I remember the first time I met John Doyle. He was scheduled to play with Liz Carroll at a festival in Vermont. I was working at a booth selling instruments, CDs, strings, etc. He came to the booth and started looking at the CDs. I quickly ran over to him, pulled out one of his and Liz Carroll’s CDs and said “I hear the guitar playing on this one is pretty good.” He giggled gracefully at my stupid joke and we started chatting.
Later that evening there was a late night session in one of the festival tents. And because I had taken a week long fiddle workshop with Liz Carroll prior to this festival, she recognized me and called me into the inner circle to play a tune. There I was in my glory sitting with Liz Carroll on one side and John Doyle on the other. Then they asked me to start a tune.
Wouldn’t you know I couldn’t remember one, not one tune. In fact I think I completely forgot how to play the fiddle in that moment. Then all of a sudden one came to me by the grace of God (Felix the Wrestler) and everyone started playing. It was a moment I’ll never forget. Here I was, such an amateur who barely knew any tunes (this was about 10 years ago), scared to death to play in public and two of my musical heroes sitting by my side encouraging me to start a tune.
Thinking of this story reminds me just how special this music is, not only because it’s beautiful music but because the people who carry it on are beautiful people. I mean I grew up listening to the Rolling Stones, but never in my lifetime will I get to sit side by side with them to play a tune. Irish music is truly special in so many ways.
This month is your chance to meet and listen to some of these wonderful musicians. Here are a few concerts you won’t want to miss: