What a summer! Definitely the busiest for me that I can remember…. It started with a great month of May at McGurk’s in St. Louis with the Bronx Boys, then June saw the release of The Yanks’ new album, Haymaker, and then a short tour with Comas which included a return to the Old Songs Festival, one of our favorites. In July I had the honor of performing in the orchestra for two weeks of the opening run of Sting’s new musical, The Last Ship, in Chicago, which was a fantastic experience. Next, I made my annual return to the Catskills Irish Arts Week, where I performed with The Yanks and joined some really fantastic sessions. I then managed to squeeze in a short visit to Ireland where I visited my wonderful goddaughter (who is now almost four years old!) and soaked up some great music and scenery.
After leaving Ireland, Comas hit the road again for three weeks in Canada, starting with an epic 18-hour drive from Newark Airport to Prince Edward Island for our first concert of the tour. We had a lovely time on PEI and were delighted to hear some brilliant Acadian music. We felt especially privileged to perform at the Atlantic Fiddler’s Jamboree in Mont-Carmel alongside great musicians like Pascal Miousse, Pascal Gemme, Yann Falquet, and many others. On our way to Ontario we stopped in Quebec City, where I’d never been before, and I was amazed at the beautiful architecture and undeniable charm of the city. We also performed at Summer Folk, an awesome festival in Owen Sound organized by legendary singer-songwriter James Keelaghan, and the Summer Music festival in beautiful Stratford, Ontario.
As the summer began to wind down, the Bronx Boys returned to McGurk’s for September, where I was able to join them for the first two absolutely glorious weeks, and then went back out on the road with Comas for the remainder of September and ended the month by playing the Celtic Classic Festival in Bethlehem, PA. Then after an 11-hour drive to Chicago and a quick visit with my parents, I headed back to Ireland. I am now writing from Cork, where yesterday I did some recording with my good friend, guitarist Conor O’Sullivan, and joined him to play with singer-songwriter Barry Tierney for his set at the Cork Folk Festival. Today is the first day that has been cold and rainy, and so, I think it’s safe to say that the summer is sadly over. No worries though, October will see me returning to the US to perform with Ensemble Galilei, head to Dallas to play tenor sax with my friends’ band The Dirty Irv, visit Nova Scotia to perform at the Re-Jigged Festival in Halifax with Seph Peters, and then head home to Chicago for a few days before a BIG ADVENTURE begins….