Strange days indeed.

As Hunter S. Thompson suggested, “When the going gets weird, the weird go pro”. While this is playing out LARGE in the political arena we are left to sort out our own lives in the best way we can. While my spirit is crying out to gather and experience the joy we have come to share together at festivals, concert halls and coffee houses, my family and I have tried to make the best of a slower social schedule.

A few notes from the Artfarm:

Bridget (11) decided she wants to be a doctor so we got a surgical kit and she is dissecting all the vermin caught in traps.

Rowan (13) is interested in blacksmithing so we built a forge from an old lawnmower a disc brake and a hair dryer all from scrap. He is mostly making weapons, being in the Dungeons and Dragons phase of boyhood.

I stopped buying sweets so the kids have taken to making desserts, cakes, ice cream…

I built most of a horse barn from a pile of lumber in my neighbor’s yard and put up siding after we got a horse. She is very sweet, from a kill pen and has some issues with her hooves but she is recuperating nicely.

I spend a good amount of time with my canine buddy, and our communication has become so subtle I am sure a video of us would make me look like a crazy person.

This may be the first time in human history we are all thinking about the same thing at the same time, and in my irrational propensity towards joy I believe this current social challenge will push us along the unstoppable path towards human freedom and dignity.

Can we get back to work yet?????

Calan to perform with the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales on St David’s Day (March 1st)

As if there sound wasn’t big enough, Welsh folk group Calan join BBC NOW to mark St David’s Day with a UK premiere of Cân Cnawd y Pridd – a suite of five compositions inspired by collections of traditional Welsh songs and tunes at the National Library of Wales. The suite, dedicated to the memory of Meredydd Evans – one of the most important song collectors of the 20th Century – is a joint commission between BBC NOW and Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne. 

Unfortunately it won’t be broadcast, but we hope to be able to share the recording in the future. Here is a montage over audio of their performance with Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne last year, love the timpani!

Matthew Byrne to be in New England in March.

View this email in your browserHeading back to New England this March!After spending much of December in the Boston area wowing audiences with Brian O’Donovan’s “Christmas Celtic Sojourn”, Byrne is returning to New England this March for a string of dates in MA, RI, CT, and NH.

“I love New Engalnd’s folk music audiences and I’ve made such great friends there over the past few years. I’m finalizing music for my next album and this tour is a great way to introduce these songs before I hit the studio in June.”

Matthew’s 4th studio album will be produced by English folk legend Martin Simpson and will feature some of the finest musicians of the British folk scene.

“I’m a massive fan of Martin’s work and we’ve become friends in recent years. I thought him the ideal fella to produce my next album, which leans heavily toward traditional songs that I found in Newfoundland but traced back to English origin. I’m pretty honored that Martin has come on board for this…this is an incredible opportunity for me.”

All shows are currently on sale. For ticket links and more info, head over to:
WHAT FORTUNES GUIDE A SAILORCBC Parkway Sessions 2019 / Recorded in CBC’s Studio F in St. John’s, NL
NANCY FROM LONDONCBC Parkway Sessions 2019 / Recorded in CBC’s Studio F in St. John’s, NL

Tommy Sands, “Fair Play to You All” review on Babysue

Tommy Sands
 – Fair Play To You All (CD, Spring Record, Irish folk/pop)
Because so many Americans are hypnotized by so many phony money-driven artists in the twenty-first century, they tend to be unaware of genuine real artists making credible music all over the world. It’s sad, but true. While talentless schmucks who don’t deserve any money or fame receive tons of both, those who are truly inspired and credible tend to be obscure in the United States. Overseas Tommy Sands is a legendary singer/songwriter who has been making music for decades. His music is a far cry from commercial driven schlop pop. Sands incorporates elements from folk and pop, and then delivers his messages with distinctive style and personality. The guy has one of those voices that instantly comes across sounding very personal and real. Although we don’t know this for sure, we can’t help but think that Tommy is driven mainly by the desire to make music and express himself. This comes across loud and clear with each and every track on Fair Play To You All. With most songwriters, the weakest link in the chain are lyrics. But in this case, lyrics are exceptionally strong. Sands writes words that seem to come straight from his heart and soul. And his vocal delivery makes the words seem completely sincere and focused. Anyone wanting to discover an artist with true skill and talent would do well to investigate this man’s life and music. He’s recorded a whole slew of albums that are timeless and totally cool. Just a few of the standout tracks on this album include “Answer Not Blowing in the Wind,” “American Dreams,” “Ode to Europe,” and “Every County on the Island.”