John Doyle ~ June 4, 2018

John-Doyle-1000x525

Doyle on guitar has risen to a level occupied by him alone. No one in Irish traditional music is a better guitarist than he is right now. —Earle Hitchener, Wall Street Journal

John Doyle is impossibly in demand in the studio and on the road; is immensely talented; and blessed with an acute ear, a wicked sense of rhythm, and a seemingly endless stream of magic in his playing, singing, composing, and producing.  He has solidly established himself as one of the most versatile, creative, and prolific voices in folk and traditional Irish music today, and we are thrilled to be able to present him for a SLO House Concert.

From a musical family in Dublin, John was sixteen when he went on the road with Chanting House, a group which he formed with Susan McKeown and which eventually included such great players as Seamus Egan, Eileen Ivers, Donogh Hennessy, and Brian Doyle. The highly influential Solas followed, its success due in no small part to John’s powerful rhythmic guitar. As a member of Solas, John performed internationally to sold out audiences and appeared on many television and radio programs, including NBC’s The Today Show, and A Prairie Home Companion. As part of that critically acclaimed group, he also received three NAIRD awards and a Grammy nomination.

Since going out on his own, John has recorded two solo albums and become a highly sought-after accompanist and performer for the likes of Joan Baez, Eileen Ivers, Tim O’Brien, Seamus Eagan, and the prestigious Transatlantic Sessions. He has been in duos with Liz Carroll and Karan Casey, and is an integral member of such luminous groups as The Alt (with Nuala Kennedy and Eamon O’Leary), The Immigrant Band (with John Herrmann, Eamon O’Leary, and Rafe and Clelia Stefanini), and The Teetotalers (with Kevin Crawford and Martin Hayes).

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here to request an invitation and indicate how many seats you would like to reserve. We will then send you an email with directions and other information.

7:00pm Show: Doors open at 6:30; show starts at 7:00.

Suggested Donation: $20. ALL of the money goes directly to the performers.

Additional Sights and Sounds

johndoylemusic.com

youtube.com/watch?v=pGloHNrp9ok

Advertisements

Little Black Train ~ April 27th

photo by Mike MelnykPhoto Credit: Mike Melnyk

What do you get when you mash up a virtuosic bluegrass mandolinist, a traditional Irish fiddler, and an old-timey songster? Kenny Blackwell (mandolin and guitar), John Weed (fiddle), and Stuart Mason (guitar, banjo, and mandola) are the bluegrass-roots trio Little Black Train. From Depression-era gospel and blues to Appalachian and Celtic dance tunes, they dig up the roots of bluegrass that traveled to America from Ireland and Scotland in the 19th century. Avid practitioners of the time-honored folk process, they combine new words and melodies with traditional songs from sources such as the Carter Family, Dock Boggs, and Charlie Poole. On the instrumental side, they mine fiddle tunes from archival sources in West Virginia, Ireland, and Scotland.

Each of these three is amazingly accomplished, but something magical happens when they play together, their instruments swirling around one another like curls of smoke from a smoldering fire. This is old-time music at its most riveting! –Glen Starkey, New Times SLO

Mandolinist Kenny Blackwell, who studied with the legendary Jethro Burns, has been a fixture in the West Coast bluegrass scene since the late ’80s. He is known for his extensive studio work on various projects, as well as his collaborations with progressive fiddler Richard Greene and his membership in the Laurel Canyon Ramblers, a legendary California bluegrass outfit. Nowdays, when he’s not riding the Train, he performs with Dorian Michael, The Mystery Trees, The Demos, and Plan A.

An accomplished fiddler across genres, John Weed has lived in Ireland and immersed himself in the traditional styles of Clare and Donegal. The result is an old-time Irish fiddling style that compliments his forays into bluegrass, swing, and other American music. A classically trained violinist, John leverages his understanding of the instrument to coax emotion from every tune. Film credits include fiddle tracks for the NBC adaptation of Anita Shreve’s novel The Pilot’s Wife.

Guitarist Stuart Mason is known for his authentic vocals, melodic mandola, and inability to hold his whiskey. When he picks up the banjo, he plays in the older clawhammer and two-finger styles. A native of West Virginia, Stuart has won awards for traditional singing (Goleta Old-Time Fiddler’s Convention), mandola (Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest), and songwriting (West Coast Songwriter’s Association).

With Molly’s Revenge, Stuart Mason and John Weed have appeared on festival stages from Glasgow, Scotland to Shanghai, China. They also present workshops and classes, including The Roots of Bluegrass, and Regional Fiddle Styles from Ireland to Appalachia.

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here to request an invitation and indicate how many seats you would like to reserve. We will then send you an email with directions and other information.

7:00pm Show: Doors open at 6:30; show starts at 7:00.

Suggested Donation: $20. ALL of the money goes directly to the performers.

Additional Sights and Sounds

Websites: littleblacktrain.com   kennyblackwell.com   stuartmasonmusic.com

Videos: Wayfaring Stranger

Little Black Train at the Red Barn

Molly’s Revenge ~ March 2nd ~ 2 shows

dsc2543-adj large

We are delighted to have the lads back with us again for two shows, at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., to help us get a jumpstart on St. Patrick’s celebrations.

To the three members of Celtic band Molly’s Revenge, “March Madness” means something other than basketball playoffs. Indeed, for all players of traditional Irish music, the month of March means making hay while the sun shines, for March 17 is the date when Irish people all around the world love to celebrate the venerable Saint Patrick. And since they can’t be everywhere on that one day, the lads of Molly’s Revenge will once again be crisscrossing the West Coast for much of the month. Hence the nickname of their annual tour: March Madness. We are excited that they will kick-off the tour with two SLO House Concerts on March 2nd.

The California-based combo will also celebrate their own longevity in March, as their first gig happened on a fateful St. Patrick’s Day some 18 years ago. Piper David Brewer is the only original band member, but fiddler John Weed and guitarist Stuart Mason joined up after the first couple of years. Front man David Brewer, also known as the “hyper piper,” leads the charge with an authentic and unique style of playing the bagpipes that has earned him the reputation of being one of the most accomplished pipers on the West Coast.

Molly’s Revenge is a dynamic, acoustic, Celtic band known for its unique and infectious enthusiasm. The classic combination of bagpipes, whistle, and fiddle with a backdrop of guitar, mandola, and bodhran guarantees a most enjoyable experience for all fans of Scottish and Irish music. Molly’s Revenge has performed at many of the top folk festivals and performing arts events in the USA and prestigious events in Scotland, Australia, and China. Their arrangements of traditional Celtic jigs and reels bring these dance tunes up to date with a driving, hard-edged accent that always leaves our friends shouting for more. Don’t miss this one!

They bring to the music a vital and joyous creativity that excites even the hardest of hearts.       –John Doyle, founding member of Solas.

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here to contact us to request an invitation. Please indicate which show and how many seats you would like to reserve. We will then send you an email with directions and other helpful information.

2:00pm show: Doors open at 1:30pm. Concert starts at 2:00pm.  

7:00pm show: Doors open at 6:30pm. Concert starts at 7:00pm.

Suggested donation: $20. ALL of the money goes directly to the performers.

Additional Sights and Sounds

mollysrevenge.com

facebook.com/MollysRevenge

youtu.be/Wy7rKW6PVbY    ~    a video we took at the KVMR Celtic Festival in Grass Valley

McKasson & McDonald ~ February 11th

Untitled 2

Ryan McKasson and Eric McDonald are masters of the Celtic music tradition who purposefully explore the dark corners floating on its edges between Ryan’s fiddle and Eric’s guitar and vocals.  The result is an alluring complexity, full of spontaneous musicality. Pulling from parallel strands of influence, they create a swirling level of intensity that traverses darkness, light, and everywhere in between. The music this duo creates is to share, and live performance is their forte. Their mutual attitude stretches beyond the music. The two have been good friends ever since they met, and that friendship is evident in their live performances, which are full of organic banter and good humor to go along with the music.  They create an environment of their own design, drawing in listeners without pretense. Despite both living active musical lives thousands of miles apart these two musicians have committed to working together to forge a new musical path.

Please make your reservations today to see these outstanding musicians!

Ryan McKasson has gained a strong reputation as a performer, composer, collaborator and teacher. In 1994, he began attending Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School, which led him deep into the world of traditional music. In 1996 he became the youngest ever to win the US National Scottish Fiddle Championship and in 1997 he was awarded a Merit Scholarship for Viola Performance from the University of Southern California. Ryan’s professional career took a step forward in 2004 when he spearheaded the formation and development of “The McKassons” who released two critically acclaimed albums, Tall Tales (2004) and Tripping Maggie (2006). Over the years Ryan has recorded with a number of influential artists, namely his playing appears on fellow Scottish fiddle champion Hanneke Cassel’s three albums Silver, For Reasons Unseen, and Dot the Dragon’s Eyes, as well as Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas’s recording Highlander’s Farewell. In addition to McKasson & McDonald, other current projects include MACEnsemble Galilei, and The Syncopaths.

Eric McDonald found his way to traditional music through the rich local music scene in his hometown, Boston. Nearly a decade after studying at Berklee College of Music under world renowned musicians, he is now established as one of the USA’s premier accompanists in many styles. Eric cut his teeth playing for contra dances in New England, and can still often be seen from the dance floor. Nowadays he is an active session player, regularly recording and traveling with musicians of many stripes. Touring credits include The Outside Track, Andrea Beaton, Wendy MacIsaac and Katie McNally. In addition to McKasson & McDonald, he can currently be seen touring with the lively trio Daymark, Scottish powerhouse Cantrip, and award winning singer/songwriter Connor Garvey. In addition to guitar accompaniment, Eric’s debut solo album Rove features his unique style and approach to tunes on the mandolin, as well as carefully crafted deliveries of traditional ballads on voice and guitar.

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here  to request an invitation and indicate how many seats you would like to reserve. We will then send you an email with directions and other helpful information.

7:00pm show: Doors open at 6:30pm. Concert starts at 7:00pm.

Suggested donation: $20. ALL of the money goes directly to the performers.

Additional Sights and Sounds

Website:  www.mckassonandmcdonald.com

Video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8k9lOvB9yg

www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRDHdE225GA

The Press Gang ~ January 16, 2018

preferred photo

bold new sound has emerged in New England’s traditional music scene and they’re bringing it to SLO House Concerts in the new year: The Press Gang fuses the talents of squeezebox player Christian “Junior” Stevens, fiddler Alden Robinson, flute-player and vocalist Hanz Araki, and guitarist Owen Marshall into a high-octane musical partnership. The quartet blends their skill and fluency in traditional Irish music with their curiosity and aptitude for other styles. The joy that these musicians pour into playing music together is unmistakable and infectious. The result is a unique sound; at once energetic and sensitive, innovative and reverent.

THE PRESS GANG perform the songs and dance music of Ireland. Based in Portland, Maine, these four musicians have become popular over the past nine years for their skillful playing and deep understanding of the music and for their humorous stage presence. They have just released their first album as a quartetFortune It May Smile—which they’ll be featuring at our house concert. We’ve been listening to this CD ever since we got a copy from Owen Marshall when he was here in October. We love the CD and look forward to presenting this stellar group and their music to you.

“An Irish music phenomenon in America”  — Irish Music Magazine

“One of those rare bands that is ingenious, driving, thoughtful, and yet has great respect for the tradition.”  — John Doyle

Christian “Junior” Stevens has become an influential member of the Irish Traditional Music community in America; particularly in New England where his proficiency at such a young age on both concertina and accordion was nothing short of phenomenal. Gracing stages across the country with some of the most talented artists in the world, he is an in-demand performer and teacher with an intensely dedicated following.

Alden Robinson learned the fiddle as a child in coastal Maine, and furthered his education in traditional music at University College, Co. Cork in Ireland. Over the past few years, he has become a staple of the traditional music scene in New England. Alden continues to travel throughout the U.S. and Ireland to expand his repertoire.

Multi-instrumentalist Owen Marshall is one of the most highly sought-after accompanist in the United States. With his unique sense of harmony and rhythm, he has traveled and performed all over the world with many of the top acts in traditional music. A demanding schedule doesn’t interfere with his pursuit of new and innovative sounds as a bedrock accompanist with a style that never grows stale.

Once called “a quintessential world-music musician,” award-winning singer and flute player Hanz Araki has been a prominent figure in the Irish music community in North America and beyond for more than 2 decades. In that time he has released 11 albums, played countless festival stages, toured nationally and internationally, and collaborated with a number of well respected musicians within and outside of the Celtic music genre.

 

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here  to request an invitation and indicate how many seats you would like to reserve. We will then send you an email with directions and other helpful information.

7:00pm show: Doors open at 6:30pm. Concert starts at 7:00pm.

Suggested donation: $20. ALL of the money goes directly to the performers.

 

Additional Sights and Sounds

Website:  pressgangmusic.com

Video:  youtube.com/watch?v=RwHNw6D-rBQ

Facebook:  facebook.com/thepressgang

Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms ~ December 11th

cropped

We are so excited to be able to close out this year of presenting outstanding musicians with Caleb Klauderand Reeb Willms. We’ve been fans of the inimitable Foghorn Stringband for quite some time and are absolutely thrilled to welcome these two members of that renowned group to our house concert series. Having seen them perform several times, most recently at the Berkeley Old-Time Music Convention, we know just how special this house concert will be.

Reeb Willms and Caleb Klauder bring some of the finest, most pure and emotional country music that America has to offer today. Both musicians are equally at home singing lead or harmony and each offers an excellent complement to the other. On their new album, Oh Do You Remember, Caleb and Reeb explore early country and bluegrass songs and have found a selection of gems that are often overlooked. It’s no surprise that these two sing so well together, they both approach music with a purity of emotion that is rare in today’s world. Few singers have the depth that these two bring to a song. This is a special duet that is subtle, powerful, and compelling. Their no bells and whistles approach while vocally focused, is grounded by Reeb’s rock-solid guitar playing and elevated by Caleb’s lyrical mandolin style and authentic old-time fiddle.

Caleb and Reeb met at the Weiser National Old Time Fiddle Contest, and after singing a few songs together, knew that they had to keep doing just that. They tour regionally, nationally, and internationally bringing a pure and honest sound to both the Foghorn Stringband and the Caleb Klauder Band. They have been featured on NPR Music and A Prairie Home Companion, and their albums are played on radio stations across the globe.

In a typical concert, Caleb and Reeb take the listener through a journey of early American country music, from the Carter Family to the Louvin Brothers, from The Stanley Brothers to the present with Caleb’s own original songs. And their show always includes a selection of mandolin and fiddle tunes from regional traditions across America. This performance will be an evening to remember–make your reservations today!

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here  to request an invitation and indicate how many seats you would like to reserve. We will then send you an email with directions and other helpful information.

7:00pm show: Doors open at 6:30pm. Concert starts at 7:00pm.

Suggested donation: $20. ALL of the money goes directly to the performers.

 

Additional Sights and Sounds

Websites:  calebklauder.com   foghornstringband.com

NPR Music:  www.npr.org

Video:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0gDDGKcuk8

www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IbqowLs1H4

www.youtube.com/watch?v=fR-vhX1spPg

Mick McAuley ~ November 15th

Mick2

We are delighted to be able to continue our run of presenting outstanding members of Irish-American supergroup Solas! A long-time member of that esteemed group, Mick McAuley  recorded and toured nine albums with them and received widespread international acclaim. The Boston Herald hailed Solas as “the best Irish traditional band in the world.” Be sure to join us for this special November house concert – an evening for which to be truly thankful!

Mick McAuley is a musician, composer, and songwriter who has recorded and toured internationally for many years. While his music is rooted firmly in the tradition of his homeland of County Kilkenny, Ireland, he has been part of a movement which continues to push the musical boundaries of that tradition to bring Irish music to a wider and more diverse audience around the world.

A fine singer and multi-instrumentalist known for his brilliance on the button accordion, Mick is equally at home on guitar, melodeon, concertina, and whistles. His concerts are a perfect blending of songs that engage the mind and heart, and tunes that evoke the enchantment that is Ireland.

As is wonderfully common in Ireland, Mick McAuley grew up in the embrace of a musical family supported and nurtured by a community of older musicians who gave freely of their time, talent, and music to ensure the passing of that centuries-old cultural tradition. By his teens, he was also seeking out more contemporary singers and musicians. He played with Ron Kavana (Alias Band), Terry Woods (Sweeneys Men, The Pogues) while in London in the early ’90’s and began to tour with the acclaimed Irish singer Niamh Parsons. Mick found the ideal balance of traditional and contemporary in the instrumentals and songs of the newly-formed Solas in the bustling Irish music scene of New York in the mid-nineties. Having guested on Karan Casey’s debut album Songlines in 1997, he soon found himself in the famous SIGMA studios in Philadelphia recording Solas‘ third album The Words That Remain with Bela Fleck and Iris Dement as guests. Mick has been a guest on numerous recordings and has performed with Patti Larkin, Paul Brennan (Clannad), Susan McKeown and Mick Hanly among many others. More recently, he played melodeon for STING in his Broadway Production “The Last Ship.”

From his stellar role as a member of Solas, Mick McAuley has truly emerged as a solo artist
Brian O’ Donovan WGBH

Brilliant.
Irish Music Magazine

Highs and Bellows is a brilliant and tightly packed album…which captures McAuley’s outstanding musicianship and well-heeled artistic vision.
Daniel Neely- The Irish Echo

 

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here  to request an invitation and indicate how many seats you would like to reserve. We will then send you an email with directions and other helpful information.

7:00pm show: Doors open at 6:30pm. Concert starts at 7:00pm.

Suggested donation: $20. ALL of the money goes directly to the performer.

 

Additional Sights and Sounds

mickmcauley.com

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRv5y5LKOyo

www.youtube.com/watch?v=54F2THULiBo  (with Patrick Doocey)