Randal Bays at the White Crow

American Irish-style fiddler Randal Bays is performing at the White Crow in Saginaw this Sunday afternoon (the 8th) at 3pm. (I somehow got it on our calendar incorrectly as being at 7pm, but all White Crow e-mails and this newspaper article say 3pm. I’ve corrected the calendar, but it may take a while to show up there.)

Mr. Bays is a fine, fine fiddler, and everyone reading this who can make it down to Saginaw for the concert should definitely go! Here’s a recording of him playing some hornpipes, from a 2009 concert.

PS The Washington Street Irish Pub session in Bay City is 7-10PM tonight (Wednesday the 4th).

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StepCrew Coming to Midland

Now, if you’re anything like I was this morning, you’re saying “Who the heck are StepCrew?” I actually glanced at their picture in the newspaper last week, said to myself “Eh, dancers for the jazz festival,” and turned the page. But Jen read that section in the paper today, and actually read the blurb, which was something like “Fall into step with the international dance sensation! The fusion of fancy footwork stars the world’s top talents in three captivating dance styles – Irish Step, Ottawa Valley Step and Modern Tap – and three world-class fiddlers backed by an amazing five-piece ensemble comprised of some of the most talented and respected musicians in the Celtic music scene today!”

With that, I looked at the picture again, and said, “Hey, isn’t that one of those Pilatzke brothers?” A web search later, and we discovered it was actually both of them, plus Cara Butler and most incredibly, Yvonne Kane. The first three are top notch dancers who have been performing with the Chieftains for nearly a decade. And Yvonne Kane is one of the top Irish fiddlers of her generation.

In my experience, Ottawa Valley stepdancers always put on an entertaining show, and these guys are as good as it comes. Throw in Yvonne Kane and it ought to be a can’t miss show for fans of Celtic music.

June 10th, 8pm, Midland Center for the Arts.

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Jim Malcolm in April

Jim Malcolm with his guitarWe’ve very delighted to say that Scottish singer Jim Malcolm is coming to Midland to give a Sunday afternoon concert on April 3rd. Let me quote his press kit: As both singer and songwriter, Jim Malcolm is one of the most distinctive voices in Scottish music, “one of the finest singing voices in Scotland in any style”. He was lead singer of the phenomenal Scottish band Old Blind Dogs for seven years, touring extensively throughout Europe and North America and playing at many of the biggest folk festivals. In 2004, Jim was songwriter of the year in the Scots Trad Music Awards, and he has been nominated three times for Scots Singer of the Year. He has a huge repertoire of songs from the Scottish tradition and is a noted interpreter of Burns. These old songs are complemented by his own original and award-winning songs, which are at once completely modern and accessible, yet an authentic addition to the cannon of Scottish music.

You can find sound samples and videos at Jim’s website. The concert is in the Midland Center for the Arts’ lecture room. General admission, tickets are $12, $10 for members of the Midland Folk Music Society.

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Session Schedule Change / New Session!

Hi all! The every other week Tuesday Washington Street Irish Pub session is now officially on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Wednesdays of each month. That means that even though there was a session last Tuesday, there will be another one this Wednesday.

The other two Wednesdays (2nd and 4th) are a new session at the Midland Brewing Company. And since this is March, there will be a special inaugural installment of the new session on St. Patrick’s Day.

So, to repeat: on the old schedule, this would have been an off week. On the new schedule, there are sessions on Wednesday and Thursday. Win!

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New session?

There’s talk of some changes to the Celtic music sessions in the area — the addition of a session in Midland and possibly some changes to the schedule. We’ll post specifics as soon as we know! Yay! More sessions!

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David Munnelly Band

David Munnelly Band with Nic Gareiss
We are lucky to have the David Munnelly Band, a terrific group from Ireland, at the State Theater in Bay City this Saturday at 7:30. I don’t know whether Mount Pleasant’s Nic Gareiss is with them this tour, but that’s him dancing with the band in the picture (which is the main picture on the front page of their web page). Should be a great concert!

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I’ve just added a ton of dates to the calendar for March. I won’t try to go over them all now, but it’s definitely worth a look! Also, if you know of something else going on in the area in this most Irish of months, please let us know!

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Mwah ha ha ha ha …

Cue evil-mad-scientist voice and finger-pyramid of evil:

If my calculations are correct, tonight is session night at the Washington Street Irish Pub in Bay City. For the first time since December, we’re both sneaky healthy enough to leave the house at the same time for the purposes of nefariousness recreation.  The evil music starts at 7 … hope to surprise see you there!  Mwa ha ha ha ha …

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Shows This Week

Happy New Year! There are two events of interest this week in our region. Wednesday night (Feb. 2, Groundhog Day), Hoolie is playing at the Stein Haus, 7-10PM. Hoolie finally has a web page of sorts, with quite a few of their songs uploaded.

Friday night (Feb. 4) at 8PM is the Folk Society’s Winter Concert, in the Grace A Dow Memorial Library Auditorium. Local bands Muzyka! and Morpeth Rant are playing.

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Hoolie Schedule in December

Kathy Morris just updated us with Hoolie’s schedule in December. They are playing the Bay Valley Resort & Conference Center at 8pm on Saturday the 11th, Saturday the 18th, and Thursday the 23rd. They also have their usual Stein Haus gig at 7pm on Wednesday the 29th. I hope we can make it out to at least one of these shows!

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