Well I just had a great experience on the 19th and 20th! I played the International Celtic Festival at Hunter's Mountain Resort in the Catskills - which means "Cat's Creek", taken from the Dutch. Although there were t'ousands of people there, there was still plenty of room to swing a cat, if you wanted. What a beautiful area! The festival takes place right at the base of the Hunter Mountain Ski Slopes: everywhere you look is green and goes up. (For winter: change green to white) There are four stages and a demonstration area - which is located at the bottom of the slope - just outside the lodge. This too is the scene of the incredible massed march of pipe bands along toward 6:00 PM - that's 1800 for those of you who are concerned about such things. This year there were 54 bands from all over who competed and then participated in the march - all a skirling and paradiddling like 90 and yet, not a note was slipped. It was quite the thing to see, I'll tell you. They came down the rise and marched right past the lodge. Guy Garraghan, one of the movers and shakers of the festival told me that this was the largest competition in the states. From the looks of it, I'd say he was right. There was plenty of food - good food too! Plenty of good company. And plenty of good booze and beer and Guinness - was there ever any such thing as bad beer and booze? If you think that there was... why then, you're just wrong, that's all. I got to see a little bit of Searson, a high energy group out of Canada, the interesting and very tight group Knot Fibb'n, and even a little bit of The Prodigals. Of course there were others and a good slew of dancers as well - all excellent - but I didn't get to see them much because most of my time was spent in the air-conditioning of the Copper Tree Restaurant, where I shared the stage with two certifiably insane performers: Tim Quinn and Seamus Kennedy. All I can say was that it was a great deal of fun and quite an experience - one which I would gladly repeat over and over. We had a great craic. I certainly hope to be able to play the festival again in 2007. If you can make it - make it! It's a wonderful time! Now for something completely different: CLEAN CABBAGE IN THE BUCKET And Other Musical Tales From the Trenches "What on Earth is that??!!" And well you ask. What is is, is an anthology. Myself, Seamus Kennedy, Harry O'Donoghue, Robbie O'Connell , and Dennis O'Rourke - whose idea this was and who also edited the thing - teamed up and wrote a whole bunch of stories during the last few years. And I mean a whole bunch of stories. What arrived was this book. These stories are not just stories, mind you. All of them are seldom told tales of events that befell each of us - mostly individually - over the past 30 years or so. The common theme is that they all have to do with our exploits and some misadventures as travelling musicians/entertainers on the Irish circuit. The book is complete right now. I've read all the stories and I think the thing is real good. There are five of us involved and you've got five different, distinct voices. It's interesting, funny, sad, even chilling in spots. Above all, it's entertaining. And that's the point. Of course, after reading some of these things, you'll wonder why any of us are still alive and reasonably ambulatory. But we are. And that's another point. All that is left now is to get the group photo taken. There are plenty of photos in the book, but they are from days gone by. Dennis, in his role as fearless editor, figured that we should have at least one contemporary shot. I argued against this. It's my opinion that all things considered, our real big accomplishment, over the 3-plus decades covered by the book, is that we've all gotten older and uglier. So why foist some Dorian Gray-ish photograph on an innocent public. However, I got voted down by the other gargoyles and so, we're having a conclave in Savannah at Kevin Barry's on 8-9 October to be immortalized on Kodak. Then the whole magilla goes to the printer. Harry will be on stage on the 8th, so I imagine we'll be paying attention like reasonably clean choir boys out of respect for the ritual. (I'm trying to keep serious, now) Poor JJ Smith will be on stage of the 9th. I know Kennedy will have something to say about his kilt. Join us. We should have a time. Well, to the point. The book, CLEAN CABBAGE IN THE BUCKET And Other Musical Tales From the Trenches, should be out around Thanksgiving - hopefully in time for Christmas. They will be priced in the $22.00 range. If you'd like to pre-order the thing, I'll sign your copy however you'd like it signed, I'll pay the postage, and I'll only charge $20.00. After we get the book, everything reverts to normal. Of course I, and the rest of the boys, will be selling them at the gigs, but we'd love to get as many pre-orders as possible to get a handle on how it might go over and also to pay for my Grannie's hernia operation. If this you'd like, just send me a check for $20.00 per copy, payable to yours truly. Include your address and how you'd like the inscriptions to read. Twenty bucks will reserve a personalized copy. Did I mention that supplies are limited? Well they are indeed at this point, if only for financial reasons. So the sooner you act, the better. I suppose that's about it for now. God knows I can prattle on sometimes. Frank Emerson 490 E. North Street Wytheville, VA 24382

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