I recently had the honor of being interviewed by writer Dannye Chase for her delightful new project The Bright Side Blog.
Dannye is as gifted an interviewer as she is a writer and we had a lot of fun discussing creativity and parenting along with many other things we have in common.
Stop on over to read my interview and check out her other interviews and stories as well. Dannye is a wonderful person to know, especially if you are inspired by looking on the bright side of life.
Borrowing from my charming, talented and articulate pal Jeffrey C. Capps because it all applies to me too (and why reinvent the wheel?):
It’ll be a busy musical weekend for me, and I hope to see many of you!
, I am honored to join Tara
in opening for John Rapson’s must-see Hot Tamale Louie benefit for IC Compassion
at The Mill
. We’ll be performing a couple of tunes during the 8 o’clock
hour and the show will follow at 9. This is a really incredible show and a great cause! More info here
On Saturday, I’ll be performing twice as part of the Longfellow Front Porch Music Festival. Family Folk Machine will kick off the afternoon with a 2 p.m. set at 604 Grant Street, and Jeffrey C. Capps and His Almost All-Girl Band will immediately follow on the very same porch. Grab your lawn chair, and come on out! More info here.
And if you’re one to plan ahead, please mark your calendar for Saturday, July 1 when Tara and I will make our annual appearance at the Iowa City Farmers Market. We’ll play from 9 until 11 a.m. on the temporary stage right outside of City Hall!
Thanks so much!
I also have two other related events this weekend: at 4 pm on Saturday, I am honored to accompany on guitar some of my fiddle students as part of the Longfellow Front Porch Music Festival. At 9 pm on Saturday, the Hot Tamale Louie ensemble will be playing at the Motley Cow. This is a ticketed event and it will sell out so look sharp.
Introducing Ambrose, my featured musician for May and June!
Ambrose’s talent for composition has been emerging alongside his pianistic abilities beginning very early on in our musical adventures together.
Ambrose has the unique and precious ability of finding and revealing stories in his music. I feel so grateful for the gift of witnessing him discover himself as an artist.
I don’t know how I got lucky enough to be a part of this project but I am surely grateful.
“Over and over, we forget what being American means. The radical premise of our nation is that one people can be made from many, yet in each new generation we find reasons to limit who those “many” can be—to wall off access to America, literally or figuratively. That impulse usually finds its roots in claims about who we used to be, but nativist nostalgia is a fantasy. We have always been a pluralist nation, with a past far richer and stranger than we choose to recall.”
Schulz, Kathryn. “Citizen Khan” The New Yorker. June 6 & 13, 2016.
Left to right: Paul Kalina, Dan Padley, Tara McGovern, Justin LeDuc, Ryan Smith, Steve Locher, Daniel Gaglione, John Rapson and Dave Moore.
Captain Charles Boycott was a land agent of absentee landlord Lord Erne living in Lough Mask House, County Mayo, Ireland in 1880.
Harvests were poor that year and the farmers working Erne’s land were unable to afford the rent.
There are vast swaths of context that I’m not including here because so many valuable resources have already covered how the enclosure movement legalized the theft of land from Irish farmers who were then charged rent to work the land they had owned for centuries.
Boycott, showing all the mercy and grace of our modern-day GOP, responded by evicting 11 tenants from the land.
The Irish farmers had no recourse. All they had was solidarity which they employed despite significant personal hardship by refusing to work the land from which their friends and neighbors had been evicted.
Now the harvest was coming in and Captain Boycott had painted himself into a corner. He eventually had to hire Orangemen from Counties Cavan and Monaghan and pay one thousand police officers to escort them in to reap a harvest that was worth far less than it cost Boycott to gather.
If you’re looking for a way to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day in our deeply troubled world, I invite you to join me in invoking Ireland’s greatest gift to the world, the boycott.
The legacy of our Irish ancestors isn’t luck at all, it’s resilience.
St. Patrick’s Day as it is observed in most American cities is a consumerist sham. Sure, it started in the early 17th century as a religious feast day honoring the death day of St. Patrick in 462 AD, but it has devolved to a level of kitsch that deters many from any desire to observe the day at all.
The arguments against the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day are sound. Patrick, or Maewyn Succat according to some sources, wasn’t even Irish, for one. According to The Confession of Saint Patrick, he was a British teenager who was captured by Irish pirates and taken as a slave to Ireland where he lived for six years before escaping. He later became a cleric and then a bishop who returned to northern and western Ireland to spend the rest of his life evangelizing, ordaining clergy, and organizing a new religious order.
The most famous legend attached to St. Patrick also doesn’t hold up well in the light of modern interpretation. All scientific evidence suggests that the post-glacial island of Ireland never had snakes in the first place so this notion of St. Patrick banishing them can only be a symbolic representation of what he actually did destroy, the Druidry of the native Irish people.
Leaving history aside, there’s also the problems with how St. Patrick’s Day is most commonly celebrated now. Namely, with lots of green beer and t-shirts emblazoned with tasteless stereotypes. Google ‘Irish yoga’ if you’re confused.
That’s the bathwater. Now let me describe the baby.
The music of Ireland, of which I have been both scholar and devotee for more than three decades, is compellingly, heartrendingly beautiful. The same can be said of the dance traditions with the additional observation that Irish dancers are also dedicated and capable athletes. Irish food has never gotten the respect given to other European cuisines but if you’re ever actually had good Irish food, you know as I do how hearty and tasty it can be.
The place to be in eastern Iowa on this coming St. Patrick’s Day (Friday, March 17) is Uptown Bill’s Coffee House in Iowa City beginning at 6 pm. Bring a dish to pass in the potluck and an instrument to join in the open session that follows dinner. Maybe you’ll go on after the festivities and find yourself some green beer. Whatever floats your boat. There’s no wrong way to celebrate but there is more than one way.
Introducing Anna, my featured musician for March and April!
Anna and I both have April birthdays, we both love to play fiddle and we are both devoted fans of Hamilton so we have plenty in common.
Anna is an enthusiastic and creative musician who takes risks and reaps the rewards of her courage. She has so much joy to share and is truly a gift to all who know her.