Workshop w/ Blues Master SCOTT AINSLIE, April 2nd, HBG, PA (concert too!)

Scot smallIf you are a blues guitarist or a guitarist who just wants to learn more about the music that rock came from (including Delta Blues, Slide Guitar, Open Tunings, Piedmont/Ragtime Style fingerpicking Blues) then you should plan on registering for Scott Ainslie’s “Blues, Give Me Your Right Hand” workshop which will be held on Saturday, April 2, 2016 from 2-5 pm at the Fort Hunter Centennial Barn located at 5300 N Front Street in Harrisburg. The workshop is sponsored by the Susquehanna Folk Music Society.

Blues, Give Me Your Right Hand This 90 minute workshop will focus on right hand techniques used by acoustic blues masters. We’ll look at Mississippi John Hurt’s ragtime picking, Rev. Gary Davis’s stunning two-finger picking, Robert Johnson’s thumb-heavy attack, and work toward building on your understanding of coordinating the thumb and fingers without sacrificing power and versatility. Bring a guitar and come join us. Participants are also welcome to bring an audio recording device, paper and pencil are recommended.

The cost of the workshop is $45. We are asking that you get your workshop tickets by March 29th at www.sfmsfolk.org/concerts/ScottAinslie.html. Scott Ainslie will also be featured in concert at 7:30 on the evening of the workshop. A separate ticket is required for this concert and is available on-line or at the door.

Ainslie is the author of “Robert Johnson/At The Crossroads”—a book of transcriptions, history, and annotated lyrics from Johnson’s famous solo blues recordings of 1936-37. He is an experienced teacher and has an instructional DVD on Johnson’s music on Starlicks Master Sessions.

Ainslie has studied with elder musicians on both sides of the color line, in the Old-Time Southern Appalachian fiddle and banjo traditions, as well as Black Gospel and Blues. He plays this music with affection, authority, and power.

He is a legacy instructor at both Common Ground On The Hill in Westminster, MD and at the Swannanoa Gathering’s Guitar Week. His popularity is such that his courses often fill up within the first 15 minutes of open on-line registration!

Questions? E-Mail Scott Ainslie at scott@cattailmusic.com

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“You Can Play Bach on It, You Can Play Anything on It.”-An Interview with Banjo Great Tony Trischka Appearing Sunday, February 21st in Harrisburg, PA

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Grammy Award nominee Tony Trischka, recognized for his work as perhaps the most influential banjo player in the roots music world, comes to Harrisburg with his band Territory for a Susquehanna Folk Music Society concert on Sunday, February 21, 2016, at 7:30 p.m., at The Abbey Bar, Appalachian Brewing Company, 50 N. Cameron Street, Harrisburg. Tony Trischka Territory features Trischka on Banjo, Mike Barnett on fiddle, Jared Engel on bass and Dominick Leslie on mandolin.

Included in the concert admission is a 3:30 p.m. showing of the 90-minute documentary “Give Me the Banjo,” and a 5 p.m. Meet and Greet with Trischka, the film’s producer. The film is a musical odyssey through 300 years of American history and culture, featuring contemporary banjo masters such as Pete Seeger, Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, Taj Mahal, Mike Seeger, Alison Brown, Sonny Osborn, Don Vappie, Cynthia Sayer and Abby Washburn in interviews and performances, combined with rare archival footage, stills, recordings and first-hand narratives.

Concert tickets are $25 General Admission, $21 for SFMS members, and $10 for students ages 3-22. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets online HERE at or by calling toll-free (800) 838-3006.  For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society website.

Susquehanna Folk Music Staff Writer Peter Winter was able to sit down with Trischka and discuss a range of subjects including recent projects, how to continue to push music horizons decades into a revelatory career, and MC Kendrick Lamar.

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“[T]he people I’ve gotten to meet, the strange things I’ve gotten to do.”-Current Projects and Great Memories

One of the things that is going to be special about this show is that it will also feature a screening of the 2011 film “Give Me The Banjo” of which you were music director and co-producer.   I was wondering if you could talk a little about the film, how you became involved, and what your involvement was?

Well I had a project called “World Turning” and it was a history of the banjo from its African roots to modern times. I met this gentleman named Marc Fields. He was a documentarian that worked for a local PBS station in New Jersey and it sparked the idea for him to make a documentary on the history of the banjo. So starting in 2003 or something like that, we huddled about it and then started working on it. It was about nine years in the making. To be honest, Marc did all the grunt work, because he was the documentarian and did a lot of the filming and editing and all of that, but I was there for some of the interviews and gave him some direction, “Maybe we should have this person involved” and “This could connect to this,” you know that sort of thing. He did the lion’s share of the actual work. Then it aired on PBS after a while of negotiating.

In 2014, you had your new album “Great Big World” out on Rounder Records, It’s such a great record.

Thank you.

You’re welcome. On the album you have a wide variety of guest stars that I thought were so interesting. You had members of The Punch Brothers on there, also Aoife O’Donovan, and Bela Fleck. Add to that a folk hero like Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and even John Goodman. What was your thinking when you were assembling the group of people you wanted to have on this record with you?

Well it was really on a tune by tune basis. What ever the need seemed to be for that particular tune. I have a fascination with Westerns, my father grew up in Arizona so maybe that’s part of it, and I decided I wanted to write a song about Wild Bill Hickok. After writing banjo instrumentals for a million years, do we really need another banjo instrumental? Why don’t I start writing some lyrics? Because in my angst ridden teen years I would write poetry, so I decided to try and get back into writing lyrics, which is a kind of poetry. I felt Wild Bill Hickok had been under served. There were songs about Billy The Kid, Jessie James, what about poor Wild Bill? So I decided to write this song, and in the process of researching it, because I wanted to have historical accuracy in there, I came upon this quote, it was a wanted poster from back then, a “Help Wanted” for a Marshal in this town. And I thought “This would be a great thing to have some spoken word in there.” I know John Goodman from many, many years before from doing a show called “The Robber Bridegroom” it was on Broadway, then on a bus/truck tour and he was involved with that. I got to know him from that many years ago and we stayed in touch to some extent over the years, and so I got in touch with him, and he was willing to do it. And so I thought “great” because he’s just got the perfect voice for that sort of thing.   So that’s how I got him in there. And Aoife O’Donovan lives in Brooklyn and I live in New Jersey, so she lives close by. While I was doing this Stephen Foster tune, “Angelina Baker,” Michael Daves, who I wanted to have singing on it said, “You know, I know this woman who wrote the woman’s response to the guy” and I said, “Wow I could write some lyrics like that myself and have these dueling points of view” so we got Aoife to come in and sing that part. Those are a couple examples of how I got people involved.

Did you feel out of your element at all starting to write lyrics? Was that scary at first?

I didn’t feel out of my element, I felt, “Let me give this a shot and see how it works.” It just makes everything more dimensional. I’ve been fortunate that I have a good flow for writing banjo instrumentals. It doesn’t mean that they all turn out really well, but I can pretty much crank those out. It’s fun and it’s good exercise. Writing lyrics is a full other thing. I think that most people relate to lyrics more than they relate to banjo instrumentals. The average person is going to want to hear words. I tend to be a little verbose in my lyrics, and that may come from being a banjo player and feeling I have to fill all these spaces with all these notes, I don’t know. But it’s a good challenge, that’s how I feel about it. It’s kind of the same thing when you’re writing just the music, the instrumental, you know when it’s right. You have this inner sense, “Ok yeah, I should change this to this or whatever” and it’s the same thing with lyrics, you just know when it’s just not quite the right word. It’s a good challenge. I’m currently working on a project about the Civil War, and basically every tune has lyrics. So I’m really deeply involved in lyrics writing right now. I love having that extra dimension in there.

You’ve had such a varied career and experimented with so many things. You’ve done some movies, and you’ve done the Shakespeare play “As You Like It” back in 2012. What are some of the standout projects you’ve worked on that you felt really stretched you and caused you to grow as an artist, or that you just had a great time doing?

Boy there are so many of those. Working “As You Like It” as you mentioned was just a thrill. I’d worked with Steve Martin in recent years, and he was asked to write some music, write some songs for “As You Like It” for Shakespeare in The Park in New York City and he asked if I would be up for doing that. I said “Sure! Do a Shakespeare thing? This is crazy I’d love to.” So that was really fun. It was like being in the country, because when you’re at the Delacorte Theater in New York City, you can’t see any buildings, and there’s like a pond there with egrets landing and turtles would come up on to the shore backstage and lay eggs. It was crazy.   And I actually got to do one line for one show, which was “To pick or not to pick?” I did that in the first preview, and afterwards the director said, “Tony we’re cutting your line.” I was mortally offended, but I got to be a Shakespearean actor for about five words. That was a great experience. Getting to meet William S. Burroughs was kind of a crazy thing.   When I did the “World Turning “ album, I wanted spoken word on that also, and I won’t go through all the details, but I got to go to William S. Burroughs’ house in Lawrence, Kansas and that was a very interesting meeting and afterwards I decided it would be great to have him do the spoken word part of this dying banjo player in the 1850s and he agreed to do it. So the people I’ve gotten to meet, the strange things I’ve gotten to do, those are a couple of things. In terms of touring, playing in Czechoslovakia in 1988 when it was still communist was a peak experience. I would still put that up as the best tour I ever did because of the political overtones. I’ve been so fortunate, and the older I get, the more fortunate I feel. I’ve been able to have this life and travel, and meet all these amazing people, and be a banjo player!

“Through thick and thin it’s been there”-An Artist’s Journey with a Classic American Instrument 

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The Banjo is such an iconic American instrument, obviously it came from Africa, but it is woven into the fabric of our history. Why do you think that is? Why has the banjo endured musical natural selection up to 2016 for us to have this conversation?

That’s very well put. That’s a really good question, and I don’t really know if I have a really good answer for that. It just kind of happened that way. It mirrors the social history of the United States. As you were alluding to it comes from Africa originally, and when African Americans were in slavery they would play these instruments. Drums were outlawed because you could communicate with them, but instruments were allowed to remain. There’s a picture in Colonial Williamsburg, of a slave dance from 1780 in South Carolina, and one of the musicians is this gentleman holding a gourd, a banza it was called, with a short string like we associate with five string banjos today.  So as early as the 1780s, obviously before that, they were playing this instrument as a way of keeping their legs and bodies together under the oppression of slavery.  Then it was picked up by the whites in the 1840s, and became an integral part of the Minstrel Show for many years, then became a parlor instrument in the late 1800s/early 1900s, for sophisticated members of society. Some of the very first recordings of any sort from the late 1800s/early 1900s were of banjo music. So it’s something about the sound of the instrument. I’ve done a lot of interviews with other banjo players for various projects I’ve done, and it’s the same for me, when people say, “Why did you pick up the banjo?” “Well, it was the sound of it.” And for me I was fourteen years old, and first heard the Kingston Trio, a tune called “M.T.A.” and there was this bright, exciting, fast sound, and it just grabbed me, and that’s true for many other people. That’s kind of the sound that even though, as Steve Martin said in a comedy routine, “It’s a happy instrument, you can’t be sad when you hear the banjo.” But then in more recent times, and he knew this all along he said, “There’s a melancholy about it.” And there is, there can be aside from all that, a happy sound, and you can play some very melancholy music on it. So there’s a depth to the instrument. And even because it’s round, there’s something iconic about something that is round (Laughs). It’s like Bluegrass music also, which is one way the banjo is used: It’s never going to hit the top of the charts, and you won’t see the Banjo Instrumental Award on the evening Grammys right after Beyonce or anything, but through thick and thin it’s been there.

That went into my next question. What about the banjo has kept you around? Why do you love it and keep coming back to it?

I can’t even exactly put that into words either. I sometimes say, “I didn’t choose the banjo, it chose me. “ On some level I kind of feel that way that because I went from flute, then piano, then guitar, then discovered the banjo and I was gone from there. I didn’t even think about “What am I going to do for a living once I got out of college?” I was kind of playing the banjo and I just kept playing the banjo. It was never “What should I do?” I was always a banjo player and always will be if I’ve made it this far. I think it’s just that for me, it is forever fascinating and it’s just a great creative outlet. I still love the sound of it.   I’m never satisfied with where I’m at; I always want to get better, so there’s always that. You got to keep pushing forward.

That’s incredibly exciting that you can always push that horizon and chase another goal on an instrument.

Exactly.   And you know there are times when I’ll start playing straight Bluegrass, you know Earl Scruggs, and I’m so happy to do that, and then after awhile I start trying to bush boundaries a little bit because I grew up in the 60s and heard The Beatles, and Frank Zappa, and Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, Hendrix, and Miles Davis later on, who were all kind of stretching the boundaries and I sort of dug that and said, “I also want to be pushing boundaries” so everything is fresh for me because of all that music I was listening to, and my own desire to find new horizons on the banjo. And then when that would start to get a little tiring, I’d say, “Well ok, time to go back to Scruggs style.” Then I would discover some of the history of the banjo, and the parlor music I was referring to in the early 1900s, and then “Oh! Here are some early minstrel banjo books from the mid 1840s, where you can actually learn to play what these people were playing in 1855!” And then finding the African roots and it was this powerful thing. Kind of infusing this linear history of the banjo like we’ve been talking about, all these different styles, into what I do. Even though most of the time I’m playing bluegrass banjo (well bluegrass and the more progressive thing) I also wanted to do solo shows so I could do more of these other things. It’s like with any instrument, “Oh I play the guitar and I’m tired of playing classical, now I’m going to play rock ‘n’ roll, or I’ll learn to play bluegrass guitar.” I think that most people associate the banjo with bluegrass banjo, dueling banjos, The Beverly Hillbillies. It’s a musical instrument. You can play Bach on it, you can play anything on it. It’s endlessly fascinating.

Your career has been based in these periods of looking to the traditions of the banjo, interspersed with periods of innovation and wanting to push the boundaries. For both a musical instrument and a genre of music, why are those twin pillars of tradition and innovation important?

You mean in general why are they important?

Yeah. Why is it important for a musical tradition to thrive you need people on the traditional side keeping those things alive, but also innovators to keep things kinetic, why are both those things important?

Well I think you need to be rooted. You need to come from somewhere, whether it is jazz, or bluegrass, or classical, any kind of music. Even though probably on average, most people would rather go to hear Beethoven or Bach at a classical concert rather than Schoenberg even though he is sort of traditional in that early 1900s style. Rather than angular music, your average person is going to want to hear something more sonorous and more rooted. Yet music has to move forward and can’t stagnate.   The same thing with jazz, Louie Armstrong referred to Bebop music, you know Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie in 1945, as “Chinese music.” Louie Armstrong to his dying days was genius. Not everyone is ready for the next step, and yet it needs to move forward. There’s room for it all. I mean Bill Monroe when he invented bluegrass, it wasn’t like “Oh I’m going to invent bluegrass” it was a natural progression for him, an evolution.   He took elements of blues and old time country music, and there’s a certain jazzy element to it. You hear what he was doing right before Flatt & Scruggs started in 1945, and he had accordion…it was like swing music basically. And so what he came up with was, if not radical, then certainly an evolution, and people want to contain that and say, “Well it should just stay that.” And Earl Scruggs too; he was listening to jazz and there are definitely elements of jazz in his early music, so he was really stretching the boundaries. So what at one time would be considered radical or evolutionary, over time becomes traditional.

So true.

And then the next step moves forward from there.

I was really surprised when I was on your website to see that you are involved with online banjo lessons. I imagine you are such a busy guy with all your projects, why did you want to make time for teaching as well?

Well I’ve been teaching since 1970, the very first lessons I gave were in 1970 this friend of mine was playing banjo and she wanted a lesson and I said, “Well I don’t teach.” And she said “Well that’s ok I won’t pay you.” Perfect thing. My father was a physics professor at Syracuse University, so I guess it was in the gene pool on some level. Over the years after teaching a lot of one on one lessons, I started doing workshops and music camps that I continue to do today.   Then I was offered the chance to do “The Tony Trischka School of Banjo” online by a company called Artist Works, and it’s been so gratifying. I can earn money while I’m at home! One of the aspects of it is that people can send in videos and I respond to them on Skype in a day or a week or what ever, depending if I’m on the road or not. Also I have over 40 interviews in there with Earl Scruggs, JD Crowe, Steve Martin and Bela Fleck and on and on and on. So I have this huge banjo world I get to add to, because I’ve written a lot of instruction books. This school, every six months or once a year I go to Napa California (not such a bad way to make a living) where the company is based, to film lessons. I started with 150 lessons, and now there are certainly over 200 lessons. As time goes on there will just be more and more. I love that I can fill in a certain gap or someone will be looking for something and I can help with that. It just keeps expanding and building and becoming more enriched. It’s just such a wonderful paradigm and I’m lucky to do it!

“Not just bluegrass”-Listening Habits of a Banjo Great

So when you’re Tony Trischka, what banjo players do you listen to? Who are some players you really enjoy and that inspire you?

There are so many! Earl Scruggs still is always number one. Bill Keith is another one. He passed recently. He invented a style of banjo playing called “The melodic style” there were other people playing it before him but he was with Bill Monroe really put it out there at The Grand Ole Opry, and then on Decca Records. He was playing Fiddle tunes note for note on the banjo; a very important figure in banjo history and so I still listen to him. Bela Fleck, I love listening to his music, Noam Pikelny, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with him?

Oh I’m a HUGE Punch Brothers fan

Yeah! Ok Good. So Noam. I could just run down a laundry list of my favorite banjo players, but those are just some names to start with. Earl is always at the top, and always will be.

What are some albums that you’ve been listening to recently that you’ve really been enjoying?

Not just bluegrass but just in general?

Yeah it can be anything.

Woody Guthrie. I’m a big Woody Guthrie fan. Through his daughter Nora Guthrie my appreciation for Woody has really deepened. Pete Seeger. I’m just an old fogey at heart I suppose. Lots of Pete Seeger, I got to see him just before he passed, it was an amazing experience; that’s another story. So Pete, I grew up listening to him. My Parents listened to him and he was a big part of my life throughout. I’ll never get sick of listening to The Beatles I always hear new things on their music, Van Dyke Parks, I like listening to him. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with his music?

I’m not!

He worked with Brian Wilson on Brian’s visional “Smile” album. He wrote the lyrics on there. He released an album called “Song Cycle” which I think is one of the most amazing albums ever made. Aaron Copland. I’m up in Boston teaching at Berklee College of music right now, and on the way up two days ago I was listening to Aaron Copland almost the entire way up. A very pivotal musical figure in my life. He’s been a very important inspiration to me. Anyway, those are a few. I’ve jumped into Kendrick Lamar.

Have you been listening to Kendrick Lamar?

Yeah through my son. I appreciate how amazing he is. Here and there I catch a little of it, so I’m not totally back in the 60s. (Laughs).

I would never have thought you were stuck in the 60s.

He’s amazing, what can you say? His latest album…what’s that thing called?

To Pimp a Butterfly.

Right, right. It’s crazy good. Actually, David Bowie’s last record. I was never a huge Bowie fan, you know I got into it here and there, but that last album Dark Star is just…what an amazing concept. You’re dying, and that video he did at the end, the whole album, it’s just staggering. I think that’s an amazing album.

Just asking you what you’ve been listening to, it’s so eclectic. Do you think that has helped and informed your playing over the years, that you’re not just sitting there saying “Oh I listen to bluegrass and I’m the bluegrass guy.” but you’re talking about all these styles. Do you think they trickle into your playing?

I think it does. After all these years my playing style, it is what it is. Even though I try to evolve it and move it forward. Again, I know that listening to The Beatles and all those people in the 60s did really excite me and make me think “Well, you can do more than just play bluegrass,” Because, who could ever do it better than Earl Scruggs? Steve Martin plays (not to keep referencing Steve Martin but he makes some really good points) “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” he can play “Shuckin’ the Corn,” he can play the bluegrass tunes, but the way he feels about it is that other people have already done that so what can I do? So he’s written all these original tunes, and I feel the same way. I can play those tunes, I can play those notes, but I’ll never be able to do it as well as Earl Scruggs, and yet there’s a part of me that keeps trying. I’ve been playing for over 50 years and I’m still trying to play like Earl.   It’s part of what my music is about, is trying to sound like Earl, and I almost have that. And I’ll never get there, because he just HAD it.

And in the process of that you start sounding like yourself eventually.

Exactly. Exactly. It just evolves that way.

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Peter Winter is a musician and writer in Harrisburg, PA.  He writes about a variety of music on his blog All The Day Sounds, and plays a variety of instruments in the Celtic Folk Band Seasons.  He tweets @peterwinter38

 

 

 

 

Interview w/RUNA who will perform in York, PA on February 13, 2016

The five-person Celtic band Runa, which interweaves the haunting melodies and exuberant tunes of Ireland and Scotland with the lush harmonies and intoxicating rhythms of bluegrass, flamenco, blues, and jazz, comes to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of York on Saturday, February 13, 2016, for a 7:30 p.m. concert sponsored by Susquehanna Folk Music Society.

The band includes vocalist and step-dancer Shannon Lambert-Ryan of Philadelphia; Dublin-born guitarist Fionán de Barra; Cheryl Prashker of Canada on percussion; Dave Curley of Galway on mandolin, vocals, bodhrán, and step-dancing; and Maggie Estes White of Kentucky on the fiddle. Runa members have played with Solas, Riverdance, Slide, Clannad, Fiddlers’ Bid, Moya Brennan, Eileen Ivers, Hazel O’Conner, Keith & Kristyn Getty, Barcó, Téada, Jonathan Edwards, and the Guy Mendilow Band.

Concert tickets are $25 General Admission, $21 for SFMS members and $10 for students ages 3-22. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com or toll-free (800) 838-3006. For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society website at http://www.sfmsfolk.org.

I got the chance to chat with Shannon Lambert-Ryan, lead singer and step dancer with the band.

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FOLKMAMA: Tell me some things about how the band formed and how long you’ve been together.

SHANNON: The band has been together for about 7 and ½ years. It started with what was supposed to be a side recording project. Fionán (who I had met at the Philadelphia Folk Festival) and Cheryl (who I had met around the same time) and I decided to record an album together at Fionán’s studio in Dublin. At the time we were all working with other bands, but we just looked at each other after the record was done and said “This is really special, we should do this more often.”

So at first we did most of our gigs as a trio, occasionally bringing in some really terrific guest musicians that helped us to stretch out beyond the “only traditional” music world. So we were able to add some jazz and bluegrass elements to our sound.

FOLKMAMA: So when did the other members of your current line-up join?

SHANNON: Maggie and Dave came a bit later. We met Dave through Fionán’s brother Eamon, who is in a band called Slide. A little bit later when the jazz fiddle player that we had been working with was moving on her way, we asked Maggie to join. It all just kind of fell into place.

FOLKMAMA: The band has some really lovely CDs. Have you recorded with this current composition?

SHANNON: We’ve done four CDs in total, the last two are really representative of that quintet sound. The full line up is on the fourth CD.

FOLKMAMA: Tell me about yourself. How did you get your start in music and dance?

SHANNON: I started as a step dancer when I was about 5 or 6 in Philadelphia. I had gone with my parents to a festival and I had seen a bunch of people step dancing and I said, “That’s what I really want to do!” Both of my parents were Appalachian Cloggers and loved folk music so I grew up surrounded by traditional and cultural music from around the world.

I love lots of different kinds of music from all different time periods, but there is just something about Irish music that has been home for me in many ways.

I majored in history and theater and music, and everyone told me that I really had to choose one, although I didn’t really want to. I feel though that I’m really lucky because I’ve found a way to really incorporate all three of them into what I do with the band. Obviously I’ve incorporated music, but history too because lot of research goes into the music, whether it’s the songs or the tunes.

Then the performance aspect—there is a lot drama in all of the songs. The theater and the acting have really come in handy in terms of conveying that to the audience. People often look to me and they say, “You’re the singer. You’re the one that is presenting the story,”and the truth is that it’s a story that the whole band is telling.

FOLKMAMA: Musicians have the opportunity to go to some unusual places. What are some of the experiences that have really stood out for your?

SHANNON: Well, lots of things. We got a chance to do a cameo appearance at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville for a St Patrick’s Day Celebration and we’ve had musicians like Ron Block for Alison Krauss and Union Station and Ricky Skaggs on stage with us.

We’ve also gotten to play the National Anthem at a couple of different baseball stadiums; twice for The Phillies and once for the Diamondbacks out in Arizona. And a couple of years ago we recorded a music video out at the Grand Canyon—literally about a foot or two from the drop off!

FOLKMAMA: And the band has won some pretty impressive awards too, right?

SHANNON: Yes, we won Top Group and Top Traditional Group in the Irish Music Awards and an Independent Music Award for Best World/Traditional Song. Were just totally honored and floored to be recognized like that. You know you play music because you love playing music, not really to go after the glory. But when those special moments come along it really validates whet you are doing.

FOLKMAMA: What would audiences expect to see when they come to one of your concerts?

SHANNON: We like think of our shows as opening up our living room to everyone so that we can all join in for that session, in for that party.

At the end of performances people always say, “You look like you are having so music fun up there!”RUNA Promo Photo 2013

Photo Credi

Photo Credit Bob Yahn

Photo credit Bob Yahn

Photo credit Bob Yahn