Music is the cure for the stick season blues

November 3, 2015

Waxwing Four - male quartet

Music makes you happy. It’s true. Music causes the release of dopamine, a “feel-good” chemical in your brain. So listening to music literally makes you happy.

That’s why during this time of year when the days become shorter, cooler and we enter into what us Vermonters like to call “stick season,” I try to immerse myself in as much music as I can.

Luckily, just as fall is waning and winter begins to pop up on the horizon, the music doesn’t stop around these parts. There are still house parties, sessions and great concerts to go to that will lift your spirits and make you forget that we’re entering the dark months.

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Irish music in the schoolhouse

August 10, 2015

irish fiddle music

School is not yet in session but anyone who loves Irish music will be in school this weekend – the Four Corners School House that is.

On Saturday, August 15, the Vermont School of Irish Traditional Music presents Tommy McCarthy and his wife, Louise Costello at the Four Corners Schoolhouse in East Montpelier.

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Set Dances, Hornpipes and Mazurkas, Oh My!

June 4, 2015

I was told a story when I first started playing fiddle by one of my teachers who heard it from another teacher who basically said the following:

“When first learning Irish music, it all sounds the same. You then start to learn the tunes and it all sounds different. Then you start to really get to the know the music, and it all sounds the same.”

This Sunday, this story will be proven wrong.

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Enjoying St. Paddy’s Day in Vermont

March 7, 2015

button accordionMarch is one of my favorite months. It’s the month both my mother and grandmother were born, it’s the month where the days get so much longer, it’s also the month to celebrate Irish music. And you don’t need to be Irish to partake in the festivities.

Growing up in Boston, St. Patrick’s Day was always a huge celebration with parades, music, parties, and lots of drinking. As I got older and moved to Vermont, St. Paddy’s Day became less about testing my metabolism and more about sharing this poignant music with the masses who might not be exposed to it during the rest of the year.

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Irish music the right way on Valentine’s Day

February 11, 2015

Valentine’s day is not just for lovers, it’s also for music lovers. And this Valentine’s Day there is tons of Irish music to love.

Grab your date and start your day at 10am with an Irish music workshop (see details below) from FullSet, then hit the Bagitos session in Montpelier from 2-5pm, and then at 7:30pm FullSet, will take the stage at the Barre Opera House on Saturday night. Here’s a little of what to expect:

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Dance away the winter blues

January 22, 2015


Cape Breton music holds a dear place in my heart for many reasons. It was the first genre of fiddle music I learned before I started playing Irish music. And I learned it from a great teacher, Beth Telford, who actually lives in Vermont. She introduced me to many a great fiddle players, composers, dancers and players including the late Jerry Holland, who was not only a great fiddler and composer but also an amazing man. He is one of many I met throughout the years.

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Upcoming Irish music events

January 9, 2015

It may be cold and dark out there but you can warm up with some hot music coming up in the next week. Here’s the low down:

  • Saturday, January 10 – Irish session at Bagitos session 2-5pm – long-running, unaccompanied and hugely successful with some of Vermont’s best traditional Irish musicians.
  • Sunday, January 11Knotwork concert at Red Hen Bakery at 1pm.
  • Thursday, January 15 – Open Irish session at Jericho Cafe and Tavern from 7-9PM.  Get there early for dinner.  It’s awesome!
  • Friday, January 16 – Pride of New York concert 7-9:30PM, Shelburne, tix here. A must see!!
  • Saturday, January 17 –  Weekly Bagitos Irish session 2-5pm.
  • Sunday, January 18 – Irish session at Ri Ras about 3pmish…

Have a great week and enjoy the music.