Change a small part of the whole, just a little, and the whole becomes an Entirely Different Beast. Bump it a little bit more and, well…

There is no greater joy for me as a teacher than this: Watching students take the bit and run towards horizons I only sorta guessed might be out there. It's unpredictable, it's flirting with disaster, and is certainly not for the sort of teacher who needs to feel in control and center-stage. But the rewards are real and lasting for everyone involved. Good clean fun! The rare moments I experienced this as a student, when I was allowed to stretch and create, to take control of my own education, are the only positive memories I have of school before university. And it's exactly why I wound up a teacher and not a lawyer or some other sort of scoundrel.

The Máirtín O’Connor Band plays the Inagh Valley set

From the acclaimed CD ‘The Road West’, here’s The Máirtín O’Connor Band with the hauntingly beautiful ‘Inagh Valley’ and the jig ‘Rockin’ The Boat’. Absolutely brilliant musicianship from three of Ireland’s foremost traditional musicians – Máirtín O’Connor on button accordion, Cathal Hayden on fiddle and Séamie O’Dowd on guitar. As played during a concert at the Fleadh Nua in Ennis…

A Fall Front Lid Installed

Finally! It’s been slow going, but step by step has gotten me here. I don’t want (or need) to dwell on the number of weekends that have gone by since I started this build, but I am starting to imagine getting this pair of desks out the door. Be a bit lonely, I fear. The way I’ve been building is…

Tony McMahon & John Keogh – Napoleon Crossing the Rhine – piano & accordeon – 1985 (2007 Siar an Bóthar www.tg4.ie)

There’s so much to love about this, and on so many levels–from the faded coloring of the balloons to the Wild-n-Crazy polyester & hairstyles from Hell, from the channeling of Jerry Lee Lewis to the pounding and perfect take on the great old tune itself–that I’d have to call my posting of it here “trans-ironic:”

Old Friends, Old Tune + Harry can yodel!

Harry Liedstrand – fiddle, Cindy Liedstrand – guitar, and Terry Barrett – mandolin play a Kenny Hall favorite at the 2014 San Francisco Festival of the Mandolins; Not sure when I first heard the Sweet’s Mill String Band recording. I think I was in junior high. Could that be right? Had the honor of playing that with Kenny a few…

Inside the Roar

I was 14, just figuring out how to play music with other people, when Will and I took a trip up to a Sweet’s Mill music festival. Noggin, meet hammer. Of the many, many memories: sitting in the circle of fiddles, mandolins, banjos, guitars, harmonicas under the star-filled night sky, swept up in the roaring of the tunes that seemed…