11 July 2012

All good things...

Thanks to Colin Henry for this news of a historic occasion:

They say all good things must come to an end, but of course if they come to an end, they must have a beginning. We had both on Sunday night past. It was the farewell performance of Ferguson, Holmes, and Henry, the trio of Gary Ferguson from the USA and Janet Holmes and myself. This was our last gig of what had been a pretty good four years of touring Ireland and recording. Janet and I have felt privileged to have had the opportunity to perform and write songs with someone of Gary's standing in American music society; but most of all we have valued the friendship that we have forged over the years, and that will endure. So it was a sad night in many ways on Sunday, but there was a new beginning to lift the spirits, and not just the spirits but the rafters too! It was the first ever concert in The Barn.

We all know and love the Red Room, Cookstown, Northern Ireland's home of the house concert, and we all know and love the hosts Sharon and Arnie. Well, for a little time now they have been toiling to construct the Barn as the venue for their house concerts, and we got to be the first act to play there. Only fitting, I suppose, in a way - because it was Gary who got in touch with Sharon and Arnie and guided them the first few steps along the road, and it was Gary and I who did the first ever house concert in the Red Room, a fact of which we are very proud. The Barn is simply a perfect place to perform. The setting is just what you want and with Sharon's magnificent patchwork quilts as backdrop it is warm and inviting for performer and audience alike. As a playing artist, the sound was just where you wanted it. As a result, the first concert was a resounding success - a great night of music and laughter. The Trio were augmented in the second half by Ivan Muirhead on guitar and we were graced with the magnificent voice of Janet Dowd and the guitar of her husband Mervyn. It was a full house and the roof would have been raised, only Arnie has built it so well it will not go anywhere for a few hundred years!

As some of you may know, I composed a little tune as a tribute and as a gift to Sharon and Arnie. I should more accurately say, as Bob Dylan did, that I didn't compose the tune - it was out there somewhere all along, I was just the one who found it. Here is a link to the tune, not surprisingly called 'The Barn'. We opened Sunday's show with the tune; just Gary, Janet, and I; as I said, an end and a beginning.

And thanks to Sharon Loughrin herself, who writes:

It's three years since I answered Gary's post on the BIB offering a house concert, and it has been an amazing three years. We've had wonderful musicians here, met many new music fans who have become friends through attending our concerts, and watched many of those people strike up new friendships among each other.

Getting the barn ready in time involved quite a few late nights work, but we were determined that if at all possible Gary, Colin, and Janet would play the first concert in it, so it was even more fitting when we learned that this would be their final gig.

We'd like to say a big thank you to FHH for beginning this project with us, Colin for the beautiful tune he composed especially for us, all the musicians and people who have attended over the years (we couldn't have done this without both!), and of course you for your support through the BIB.

I've attached a few photos [top, the inaugural show in the Barn on 8 July; bottom, the Barn's handsome exterior] and a YouTube link which I hope you'll enjoy; there are more photos on our Facebook page.

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At 12:11 am, Blogger Unknown said...

What a surprise to get to Sharon and Arnie's and find out there had been a barn built. I was fully expecting to play in the Red Room. What an honor to be the first to play in the Red Room and the first in The Barn. Sharon and Arnie...first class all the way! :-)


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