Announcements and ALERT

A couple of things. Happy belated Easter to all. Happy on-going St. Patrick's Day recuperation. That sums them up handily. Now to business. You may have seen ads on television or in the newspapers for a group called Celtic Thunder - a few fellows who are doing concerts and the like. Some of you may remember the wonderful trad group, Celtic Thunder from Washington, with whom I was privileged to work closely for a number of years. As they used to say in burlesque years ago, I wondered to myself, "What the hey?" As if in answer to that question, a couple of days ago, I received the following attachment in a note from my old friend Terry Winch. Celtic Thunder played its first gig in May of 1977 at the Harp Pub in Baltimore, and went on to become one of the most influential Irish-American traditional music groups in the U.S. Called “a great Irish band” by the Village Voice and “one of the best Irish folk acts in America” by The Washington Post, the band has released three albums over the years. Its second CD, The Light of Other Days, won the prestigious INDIE award for Best Celtic Album. Co-founded by Jesse and Terry Winch, who grew up in the Bronx of Irish immigrant parents, Celtic Thunder is best known for Terry Winch’s composition, “When New York Was Irish,” a song that has become a standard on both sides of the Atlantic. Celtic Thunder played the White House twice during the (Bill) Clinton administration. In addition to Jesse and Terry Winch, members of the band over the years have included Linda Hickman, Nita Conley, Steve Hickman, Tony DeMarco, Dominick Murray, Rob Thornburgh, Laura Murphy, and Regan Wick. Under no circumstances should Celtic Thunder be confused with the PBS t.v. show (and related CD) featuring a variety of commercial Irish and non-Irish material sung by an assortment of male vocalists, collectively calling itself “Celtic Thunder.” A new compilation of Celtic Thunder’s music, highlighting Terry Winch’s compositions, is now out. Called When New York Was Irish, the CD is available via www.terencewinch.com or from Trade Root Music at www.traderootmusic.com/catalog.html#Winch. A new website with information on the recordings and performances of the original Celtic Thunder members is now under construction. Now, just before Paddy's Day, I received a note from my friend and reasonable fair singer and musician, Danny Doyle. As you know, Danny's been going through a rough patch physically since his operation last year and has been unable to work. Along with typically intelligent, humorous, Doyle-ish bits of whimsy, he sent the following words about his present condition and the prognosis. To those who enquired, I'm getting better from my many ailments slowly but surely, but 'twill be some time before I'm back at the yodeling. I get the feeling from the rest of his note - which I am admittedly too chicken to reveal to you - that it really won't be too long before the Doyler's shining tones will be back to shattering fine crystal all over the place. Whatever his ailments did, they did not diminish his charming curmudgeonly all-encompassing gentle, tolerant G-rated wit. Finally, this is the ALERT of the subject line. I was scheduled to play at a place called Sullivan's Irish Pub in Ashland, Virginia this Thursday - Saturday and again in April and May. Tipped off by some friends who were unable to get through to the place either by a-mail or phone, I tried to contact the joint. No luck. I phoned the Ashland Town Hall, told the woman my name and predicament and asked if she knew anything about the situation. She told me straight out that the place was closed. I owe my friends a thank you and a drink for saving me a long drive and what would probably have been one gigundo coronary conniption. So, contrary to my previous message to you, it looks like I won't be in the Richmond area after all. One word of advice: if you run into some fellow named Greg Sullivan who says he was in the Irish Pub business in Ashland, Virginia, don't turn your back on him. And should you, in a moment of weakness, dare to shake hands with this oxygen thief, count your fingers afterward and count yourself lucky not to be doing business with him. Here endeth the lesson. Go in peace and God bless,

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