Playing music with Legends. And Of Course Some more bonus tracks !! Just for Reading !
To get a job as a professional musician / entertainer in the most prestigious hotel in Ireland,Ashford Castle, which year after year is voted in high ranking positions(sometimes first) in established hotel guides and which scoops many of the national and international hotel wards was a stroke of good fortune for me.
Firstly not having to wait for the phone to ring for the next gig gives one great peace of mind, just show up and perform as well as you can and be professional at all times, just like any other job.
But more so over the years, the famous people from all walks of life who have stayed there and whom I got to meet and perform with and for, is a story in itself, perhaps for another time, but just to mention a few, in the field of music, those being The Late John Denver,Dame Shirley Bassie, Barbra Streisand,and of course our very own legend of folk music, The Late Tommy Makem.
The Dungeon Bar was the room of entertainment, and one night I was performing for a room full of American people, I was singing the song Country Roads, and noticed the shadow of a very tall man standing in the door way, and was receiving frantic hand signals from the bar man on duty, pointing to this guy.The man came in to the room and sat at the back continuing to listen. A was note duly sent to me and when I read it I nearly fell out of my standing, for it was John Denver. I struck up conversation with him from the stage, and when he answered the room was ex-static. Nothing would do but for him to sing, which he did,he played my guitar, I played piano with him, and he sang four songs. It was a moment of magic.
Barbra Streisand stayed with her husband, whilst they did not come to the Dungeon, I was playing piano in the restaurant while they dined. I played as many of her hits that I could think of, including The Way We Were. When they were leaving the restaurant they stood and chatted for a moment, congratulated me on my playing, in particular The Way We Were, saying that they really enjoyed.
Dame Shirley Bassey was in the bar before dining, and sent the waiter out to me to find out was I a local star or an international star. I sent him back with the answer, tell the dame that stars shine in the sky, but I am a fully trained pianist, the waiter delivered the message, followed by eruptions of laughter from the party. A request came back for “Mad about the boy”, which I duly played as came into the restaurant, the party stood until I had finished, and applauded.
But perhaps the greatest memory I have was with our own Irish legend of folk Tommy Makem (The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem, and later the duo Makem and Clancy).
Tommy Makem was in the hotel with a group of people, including his wife and their sons.While having dinner they warmly applauded selections from Strauss, Opera selections, Musicals etc. During this time, I was asked if it would be OK if Tommy came to the dungeon after dinner to perform for his friends, and off course I was delighted. We normally used a stage in the dungeon but on this occasion I decided not to but rather to focus on the fireplace in the room, as during Tommy’s upbringing in Keady,Co.,Armagh, singing was all done around the fire on cold winter evenings.Well we had a night of it, and we sang until 4am the following morning, the room was packed, nobody went to bed, it was a special time, and a great memory to have.
My instrumental versions of that old Irish Melody “The Lark in the Clear Air”, and Tommy Makem’s Famous Song Four Green Fields, are not currently available, but as a thank you for being a subscriber I would like you to have them with my compliments.
If you like these tracks you might consider checking out my latest album “An Irish Holiday”.It has a wonderful selection of Irish melody’s which would make The Irish folk legend Tommy Makem Proud
Listen to my latest album “An Irish Holiday” right here and now.