Posts Tagged ‘Arts’

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Adk History Center Opens, Edward Cornell Exhibit

The Adirondack History Center Museum in Elizabethtown will be opening for a new season beginning on on Saturday (May 23) featuring exhibits around the theme “Celebrating a Landscape of Culture and Ideas: 1609-2009.” The museum will be open new expanded hours, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. every day. This season’s “Inside the Landscape,” will showcase contemporary artist Edward Cornell, who museum Director Margaret Gibbs calls a “cultivator of poignant creations which meld art, history and the present life of community.” “Cornell’s landscape paintings and farming implement sculptures provide viewers with a deeper appreciation of the past which widens our perspective of the present day landscape,” Gibbs said. Visitors can also see Cornell’s colossal sculpture on the front lawn of the museum.

“In and Around Essex,” is another new exhibition showing thirty-one color photographs taken by photographer Betsy Tisdale in 1972 and originally showcased in the early 1980’s. The exhibit has been revitalized for 2009 to convey how the human landscape of Essex, New York has changed over the past twenty-seven years. The museum is located at 7590 Court Street, Elizabethtown. For more information contact the museum at (518) 873-6466 or [email protected]


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Adk Music Scene: From Bluegrass to Opera

There’s a little something for everyone this weekend. You can experience dinner with some opera, bluegrass in Jay, free blues in Long Lake and music from the French Revolution in Redford. Musicians can perform at an open mic, and fans can give back to one of our most talented Adirondack musicians, Dan Duggan. He is a generous man whose health crisis has created the need for a benefit. The options, times and venues are listed below.

Tonight P2’s Irish Pub in Tupper Lake holds an open mic from 7 pm to 10 pm.

Also tonight a performance of music from Italian operas will be presented at Little Italy in Tupper Lake, 144 Park Street. Tickets are $22, which includes the performance and a pasta dinner. Update: This event has sold out.

On Friday JEMS presents the Covered Bridge Coffeehouse (located in the Amos and Julia Ward Theater in Jay). The Homegrown String Band (a mom, dad and two daughters, one of whom reportedly plays a smokin’ fiddle) takes the stage to perform bluegrass, country and folk at 7 pm. Call (518) 946-7824 for more information.

A BluSeed Benefit concert for Dan Duggan begins at 7:30 pm Friday, $15. Reservations recommended. Roy Hurd, Dan Berggren, Jamie Savage, Rustic Riders and Joey Izzo. Another update: This concert has sold out. If you want to help Dan, please send a check payable to Dan Duggan care of BluSeed Studios, 24 Cedar St., Saranac Lake, NY 12983

In lieu of Bluseed you could listen to live Irish Music Friday night at O’Reilly’s Pub in Saranac Lake, 33 Broadway. Call (518) 897-1111 or email [email protected] for more information.

Blues legend Ernie Williams and his band will perform Saturday @ 2 pm at Quakenbush’s Long View Wilderness Lodge in Long Lake on Rt. 30. The 3-hour show is free of charge.

The Champlain Ball, a Champlain Quadricentennial Celebration event, will be held at 8 pm Saturday at the Plattsburgh Elks Lodge. The ball will feature authentic social dance popular in France and England in the 16th and 17th Centuries; Dance historian Michel Landry of Montreal will lead the dances and give preliminary classes at 2 pm. The Baltimore Consort will provide music. Call (518) 293-7613 or visit Hill and Hollow’s Web site for reservations and information.

Last but not least: Early music ensemble The Baltimore Consort presents “La Rocque ‘n’ Roll: Popular Music of the French Revolution,” a Hill and Hollow event, on Sunday May 17 at 3 pm at The Church of the Assumption in Redford. Tickets are $15 and it’s free to kids twelve and under.

Photograph: The Homegrown String Band will perform in Jay Friday night.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

ADK Music Scene: Music tonight in North Creek!

Tonight at BarVino in North Creek the Fat River Kings perform from 8 pm to 10 pm. There is no cover charge. They offer an eclectic dinner menu as well as having an impressive wine and beer selection. BarVino is located on 272 Main Street in North Creek, NY, (518)251-0199, [email protected]

Tomorrow P2’s Irish Pub in Tupper Lake holds an open mic from 7 pm – 10 pm.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

ADK Music Scene: Battles, Bunnies, Jazz and Dancing

A musical battle in Indian Lake , three Bunnies and two Long Hares in Saranac Lake, jazz in North Creek and late night dancing at The Waterhole.

Not quite a feast . . . more of a nice spread.

On Friday May 8th at 8 pm The Battle of The Bands sponsored by ALCA will be held at the Indian Lake Theater. There is $20 registration fee and the winner takes it all home. Tupper Lake’s Fat River Kings will be one of the competing groups.

A show I shamelessly recommend is: The Dust Bunnies and Long Hares at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake. It starts at 7:30 pm, Saturday night. Yours truly is one of the troupe so I’m biased, but honestly we write great songs. Love, loss and laundry contemplated in three part harmony AND backed up by a fabulous rhythm section — it promises to be a fun evening. Call for reservations: (518) 891- 9402 or take your chances and just show up at 24 Cedar Street. We’d love to see you!

Also on Saturday at The Waterhole, 48 Main Street in Saranac Lake, Tim Herron Corporation (THC) starts at 10 pm for a $5 admission — late enough so you can go dancing after the Dust Bunnies!

Even more on Saturday at 7:30 pm, the Tony Jenkins Jazz Trip will be playing at Tannery Pond Community Center, 222 Main Street, in North Creek. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Call (518) 251-2505 for more information.

A correction: The open mic at Station Street I posted about last week is not a weekly event yet. They are still working out which night is most appropriate and how many times a month. As soon as I learn when the next open mic is scheduled, it will be posted.

Photo: Two Hares (Colin Dehond and Kyle Murray) and Two Buns (Tracy Poszditch and Mary Lou Reid) on way to record their upcoming CD


Thursday, April 30, 2009

ADK Music Scene: Lake Placid, Gibsons in Ellenburg Tomorrow


My first weekend blogging and only three musical events to report (two of them outside the Blue line), yikes!

If you’re in or near Lake Placid tonight @ 7:30, Station Street Bar and Grille will inaugurate its weekly open mic, hosted by Fritz and Annie. Station Street is located at the bottom of Mill Hill at 6115 Sentinel Road. You can call 837-5178 for more details. I love open mics – you never know who will stop in and it’s usually a very supportive friendly scene.

Tomorrow night in Ellenburg, just beyond the Blue Line, the Gibson Brothers are playing the Northern Adirondack Central School at 7:00. For tickets, call 518-594-3962 or 518-497-6962.

Saturday at 7PM in Glens Falls, Lindsey Mae is playing Rockhill Bakehouse. Cover charge of $3. Call 518-615-0777 for details.

The relative dearth of events this weekend brings up an issue that bothers many musicians and fans of live music in communities across the Park. We have a problem coordinating our musical events up here which can result in feast-or-famine conditions: Too few events one weekend; too many the next.

For much of the year many of our communities don’t have the population to support more than a very few events on any given evening. A wonderful event can draw only twenty or so people because two other bands are playing nearby. It’s not sustainable.

With better coordination, a slow weekend like this would’ve been a great opportunity for a band to be the only gig in town! So, I’d like to help with this problem and I’m sending out a plea to everyone reading this: Get in touch. Let me know about upcoming musical events and I will attempt to keep track . Maybe we can spread the talent and support more evenly.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Adirondack Almanack Welcomes New Contributor

We’re delighted to announce that Shamim Allen joins Adirondack Almanack this week as our music sherpa. Shamim writes music, plays guitar and sings in the popular Saranac Lake band the Dust Bunnies, and she’s also an avid listener of other musicians. She will guide us to good live music in and around the Adirondacks with her posts every Thursday at 3 p.m.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Sweeping New Book About Lake Champlain

To coincide with the Lake Champlain Quadricentennial, Adirondack Life has published Lake Champlain: An Illustrated History, a big beautiful book about a singular expanse of water and the lands that surround it.

Every page of the large-format hardcover tome is rich with maps, illustrations and/or color photographs. The book gives due attention to the glaciers and natural and human history that pre-date the July 1609 arrival of explorer Samuel de Champlain, who fired the starting gun for two centuries of European warfare and upheaval.

The volume is divided into chapters about New York, Vermont and Quebec towns along the shoreline; the lake’s geology and biology; native inhabitants and their displacement; the waterway’s importance in colonial power struggles; its era as a highway for commercial transport; and finally Lake Champlain as a place of recreation.

The 220-page book is $44.95, available at adirondacklife.com and in regional bookstores.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spring Fiddle Jamboree This Weekend

Sunday is the Spring Blossom Fiddle Jamboree in Long Lake — part concert, part competition, part social gathering.

The event draws fiddlers of all ages and abilities from across the North Country. They are invited to show up with two or three tunes in their head, and they take turns on stage, backed by legendary North Country fiddler Donnie Perkins and his talented family band. A featured fiddler also performs several sets.

Fiddle meets are held across the North Country, and each enclave has its own approach. In Redford, for example, folks are accustomed to dancing. In Long Lake people mostly sit, listen and tap feet. A few old timers come out of the woods to play old-time hits like “Golden Slippers”; young’ns discovering perennial regional favorites like “St. Anne’s Reel” and “Whiskey Before Breakfast” are well represented.

The jamboree begins at 12:30 at the Long Lake Town Hall and ends when the last fiddler leaves the stage.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Adirondack Events for Mid-April

Rick Moody — author of Garden State, The Ice Storm, The Diviners and the memoir The Black Veil — will read from his most recent novel at 7 p.m. tonight at the Joan Weill Student Center of Paul Smith’s College. The event is free, sponsored by the Adirondack Center for Writing.

Kayaks are on roof racks and the Northern Forest Paddle Film Festival returns to the Lake Placid Center for the Arts at 7 p.m. Friday. There’ll be five shorts about canoeing, kayaking, waterways and the paddling life. Proceeds support the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. $8-12.

April brings the spring whomp. Old-time fiddle and harmonica duo the Whompers are back in town, 7:30 Friday at BluSeed Studios, in Saranac Lake ($10). Musicians are invited to bring instruments for a second-set jam. On Saturday night, Whompers and friends play at the Red Tavern, in Duane. The place is off the grid and off the map, and the dancing goes late into the night.

In the pastoral hill country east of Glens Falls and west of Vermont, 10,000 spectators are expected to turn out Saturday and Sunday for the Tour of the Battenkill, the largest bike race in the country. Two thousand riders will blow through downtown Greenwich, Salem and Cambridge, but the real character of the race comes from remote dirt roads that have earned the event the nickname Battenkill-Roubaix, after the Paris Roubaix of France.

In Bolton Landing, Up Yonda Farm offers a guided Cabin Fever Hike at 1 p.m. Saturday. The walk winds through the farm’s trails to a vista overlooking Lake George. On Sunday the farm will offer Earth Day activities all day. $3; members free.

Monday through Thursday next week, days start warming at the greatest rate of the year. Impatient? At the Adirondack Museum at 1:30 Sunday, naturalist Ed Kanze presents “Eventually . . . the Adirondack Spring.” Free for members and kids; $5 everybody else.

On Monday the Lake Placid Center for the Arts begins a six-session life drawing course, 6-8:30 every Monday evening through May. $55. Call (518) 523-2512 to sign up. Gabriels artist Diane Leifheit runs the course. She will also offer pastel plein air evening classes beginning May 20 (sign up by May 11). The first session introduces pastels and materials, setting up to paint outdoors and mixing colors. The following four sessions will go on location around Lake Placid (weather permitting), capturing the early evening colors. $95. 6-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, through June 17.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

‘Wild, Unsettled Country’ at the Adirondack Museum

The Adirondack Museum has announced a new exhibit, “A Wild, Unsettled Country: Early Reflections of the Adirondacks,” which will look at the early efforts to convey the Adirondacks visually to the wider world. The exhibit will open on May 22 — meaning that year-round Adirondack Park residents should be able to catch the exhibit for free the last week of May.

The first Europeans to see the Adirondack landscape of northern New York State came to explore, to document important military operations and fortifications, or to create maps and scientifically accurate images of the terrain, flora and fauna. These early illustrations filled practical needs rather than aesthetic ones.

The exhibition will showcase approximately forty paintings from the museum’s exceptional art collection, including works by Thomas Cole, John Frederick Kensett, William Havell, John Henry Dolph and James David Smillie.

Also featured are fifty of the engravings and lithographs of Adirondack landscape paintings that brought these images to a wider audience and provided many Americans with their first glimpse of the “howling wilds” that were the Adirondack Mountains.

While tourists were flocking to Saratoga Springs in the 1830s, few ventured north into the “lofty chain of granite” visible from Lake George. One guidebook described the mysterious forms as “a wild repulsive aspect.” Little was known of these yet-unnamed mountains.

In 1836, the New York State legislature authorized a survey of the state’s natural resources. Artist Charles Cromwell Ingham was asked to join geologists Ebenezer Emmons and William C. Redfield during one of the first exploratory surveys. During the trip, he painted the Great Adirondack Pass “on the spot.” The original painting will be shown in the exhibition.

The exhibit will also include photographs — stereo views and albumen prints — sold as tourist souvenirs and to armchair travelers. William James Stillman took the earliest photos in the exhibition, in 1859. These rare images are the first photographic landscape studies taken in the Adirondacks. Photos by Seneca Ray Stoddard will also be displayed.

Significant historic maps will illustrate the growth of knowledge about the Adirondack region. In 1818, it was still a mysterious “wild, barren tract . . . covered with almost impenetrable Bogs, Marshes & Ponds, and the uplands with Rocks and evergreens.” By 1870, the Adirondacks had become a tourist destination with clearly defined travel routes, hotels, beaches, and camps.

A Wild, Unsettled Country will be on exhibit in the Lynn H. Boillot Art Galleries. The space includes the Adirondack Museum Gallery Study Center — a resource for learning more about American art. In addition to a library of reference books, a touch-screen computer allows visitors to access images from the museum’s extensive fine art collection.

The Gallery Study Center will include a media space as part of the special exhibit. The documentary film “Champlain: The Lake Between” will be shown continuously. The film, part of the Lake Champlain Voyages of Discovery project, has aired on Vermont Public Television in recent months.

A Wild, Unsettled Country is not just for adults. Family-friendly elements include Looking at Art With Children, a guide for parents as they investigate the arts with youngsters; the Grand Tour Guide, a colorful and engaging map that encourages exploration of the Adirondack sites shown in the paintings; and ten different Wild About! guidebooks that urge kids to be “wild” about maps, prints, history, and more.

Photo caption: View of Caldwell, Lake George, by William Tolman Carlton, 1844. Collection of the Adirondack Museum.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Essential Literature: The Adirondack Reader

For 45 years the cornerstone of any Adirondack library has been The Adirondack Reader, compiled and edited by Paul Jamieson. The anthology, published by Macmillan in 1964, collected pivotal and perceptive accounts of how people have experienced these woods since the arrival of Europeans 400 years ago.

Any true Adirondack geek already has a copy of the Reader, but now you need another. The Adirondack Mountain Club last month published a third edition that adds 30 entries written since the second edition came out in 1982.

Another reason to covet this update: pictures! A 32-page color insert of drawings, photographs, engravings and paintings spans Adirondack history, from William James Stillman and Winslow Homer to contemporary painters Laura von Rosk and Lynn Benevento. The original Reader had some black-and-white plates; the second edition had none.

It’s a hefty 544-page tome, but any book that attempts to get at the essence of the Adirondacks is going to be epic. Holdovers from earlier editions (six entries had to be cut to make room) include many “there I was” accounts, starting with Father Isaac Jogues’s 1642 description of having his fingernails bitten off by Mohawk captors (“our wounds — which for not being dressed, became putrid even to the extent of breeding worms”) and becoming the first white man to see the Adirondack interior — the first to live to tell anyway. Hard to top that kind of journey narrative, but almost every piece in the Reader commands attention. Entries weave back and forth between fiction, history, essay and poetry organized into ten subject categories Jamieson established nearly a half century ago.

Mixed in with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Francis Parkman, Robert Louis Stevenson, Theodore Dreiser and Verplanck Colvin are present-day writers Christopher Shaw, Christine Jerome, Sue Halpern, Bill McKibben, Elizabeth Folwell, Amy Godine and Philip Terrie, among others. Neal Burdick contributes an essay on the century-old silence still surrounding the question “Who Shot Orrando P. Dexter?,” a land baron hated by the locals in Santa Clara. Burdick also served as the book’s co-editor, assisting Jamieson, who died in 2006 at age 103.

“It’s still Paul’s book,” Burdick says. “I did the legwork. His name is more prominent on the cover at my request.” Jamieson approved each new writing, and many excerpts and articles were included on recommendations by other writers, Burdick adds. Burdick is editor of the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Adirondac magazine as well as a writer and poet in his own right.

More than any other book, this collection comes closest to defining the Adirondack sense of place we all feel but few can articulate. It’s as much a pleasure to read as an education, and Jamieson’s introductory sections feel prescient. He still seems very much the dean of Adirondack letters (a new edition of his classic Adirondack Canoe Waters: North Flow is also in the pipeline). Jamieson was an author, professor of English at St. Lawrence University, an advocate for Adirondack land preservation and canoe access, and an explorer of this region’s topography as well as literature.

The book is beautiful but alas blemished; sloppy proofreading has allowed typos to creep into the text, in both the older material and new additions. Further printings are planned, perhaps a paperback edition. We hope the copyediting will be brought up to the standards of the writers represented.

The Reader is $39.95 at book and outdoor supply stores, by calling 800-395-8080, or online at www.adk.org.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Exhibition of Contemporary Adirondack Masters

D. Wigmore Fine Art, in Manhattan, has assembled a show of landscapes by three artists known for Adirondack work as well as one who has come lately to North Country painting.

Adirondack Art Today,” on exhibit until May 6 at 730 Fifth Avenue, between 56th and 57th Streets, can provide summer residents and estranged Adirondackers with a scenery fix. The artists have deeply observed their subject, and the work is gorgeous, depicting the Adirondack Park in its more-picturesque seasons.

Gallery president Deedee Wigmore said she selected the painters Paul Matthews, Thomas Paquette and Don Wynn and the photographer Nathan Farb because they are “artists who I felt really represent the Adirondacks and who have each had more than one museum show.” Jay resident Nathan Farb is known for the painterly detail of his large-format photographs, and his work has been collected by the Museum of Modern Art and the Corcoran Gallery. Don Wynn was the first living artist to have a solo exhibition at the Adirondack Museum; the Metropolitan Museum of Art has one of his paintings. Paul Matthews, a summer resident of Keene, has made a decades-long study of Adirondack light and cloudscapes. Thomas Paquette had been artist-in-residence at several national parks before he began painting the Adirondacks in 2006.

The Adirondack Park’s varied terrain is broadly represented, from the Oswegatchie River to Mount Marcy to Lake George. Wigmore organized the show to complement an exhibition of modern rustic furniture that will fill the gallery later this month; “Rustic Tomorrow” paired six well-known modern and post-modern architects with six Adirondack rustic-furniture makers. The Adirondack Museum, in Blue Mountain Lake, conceived the project, which is on exhibit at Munson Williams Proctor Institute, in Utica, until April 19.

The six innovative, woodsy furniture pieces will then move to D. Wigmore Fine Art, where they will be auctioned May 6. Deedee Wigmore says she expects many of the architects, designers, craftsmen and artists to attend the auction party.

Artwork: Dark Tree, Light Tree by Thomas Paquette, gouache on paper. Courtesy of D. Wigmore Fine Art. More artworks can be seen at dwigmore.com


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sweet Stuff to Do This Adirondack Weekend

Birder, Audubon field editor and field-guide author Kenn Kaufman will speak about our migratory birds at 3 p.m. Friday at the Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park office, 80 Scout Road in Wilton. It’s outside the Blue Line, but we know some Adirondack birders who are heading south to hear Kaufman. Talk is free but seating is limited, so pre-register by calling Wild Birds Unlimited at 226-0071.

Squeaker, Louie and Squirt are celebrating their birthdays with a party at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake Sunday. At 10:30 the otters will have an Easter egg hunt, and at 2:30 they’ll eat cake. In between there’s cake for people as well as otter-related storytimes, videos and art projects.

There will be good music along the East Branch Ausable River Friday night. Crown Point’s own Silver Family plays bluegrass at the Amos and Julia Ward Theatre in Jay at 7 p.m. (admission $5). And Willsboro’s own Hugh Pool plays bluesy rock and rocking blues at the Recovery Lounge in Upper Jay at 8 p.m. (donations accepted).

Doomers like to have fun too. A new group called Tri-Lakes Transition is launching a Wake Up Film Festival on Friday with The 11th Hour, narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio. The documentary explores the perilous state of the planet, and how we can change course. 7 p.m. at the Saranac Lake Free Library.

In Blue Mountain Lake, the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts will hold a Ukrainian Easter Egg (Pysanky) workshop with Annette Clarke Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Our friend Betsy, who knows things, says, “It’s not for kids but the real deal with Ukrainian dyes, etc. Like batik with hot wax and cool tools but harder than you’d think.” Cost is $25. Visit the center’s Web site for more information.

It’s Maple Weekend Part II: The Far North. Festivities that began last week expand to reach the top of the state, where the trees are finally waking up. “The goal of Maple Weekend is to share the real taste of the mouth-watering maple syrup with the public while also demonstrating the various ways to make it,” the New York maple producers association says. And it’s free. For a list of participating producers, see mapleweekend.com.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

ADK Music Scene: Weekend Music Picks

Mike and Ruthy play Bluseed Studios in Saranac Lake at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Michael Merenda and Ruth Ungar Merenda, who live in the Catskills, toured seven years with indie string band the Mammals before striking out on their own last year. “With a repertoire of old-timey twang, topical folk, and just plain love songs, their heartfelt vocal duets intertwine with lively fiddle & banjo,” the Bluseed Web site says. Tickets are $14.

Also Friday, at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, violinist Mark O’Connor headlines a Hudson River Quadricentennial concert. O’Connor, who is classically trained but inspired by American folk, is joined by clarinetist Don Byron — who fuses jazz, classical and soul — and violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain, who’s into classical and hip hop. The three composer/musicians “have created new music inspired by the past, present and future of the Hudson River Valley.” Tickets are $15. The show starts at 8 p.m.

On Saturday at the Waterhole in Saranac Lake, Lazar Bear Productions presents Toronto-based Celtic rock band Enter the Haggis. Tickets are $18 in advance or $22 at the door. The show starts at 8 p.m.

OK, not music, but Academy Award–nominated writer and director Courtney Hunt will introduce a showing of her movie Frozen River, filmed in Plattsburgh. 8 p.m. Saturday at Willsboro Central School. Tickets $5 for adults, $2 under 18.

For more weekend ideas, North Country Public Radio has the region’s broadest online calendar of events.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

John’s Ten Favorite Irish Songs For St. Paddy’s

Mary’s post on local traditional Irish music today inspired this list of “must have” Irish music everyone with Irish aspirations should know. Although these tunes are in no particular order, learn them and you’ll never spend St. Paddy’s alone.

Whiskey in the Jar – This classic tune is believed to have originated in the late 1600s or early 1700s. Since then it’s by been covered by The Dubliners, Thin Lizzy, Peter, Paul & Mary, Gerry Garcia and David Grisman, and Metallica. My favorite line: “I first produced my pistol, and then produced my rapier.”

Wild Colonial Boy – About 40,000 Irish convicts were transported to Australia between 1791 and 1867, many as political prisoners. There they continued to battle the British authorities as Jack Duggan does in this ditty – it doesn’t end well for Jack. My favorite line: “A terror to Australia was, the wild colonial boy”

Whiskey, You’re The Devil –
Whiskey leads our happy balladeer over hills and mountains. The word whiskey is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic “uisce beatha” (pronounced sort of like ishka ba) which translates as “water of life.” Today the Irish word is “craythur”; get The Pouges version. My favorite line: “Oh, whiskey you’re the devil, you’re leading me astray”

Finnegan’s Wake – James Joyce based his book in part on this song which includes the death of Tim – a hod carrier (a mason’s laborer) – and his subsequent wake at which a brawl breaks out, whiskey is spilled on Tim and he is revived. The Dropkick Murphy’s punk version is good craic. My favorite line: “You see he’d a sort of a tipplers way, but for the love for the liquor poor Tim was born. To help him on his way each day, he’d a drop of the craythur every morn.”

I Got Laid on James Joyce Grave – A Black 47 original. The band is named for the worst year of the Famine, Black 47. The song is an homage to Joyce and that says enough. My favorite line: “I Got Laid on James Joyce’s Grave, I was hoping that his genius would rub off on me.”

Wild Rover – A Traditional favorite you will hear on St. Paddy’s almost anywhere. It sounds like a proper old Irish drinking song, but in truth it is a Temperance song from the early 1800s. My favorite line “I’ve been a wild rover for many’s the year, and I spent all me money on whiskey and beer.”

James Connolly – One of my favorite songs of all time about the socialist labor leader, one time resident of Troy, NY, and commander of the Free Dublin forces during the Easter Rebellion of 1916. “With Pearce and Connolly bidding each other goodbye,” he was seriously wounded, captured, and taken to Kilmainham Jail where he was tied to a chair and executed. My favorite line: “So don’t give up your rifles boys, hold on to the dream, of a republic for the working class – economic liberty.”

Come Out Ye Black and Tans – Although Americans typically don’t know it, the half ale and half stout served as a “Black and Tan” is called a “Half and Half” in Ireland, and for good reason. The Black and Tans were a paramilitary group used to suppress revolution in Ireland in the 1920s. Their main targets were the Irish Republican Army, but they were notorious for their attacks on Irish civilians. My favorite line: “Come out ye Black and Tans, come out and fight me like a man, show your wife how you won medals out in Flanders, tell her how the IRA, made you run like hell away, from the green and lovely lanes in Killeshandra.”

Seven Drunken Nights – When The Dubliners play this song, they announce they can only sing five of the nights – the last two verses are generally considered too raunchy for the general public. If you hear them in the pub where you are, you know you are in the right place. My favorite line: “Your drunk, your drunk, you silly old fool, and still you cannot see.”

Irish Men Will Set Them Free – The beginning line – “In the jail that held McSwiney; In the prison where he died” – is all you need here, but there is more to this tale of women imprisoned for their “love of dear old Ireland.” The title is sometimes offered as “The IRA Will Set them Free.” My favorite line: “Twas the love of dear old Ireland brought them to a prison hell, but the ghosts of Pearse and Connolly, filled their lonely prison cell, Clarke and Plunkett stand beside them, McDonagh McDermott and Wolfe Tone, and all the voices of old Ireland, cry for us to bring them home.”



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