on the road/off the road


It's been a typical spring with much road, some of which is displayed above thanks to the magic of griangrafadoireacht. There was an appearance at Celtic Connections in Glasgow with Andy M Stewart and on the same blll was Shona Donaldson, a lovely Scots singer. I did some filming for a piece on the bog bodies for Irish TV. Valerie Waters put it together for Nationwide and was pleased with the result. Well, look what you had to work with I said, and she said, yes, a couple of old guys who didn't give me any guff. Some recording followed with Rosie Shipley for our album together (out in August, I think) in Handsome Trevor Hutchinson's studio in Dublin. There will be some new songs on it from me and some rather good fiddle from Rosie and even vocalizing from herself. I recorded too with Trevor's band Lunasa for their new album, and then I set sail for America. A week followed in a recording studio in New Orleans with my good friend and ace engineer Misha Kachkachishvilli for Danny O'Flaherty (thank you Dr Ruary and Michelle) and then the serious traveling started - Washington DC, out to West Virginia and then down to Texas. We had a great time with the Gillette brothers on their ranch in Crockett TX and playing at their club the Camp Street Cafe, where Lightnin' Hopkins used to perform. I picked up an album/book combined of old time music/new songs based on local East Texas history called Settlers of the Western Woods and it's a good find. Fascinating stories about pioneers, native americans, paddleboat disasters and escaped slaves with historical pictures and wonderful music. It's the work of Steve Hartz and you'll find it at www.mysteryridge.com. Then over to Shreveport Louisiana and Monroe Louisiana where we had a great time with Doyle Jeter of Enoch's Pub and Tom McCandlish (a great story from Doyle about Truman Capote and a cream puff - Doyle was hungover one morning in New York City.  He was stumbling across the street to get coffee when he bumped into a man eating a cream puff.  The cream puff went right into the man's face.  In the middle of apologizing, Doyle realized that the man was Truman Capote.  Delighted and surprised, Doyle cried: "Truman Capote!"  Covered in cream-puff, Truman replied, "Fuck you!") and also in Monroe discovered the worst Mexican restaurant in the world, seriously. It's good to know these things. Older and wiser we drove down Highway 61 to New Orleans, magical as ever at the head of the shimmering mighty Mississippi. We were at a loss for what to do on St Patrick's Day - my default is to hide out for the day - but in the event we played for our friend and great chef Susan Spicer at her restaurant Bayona and found another restaurant, our new favourite place, Adolfo's on Frenchmens Street. We heard some fine brass street music in the city this time but had to leave all too soon for the Northeast again up to New Hampshire, and one of the loveliest towns in America, Rosendale New York, and a gem of a place, the Rosendale Cafe. By now Rosie was well into her new role as backing singer. Still can't get her to sing a song though. We pressed on to play in Phoenix Arizona(thank you Terry and Michelle for coming), back east for a show near Asheville North Carolina and a reunion and a few tunes with our dear old friend E.J. Jones, then to Bett Padgett's famed concert series in Raleigh NC, and on to Savannah Georgia just before the summer heat came. I scooted up to Massachusetts to teach at a school called Tabor Academy and then managed to fly home through the unpronounceable ash cloud by way of London and Shannon and a bus to Dublin. Phew. That was a a good time. I think. Now to finish writing some music that will be on the new album, a weekend soon in Scotland with Andy M Stewart and a visit to Brittany and then maybe all will be quiet and peaceful for the rest of the summer in old Dingle town. Maybe not though. I just got an email from Andy Irvine. I played with Andy for a couple of years many years ago and many and various were our adventures. We may have a glass or three some time soon.