidh and Paul Buchanan, I learned some wonderful Shetland tunes. 

I continue to teach fretted instruments at Connecticut Academy of Irish Music in Wethersfield CT on Sundays, and I also have some fantastic students who take lessons here at Mount Hollywood. Always room for more!

I enjoy playing contradances with The Shrewd Berries. I occasionally play with Celticado in Western Massachusetts, and in Connecticut with Jeanne Freeman from the Academy. And our local session at The Killarney Pub in Ludlow Vermont every Thursday night at 6:30 is still going strong, with members of Gypsy Reel and friends. Monday nights at 7 is Mount Holly Folk Club-stop by the library in Belmont VT!

 

January 30, 2017 

Back in Vermont after a surprise trip to Dublin Ireland at the beginning of the New Year! Played lots of music with Silas Hamilton, Gypsyreel's youthful bassist who was wailing on DADGAD guitar with me on banjo at O'Donoghue's Pub near St. Stephen's Green. I was there way back when I was first learning Irish music in 1979.Silas' Dad Mark joined us on fiddle, and we played some old-time American music. What fun! Also got to visit with pals Orla McGovern, who plays keyboard with Gypsyreel whenever she's in Vermont, and Triona NiDhomhnaill, my Touchstone bandmate. Visited the IrishTraditional Music Archive in Merrion Square, and was delighted to see a cd on display that contained one of my original songs! The band RUNA released a live double cd, and as is their custom, they ended the set with my song Jealousy. Another exciting day was spent at the National Gallery of Art, seeing some vivid paintings depicting Irish history with some shocking themes, like a Connemara funeral for a child during the famine, and British recruiters snapping up two brothers in the Connaught Rangers. 
Lots of different music presentations coming up for me. Will be playing in Burlington VT at the wild Irish pub RiRa with Reagh Greenleaf Jr and Graham Parker of Gypsyreel. Also doing a couple nights and the new pub in Killington VT, O'Dwyer's at the Summit Inn, with Reagh and Dan Brown. Doing some contradances with Mark and Silas Hamilton. Getting together with Adam Sweet and Jim Bunting for a Celticado gig at a party. Got our usual Gypsy Reel St.Patrick's Day bashes in Ludlow VT, and I have a couple solo appearances leading up to that. And, starting February 26, I'll be resuming my teaching of fretted instruments at Connecticut Academy of Irish Music in Wethersfield CT. Also doing a couple sessions in CT, and the weekly Thursday night session at Killarney in Ludlow VT. Singing ever Monday night with the Mount Holly Folk Club (MoHoFo). So, check out my schedule, and I hope to see you at one of the events! Thank you for your continued support. And special blessings on those of you who still purchase our cds!! Feel free to contact me for bookings, lessons, studio info, or with your comments. Be kind to one another. Music heals!

September 14, 2016 

This has been a wonderful year so far, with so many interesting experiences playing music. Had a great trip to Guatemala in February, such a magical scene. Gypsy Reel was joined by our pal Marco Solo, and we played at spots near beautiful Lake Atitlan. Then on to Citrus Hills, Florida to play with uber Gypsy Jon Scaife, and work with a brilliant dance caller, Joyce Scaife. We are so lucky to have great guitarists who have learned our material in various places on the planet. Home to Ludlow VT for St. Patrick's Day, where we premiered our new lineup, including young Silas Hamilton on string bass and Reagh Greenleaf Jr on percussion and vocals-wow. Then I took off on a great springtime trip to Hillsborough NC, where I played a house concert with pals Bob Vasile on bouzouki and Jack Herrick on harmonium, whistles, trumpet. This was at the lovely home of one of my students at Swannanoa Gathering.  Back to VT for some nice outdoor shows with Gypsy Reel. I also enjoyed playing solo at the Ludlow VT Farmer's Market.  How cool is it to get a chicken, ears of corn, a big heirloom tomato, and a bag of cookies in your tip case! In mid-July I headed for my usual Summer's Home in Martin's River, Nova Scotia, Had some nice music with Sons of the Sea, some of the Klunkers (Paul MacLellan, Stewart Franck, and Ronnie MacEachern), Mike Hermiston,  Pennybrook (Charlie Wilson and Jude Pelley), Bill Plaskett, and new pal Sara Johnston from Murder Point. Also enjoyed hearing some great music at Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, highlighted by Steve Poltz, and Joel and Bill Plaskett. What a treat!
Now it's back to school time! I'll be teaching at Connecticut Academy of Irish Music in Wethersfield CT every Sunday, with classes in mandolin, tenor banjo and guitar, as well as leading a Slow Session. ctirishmusic.com  Also back to work Saturdays at Be Music Store in Rutland VT. And Gypsy Reel has some upcoming autumn shows, featuring our pal Orla McGovern from Doolin Ireland on keyboard.
A big thank you to all my friends for making my musical rambles so rewarding!

February 2016 

I am writing this update on the eve of Gypsy Reel's departure for a tour in Guatemala!  It's been a mild winter here in VT and is raining at the moment, way different from last winter.  Our Thursday night session at The Killarney in Ludlow VT has been awesome and is going strong.  I have been teaching at The Connecticut Academy of Irish Music on Sundays, and I have some lovely students.  Donal Sheets will be covering my classes for me while I'm gone, and I'm sure that will be a treat for my students. After our adventures in Guatemala, where we get to play with our dear pal Marco Solo (guitar & vocals,) Gypsy Reel will be playing in Citrus Hills, FL with our other brilliant guitarist, Join Scaife from Sheffield UK for a Celtic Festival. Joyce Scaife will be calling a dance, and we will be joined by some terrific Irish dancers from the area.  That's on March 12.  We return to VT in time for St. Patrick's Week and all the festivities, including a special St.Patrick's Eve session Wed night at The Killarney, our usual St. Patrick's Day at the Sitting Bull at Okemo Mountain in the afternoon and The Killarney at night.  Friday night we do a concert at The Slate Museum in Granville NY, and Saturday afternoon we play at The Old Parish Church in Weston VT.  Some exciting news-we have two new musicians playing with Gypsy Reel regularly while our bassist Mark Harding takes some time off!  Reagh Greenleaf Jr will be joining us on bodhran and vocals, and Silas Hamilton will take over on upright bass! 

I continue teaching classes at CT Academy through May 1, then I'm planning a trip to North Carolina.  I'll be playing a House Concert and doing workshops May 7 in Durham, joined by Bob Vasile on bouzouki and Jack Herrick of The Red Clay Ramblers on bass, trumpet, and whatever else he chooses.

I'm booked at the Ludlow Farmer's Market Friday May 27-that's a first for me!  On May 28 I'm putting on a concert and workshops of one of my fave mandolin players, Will Patton, and his Ensemble, at our local Library here in Belmont VT.  Hope this will be the beginning of a series of "Musician's Choice" concerts.  Contact me here for more info or to sign up for a workshop.
 
Gypsy Reel has a couple concerts so far in June-6/11 in Brandon, and 6/17 at Jackson Gore in Ludlow. July has the band busy with outdoor concerts.  July 6-Proctorsville; July 7-Belmont; July 14-Chester; July 17-Ludlow.  Then I hope to be heading to Nova Scotia.  I'll get back to you with details.  Now back to packing!  Hope it'll be time to say Happy Spring when i return!  Thanks for your continued support.

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!

 

July 19, 2015 

I am back in Vermont after a wonderful trip to North Carolina.  After a fabulous week of teaching and performing at Swannanoa Gathering Traditional Song Week, where I had some great singing sessions with Fiona Ritchie, Cathy Jordan of Dervish, Julee Glaub, Brian Peters, Ranger Doug of Riders in the Sky, and Len Graham ,to name just a few of the instructors,  I visited Chapel Hill and got together with my old music pals-Jack Herrick, Clay Buckner and Chris Frank of the Red Clay Ramblers, Tim Stambaugh, Taz Halloween, and even Eleanor Ellis from Maryland.  Oh what fun!  The summer is flying by.  Waiting to see if our outdoor show here in Vermont will get canceled due to rain-again!  Thanks to Fiona Ritchie for running our interview on Thistle and Shamrock again recently.  If you would like to order a cd, please catch me now while I'm home.  I'm planning a visit to Nova Scotia soon. Still collecting songs from the Maritimes!  Gypsy Reel has some nice shows coming up, so check the schedule.  I'll keep you posted!  Meanwhile, our Irish session at The Killarney Irish Pub in Ludlow VT continues every Thursday at 6:30pm, even when I'm away, and I am teaching mandolin, tenor banjo and guitar-live and on Skype-and it's almost time to register for the Fall classes at Connecticut Academy of Irish Music ctirishmusic.com  (Sundays beginning Sept. 20-will let you know the dates of my classes, which are in the works now).  Happy Summer!
On a more serious note, this spring I lost two of my dear music pals.  John L. Currie died April 22.  He graciously hosted me as Musician In Residence in Montreat, NC for many years, and we loved playing and singing together.  He was a treasure trove of old timey songs, a brilliant doctor and lawyer, and a real character, who will be sorely missed.  Wish we had done more recordings.
On June 4, Victor Paul passed.  Vic was the producer of the cds Christmas in Vermont and You Are My Flower-Songs of the Original Carter Family, in which I was an enthusiastic participant-both were his idea.  Vic was a gentle soul, a wonderful artist, with tons of patience; he liked to get things right.  I will miss working with him.  We didn't get much of a chance to gig our Carter Family songs.
I hope to be a part of a memorial for John L in Montreat, and for Vic here in Vermont.  It was an honor to know them and work with them.

May 20, 2105 

Spring in Vermont is so gorgeous after the long winter.  Lilacs are blooming, the leaves are that impossible lime green color, and we are spending lots of  time outdoors, enjoying the long days.  I am adding new shows almost every day.  Also, I've started teaching via Skype, and it's going well!  Send me a message if you are interested.  Thanks for stopping by my website.  Hope to see you at an event!

March 2, 2015 

Well, here I am back in the snowy mountains of Vermont!  Wow, lots of snow here.  I had a great adventure, traveling to Nova Scotia in January, then on to Glasgow, Scotland with Otis Tomas, Deanie Cox, Paul MacDonald, a harp, a cello, a viola, a fiddle, a guitar, and of course, a mandolin-all made by Otis from his Fiddletree.  The harp and cello had seats on the plane to Heathrow!  After a night in Glasgow, a very happening city, we set off for the Isle of Lismore in the Lower Hebrides to rehearse with the Fiddletree.  What a magical place. We met up with Mairi Campbell at the studio where she teaches and holds music retreats; Sarah MacFadyen and Joey Sanderson, and Abby Newton, and Laoise Kelly.  We had a run through concert in the community hall, then headed to Glasgow for Celtic Connections.  Our show was a sellout at the Strathclyde Suite of the Royal Concert Hall.  It was a blast, and we were raring to play some more!  Deanie and Laoise and I headed for Ireland.  It was nice to be in a car, I got to see Belfast for the first time.  Then a week in Dublin.  TradFest was on in Temple Bar, so the pubs were loaded with great music (and superb pints of Gunness).  Outstanding were Gerry O'Connor with The Dublin Legends, and Coda, with Conall O'Domhnaill-lovely singing!  Thanks to Triona and family for the wonderful hospitality.

Then I spent February back in Nova Scotia-the first winter in my "Summer's Home!"  How many times did I hear, "It's not usually like this..."  It snowed 3 times a week, and it was hard getting together with my music pals.  But I loved being there.

Now, I'm back to teaching at Ct. Academy of Irish Music, and I leave for a quick trip to Florida with Gypsy Reel this weekend (sunshine and T-shirt weather, PLEASE).  We'll be back home for our usual St, Patrick's Day festivities in Ludlow VT-Okemo Ski Area in the afternoon, Killarney Pub in the evening.  See you here or there!

January 2015 update 

Happy New Year!  This one seems to be shaping up very nicely.  I have been practicing my mandolin parts in preparation for The Fiddletree's performance at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall January 23 at 8pm as part of Scotland's Celtic Connections Festival.  Guess who is playing the same night in another part of the same hall-The Punch Brothers!  Hopefully I'll at least get to hear some of their sound check. This will be an amazing trip, with a visit to Lismore Island, a side trip to Dublin Ireland  to visit my dear friend Triona, and some time in Nova Scotia before and after.

Then, in March, I'll resume teaching at Connecticut Academy of Irish Music (www.ctirishmusic.com)  Please contact the Academy if you are interested in my classes in mandolin, tenor banjo or guitar, or check out their other classes.  it's a lovely space shared with an Arts School in Old Wethersfield, CT, and the people and tunes are wonderful. Their session is starting now, but my classes will begin later, so contact them now if you are interested.

For the St. Patrick's Day festivities, Gypsy Reel will be starting early, playing with our fabulous guitar player Jon Scaife, who will be visiting Florida from his home in Sheffield, UK.  We'll be in Citrus Hills, FL doing a Ceili with dancers March 10, and are booked at Durty Nelly's in Gainesville, FL March14.  If you are in Florida and know of any other places that would like to book Gypsy Reel, please contact me.  We plan to be around Ocala March 5-15.  Then we come home to Ludlow VT for our afternoon March 17 show at The Sitting Bull Lodge at Okemo Mountain, and our evening show at Killarney Irish Pub.

We have started a Thursday night session of IrishTraditional Music at Killarney, and it's really fun.  6:30 every Thursday evening.  Graham and Camille and friends will carry it on while I'm away.

Just got the word that I'm on the staff at Swannanoa Gathering's Traditional Song week again this year-July 5-12!  So excited to get to see my pals in North Carolina.  www.swangathering.com  I'll be doing songs from the Maritimes of Canada, and Singing with the Mandolin.  Come and join the fun!

Yes, the New Year is shaping up very nicely!  i wish you all peace, health, prosperity, and sweet music!
 

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