December 14th-15thSeason eleven got a predictable send-off at O'Malley's Pub this past weekend. Unlike last month's visit (which occurred during an ice-storm), the December weather was relatively mild. Friday night was a good-sized night. Mike debuted his latest add-ons to the sound-system - some tasty EV wedge-monitors (which brought mixed blessings for us). Friday's new faces included Shelbie and Ronnie, Ron, Brian, Josh, and Dani. Friday's regulars included Jason and SueAnn, Bob (down from Cedar Rapids), and Lloyd (of course).
Saturday was a huge evening. Of course Dan, Pat, Carol, and Norma beat us to the pub, and Bob arrived shortly after us. Shelbie and Ronnie returned for a second dose of Tulla-grooviness as did Brian and Josh (who brought Kerrie this time). Other friendly faces included Daryl, Bryan, and Jeremy; Cham, Scott, Joe, and Michelle; Jody and Dennis; Ray; Tim; Mike and Gayla; and Courtney and Jacob (who were celebrating their engagement).
It was a great ending to our eleventh season, and a welcome start of a five-week break before the 2008 season kicks up. See you next year!
November 16th-17thThis past weekend's two-fer appearance in the DFW metroplex had a new twist, with us pairing up our quarterly Saturday-night visit to the Tipperary Inn with a debut performance at Ed Redmond's Plaza Pub on Friday evening.
PLAZA PUB / TIPPERARY INN
The Plaza Pub is Arlington's latest arrival to the Celtic music scene, a small(-ish) watering hole about two miles east of UTA on Park Row Drive. The pub divides evenly into thirds, with the center third being the bar, the south third occupied by a couple pool tables, and the north third having enough room for a small stage and a couple handfuls of tables. While the pub is small, the appetite for Celtic music there is huge, with Ed leading the pack. We made a lot of new friends - Ed, Devon, Joe, and Pete (the staff), Renee (Rachel's new love-interest), Rob, Roy, Penny and Phil, George, Brenna and her family, and Tony. And a handful or so of our DFW regulars turned up as well - Charles, Jay, Rickey, and Jeff - as did superfans Bob, Brent, and Leah (who was kinda obligated to be there since she was our chauffeur). It was a great night for us, and has become the regular quarterly haunt opposite the Tipp.
Saturday was a special day for us in that we had the privilege of going to the Majestic Theatre in Dallas to take in a performance of the Moscow Ballet's production of The Nutcracker. The real privilege was being able to see Josie (Will and Leah's daughter) onstage as Snowflake #6. It was an exciting day for Josie, Leah, and all of us.
Saturday night at the Tipperary Inn was as big a night as we've come to expect there. A big, friendly, responsive crowd turned out that included plenty of our new Dallas regulars - Becky and Stuart, Eric and Deirdra, Rickey, Charles, Ronnie (down from Norman), Pierre, Steve, Joe, Dennis, Wendy and Bill, Tony, Bob, Mark, and Leah, Will, Robert, Josie, and Kay-Lee.
Of course, the next morning featured the customary big IHOP breakfast with the superfan-gang before being whisked off to the airport by Leah. A big special thanks to Bob (who hosted us at Chez Harmon), and both Bob and Leah (who shared the chauffeur duties this weekend).
November 2nd-3rdAs we trundled up to Weston this past Friday evening for the start of our weekend performances at O'Malley's Pub, a November ice-storm swept across Kansas and southern Missouri, nudging the southwest quadrant of the KC metro area and belying all the hooplah about global warming. (Yes, we know it doesn't exactly work that way, but it makes for a good intro.) In any case, Friday night's crowd started out small-and-subdued-ish, and peaked about halfway through the evening having almost filled up the bottom cellar. They remained attentive throughout the evening (a refreshing change from the usual Friday night crowd). The bad weather never made it as far out as Weston, and the majority of the bad weather in Kansas City had subsided by the time we drove home.
Saturday saw a little more wintry weather, but the roads were in far better shape, as was the crowd. A fair number of friends and fans made it up from Kansas City. But there were no appearances from any of our long-distance regulars (Bob from Cedar Rapids, Scott and Louise from Maryville, Marion and Diane from St Joseph)... bunch of slackers. Mike trotted out some of his new, fancy sound-gear set-up and made us sound spiffier than normal. And then made his obligatory appearance in the second set. A very pleasant weekend.
October 13th-14thIt was another one-two weekend for us as we appeared at the Celtic Heritage Festival in Bedford TX on Saturday, and at the Weston Irish Festival on Sunday.
CELTIC HERITAGE FESTIVAL / WESTON IRISH FESTIVAL
We met up in Bedford (Mark and Rach flying up from Austin, Mary flying down from KC) Saturday, in the middle of our first set. We were scheduled to arrive simultaneously, but horrendous weather kept Mary's plane on the ground in KC at least an hour. So Bob took Mark and Rachel out to the Boys Ranch, where they began setting up for the opening set of the day while Bob returned to the airport. The set began as a duo, with Mary being rushed in after a handful of songs. The audience was very understanding (and rather amused), and the set finished nicely. We were followed on the Main Stage with three great sets by Spriggan, Brothers 3, the Corsairs. Needfire then took the stage, and downright rocked the house before turning the stage back over to us. During the day, we had the opportunity to float away from the stage and check out a couple of other outstanding performances by BEHAN and Amberhawke. The sole disappointment was not being able to stay until Sunday to take in the Trinity River Whalers, one of the groups we were specifically hoping to hear and hang out with. Kudos to our friends and fans who turned out - with those we remember being Leah, Will, Robert, Josie, Kay-Lee, Bill and Wendy, and Cathy, Jared, and Marc. And special thanks to Bob, who did double duty this weekend, chauffeuring us around AND putting them up... especially since chauffeuring us involved one extra trip to the airport.
We returned to Kansas City Sunday morning, and drove straight from the airport to Weston to perform the opening courtyard set at the Weston Irish Festival. It was a great day, and there was a great crowd. We were followed by Connie Dover, who turned in her typical stellar performance during which we had the fortune to have a lengthy visit with Keith and Jen Benjamin (and the two young Benjamin gentlemen, Cameron and Duncan). Connie was followed by Brigid's Cross, from whose set (which was kicking) the band had to (unfortunately) cut out early to head down to the bottom hall for their second set, which followed Flannigan's Right Hook, who had a pretty hot set of their own going. Overall, it was a great weekend.
September 1st - October 7thWe returned to Bonner Springs KS to spend our six late-summer and early-fall weekends out at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. With the exception of one blustery weekend, the run enjoyed uncommonly good weather. There were plenty of reunions to be had with fellow performers, friends, and fans (and combinations thereof), starting with Bruce, Susi, Becky, and Nikki from Queen's Gambit, , with whom the band shared the Dunwoodie Dell stage. The gang spent equal amounts of time kicking back in The Cabana with Phyllis and Vikki (the MentalPause broads) and Shannyn, Donna, Natalia, and Molly (the Limeybirds and their sweet sidekick), and hanging out with Kurt, Chris, Sean, Cliff, Mark, and Tina (the Jolly Rogers and their winsome CD-wench) and Albert, Brett, David, Jason, Dave, and Ray (the Musical Blades). And it goes without saying that the Festival day would hardly be complete without an appearance at the Royal Cigar Smoker and the carousing with Christine, Dean, and Melissa (the Lord Mayor's Company), and Dan, Pat, and Larry (the Rogue's Gallery). The high point of those six weeks was rounding up Rachel Bowerman, Kurt Hanover, Mark and Patty Williams, and Becky Grotts for a special ensemble performance of Mo Ghile Mear (which brought the Queen to tears - in the good way). As always, a very special thanks to Gail Simunac and My Lady's Chamber for her generous hospitality in providing the band a place to stay cool (or warm) and dry.
KANSAS CITY RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
August 31st - September 2ndWe returned to Crown Center for a Sunday-afternoon-only performance at the Kansas City Irish Festival - the band's home-festival and one that has, in five short years, become the 9th largest Irish festival in the country. It was a wonderful weekend, weather-wise, with Sunday coming in at a mild 83°, and the crowd was huge. We performed in the climate-controlled coolness of Crown Center's atrium, sandwiched in between some great performances from the Shortleaf Band, Flannigan's Right Hook, and Ireland's Jimmy Crowley, who preceded them, and Omaha's Ellis Island, who followed. The crowd was great, as was their response to our set, and it included regulars Charles and Kristine, Scott and Louise, and Chris Merle (all the way up from Tulsa).
KANSAS CITY IRISH FESTIVAL
August 24th-25thWith the exception of our CD-release party in May, our appearance at O'Malley's Pub this past weekend was our first in six months. Folks turned out from everywhere to show us how sorely we were missed (and to chastise us for our long absence). For the first time, Mike ran the sound from the balcony, freeing us up from that onerous task. Friday night's modest start quickly turned to frenzied with the arrival of Rob and Scott, there to celebrate their one-day-apart birthdays and brought with them a party-bus full of revelers and a wall of sound. Friday night's regulars included Jason and Chuck; and Bob all the way down from Cedar Rapids. Newbies included Bob and Judy; Lee and John; Bill and Liz; Scott and Kevin; Roger and Margaret; and Jim and Kelly. Mason Brown was there most of the evening, and it was a treat to have the opportunity to visit with him a while.
Saturday night was a great night for both ourselves and the house. We brought a couple of new electronic gadgets we'd acquired earlier that day as well as our wireless in-ear monitors, all of which greatly helped Mike tailor the sound in the house. Consequently, everyone (the band AND the house) could hear the band better. The audience was overwhelmingly friendly and responsive, and the night flew by. Saturday night's regulars included Pat and Carol, Bob, Lloyd, Mike and Tammy, and Jeannie; Adam, and Ray and Beth; Marion and Diana; and Scott and Louise. Newbies included Joel and Rachel; Ashley and Adam; Traci and Matt; Terry and Sylvia; Shawn, and Katherine and Frank; and Bryan, Christine, and Nicky. Mike joined us onstage both evenings for his trademark renditions of Fields of Athenry and Danny Boy (which he managed, in the past six months, to turn into a drinking song). It was a good weekend for us and a most-welcomed return to our home-pub.
August 10th-11thDallas was the destination as we boarded the plane en route to our quarterly appearances at Trinity Hall and the Tipperary Inn. Despite the delayed take-off, the flight arrived astonishingly early, even for the typically-early Leah (our official Metroplex chauffeur). A fairly-painless rush-hour drive got us to Trinity Hall with enough time to get set up and be ready to play. The gang of Dallas regulars was on the small side (Leah, Guy, Frank, Jerry, Mark, Charles, and Bill and Judy), but the usually laissez-faire crowd was extraordinarily attentive. There was much fun to be had the entire evening. It was great to see QALien Kathleen (mpwah!), and Rickie finally turned up, albeit late. Kudos to Donna, Lorna, and Chaz for coming down from OKC. And a hearty hello and welcome to Trey and Amy; Julie; Debbie, Don, and Mark; David, Jason, and Livia; Ivan; David Kyle; and Keith. A special thanks to Matt, Jack, Addison, and especially Joe for his incredible graciousness. The night ended with Leah's delivering us, safe and sound, to Chez Harmon.
TRINITY HALL / TIPPERARY INN
Saturday was quite the busy day, that began with meeting Craig and Terrie for a late brunch over at Mama's Daughter's Diner, minutes away from Bob's house. (Craig - aka the Bilge Pumps' Maroon, the Shantyman - graciously provides us with a handful of PA items for our quarterly appearances.) After a nice visit with the two of them and newbie Sahara Rose, it was a short drive over to Applebee's to meet with Bruce, Lupita, Luke, and Dan (lunch for them, dessert for us). Bruce and Lupita (Mark's brother/sister-in-law from Austin) drove up to Dallas to meet Luke and Daniel (Mark's nephews down from Pittsburgh and Chicago respectively), who could easily have flown to Austin for ClaveMan 2007, but wanted to catch us since they were in the neighborhood. Leah (et al) and Mark also joined the lunch/dessert party. After everyone was well-fed, it was back to Bob's for a slideshow of the Ireland photos, which was only half-watched before we had to leave for what would be our best night to-date at the Tipperary Inn. The crowd was there early - and it was big and enthusiastic. It left us wondering about the prospect of a live recording there. Regulars included Bob; Leah, Will, Robert, Josie, and Kay-Lee; Bruce, Lupita, Luke, and Dan; Mark and Rhea; Bob and Rickie; Thea, Kathy and Jim, and Chris and Erin; Ed, Janice, and Alex; John; Kathleen; and Keith (fresh over from Trinity Hall). New friendly faces included Tony and Dorothy; Francisco and Ona, Scotty; Stuart and Becky; Steve; (another) Steve; Pierre; and Floyd, Sarah, Jerry, Kathy, Mark, and Beth. Some outstanding dancing was provided by Kiernan, Leslie, and Sierra. It was no less than an incredible night. Back to the comfort of Chez Harmon for the night before meeting the Tharp throng at IHOP for our see-ya-next-time breakfast, then up to the airport with Leah for the flights out (Mary heading back to KC, Mark and Rachel heading down to Austin for a week's vacation with the Austin Claveys).
June 14th - July 1stAs the high point for both the 2007 season and the our career to-date, Tullamore ventured into the international scene, with a 10-concert, 16-day tour of Ireland. We left Kansas City on Thursday, June 14th, laying over in Newark, and eventually arriving in Dublin on Friday morning the 15th, and it was off to the races.
IRELAND TOUR 2007
Our itinerary took us on a sweeping, counter-clockwise circuit around the island - heading from Dublin to Newtownards and on to Belfast; on to Bushmills, along the north Antrim coast to Portush, Coleraine, and Derry; Strabane, Stranorlar, and Donegal; Ballyshannon, Bundoran, and Sligo; Strandhill, Knocknarea, Castlebar, and Galway (where Mary's husband Kurt joined up with the tour); Lisdoonvarna, Doolin, Milltown Malbay, Kilrush, Tarbert, and Listowel; Abbeyfeale, Newcastlewest, and Kilmallock; Mallow, Fermoy, and Kilworth; and Lismore, Waterford, and Wexford. From there, they struck in toward the center of the island through New Ross, Thomastown, and on to Kilkenny; Castlecomer, Stradbally, Kildare, and Naas; Dublin; Tullamore and Mullingar; Longford and Roscommon; Roosky, Florencecourt, and Enniskillen; Belturbet, Cavan, and Virginia; and back to Dublin for the flight home.
We performed ten concerts - turning in performances at the Ards Arts Centre in Newtownards, the Playhouse in Derry, St John's Arts and Heritage Centre in Listowel, the Friars Gate Theatre in Kilmallock, the Village Arts Centre in Kilworth, the Wexford Arts Centre, the Moat Theatre in Naas, the Roscommon Arts Centre, the Ardhowen Theatre in Enniskillen, and the Ramor Theatre in Virginia.
We took in such sites as Down Cathedral in Downpatrick; Carrick-a-Rede and the Giant's Causeway on the north Antrim coast; Donegal Castle (and the Olde Castle Bar); Streedagh Strand in Grange; Queen Maeve's Cairn and the Carrowmore Passage Tombs in Knocknarea; the Poulnabrone Dolmen and the Cahercommaun Stone Fort in the Burren; Kilfenora Cathedral, Doonagore Castle and the Cliffs of Moher in Doolin; the Lismore Castle Gardens; the Dunbrody in New Ross; Jerpoint Abbey in Thomastown; Kilkenny Castle; the Rock of Cashel (if only from the outside); Dunmore Cave in Ballyfoyle; the Irish National Stud and the Japanese Gardens in Kildare; Dublin Castle and the Book of Kells display and the Long Room) at Trinity College; the Tullamore Dew Heritage Centre; Roscommon Castle and the Roscommon Dominican Friary; the Marble Arch Caves in Florencecourt; and the monastic settlement on Devenish. In addition to the performances, and all of these the picturesque landscapes and attractions, there were several stand-out moments on the tour.
One moment was the first night of the tour. The tour's debut performance was in an intimate, cabaret-style setting. Despite fighting off jet-lag, the performance came off nicely and was warmly received. Among those attending the concert would be Robert and Rosemary Davison (proprietors of Ballynester House, where we'd stay later that evening) and their friend, singer/songwriter Rosemary Woods. After the concert, we grabbed some carry-out pizza and returned to the B&B, and stayed up visiting with Robert and Rosemary until about 2:00 AM. The Davisons didn't have any incoming guests the next day, so they invited us to sleep-in as long as we needed. When we awoke the next morning, Robert and Rosemary prepared breakfast while we made ourselves presentable. We all sat down to together, and were joined by Rosemary (Woods) for what turned out to be a delightful breakfast. After much conversation, we finally needed to get on the road (being, now, five hours behind our agenda and having a concert that evening in Derry). We said our farewells, and were utterly stunned when Robert refused to accept payment for the night's stay - making it a gift to the band. It was one of the most heartwarming gestures we can recall in our twelve years. And it set an incredible tone for the tour.
Another moment was our visit to Listowel. Our connection to Ireland lies entirely with Damian Stack, who has been a friend of ours for the past four years. He put us in contact with Joe Murphy, the director of St John's Arts and Heritage Centre in Listowel, who imparted to us an incredibly-effective model for conducting a tour of Ireland. The booking at St John's was the first one we made, and from that moment Damian had been planning for the band's arrival in Listowel. He met us at St John's. On the verge of sound-checking, the power went out (across half the town). To save time, we'd have dinner while the power was out... and since the power wasn't out at the Stack home, Damian led us to his house where we dropped off our luggage and were served a great dinner by his wife Joan. Afterwards, we headed back to the theatre, sound-checked (the power had since been restored), and after getting off to a late start, had a great show. After the show, there was a big gathering at John B Keane's Pub with visiting that lasted until 1:00 or so. Then it was back to the Stack home for just a bit more visiting before turning in to bed. The next morning, we visited Stack's Arcade (the family empire), then Damian gave us his tour of Listowel and Ballybunnion. We all met up with Seán Moriarty in Ballybunnion - who followed us back to Listowel where we had a tour-ending lunch at the Kerry Writers' Museum. We made their goodbyes to Seán, then returned to the Arcade to make our goodbyes to Joan and Damian. Then it was off in the direction of Kilmallock with another wonderful experience under our belts.
A third moment was our visit to Dublin where, after visiting Dublin Castle and taking in the Book of Kells display and library at Trinity College, we hooked up with Andrew Townley. Andrew is a fiddler who had moved from Kansas City to Ireland several years previously (Mark had performed with Andrew in Emerald Skye in the mid-1990s). Andrew took the train into Dublin to meet us for dinner at Yamamori, Andrew's choice for sushi in Dublin. We all caught up with each other over dinner, after which Andrew took us around the corner for a session at O'Donoghue's, where it was standing room only. As Rachel was the only one (from the band) who brought an instrument, she and Andrew took a seat in the circle of musicians while Mary hung out by the bar (only a few feet away) and Mark snagged a stool near the musicians. The music was great and it quickly became apparent that Andrew had developed into a great fiddler. Mary and Kurt headed back to the B&B after an hour or so, and Rachel and Mark stuck around with Andrew for another 45 minutes. Andrew walked back to the B&B with Rachel and Mark as the train-stop was not far from there. It was a great visit.
A fourth moment began with a great dinner at Scoff's Restaurant and Uno Wine Bar, and then our concert at the Ardhowen Theatre in Enniskillen. It was a well-produced concert with an intimate feel despite the large turnout. The setting was beautiful as the theatre overlooked the River Erne. After the concert, there was a great amount of socializing, and Bernie and Ciaran, a couple who had attended the concert, extended an invitation for us to join them on their boat (the Scarlet Louisa) the next day to tour Devenish - a 6th century monastic settlement on an island in the Lower Lough Erne. The next morning, we hooked up with Bernie and Ciaran on the docks just down the hill from the Theatre, and the proceeded to motor down the River Erne, through Enniskillen, and out onto the the lake. Eventually we came to the island, moored, and went on-land to visit the settlement. When we'd completed our visit, it turned out that the boat was incapacitated, as the pump that circulates water over the engines to cool them had stopped operating. As it was going to be a good while before they would be able to get the pump working again, Ciaran explained the situation to the pilot of one of the water-taxis that brings tourists out to the island, and he agreed to ferry the gang back to Enniskillen. We made their goodbyes to the couple and off we went back to Enniskillen. We took a conventional taxi from the water-taxi's dock back to the Theatre's dock, and it was off in the direction of Belturbet. Quite the fun outing, all misadventures considered.
The last moment came on the verge of performing our final concert of the tour at the Ramor Theatre in Virginia. Damian had called to wish us luck on our performance and make his absolutely final goodbyes, and was on the phone with Mark when he and Seán came walking through the Theatre's door. Slick. Mark took the phone to Mary (who had not witnessed his arrival) so he could pull his prank on her as well. It was great to see the boys again, and heartwarming that they made the three-hour drive across the country to see us perform again and (essentially) see us off. It was a great concert, we did a couple of encores, and there was the customary post-concert visiting before we made their last goodbyes to Damian and Seán. Then we climbed in the van and headed off toward Dublin and home.
June 9thSatuday found the band returning to E H Young Riverfront Park in Riverside for a performance at the Kansas City Scottish Highland Games. It was a beautiful day--at least 10° cooler than it was at last year's Games. And there was a large pavilion-tent put up specifically for the music. The two (the tent and the fine weather) accounted for audiences triple the size of last year's. The band arrived in time to catch the second half of a set by Hazel Whyte, Kansas City's resident Scottish folksinger. When Hazel was through, the fine music of Rowan followed. Then came the newest addition to Kansas City's Celtic music scene, Kelly, with some pretty fine music of their own. Tullamore followed with a great set that delighted the crowd. And the afternoon was wrapped up by Uncle Dirtytoes before the crowd headed back over to the main stage for the evening performance by the Elders. Kudos to band regulars Dan, Pat and Carol, Scott, Cat, and Vicki, Wendy, and Phyllis. And it was great to see Judith, Bren, and Neil (who is due to travel to Scotland). It was a great day all in all.
KANSAS CITY SCOTTISH HIGHLAND GAMES
June 1st-3rdThis past weekend was a first for the band - their first appearance at the Texas Scottish Festival, one of the country's largest Scottish gatherings. With regular appearances, since this past October, at festivals and pubs in the Dallas/Ft Worth metroplex, the band has been generating a small stir of excitement. This past weekend, over the course of five sets, that stir took the audience by storm and turned into a wave of accolades that established Tullamore as a favorite among Texas audiences. The band shared the Glen Uig Stage with some incredible performers that included Hugh Morrison & Kendall Rogers, Heather Gilmer & Jeff Moore, the Trinity River Whalers, and Jed Marum, all of whom were an absolute blast to hang out with and an absolute treat to listen to. Saturday evening, Mary and Rachel participated in Lassies Galore!, a scheduled ladies jam on the Glen Finnan Stage that featured the lassies (obviously) from all of the Festival's acts, and it was incredible show. Stormy weather had been predicted for the weekend... but what do meteorologists know?!? While it DID storm Friday and Saturday nights, Saturday and Sunday days were beautiful, and the crowds were huge. The Festival was held at UTA's Maverick Stadium, and there was plenty of room and then some for the five music stages, the clan tents, the vendors, the athletics, the dancing, and the piping... okay... there wasn't enough room for the piping (is there ever?). As usual, a warm thank you goes to Leah (Tharp) and Bob (Harmon) who were there, all weekend long, for transportation, accommodations, and other moral support. It was a great experience for the band, and they're hoping for a return-trip next June!
TEXAS SCOTTISH FESTIVAL
May 26th-27thJust like last year, the band made a two-fer out of this past weekend, appearing at (actually returning to) Atchison's Riverbend Arts Festival on Saturday afternoon, and at the Celtic Block Party in Waldo on Sunday afternoon. It was a beautiful weekend on the whole (especially considering the fact that it was a three-day weekend). It was at least ten degrees cooler than last year's counterpart. The occasional mild drizzle helped keep the hot edge away. After an unfortunate late start out of Kansas City, the band made it up to Atchison to catch the entirety of Hazel Whyte's set. After the band's set, a tiny crowd (Hazel and hubby Bill, the band, and superfan du jour Mike) went with the Festival's entertainment coordinator John Bunch over to the Elks Lodge for the Festival's Dinner and Awards Banquet. Then it was back to Kansas City.
RIVERBEND ARTS FESTIVAL / CELTIC BLOCK PARTY
The next day, after an afternoon of errand-running, it was over to Governor Stumpy's for the fifth annual Celtic Block Party. This year's line-up saw the return of Jim Cosgrove (more commonly known as Mr Stinky Feet), Flannigan's Right Hook, Tullamore, and the Elders. It was, by far, the best weather the Party has seen since its inception, and the crowd was appropriately huge. Kevin (Ryan) and Tom (O'Malley) pulled out all the stops with the addition of a climate-controlled party-bus for the bands (the ultimate extravagance for bands playing outside in Summer's heat). Both festivals made for a perfect Memorial Day weekend.
May 19thThis past weekend was a milestone weekend for the band as they (for only the third time in ten years) released their CD Wild and Wicked Youth. The party had to be rescheduled around a production delay, and ended up directly opposite this season's MVFS Metro Artist Concert and debut of both Kelly and the Shortleaf Band. But that didn't stop a throng from gathering at O'Malley's Pub for the bands biggest CD-release party yet. And boy howdy did they gather... folks just turned out in droves. It was a deeply rewarding night to enjoy such great support from so many of our family, friends, and fans. The long list included Lloyd, Mike, Dan, Pat and Carol, Mike, Aaron, Mark, Marion and Diana, Adam and Kim, Mike and Tammy, Jason and SueAnn, Jeannie, Mark and Alice, and John and Jamie. Extra-special recognition goes to Scott and Louise (down from Maryville), Ray and Beth (up from Emporia), Marilyn and Larry (up from Wichita), Roger (up from Tulsa), Bob (down from Cedar Rapids), Lorna, Donna, and Chas (up from Oklahoma City), Dennis, Ellen, and Kathy (over from Cincinnati), and Mark's mother Dawn (in all the way from Hagerstown, MD). The band played a couple of great sets. During the break, there was some cake and a LOT of CD buying and signing. Sean O'Malley hooked the band up with some swag from O'Malley's distributors, and the band brought some of their own, so there was a few handfuls of giveaways over the course of the evening. It was an incredible night, and the band is already working on another CD just for the opportunity to have another night just like it.
O'MALLEY'S PUB - CD-RELEASE PARTY
May 11th-12thThis past weekend was another first for the band as they returned to Texas for their second weekend in a row to participate in the Lone Star State Dulcimer Festival, a teaching festival and one of the finest dulcimer festivals in the United States. Celebrating its silver anniversary, the festival is produced by Dana Hamilton and the Lone Star State Dulcimer Society, and featured concerts Friday and Saturday, and workshops Saturday and Sunday (as well as a ton of other fun activities). Each of the gang taught a workshop - Mary taught Beginning Dulcimer, Rachel taught Ornaments and Improvisation, and Mark taught Arrangement - and the band was the feature concert on Saturday night. It was a great weekend, and the band had the opportunity to work and visit with some incredible musicians - Dana Hamilton (of course), Esther Kreek, Linda Thompson, Lindsay Haisley (exceptional autoharp player), Neal Hellman (mountain dulcimer virtuoso), and the Salt Rock Rounders to name a few. The weather in Glen Rose was beautiful the entire weekend - with the exception of a short shower that moved the Saturday evening concerts indoors. The band's performances were as well-received as their workshops, and they found that teaching festivals were one more kind of gig they could handle nicely. And the camaraderie was outstanding, making this festival one of the most enjoyable ones the band has had the good fortune to be involved with.
LONE STAR STATE DULCIMER FESTIVAL
May 4th-5thTullamore returned to the Dallas/Ft Worth metroplex for another great weekend among family, friends, and fans at their favorite Dallas hangouts - Trinity Hall and the Tipperary Inn. There are a small handful of principals without whose support these weekends would be far more difficult (if not impossible) to pull off... Leah Tharp, who picks the band up at the airport, chauffeurs them around all weekend, and returns them to the airport, safe and sound... Will, Robert, Josey, and Kayla Tharp, who shoulder the burden of sharing Leah with the band all weekend... Bob Harmon, who graciously accomodates the trio at Chez Harmon for the weekend... and Craig Lutke (shantyman of the Bilge Pumps), who generously allows the band the use of various P/A components. They were all there, on cue, when the wheels hit the runway Friday evening. Leah made short work of delivering the band to Trinity Hall where the band, after a brief welcome from Matt, made short work of setting up to play. It was a fun night, made even more fun by the appearance of Bill and Wendy, Guy, Charles, Jeff (from Amberhawke), Ricky, Michael, Shawn, David, and Ed, Emma, Bill and Ben. After the band packed up, Leah shuttled them over to Bob's house and left them in his sleepy hands.
TRINITY HALL / TIPPERARY INN
Early next morning, all four piled into the Rodeo and headed south to Waxahachie to spend the day at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival, the backdrop for many the good times for Mark and Mary back in the early-90s. The band entered the gates courtesy of the lovely ladies of Queen Anne's Lace (muchas smoochas, Arta), where they connected with Bruce and Lupita (Mark's older, 'bigger' brother and his better half) up from Austin. It was a pleasant day, with a light, spotty drizzle doing its best to hold the humidity at bay.
From there, it was straight to the Tipperary Inn where the band played for an eager, responsive, super-charged audience. Leading the way were Leah, Bob, and Bruce and Lupita, and Rachel's Dallas family Thea, Kathy and Jim, Jenny and Wally, and Andy and Larry. On top of that were John and Cathy (down from Norman), Jay and Jennie (also down from Norman, and slowly making their way to England!), Julia, Victor, and Stephanie, John (who assisted with the sound), John (who offered some great advice about the Ireland tour AND about NTIF), Dave, Patrick, Tony, Eric and Deirdre (and a whole bunch of friends), and regulars Ricky and Charles. It was another great night at the Tipp, and the band is already looking forward to the August visit.
April 21stFor the fifth year running, the band made their way out to the VFW Post 7397 in Lenexa KS to entertain the friends, fans, and other curious onlookers at the Rogue's Gallery's Spring Hoolie. In years past, the performance has been an acoustic one... but the crowd seems to grow each year, so the band ended up (for the first time ever) bringing their sound gear and plugging in for this season's Hoolie. And that proved to be a good thing for the veterans and company seated around the bar (in the next room), as they all discovered that Celtic music (and what-not) a la Tullamore is truly enjoyable, and got into the band's performance. It was genuinely rewarding to see everyone who turned out, far too numerous to remember (but we'll take a shot anyway - our apologies for those that slipped through our mental nets) - Dan, Pat and Carol, Lloyd, Mike, Ray and Beth, Scott and Louise, Vicki, Wendy, and Phyllis, Tammy and Mike, Jason and SueAnn, Kaya, Jeannie and Gary, John, David, and special recognition to Bob, our happy wanderer who came all the way down from Cedar Rapids for the party.
March 30th - April 1stIt was a great weekend for the gang down at the Norman Medieval Fair in Norman OK. Even considering that Friday (Children's Day) was rained out, it was an incredible weekend. One of this year's highlights was the inclusion of the Jolly Rogers, The Midwest's original shanty-singing pirate-band, who made their debut-appearance at the Fair. The Jolly Rogers is (are?) Tullamore's band-in-law (what with Mary being married to Kurt, one of the feckless five), and Mary ended up abandoning the band for the weekend to brighten the JRs stay in Norman. So Mark and Rachel drove to Norman by themselves and kicked it up at the home of Ron and Donna Deluca (always a pleasant stay). The Delucas have been king and queen at the Fair for the last few years, and were intending to take a sabbatical from those roles this year, but Destiny caught up (at least with Ron... Donna took a line from the tale of the campers and the grizzly... "Ron, I don't have to outrun Destiny, I just have to outrun you."). So Ron was a Queenless King. Anyway, Friday's rain-out day gave everyone the chance to play hookey, PLUS make it to an early dinner and turn in a couple hours earlier than they would've otherwise. Mark and Rachel dined at Applebee's with Sandy and Mary Kay, Skip, and Ray and Beth (three valuable words... Triple Chocolate Meltdown).
NORMAN MEDIEVAL FAIR
Saturday was a beautiful day. The band was performing on the Unicorn Stage this year, for the first time since the Fair moved from Brandt Park to Reaves Park. The change in venue was rewarding, pleasurably and fiscally... pleasurably because the band was able to perform opposite Calliope House, Simpkin the Foole, Harmless T Jester, and Daniel - Duke of Danger (all incredible folks to work and visit with)... and fiscally because the stage's crowds were a lot bigger , more attentive, and more responsive. Saturday night, Mark and Rachel dined at Taste of India, the best Indian cuisine in Norman. They were joined by Ray and Beth, Susi and Bruce (from Queen's Gambit), Becky and Riley, Julia, and Libby. It was a truly pleasant evening... and despite the fact that one can have a Taste of India out at the Fair site, it doesn't compare with dining in their restaurant.
Sunday was another great day (although it started considerably earlier thanks to Sunday's schedule-variations and Daylight Savings Time). The high points of the day were a ruthless Bocci match (with the Biggs family, Jay and Jennie, et al) and a killer jam (with Jacque, Thea, Kathy, and Shanda). Another great weekend in Norman!
March 17thThis year's St Patrick's Day agenda returned to the hustle and bustle that the band has been used to (until last year). Being on a Saturday, everybody was ready for a heightened level of... celebration. The day began with a morning visit to Browne's Market for their traditional breakfast, shopping, and some listening to the long-missed music of Dog Tree (the phoenix that rose from the ashes of Shenanigans). That's right, you heard it here first. Okay... so you didn't hear it here first, but that changes nothing... Kenny "Over My Dead Body" Hyland and Victor "We're Sham-rockin' Now" Dougherty are back playing Celtic music, almost against their will (of course Richelle and Chris never stopped).
ST PATRICK'S DAY @ JAYHAWK TOWERS / O'MALLEY'S PUB
Anyway, the visit to Browne's was quite pleasant, and from there it was off to Topeka to perform for the big post-parade soiree they hold at the Jayhawk Towers. The band had the good fortune to acquire the gig courtesy of Barb Quaney and Steve Denny, who managed to squeeze in a little visit while the band was setting up before dashing off to march in the parade with the Pipers of the Plains. The band played a couple sets, being joined in their performance by Theresa's Irish Lassy Dancers and the lovely O'Shea Sisters. Regulars included Ray and Beth Cole; Mike Moran; Jason Dozier; and the Bolands (Mike, Mary, Kevin, and Tom). After the band was finished, the Pipers of the Plains made a spectacular entrance and delivered a set while the band broke down and Glenfinnan set up. Unfortunately, the band had to leave before Glenfinnan began if they were going to stay on schedule... one that included an exquisite late lunch at Tuptim Thai with Ray, Beth, and Mike.
After lunch, it was off to Weston for an evening at O'Malley's Pub, for the predictable St Patrick's Day madhouse. As it turned out, Ellis Island and the Mickey Finns were scheduled to be trading sets in the lower cellar from 11:30 Saturday morning 'til 1:30 Sunday morning. So this year, the band picked up the 8:00 - midnight shift in the upper cellar following the music of Bob Reeder. The crowd was crammed in and louder than ever. At about 10:15, the party crowd gave way to the music crowd, the band morphed from juke-box to performers, and the night began to shine. Regulars included Dan and Pat, Scott and Louise, and Mike. It was a treat to see Damian again with a handful of friends from the Irish American Club of Shawnee.
March 9th-11thIt was a three-peat weekend for the band. The weekend prior to St Patrick's Day has become a fixture in the band's annual schedule - a collection of three excellent local gigs that the band has done for the past two (or three) years. Friday night found the band playing at the Town Hall at Old Shawnee Town for the Irish American Club of Shawnee. This was the third year for the band at the Club's annual reception - the event that put the band on the international map. One of the Club's annual guests of honor from Listowel, Damien Stack, has become a friend and advocate of the band. He put the band together with Joe Murphy, manager of St John's Theatre and Arts Centre, who gave the band a very persuasive model for soliciting bookings at arts-centres and theatres throughout Ireland. Weeks later, Tullamore's first international tour was born. After the gig, a few handfuls ended up going over to Jake's Place for some dancing, some food, some joke-telling, and some more dancing.
IRISH AMERICAN CLUB OF SHAWNEE / ST PATRICK'S IRISH FEST / ST PATRICK'S CHURCH
Saturday afternoon, the band turned in their third appearance in three years at St Patrick's Parish's in north Kansas City for a feature performance at their annual Irish Fest. The festival opened with a set of ballads courtesy of Tom Meehan. Then, after a set by the band, there was a set of pipe-tunes courtesy of Jody Watson. When Jody finished, the dancers of the O'Riada Academy of Irish Dance took the floor for a stunning display that easily earned the biggest response of the night. They, in turn, were followed by Clanna Eireanne, the Kansas City Irish Dancers, who danced a set of their own Irish and Scottish set dances, and finished by teaching the audience how to shake it Irish style. The band took advantage of those three performances to enjoy the fine corned beef and cabbage dinner, and then took the stage again to finish out the evening.
Sunday morning, it was up bright and early for the drive down to Emerald KS for a fourth consecutive year at St Patrick's Church's (yes, another one) annual dinner. The surrounding community turned out for the fundraiser, complete with a fine corned beef and cabbage dinner of their own and a selection of pies that would make Dorothy Winters sing like a bird. After a few years, Tullamore has become one of the family in Emerald, and the crowd warmed up to them right away, capping off another incredible weekend. Here's looking forward to next year's three-peat.
March 3rdThe band had the pleasure, this past weekend, of returning to the Paola Community Center to reprise their performance at in An Evening in Ireland, a benefit for the Center and pet project produced by Rob Gavin. For yet another year, a few hundred people gathered for an evening of great entertainment. Rob kicked off the evening playing downstairs where everyone was eating. The second installment was the wonderful singing of the Singing Sisters, Sisters Rosalie and Rosamonde Deck, whose talents have taken them throughout Europe, Canada, and the US. Following them were the incredible dancers from the O'Riada Academy of Irish Dance. Christine's academy has quickly become the Midwest's premiere Irish dance school and has produced several world champions. Wrapping up the evening, back by popular demand, was the band. It was a great evening... for the crowd and ALL the performers... and the band is looking forward, hopefully, to another return to Paola.
AN EVENING IN IRELAND
February 24th-25thThis past weekend was not the typical weekend the band would have at O'Malley's Pub, on a couple of counts. First, they only played on Saturday night (ordinarily they'd be up there both Friday and Saturday nights). As it turned out, Seven Nations was in town joining Eddie Delahunt, John Morris, and dancers from the O'Riada Academy of Irish Dance for the Bridging the Gap Irish Concert put on by Rockhurst High School. Seven Nations was beating the bushes for another local gig to help defray the costs of their visit to Kansas City, so Tullamore passed their Friday night at the pub on to the the band. Consequently, all the Friday night regulars wound up showing up Saturday night for their monthly dose of Tullamore. Saturday evening started out with a pleasant dinner at the America Bowman with friends Ray and Beth Cole (from Emporia). Then it was downstairs to set up for the night.
Saturday was the day of Weston's first annual Winterfest and Pub Crawl, so the pub was full before the band even started setting up. It started out as a loud and boisterous crowd, and only got louder and... boisterous-er. There were plenty of requests, toasts, and complimentary rounds for the band (well... actually... for Mark, who had a well-lubricated night with four Red Hughs, four Car-Bombs, three shots of Tullamore Dew, and a chaffuered trip home courtesy of Rachel). The audience included regulars Kurt, Ray and Beth, Dan and Norma, Pat and Carol, Mike and an entire table of friends, Vicki, Wendy, Phyllis Ann, and Jeannie, Mike and Tammy, Marion and Diana, Mike and Meghan (happy birthday, Meghan), Mary, Tom, Kevin, and Michael (see you at the Jayhawk Towers on St Patrick's Day), Shane, Mike (it was definitely a Mike-heavy evening), and twelve DeVry students. And Lloyd, of course. Honorable mention goes to Mike Moran for finally letting his hair down (as it were). We're pleased to include his dedication for his request of No Man's Land - "Willie McBride, for Capt Richard Holmes and Pvt Lee Ellis, KIA 28 Feb 2006, God Bless".
January 27thNo gigs this past weekend. But that doesn't mean the band wasn't busy. Saturday saw the band heading downtown to Chapman Recording Studio for the first of a couple recording sessions for their upcoming release, Wild and Wicked Youth. It was a long 12-hour day, but some great work got done, and the band is looking forward to finishing the recording next Saturday. Early Sunday morning, it was over to Union Broadcasting to appear on Celtic Crossings (broadcast on ESPN 1510 AM). The gang spent an hour in the studio with Peter Adams and Don O'Malley, catching them and the Kansas City audience up on the latest news, the upcoming CD, and this summer's Ireland tour.
January 19th-20thThis past weekend had the band dividing their time between two of Dallas' connections for Celtic music - Trinity Hall, voted the "Best Pub in DFW" on AOL's City's Best, and the Tipperary Inn, the Metroplex's long-standing home to Celtic music. The band flew down to Dallas, rather than driving, looking forward to a brief escape from the wintry blues... only to discover the city in the waning days of a winter storm of its own. Leah picked the band up at the airport and sped them over to Mockingbird Station for their first-ever performance at Trinity Hall, an attractive, smartly designed restaurant with a great menu and room for a ton of people. Matt welcomed the band and gave them the lowdown on the stage and gear, and delivered them into the hands of Jason, Joe, and Antonio - the expert service staff that platooned the south end of the restaurant. A small crowd of regulars had already assembled, including Leah, Thea (down from Wichita Falls), Jenny and Wally, Kathy and Jim, Peter (up from Austin), Charles, and Ronnie (down from Oklahoma City). The band made regular fans in John Paul and Kathy, and Dave, Ricky, and Mike. The noteworthy event of the evening was Mark and Mary's mini-reunion with Ed and Janice (their longest-standing friends in the Dallas area), which included meeting their son Alex. The band's debut was warmly received, and the evening ended with Matt's open invitation to the band to perform at Trinity Hall as often as we make it into the area. From the gig, Leah chauffeured the band back to Chez Harmon for some much-deserved sleep.
TRINITY HALL / TIPPERARY INN
Saturday morning started out real slow and quiet like. After everyone was on their feet, it was over to the Olive Garden to meet Bruce and Lupita (up from Austin) for lunch, then back to Bob's to visit with Leah and Will (et fam) and have a nap before heading over to the Tipperary Inn. The audience was even bigger and more enthusiastic than the one that greeted the band this past October. The growing crowd of regulars included Leah and Bob, Bruce and Lupita, Craig and Terrie, Mike (all the way up from New Orleans), David and Sara, Danika, Patrick, Robert, Alyssa and Laurel, Deirdre and Eric, Ronnie, and Ricky. New fans included Olivia Skye and her father Joe, Doug and Donna, Melanie and Valerie, Laurie, Emilee and Anna, Blake, and an entire table full of friends Ricky brought with him. The noteworthy event of Saturday evening was seeing Arta and Kathleen, two of the lovely ladies who sing with Queen Anne's Lace, who've been friends of Mark and Mary since their days at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. Kudos to Micah who deftly handled the band and throng of unrulies at the band table. The generous invitation had been extended by Tim and Ellen for the band to return to the Tipp at their convenience... so between the Tipperary Inn and Trinity Hall, the band is already planning for a quarterly appearance in the Metroplex to appear at this pair of venues. Stay tuned. Oh... and special thanks, again, to Craig and the Bilge Pumps for the use of their P/A gear while we were down.
January 12th-13thSeason eleven got a predictable kickoff at O'Malley's Pub this past weekend. Winter's lion shook off its lamb-like disguise at the prospect of Tullamore's weekend in Weston with those three cruel words - debilitating ice storm. Fortunately, Kansas City was at the northern fringe of the freezing blasts that left the south-central US a wintry wreck. Past the airport, there was nearly no telling that the city had been under the ice storm watch. And Platte City and Weston looked downright normal. What threatened to be a bleak turnout at the beginning of the weekend turned out to be a fairly full and busy crowd on both nights. Happily, the three-month furlough between gigs brought the impatient return of handfuls of Tullies.
Friday's audience included regulars Dan, Pat, Lloyd, and Mike, Marion and Diana, Mark and John, and Jason and SueAnn. Other noteworthy appearances included Kyle over from Atchison, Bob and Angie up from Lawrence, another Bob all the way down from Cedar Rapids, and Dan, Sherri, and Brian who were there to celebrate Brian's 23rd birthday. And Kurt was there to stay after with the band and take a slew of promotional shots.
Saturday's crowd included regulars Dan and Norma, Pat and Carol, Lloyd, and Mike. The more notorious members in Saturday's peanut-gallery included Rich and Sharonna (who came to celebrate their 40th and 25th birthdays respectively), Cedar Rapids Bob (back for more fun), Joe and Michelle (who will be back on February 24th to celebrate her birthday), and Andy, Adrienne, John, DJ, and April who sat next to the stage and peppered them with atypical requests all night long. It was a worthy season-opener, and a good warm-up for hitting the studio in a couple of weeks.