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Parade Day 2016 @ Riley’s Pour House:
“the sweetest melody”

March 13th, 2016

walsh from stage“I thought I heard a piper play the sweetest melody / People gathered round a’ dancing and singing so merrily . . .”
– “Caledonia” by Dougie MacLean

But we didn’t just think it. If you were one of the 1,000-plus revelers who packed the tent and pub at Riley’s Pour House on Parade Day, you saw and heard it for real.

Here’s how it happened.

As band mate Duane Davis and I were midway through our second of four sets on Riley’s outdoor stage, we noticed bagpiper John Walsh standing in the wings. We’d been waiting for him, since John’s piping has always been one of the high points of Riley’s Parade Day celebrations. We wrapped up our song, introduced him, and for the next 10 minutes the tent rang with the echoes of the highlands.

That’s John on the left, in a photo taken from the stage, looking out over the packed tent. An amazing performance.

SPMeanwhile, inside the pub, St. Patrick (Richard O’Malley) held court at a center table, taking a break after marching through the streets of Pittsburgh.  His appearance was another one of the many offstage attractions that always makes Riley’s the place to be on Parade Day. Other attractions included a pair of sword-wielding belly dancers who performed atop the bar later that night.

That’s Richard “St. Patrick” O’Malley pictured on the right.

Sorry . . . but I didn’t get photos of the belly dancers.

Riley's Parade DayNevertheless, the real attraction was the crowd that overflowed both tent and pub, spilling into the street out front and the alley behind.

Composed of some of the best people you’re likely to meet this side of the Blasket Islands, the members of the audience made the show, dancing to “500 Miles” and singing along with us on a show-capping performance of “Wagon Wheel.”

What a rush!

Duane and Larry at Riley compressed (340x247)At 8:00, Duane and I moved to the pub stage, where we  continued playing until midnight while The Wild Geese Band performed under the tent. (That’s Wild Geese below, Connolly & Davis to the right, in case you’re wondering.)

Along the way, we were joined by Lauren Connolly-Moore on mandolin and vocals. All told, Connolly Davis performed for eight hours. Quite a workout, but I’m ready to do it The Wilde Geese Bandagain. Scop on! 

Image Credits:

All photos copyright © 2016 Lawrence C. Connolly, The 21st Century Scop.

The Parade Day banner is from the Riley’s Pour House website: rileyspourhouse.com/

St. Patrick’s Day Shows: Music Marathons

March 8th, 2016

with Duane and LaurenIf you want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style, Pittsburgh is the place to be. That’s according the Niche®, who also says:

Pittsburgh has one of the highest percentage of its population identifying as Irish, great access to bars, a thriving St. Patrick’s Day Parade that boasts over 20,000 participants, and a staggering amount of St. Patrick’s Day hype on Facebook.

10649746_714754118572430_5509741742800892289_nAnd Pittsburgh also has Riley’s Pour House, where bandmate Duane Davis and I will be performing under the big top on Riley’s Outdoor Stage from 4:00 to 7:30PM on Pittsburgh’s Parade Day. After that, we move inside to the pub’s stage where we’ll play till midnight.

Also performing under the tent on Riley’s Parade Day Weekend are The Corned Beef and Curry Band (Friday, 8-11PM) and The Wild Geese (Saturday, 8-Midnight).  You can also expect John Walsh on bagpipes, a visit from St. Patrick himself, and plenty of other surprises. Hope to see you there!

Images: 
Duane Davis, Lauren Connolly-Moore, and Lawrence Connolly. (Top)
The Corned Beef & Curry Band. (Right)

. . . and the Band Plays On @ Riley’s

January 5th, 2016

c and l 2Ten years ago, after finishing our CD Home from the Field at Imagine Audio + Media, The Laughrey Connolly Band stopped at Riley’s to unwind over a couple pints. Another band Corned Beef & Curry was setting up, and we stayed for their first set. They’re one of my favorite pub bands. Click the link above or this one here to see why.

Before long, we were regulars at Riley’s, and when we recorded our second CD Two Sees, Corned Beef and Curry fiddler Bob Banerjee joined us on a few of the tracks. Looking back, it seems it was all destined to be.

duane and leeFast forward ten years. Our CDs are out of print and band mate Chris Laughrey lives 1,500 miles away, but that doesn’t stop us from playing from time to time . . . and one of those times comes this Friday, when we return to Riley’s for a one-night show.

Chris, Lee, Duane, and I will take the stage around 8:00. Along the way we’ll be joined by Lauren Moore, and the music won’t stop until morning. (Well, technically, a few minutes past midnight, but that’s still morning, right?)

To get you in the mood, you’ll find a track from Two Seas below. It features Bob Banerjee on fiddle, Duane Davis on bass, Lee McGinn on drums, and Chris and me on guitars.

I don’t know where the time goes, but when this band gets together, it all comes back again.

Hope to see you Friday. Until then . . . rock on!

Image Credits:
– Christopher Laughrey and Lawrence Connolly (a.k.a. The 21st-Century Scop).
– Duane Davis and Lee McGinn.
– The cover of Two Seas. (If you have a copy, it’s a collector’s item.)
Photos copyright © The 21st-Century Scop.

Fantasy Musician Martin Springett:
Ready to be Reborn

October 19th, 2015

Martin PsringettSome cool news arrived today from fellow musician Martin Springett.

It seems that one of his early albums The Gardening Club is going to be re-released by Space Wreck Records in 2016. This is cause for celebration.

Here’s the press release from Space Wreck:

In 1984, UK-born Martin Springett—an accomplished musician and illustrator who had produced comics for the legendary Heavy Metal magazine and designed and illustrated record covers for Columbia—was commissioned to illustrate the cover of The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay, the first novel of the acclaimed Fionavar Tapestry Trilogy. A classic of fantasy literature, the trilogy is beloved worldwide, and it launched Springett to international fantasy illustration fame.

Springett (3)In 1983, Springett is living in Toronto and releases his own album: The Gardening Club. A musically rich and diverse album, The Gardening Club combined King Crimson-like complexity, Canterbury scene-infused whimsy, and a strong pop sensibility, but in the shadow of new wave it was the right album, at the wrong time.

In 2016, The Gardening Club will be revitalized with a trilogy of releases: a deluxe repackaged version of the original LP, an EP filled with previously unreleased songs and a brand new companion graphic novel filled with Springett’s signature lush, oneiric imagery, wonderful wordplay and decidedly English brand of the fantastic.

511ZxU2WmIL._SS280I’ve had the pleasure of jamming with Martin at a number of World Fantasy Cons. First in Toronto in 2012 and most recently in D.C. last year, where we were joined by Sarah Pinsker, F. Paul Wilson, and others. Sadly, other projects are keeping Martin from attending this year, but we can still hear his music.

Be sure to check out his CDs and digital downloads at Amazon, and for those of you who need more convincing, take a look at (and listen to) the video below. The song is “Andromeda,” from The Gardening Club. The video was directed by Phillip Kates, who went on to direct videos featuring Blue Rodeo, Jeff Healey, and Sarah McLachlan. Great stuff!

At any rate, the good news is that Martin Springett has more than enough music out there to fill the silence until Space Wreck reissues The Garden Club next year. Until then . . . scop on!