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Get Ready for the Party of the Year!

March 10th, 2015

Duane and Larry at Riley compressed (340x247)

It starts Friday night at Riley’s when Duane Davis and I take the stage at 8:00, and it’ll continue Saturday when we open for the Wild Geese Band  at 6:00. Should be a rocking good time.

The party continues on Tuesday (the official St. Patrick’s Day).

Other musicians performing at the three-day event will include John Puckett , Mike Gallagher, and Mark Guiser. Seriously, you don’t want to miss this one. Slàinte!

Rocking the Pour House:
A Great Way to Spend a Friday Night

January 17th, 2015

Duane and Larry at Riley compressed (340x247)Riley’s Pour House just keeps getting better. Since Jim  and Cheryl Riley took over a few years back, the pub has become a mecca for people who love fun times and good music . . . and last night was no exception.

My good friend Duane Davis joined me on bass and backing vocals. We’ve been playing together for years, first teaming up in a band fronted by my brother John Connolly and then in the Laughrey Connolly Band.

All four of us (340x301)We opened with “Wagon Wheel” then moved on through a set of contemporary tunes before breaking into the chest of Irish and Celtic music. Along the way we were joined by vocalist Lauren Connolly Moore, who sang harmonies on “Bye Bye Love,” “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” and “Leaving Liverpool”; and pianist Tommy B., who helped rock the house on such crowd favorites as “That’s All Right,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” and “House of the Rising Sun.” The packed house also joined in, raising the roof on the chorus of “Sweet Caroline.”

Tommy & Wild Geese (340x334)Since Riley’s has become a gathering place for music lovers and musicians alike, you never know who is going to drop by.

Last night we had a surprise visit from members of The Wild Geese Band, who took the spotlight for a late-night guest performance. Tommy B. joined them for a ringing rendition of “The Fields of Athenry.” Great stuff!

The Wild Geese will be returning to Riley’s for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Show on the city’s Parade Day, where they’ll be headlining along side The Laughrey Connolly Band. Not to be missed!

Rileys Public House Lauren piano (220x340)Lauren Connolly Moore helped close the night. Her performances are among the many reasons regulars at Riley’s always make a point of sticking around. Whether accompanying herself on the piano or singing a cappella, she always manages to bring down the house. Last night, her performance of “Long Time Travelling” was one of the highlights of the evening.

All of this goes to show why people who love good music and good times are finding Riley’s Pour House the place to be. And it’s not only a great place on weekends. Riley’s features a storytelling night on the last Tuesday of every month. This month’s session will feature tales about resolutions. I’ll be there. Until then . . . scop on!

Photos:
Duane Davis and Lawrence Connolly.
Lauren Connolly Moore, Tommy B., Duane Davis, and Lawrence Connolly.
Tommy B. and The Wild Geese.
Lauren Connolly Moore.
All photos © 2015 by Lawrence C. Connolly. 

Scop 101

June 25th, 2011

scop (skop)  — n

(in Anglo-Saxon England) a bard or minstrel

an Anglo-Saxon minstrel, usually attached to a particular royal court, although scops also traveled to various courts to recite their poetry. In addition to being an entertainer who composed and performed his own works, the scop served as a kind of historian and preserver of the oral tradition […]. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008.

ScopBack in the days before printed books, when the live reading was the primary means of getting literature to the public, storytellers appreciated the connection between music and narrative. They knew that delivering a story was more than just reciting words, but today that seems to have been forgotten.

Have you attended a reading lately? Did the author bring a backup band? Keyboard? Boombox? Probably not. It’s easier to just bring a book.

I remember Lawrence Ferlinghetti at a performance sponsored by the now defunct (and sorely missed) International Poetry Forum. It was April 3, 1968, and Ferlinghetti was reading from his collection A Coney Island of the Mind.

I was young and The cover of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's collections Coney Island of the Mindimpressionable, studying the performance, learning from the master. For an hour it was just Ferlinghetti and his voice, but then, for his final piece, he produced a tape player, adjusted the podium microphone so that it hung midway between his face and the machine. I remember the pose. He held it like an harp, for a moment recalling a classic pose of Florence Farr. Then he hit play.

And then – in the tradition of the Anglo-Saxon scop – he read “Moscow in the Wilderness, Segovia in the Snow” while guitar music played beneath his words.

IFarrPsaltryn the years that followed, I heard others do the same. Most notably Patti Smith, who gave spoken word performances accompanied by guitarist Lenny Kaye in the early 70s, and four-time Bram Stoker Award winner Michael A. Arnzen, who released AudioVile, a CD featuring some of his stories read to original music, in 2007. But live meldings of music and spoken word remain relatively rare, even though modern technology makes it easier than ever to bring quality sound to a reading. Indeed, full multi-media accompaniment – laptop, PA, projector, and screen – can fit easily into the backseat of a Cobalt.

In 2008, as Fantasist Enterprises was preparing to debut my novel Veins at GenCon, I began working on a studio CD of music inspired by the novel. Part of the impetus for the project was a CD that Poe had produced based on Mark Z. Danielewski’s novel House of Leaves. But also in the back of my mind was that long ago performance by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. If all went well, I figured the new music might enable me to score live readings from the book.

The resulting CD, Veins: the Soundtrack, was released by Fantasist in 2009, and that summer I took music and book on the road, giving readings at the International Conference of the Fantastic in the Arts, Confluence, GenCon, Context , and PAISTA, a gathering of educators at the Kiski School in western Pennsylvania.

Naturally, writers needn’t produce original CDs in order to score their readings. There’s a lot of music out there. More than ever before. And the technology needed to arrange and edit a playlist is probably already on the computer you are using to read this blog.

With 21st-Century Scop, I’d like to talk about bringing live readings back to their roots and employing new forms of media. There’s a lot to consider as we move headlong into the future. Let’s follow the road together, see where it leads.