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I know it's been a while since I have posted to the blog. We have had a pretty busy few months. March was particularly busy, as usual.
I first want to address the departure of two of our members, Rob and Deirdre. I have known Rob Blaney for almost 20 years. He is an excellent and talented musician. Unfortunately, logistical issues have made it nearly impossible for us to continue to work together on a full-time basis. Rob has agreed, however, to remain available in case of emergency banjo requirements. Our new banjo player, Charlie Stevens, has been playing with us since the middle of February and is working out great.
Deirdre Woodford left the band the week before St. Patrick's Day. Unfortunately, the band's schedule was far too demanding for her to content with, having teenage children at home. As you can imagine, this put us in a bit of a bind just before our busiest weekend of the entire year. Luckily, we found Chelsea Donovan to fill her shoes for the St. Paddy's madness. Chelsea was on loan, however. Although she will almost certainly occasionally show up again with us in a backup capacity, she is also very busy. Our long-term replacement is our original fiddler, Colleen Filush (Highland Rovers Band, Colleen and the Boys).
I have more news. I will update this post later on today.
The week in review? On a Thursday? It seems as good a time as any. In fact, I'm going to have to go all the way back to last Saturday...so it's more like just under two weeks in review. Anyway...
On November 2, we returned to one of our very favorite places to play, The Harp and Hound in Mystic, after an absence of over a year. The last time we played this venue, we were accompanied by the late Tim Murphy on bass guitar. This time around, we went back to basics with Chops and myself. The room was packed all night long and the show was fantastic.
On November 7, we played an event at The Outer Space in Hamden. If you haven't been to The Outer Space, you must go check this place out. That is an order. The atmosphere is fantastic and, if I'm not mistaken, they have somewhere near the order of 70 beers available...16 on tap. The event was for The Outer Space's 30 In 30 Club, whose membership is comprised of patrons who have managed to try 30 different beers in a 30 day span. For this show we had Chops and myself, of course, along with Deirdre on fiddle, Rob on banjo and Matt on percussion. I love the way we sound with a full band.
On Sunday, Chops and I ventured out to the Lansdowne Pub at Mohegan Sun Casino for our twice monthly Sunday matinee. The place was packed tight and the crowd really responded to us. We played the longest continuous set we have played to date at 3 hours and 15 minutes. Not too shabby.
Tuesday, November 12th we returned to Cafe Nine for the first time since we opened for the Young Dubliners back in July. On this show, we shared a bill with Al Pist. This was the first time we played with him in almost two years...and yes, he's still awesome. We played with Chops and I, naturally, Deirdre on fiddle and Matt on percussion. The crowd was relatively small, but entirely enthusiastic. I thought we sounded better than ever, but I always say that when we play at Cafe Nine. One couple, who we had not met before, told us they came there specifically to see us after having to leave the show at the Outer Space early. It always makes me feel good to know that some people actually do come out just for the music.
...which brings us to this weekend...
Tomorrow night, we (Chops, Rob and myself) will be at Augur's Irish Pub in Guilford. Defintitely check this place out. They have all the booze and food that you need for an Alehounds show.
Saturday night, Chops and I will be at The Playwright in Hamden. Go there. The food is great. The booze is delicious. The service is spectacular.
Thanks for reading. I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
Most of you that are familiar with The Alehounds know us as a duo with Sean on Guitar, Harmonica and Vocals and Chops on mandolin. That would stand to reason since most of the shows that we have played over the past 32 months that we have been together have been played in such a configuration. Over the last year, however, we have added a few players to the mix. It started out in February of this year when The Alehounds were asked to play at a benefit for the first responders to the tragic Sandy Hook elementary school shooting of last December. Mike Ryan and Colleen Filush of The Highland Rovers Band were present and asked if they could sit in with us for a few songs. Well, they ended up playing the entire set with us and we thought it sounded great. A couple weeks later, they appeared on David Golden's Sunday Brunch Concert Series with us in the studio at WPKN in Bridgeport. We really liked the way that we sounded with a few more players in the mix. Mike began to play with us on a semi-regular basis and he and Colleen played with us when we opened for The Young Dubliners at Cafe Nine in July. Unfortunately for us, The Highland Rovers Band are a busy bunch and Mike and Colleen were essentially on loan to us. So we began to search. We had a two-night run at The Black Rose in Boston in early October and we were fortunate enough to borrow Catherine Joyce (fiddle) and Rory Lee (banjo) from the Boston-based band, The Old Edison, for those shows. They were fantastic...but, again, they belonged to someone else. I contacted my friend and former band mate, Rob Blaney and asked him if he would like to play some banjo with us. He agreed. Then I got in touch with an even older friend, Matt Thompson, to play percussion when Mike was unavailable. Then, somehow, I stumbled upon Deirdre Woodford. More accurately, she stumbled upon me. I placed an ad on Cragslist and she answered it. Finally, a fiddle player to call our own...and a damned good one, to boot! We recently played a couple of gigs together and have a couple more coming up soon. Needless to say, we are all very excited at the new direction we are headed. Be on the lookout for us.
...and don't quote me, but I have a feeling that 2014 will be The Year of The Alehounds.