45 years ago, this upcoming weekend, half a million young people and a group of musicians never to be seen the like of again, descended on the small rural town of Bethel, NY, for three unforgettable days and showed the world that peace, love, and music are an unbeatable combination. It was the music festival that changed the world. Those artists who performed went on to become legends. Remembering all those who dreamed it, built it, attended it, played at it - especially those who have moved on to party at that big festival in the sky...Ritchie, Jimi, Janis, Johnny, among others - and especially all those who will keep the dream alive when they return to Bethel, NY this weekend to continue the tradition of peace, love, and music that has been acclaimed around the world for the last four and a half decades. Woodstock '45 is alive and well....it's time to get ourselves back to the garden. Blessings to Michael Lang and Artie Kornfeld for their visionary efforts - both are reportedly making the pilgrimage to Bethel this weekend - thank you. Without both of you, none of it would have been possible. See some of you there - I'll be taking a break from my beloved Irish music this weekend to get back to my rock and roll roots. May the message of Woodstock live forever...
The Troubles have reached 50,000 plays! Thank you!!
The Troubles had a fantastic time sharing our Irish and Coal Region music with the folks at Eckley's Miners' Village and Museum's Patch Town Days this past weekend. The event fell on the 137th Anniversary of the Day of the Rope - the stars aligned perfectly and the timing and venue were just right for sharng our Molly Maguire songs. The band was pleased that they were so well received. Visiting Eckley Village is like taking a step back in time to the mid-1800's. The Troubles were so pleased to be part of the Village's annual Patch Town event. What great fun!! If you've never visited, make plans to go today!
Lots happening! The Troubles new CD, Coal Cracker Irish, which includes 13 original coal region tunes about the Mollies, mining, and coal region history and culture, turned out fabulous thanks to our buddy, Peach Mountain Joey, who did an amazing job for us at his studio. We're considering a Christmas CD next...
We have our annual Heritage Day show at The Friends of St. KIerans down in Irish Valley on Sunday, June 1st. The McCormick Irish Dancers will be there (maybe we'll do our dance set with them - I'll have to message Caitlin) and we'll be part of an all new Finnegans Wake! The band all play a role in the show!
Later in June, we'll be at Eckley Miners Village for their Patchtown Days. I've done some book signings at Eckley for The Pipes are Calling and Irish Roads, but this is the first time the band will be there. I just love Eckley - and what better place for The Troubles to do our Molly and mining music! We're also working hard on perfecting some Irish fiddle tunes that Patrick has been after us to do.
Before you know it, it will be August!!
The High and Holy Days of St. Patrick are upon us!! There is no holiday that make me happier than St. Patrick's Day. I love Spring, I love being Irish, and I adore Irish music, traditions, and culture.
The Troubles are going to be busy over the next couple weeks. We've got a few shows and 3 parades coming up. At this point, unless the weather brings us a blizzard, it looks like we will be in Jim Thorpe for the Carbon County Parade on Sunday, March 9th, the Williamsport Parade on Saturday, March 15th, and of course, our home parade, the 11th Annual AOH Girardville St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday, March 22nd.
We also have a couple gigs - this Friday, March 7th, at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center 7pm, with our special guests, The McCormick School of Irish Dance to benefit the Schuylkill County Diabetic Association, and on next Saturday, March 15th, in Williamsport at the Cell Block, from 7-9pm (after the parade).
The Troubles spent a good bit of time this last few weeks on a labour of love. We finally completed our long awaited CD of original coal region and mining music, entitled Coal Cracker Irish. It is in production as I write this. We are really proud of this music - the CD tells a story of the Coal Region Irish immigrants who came to the Hard Coal Fields of Pennsylvania to settle after they were forced out of Ireland by An Gorta Mor - The Great Hunger - and the English.
We'll have the CD ready for sale on Reverb soon - and we hope to have it for a few of these parades/shows. Price $10.
Enjoy your St. Patrick's Day and make sure you support your local Irish band!
It's just about this time of year It always rolls around When everything starts comin' up green In our little town Winter's almost over Spring is in the air The Pipes are in the distance But you know they call us there!
They are calling us!
The Troubles will be at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center on Friday, March 7, 7pm for An Evening of Irish Song & Dance. We will be joined by our very special guests, the McCormick School of Irish Dance. We had a wonderful show there last year and this year, we hear that the Center has renovated their upstairs performance area. We are very excited about our show there! The Troubles and the Irish dancers are preparing a very special surprise for our audience! All proceeds will benefit the Schuylkill County Diabetic Association - this great bunch of folks helps kids with diabetes go to a summer camp where they learn how to manage their disorder and meet other children with the same disease.
On Sunday, March 9th, The Troubles will be in historic Jim Thorpe for the Carbon County St. Patrick's Day Parade. The following week, March 15th, we'll be in Williamsport for their St. Patrick's Day Parade. Later that evening, we'll be at the Cellblock in Williamsport, from 7-9pm.
Finally, we'll be seeing you all in our favorite place, Girardville, for the 11th Annual Girardville AOH St. Patrick's Day Parade, 12 Noon sharp Girardville time.
It's getting late, but we do have a few open spots in the schedule if anyone is still looking for a band. We apologize to those who inquired about dates that we already had committed to, but the season only has so many weekends and all of them are busy ones.
We are just finishing our Irish Coal Cracker CD up at Peach Mountain Recording Studio. Our buddy, Joe Ciarvella, has been wonderful. What a talented guy! The studio is rustic and well equipped, very quaint, and a fun place to record. We are looking forward to hearing the final mixes and having the CD ready for our audiences this month.
We are heading into the last week of February as I write this. Time to break out your green and get ready for another wonderful season.! We hope to see you in our travels.
The other day I noticed the sky was noticeably brighter at 5pm than it had been for a long time. The shamrocks on my kitchen sill had hibernated for a few weeks - they come and go all year long - but woke up about a week ago.
There may be ice and snow to come but as we head into the end of January, it only a hop skip to St. Brigid's Day on Feb. 1/2. Valentine's Day flies by like cupid's arrow and then Irish Days are upon us, leading up to Monday, March 17th!
We're booking now for St. Patrick's Day, Spring, and Summer!
The Troubles will be at
Friday, March 14th, 7pm Tamaqua Community Arts Center An Evening of Irish Song & Dance with Special Guests, The McCormick School of Irish Dance. Benefits The Schuylkill County Diabetic Association.
Saturday, March 15th, The Williamsport St. Patrick's Day Parade The Troubles will be performing in the Parade.
Saturday, March 22nd, 12 n. The 11th Annual AOH Girardville St. Patrick's Day Parade
Saturday/Sunday, June 22th & 23, Eckley Patch Days, Eckley Miner's Village The Troubles 10a-5pm
As this Christmas 2013 approaches and the year draws to a close, The Troubles want to wish each and everyone of you a very Merry Christmas!
Thank you for the gift of your support and bless you for listening to our music.
The Troubles have a great time playing together. A lot of our songs are just plain fun for us to share with you - but many of our songs carry a message.
Remember the Irish POW's and political prisoners. Join in the Christmas Card campaign. Pray for their release.
May 2014 truly bring us peace on Earth. If only this new year could bring an end to the atrocities and human rights violations that exist in so many parts of our world!
It is our dearest hope that justice will prevail in Northern Ireland and the practice of internment and political harassment end.
No peace without freedom. No freedom without justice. No justice without mercy.
Paul, Patrick, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our fans who listen to The Troubles and support our music.
We are very thankful for all of you!
Loretta, Patrick, & Paul The Troubles
Last week, I opened my email to a post from my dear friend, Mary, one of Michael Campbell's biggest champions on this side of the pond. Mary campaigned tirelessly for Michael's repatriation to Ireland on the grounds that his human rights were being violated.
Many others, around the world, stood up for Michael Campbell, as he sat locked up in a filthy, medieval prison cell in Lithuania. Many spoke out, signed the online petition, stood in solidarity at rallies, walked with signs, circulated petitions at community events, posted words of support in blogs, on twitter, in facebook posts and newspaper comments.
Many wrote to Michael in his prison cell, to the Lithuanian and Northern Irish government officials, to the consulate, and to Amnesty International. They sent emails to any other influential parties who might help. Individuals contributed donations and helped with fundraising activities. Michael's supporters - many of them the same ones who support Marian, Stephen, Martin and the rest of the Irish POWs and political prisoners - never gave up.
No matter how big or small the effort, it took an immense amount of persistence and patience to remain a positive, enduring and unified presence in the midst of a sea of staunch resistance and negativity. The media was not extremely sympathetic to Michael's plight.
Be that as it may, last week, I opened my messages to a surprise - Michael Campbell had been released. There was great joy in the hearts of many. Most, like me, have never met Michael but that makes his victory even sweeter.
Standing behind Michael, whose human rights were being battered and violated daily, was the morally right thing to do. The solidarity amongst Michael's supporters was so strong we did not need to meet each other. Our mission as a whole was far greater than any of us as individuals.
Last Spring, as the campaign for the repatriation of Michael Campbell was beginning to surge, I became aware of a poem, written by one of Michael's family friends, called "Bring Him Home". Mary, whom I spoke of at the beginning of this blog entry, was the person who brought it to my attention.
The author of the poem wanted it turned into a song but attempts to find someone to do this weren't successful.
So I offered The Troubles up for the task. The poem was beautiful yet too short for a song. Still, it had potential & passion. The first task at hand was to get the band behind the project. The second was to compose the rest of the words and structure it into a song.
That was my job. Getting The Troubles on board was easy. Adapting the poem took a bit more effort but surprisingly, the words flowed easier than I thought and it all fell into place.
Once the words were finalized, it took a little more time, but slowly, Bring Him Home, took shape. Patrick's amazing guitar work and Noonie's strong sense of rhythm made the words soar. The stanzas and the bridge that I composed, I am pleased to say, fit seamlessly with the original author's and as two writers, we spoke in one voice.
All this took the poem to a new level. It became a song. After getting a final approval from the author, The Troubles recorded the song, Bring Him Home and it found it's way on Reverb Nation, Facebook, and eventually, as the track for a short video.
The Troubles are very proud of Bring Him Home and the number of folks who responded to the song through plays and downloads. It is one of our most popular songs and videos.
We hope in some small way, our song helped make a difference and ultimately, contributed to Michael's freedom. We never know when we set out to do good what the end result will be. In Michael's case, it took a global village working endlessly to make his freedom reality.
Thank you to all who listened to Bring Him Home, watched the video, or showed support for Michael in any way. Your compassion and affirming thoughts helped to change the public consciousness.
Music can be a powerful force.