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This Week’s Mine Meld at SF Signal:
Favorite Library and Bookstore Memories

August 6th, 2014

Somewhere A VoiceFrom this week’s installment of The Mine Meld at SF Signal:

I grew up in Levittown in the 1960s. Ten square miles of uniformity, hundreds of houses just like mine, thousands of people just like me. To escape the normalcy, my friends and I imagined strange worlds with alien landscapes, adventures in places where weird became the new normal, where anything could happen.

A few times a month, when we’d saved enough pocket change to make the trip worthwhile, we mounted our bikes and rode into a dimension of color and imagination that waited in the corner store of an ordinary-looking strip mall . . . .

[Read the rest of this bookstore memory, along with those of 13 other writers, at this week’s installment of The Mind Meld at SF Signal.]

Veins: Book One – The Cycle Continues

May 10th, 2014

veins coverEarly next week, Veins: Book One of the Veins Cycle (Fantasist Enterprises, 2008), will make its long awaited debut in ebook format. It’s going to be quite an edition, retaining all the original illustrations from the printed book, plus some bonus material in support of the upcoming ebook release of Vipers (coming June 11) and the big print and ebook debut of the final book in the series — Vortex (coming July 1).

To celebrate, FE is making a portion of the Veins available in audio format. The track features music from the CD Veins: The Soundtrack and the entire text of the book’s opening prologue, read by the author.

You can listen by accessing a direct download at libsyn.com, or simply by clicking the player below.

Either way, whether you’re coming to Veins for the first time or playing the track to revisit the adventure that will come to a whirlwind conclusion early this summer, I hope you’ll like what you hear and consider spreading the word.

Now fasten your seat belts, and enjoy the ride.

Ireland: Songs of Leaving

May 13th, 2012

Lawrence C. Connolly will perform at Riley's Pour HouseEver notice how all the songs about Pittsburgh are about leaving it?

A musician friend back in the early 70s used that line to introduce the song “Six Days on the Road,” a seminal truck-driving tune made famous by Dave Dudly. It’s a terrific piece of country-rock, and I’ll be playing it this Saturday (May 19) at Riley’s Pour House – one of western Pennsylvania’s top venue’s for Irish and American music.

Of course, as good as that opening line is, I must admit that I can’t think of one other song about Pittsburgh that involves leaving it. But songs about leaving Ireland? Man, there’s a ton of those.

Let’s consider a few that I’ll be playing this Saturday.

Singer-songwriter Lawrence C. Connolly will perform at Riley's Pour HouseTopping my list is the traditional song “Leaving Liverpool” (a.k.a. “The Leaving of Liverpool” and “Fair Thee Well My Own True Love”). In spite of its title (Liverpool is in England, not Ireland) the lyrics tell of a sea voyage that most likely begins in the port of Dublin, then continues on to Liverpool and outward from there. The song’s narrator, bidding farewell to his lover and home, certainly has a long trip ahead of him, as he is “bound for California” on a ship that is either “a floating hell” or “a floating grave” (depending on the version).

“Leaving Liverpool” is often sung as a ballad, but I prefer the up-tempo version that I recorded with the Laughrey Connolly Band. That’s the version I’ll be playing this Saturday. [Click on the player below to hear “Leaving Liverpool.”]

Another leaving-Ireland favorite is “The Rambling Irishman,” a traditional tune made popular by Andy M. Stewart. “Rambling Irishman” begins much like “Leaving Liverpool,” with the narrator lamenting the leaving of “this Irish nation” and all that he loves, including his beloved Nancy. Indeed, he misses Nancy so much that he dreams of her on the ship to America. But then, when he arrives in Philadelphia, everything changes. Feeling “both stout and healthy,” be bounds into port delighted at the prospects that America has to offer – not the least of which are the women, with their “blue petticoats and white blouses.”

“The Rambling Irishman” is an up-tempo song, with an earworm refrain that is hard to shake once you hear it. The Laughrey Connolly Band recorded it for It’s All in the Song, a special Andy M. Stewart tribute album that also featured Stewart covers by Mike Gallgher, Guarenteed IrishTerry Griffith and others.

Perhaps the best known of all songs about leaving Ireland is one that is loved by some, maligned by others. Often dismissed by Irish-music purists, “Danny Boy” is narrated by a man who never leaves Ireland at all. But his son does, and the father feels the loss of that leaving for the rest of his life. I used to perform this one as a surf instrumental. Honest. And it works, too. This weekend, however, I plan to play it straight.

The Amazing Bob BanerjeeOther leaving-Ireland songs on tap for this Saturday include “Wild Colonial Boy,” “Wild Rover,” “Black Velvet Band,” and my original contribution to the cannon – the rocking “Castlegregory,” which I’ve recorded with The Laughrey Connolly Band and special guest Bob Banerjee of Corned Beef and Curry. [Click on the player below to hear “Castlegregory.”]

This upcoming show is going to be a blast. Most of my appearances since the release of Veins and the accompanying CD Veins: The Soundtrack have been book events, and I can’t wait to get out there to do a full night of live music again. Look out Pittsburgh!

If you’re anywhere in the western Pennsylvania area on May 19, I’ll hope to see you at Riley’s Pour House for a night of stories and songs about leaving Ireland. Of course, I’ll be doing some American tune as well . . . and at least one about leaving Pittsburgh.

Riley’s Pour House is an over-21 venue.
 

Leaving Liverpool

 

“Leaving Liverpool” (trad) from the CD Home from the Field, recorded in 2005 with The Laughrey Connolly Band. Lawrence C. Connolly, guitar & vocals; Chris Laughrey, guitar and backing vocals; Duane Davis, bass; Lee McGinn, drums.
 

Castlegregory

 

“Castlegregory” (words & music Lawrence C. Connolly) from the CD Two Seas recorded in 2006 with The Laughrey Connolly Band. Lawrence C. Connolly, lead guitar and vocals; Chris Laughrey, rhythm guitar; Bob Banerjee, mandoline, Duane Davis, bass; and Lee McGinn, drums.