SIDESHOW

This page is a kind of sideshow for miscellaneous bits and pieces of information, tall tales, photos, heroes, old friends, music and travel experiences that I've enjoyed etc.

I hope you find some of them interesting, funny, romantic or whatever...  

Young gun back in the day!

First up is a blog I wrote in 2007 just after Susan and I got married in the Joshua Tree National Park in the middle of the Mojave Desert in California
You'll be amazed at the people you bump into in the middle of a desert in California!!... including the occasional incognito Rock Star!

This here is an old photo of two younger men who just went head-to-head in a Nashville pool hall back in 1997... where we played a 'real' game of skill called snooker!
I think I may have exited this tense competition with the snooker bragging rights!... on the other hand one of these younger men is one of my biggest musical heroes and owns the bragging rights that really count!... though he's among the most humble of men who probably never bragged about anything in his life... 'Just goes to show... you can't win 'em all!

It's nigh on impossible to pick a definitive masterpiece from a career full of them... but this one really hit me and stuck with me over the years.

This is an absolute killer song- especially now that I'm getting on in years... such prescience and humanity to see this deeply into the souls of old people at such a young age.. 

RIP John Prine.. sorely missed

On a drive back from Mexican Hat in Utah to San Mateo in California a few years back, Susan and I took a detour to a place called Canyon de Chelly on Navajo tribal lands in northeastern Arizona. We had gone initially to visit Monument Valley, backdrop for more famous western movies than you could count! Monument Valley lived up it's billing with its incredible scenery... as did neighbouring Valley of The Gods which just screamed alien spacecraft landing area!
But Canyon de Chelly was unexpectedly and breathtakingly something else.

We drove up through Chinle a small and uninviting Navaho town close to the highway which screamed poverty and neglect and were totally unprepared for the majesty, and particularly the atmosphere, of Canyon de Chelly. It was winter time and the air was chilled with snow lying around the rim of the canyon... we parked up and walked down to the canyon rim where we both instantly experienced the same astounding emotion when we looked out over the valley.
We looked at each other and our hearts froze and our eyes filled with tears as we stood rooted to the spot in awe of the spiritual but overwhelmingly sad feeling of this place.


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Canyon de Chelly

I remember this day like it was yesterday!
Not the specifics you understand...
I don't recall the year but I remember it was summertime ....probably early/mid 80's at Leopardstown Race course in Dublin......... I think! 
The band was called Hotfoot. They were the first 'gypsy jazz' band I ever heard and they were shit hot!
The guitarists and bassist were Dubliners and came from a rock/blues background although they had other strings to their bows so to speak... Patrick Collins, the violinist came over from England with another band, stayed around and became an honorary Dubliner.
Jimmy Faulkner was one of Dublin's finest guitarists and favourite sons...  he could play anything on the guitar!
They were all super players and funny as hell!
They became all the rage for a few years.. lots of radio and TV and every kind of gig imaginable... they could have been huge, but they didn't appear to be interested in the business end of things. They loved to play and having fun (which took a lot of forms!) was the main order of the day.   I think it's fair to say they were a little crazy and hanging out with these guys was like being forever in the Marx Brother's film 'A Day At The Races'!

We had become great friends and we often played together in various guises and combinations  although 

A Day At The Races!

Left to right:
Jimmy Faulkner (gtr./vocals); Declan McNeilis (bass/vocals); Jimmy Gibson (gtr/vocals); Me (guest vocals) and the mighty Patrick Collins (violin/vocals)

HOTFOOT

gypsy jazz was way out of my league! On this particular day I was their PA guy and sound engineer and in this picture had abandoned my post to join them on singing sing "Don't Fence Me In" .. that's me in the hat. It was just one of those times when everything hilarious in the cosmos comes together and the spirit of the Marx Brothers was abroad..  if laughs were money we were rich as Croesus that day!!! Sadly, they have all departed this life now... there wasn't enough 'craic' to tether them to the banalities of this world I suspect!