11 August 2011

News from the Red Room and points south

Apologies to Arnie and Sharon Loughrin, who sent in a long and welcome report three weeks ago, after their house concert for Ferguson, Holmes, & Henry in the Red Room, Cookstown. We publish the report now, with gratitude and indeed with some awe at seeing what really dedicated music fans are capable of doing:

We had a great night with Gary, Colin, and Janet and a really full house with around ten new people, purely through word of mouth recommendation from previous attenders. We're about our limit for the Red Room (around 43 that night), and the larger space in the open-plan kitchen/dining/sun lounge that we squeezed around 45 into for the Wilders may need to be used for future nights.

We've been off work for the past two weeks and we've clocked up around 1,400 miles - we set the mileage when leaving for Athy, had a few trips out with the kids to Belfast and the Antrim coast, and went to the Celtic Fusion Festival in Castlewellan. Great trad music there, but the highlights for us were the Dirty Blues Band, who are playing the Omagh festival this year... numbers like 'Midnight flyer', 'Will the circle be unbroken' and covers of Old Crow Medicine Show's 'Wagon wheel' and 'CC rider' along with the Gillian Welch 'I want to sing that rock and roll'. If we'd been asked what we wanted to hear we couldn't have chosen better.

The wonderful Louisiana cajun band L'Angelus closed the show and included a couple of their younger siblings, twin brothers around five years old, I'm guessing, and a little sister a few years older.

We then clocked the miles up dramatically with a two-day trip to the deep, deep south (unchartered territory for us northerners!). Tuesday was spent in Waterford, and thanks to the BIB calendar we discovered Southern Welfare's weekly gig in Kitty Kiernan's pub. It was a lovely informal night: all the old bluegrass favourites with a bit of John Prine thrown in - a really enjoyable few hours.

Our main reason for the trip was to check out the Clonmel World Music Centre at the Raheen House Hotel. What a brilliant venue - superb organisation, a really friendly, lively crowd, and the hotel itself is a first-class overnight stop, set in beautiful grounds, and a delicious breakfast the next morning. The fact that the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band were playing there during our annual holiday period was the deciding factor on making the trip to the faraway venue we'd heard such good things about. The concert was really entertaining - loads of laughs, these boys put together a great show featuring great musicianship (the fiddle playing in particular) and of course Leroy Troy's trademark banjo spinning. A few aftershow tunes in the hotel were a special end to the night, and a chat with Leroy and the other band members over breakfast the next morning confirmed what a genuinely good bunch of fellas they all are.

Gerry (who is one of the organisers at Clonmel) and I have been Facebook friends for a while so it was great to meet him and the team at last.

We also managed to fit in trips to Dunmore East, Cahir Castle, the Swiss Cottage, and the railway trip along the River Suir, plus some excellent food; so a good time was had by us and the kids (and bluegrass music brought a little more business to the counties of Waterford and Tipp.; we're not broke but we are badly bent!).

Sharon adds that there are great photos from the concerts on the Red Room Facebook page and the Clonmel World Music website; and on her YouTube channel there is this video of the Dirty Blues Band playing 'Midnight special'.

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At 1:26 am, Blogger Colm Campbell said...

Thanks Arnie,
glad you liked the gig, think its great what you are doing for the music and would like to be a part of that if we can arrange a gig sometime. In any case keep up the good work, it's great to see such genuine commitment to live music, thanks again for your comments. great to see you at the folk park in Omagh!

At 1:32 am, Blogger Colm Campbell said...

Hi Arnie great to see you at the blue grass festival and thanks for your comments abut the Castlewellan Celtic fusion gig and most importantly for your great contribution to keeping live music alive via the Red Room sessions.

At 12:20 am, Blogger philip said...

HI has anyone got a postal address for the Red Room in Cookstown as im unable to locate it.Thanks.

At 12:44 am, Blogger Richard Hawkins said...

Hi, Philip,

The best method of locating the Red Room is to contact Sharon by phone or e-mail (details at https://www.facebook.com/The-Red-Room-Cookstown-182094201841726/info/?tab=page_info) for directions.

BIB editor


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