20 November 2011

A night to remember

Uri Kohen reports from Westport, Co. Mayo:

The first event of the first Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival was a tribute event for this fine music. I (with my very small knowledge of the genre) played some fine tune, and friends came and helped us to bring it home - Hubie and Sarah MacEvilly finished the evening by singing 'Red clay halo' by Gillian Welch. I fell in love with the song.

Two years later, as part of the third festival, an RTÉ film crew joined us to tell the story of an Israeli who produces a bluegrass festival in Ireland. I said then that as long as the public will support me, I will bring Gillian to Westport one day. Last year I saw her in concert for the first time, and last Friday I went to Belfast to see her once again.

My wife and myself got a great seat beside Tim Rogers and got to meet a lot of good bluegrass people like Sharon and Arnie. The concert was a dream come true for any Gillian Welch fan; the hits were coming one by one in superb performance, the unique guitar playing of David Rawlings sounded fantastic, and Gillian's voice was perfect.

By then it was a night to remember, but there was more to come: during a late drink in the hotel, Tim pointed out David, who was himself sampling some fine brew. On my way to bed, I took the opportunity to shake Dave's hand and to tell him that the west of Ireland will always give him a warm welcome. I know they won't make it to the 2012 festival - but the sky's the limit. Thanks, Gillian and Dave, for a great show.

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