O’Keith & McFiddle

photo by Patti Cooper

Tara McGovern (fiddle) and Keith Reins (guitar) are life-long musicians who have performed together as a duo and in several Irish bands for over 15 years.

At an O’Keith & McFiddle performance, you’ll be treated to an eclectic mix of lively jigs, reels and hornpipes; compelling arrangements of Irish, Scottish, English and American traditional songs and ballads; and originals.

Irish step dancers from Champagne Academy of Irish Dance often join in for even more fun.

Keith and Tara’s album Folk Songs You Never Sang in Grade School was selected as Best of 2017 by Iowa Public Radio.

Bandcamp Friday

You can get your holiday shopping done today! I can help.

Nobody on your list wants more stuff. We’ve been surrounded by our stuff for the last nine months of quarantine and our primary comforts haven’t been fulfilled by any of it. In those darkest of moments, our most reliable companion is music.

Enter Bandcamp Fridays! Bandcamp started this initiative back in March to support artists impacted by the pandemic. Once a month, Bandcamp waives all revenue shares putting the maximum amount of money directly into the pocket of the musician.

How does this impact your holiday shopping? You can send a digital gift. If you do it TODAY December 4, you will be doubly generous because the musician you love will be supported by you financially to the fullest extent possible.

I don’t want to get carried away but this might actually be that Holy Grail everyone talks about but rarely finds: The Perfect Gift. Can you think of another gift that is personally curated, fully supports artists, waste free, has no carbon footprint, and has the potential to be a companion in your stead to someone you love?

Let’s play a game. I’ll tell you about the last three Bandcamp purchases that have blessed my life and then you tell me what you buy on this Bandcamp Friday.

1. Bloom by Dan Padley, released 12/4/20. This one I sent as a gift. I had the extraordinary honor of playing on this album and so I already know it intimately. I posted about it yesterday calling it “a gift of life in the longest winter of our lives” and I stand by that description. I can think of more than one person who needs and deserves that gift. Can you?

2. Blake Shaw Xmas EP by Blake Shaw, released 12/4/20. When Blake’s full length album it happened. was released last May, I bought more copies of it than I’ve ever bought of any album in my life thus far. I love it so much and had to share it with people I love. Given that endorsement, Blake Shaw + Christmas is an equation with an obvious solution.

3. I Confess by John William Watkins. John also provided my fourth most recent Bandcamp purchase because I bought The Oracle at the same time. Kent Williams at Little Village describes John’s music more beautifully than anything I could construct: “Watkins has mastered the art of expressing human emotions in a way that keeps them relevant to anyone with heart, while remaining true to his specific experience. This is not the moon, or June romanticism enshrined in 20th-century pop songs. It’s something else: lovely and valuable.” Lovely and valuable is what I want for the people in my life.

Happy Bandcamp Friday! O merry day of finishing your shopping and relaxing for the rest of December!

Thank you for loving your people and your artists in the most expansive way possible.

A Christmas Carol

Streaming from November 27 to December 27, a holiday theater experience from Riverside Theatre to share with your family and friends no matter where this season may find you.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, adapted by Paul Morello. A story about the redemptive power of discovering that we belong to each other.

Featuring John William Watkins with music by Tara McGovern. Directed by Ron Clark.

Click for details and tickets.

Happy and Well

I’m so proud to be a part of this musical collaboration led by my friend, the wonderful Katy Wallace.

Our collaboration is Katy Wallace singing, playing acoustic guitar and editing, Sal Garro on drums, Laura Wilson singing, Tara McGovern on Fiddle, Trish and Jeremy Drioli (The Reverend and Mrs Rowdy) on Upright Bass and Electric Guitar and this video is inspired by Allison Davies.

Tulip Giraffe

In lieu of The Soft and Low’s long-anticipated show this weekend at the Sanctuary Pub and with gratitude and love for Sanctuary manager and our good pal J.D. Noble, we decided to create and share this virtual recording of a song that we wrote last year and have played live just a handful of times.

Inspired by a particularly exuberant spring bloom in my yard, “Tulip Giraffe” has taken on some new meaning for us in these strange, difficult and beautiful days.

Enjoy, and be well!

“Tulip Giraffe” by The Soft and Low