Steve's Blog
Tuesday September 17, 2013

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Hi everyone

What a great weekend we had to launch the Fall Season! A really fine Cajun band and a full dance floor on Saturday, followed by a truly gorgeous concert with Ruth Moody on a very wet Sunday evening. Thanks to everyone who came out to make these shows so memorable!

I'm typing this at the hall just before ukulele mayhem breaks out! Ralph Shaw's second Roguelele Night will kick off at 7:30pm, with more than 100 ukuleles and singers a-jammin'!

John Doyle, Wednesday September 18th, 8pm, St. James Hall (3214 W.10th Ave.)

We also have a rare concert of solo Celtic guitar and voice tomorrow night with one of Ireland's most celebrated instrumentalists and singers John Doyle. John is a founding member of the Irish American Celtic supergroup Solas. He toured with them for several years and two albums in the 1990s before resuming his solo career. His father, Sean, is a well-loved Irish Sean-nos singer and John has definitely inherited his "pipes!"

John has released three solo CDs since then, the latest being Shadow & Light (Compass Rcords, 2011,) which features several original compositions inspired by his adopted home in North Carolina. The American Civil War may have ended 150 years ago, but it's scars are still red raw in some parts, and John has penned a wonderful anthem, "Clear The Way," about young Irish émigrés who signed up for one side or the other - thousands losing their lives in the conflict, possibly at the hands of a recent neighbour from across the sea. There is also "Farewell To All Of That," about the Dublin Fusiliers, who fought with the British in WWI and returned to a traitor's "welcome". So many strong tales of Irish emigration have been penned already, but John adds a new approach, personalizing the accounts and drawing the listener into the emotional turmoil.

It's not all depressing stuff. Far from it! John is a master guitarist and he plays reels and jigs with the fierce drive - yet deceptively light touch - for which he as become renowned as one of the very best guitarists in Celtic music.

John also spent a few years touring with Joan Baez as accompanist and music director, and after all those years in the Appalachians, he has mastered old time and bluegrass guitar and vocals as well!

He has played at The Rogue with Solas, with Liz Carroll, and as a solo performer. He was last seen in these parts as a member of the amazing trio The Teetotallers (with fiddler Martin Hayes and flautist Kevin Crawford of Lunasa) at last year's Mission Folk Festival. What an amazing band!

We are hoping that local Irish session players will come down for a few tunes, perhaps. Or at least to support real live Celtic music by one of the best in the business. And if there are any folk song enthusiasts who have a love of history as well as brilliant singing then you will definitely love this show!

There are tickets available online on our website and also at Highlife Records and Rufus' Guitar Shop. Hope to see you at St. James Hall tomorrow night!

Thanks for your support.