I was born in Chicago in 1983, and lived there until the age of 18. My earliest memories of music involve my father, who sings and plays blues and jazz on the harmonica, guitar, keyboard, and saxophone. He introduced me at an early age to records of his favorite artists, and as a young boy I was encouraged to experiment with various instruments and learn to play by ear and from memory. When I was about 12 years old, I discovered Irish traditional music, and there was no turning back. In particular, the sound of the uilleann pipes had me completely enthralled. My mother had a friend who played this most curious instrument, and he kindly gave me a practice set of pipes and some records on loan. I soon became completely obsessed, and during my teenage years spent countless hours practicing, listening, and learning about traditional music. At 14, I met Laurence Nugent, the great flute and whistle player from Co. Fermanagh, who lives in Chicago. I studied primarily with him for the next four years, as well as with pipers such as Al Purcell, Patrick Cannady, Kieran O’Hare, and many others when I could pin them down for a lesson. Many trips to Ireland over subsequent years helped to fan the flames of my enthusiasm for the music, and gave me the opportunity to study and play with many outstanding musicians. My love for the music and for Ireland itself has grown steadily ever since.
At 18, I moved to New York in order to attend college and throw myself into the city’s phenomenal Irish music scene. I began playing gigs there soon afterwards, and met more wonderful characters and players than I can possibly list. In 2002, I won the All-Ireland Senior Championships on all three of my main instruments, and that helped me gain the recognition and confidence I needed to pursue music as a full-time career. After finishing college, I did a two-year stint touring with Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul, and to this day I thank Eileen and the boys for teaching me about what it is to be a stage performer. Since going my own way in 2007, I’ve worked as a freelance musician and band member with some of the most dynamic and talented performers in Irish traditional music, many of whom I would consider to be among my closest friends. I’ve performed and taught in 49 of the United States (come on, Louisiana!) as well as in Canada, Colombia, Ireland, England, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Holland, and China, and am constantly looking to share my enthusiasm for music anywhere sufficient interest exists.
While many of my favorite musical experiences have happened in informal settings, playing with my close friends, I have been lucky enough to perform in a few high profile shows over the years. Major industry engagements have included playing in the orchestra for several Josh Groban concerts, recording for Jennifer Hudson's performance of 'Neverland' at the 2014 Tony Awards, touring with Riverdance, playing in the pit orchestra for Sting's musical The Last Ship, touring for five years with the show Celtic Crossroads, and now subbing in the band for the new Broadway musical, Come From Away.
As a teacher, I have led workshops in flute, whistle, and uilleann pipes at Catskills Irish Arts Week, the Northeast Tionól, the Great Northern Irish Pipers' Club Tionól, the St. Louis Tionól, the Re-Jigged Festival in Nova Scotia, the O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat in Texas, MAD Week in the Washington, D.C. area, the Goderich Celtic Roots Festival in Canada, Common Ground in Maryland, the Corofin Trad Fest in Co. Clare, and also have led small workshops for students in Rio Negro and Villa de Leyva, Colombia. I have also taught private lessons in the New York City area at intervals over the years when touring has permitted.
I am a member of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 802, New York City.
To find out more about what I’ve done in recent years and what I’m up to now, kindly visit the following links for information about projects I’m currently working on, or have been involved with in recent years.
Haymaker - The Yanks
The Yanks (aka The Four Faced Liar) - The Yanks
Charge - Comas
Short Stories - Gráinne Murphy
From Whence We Came - Ensemble Galilei
Surrounded by Angels - Ensemble Galilei
An Nollaig - Eileen Ivers
The Inbetween - Conor O'Sullivan
Good Day Señor - Conor O'Sullivan
Straight From the Bottle - Jameson's Revenge
Live from Canada - Celtic Crossroads
World Fusion - Celtic Crossroads
Line 'Em Up - Shillelagh Law
Somewhere Along the Road - Runa
Stretched On Your Grave - Runa
Jealousy - Runa
Ya Bugun Ya da Yarin - EndiPol
Wooden Flute Obsession, Vol. 3 - Compilation