The boys from Belfast (Craobh Rua) put on a terrific show Sunday night at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, in a show sponsored by the Folk Project and Reel Music, Unlimited. The music was catchy and the craic was broad. Guitarist and singer Jim Rainey lovingly insulted his hometown, describing an appearance in the show “Wish You Were Here” that suggested that Belfast had rain, music and not much else but you’d be too drunk to mind. His patter is one reason, he says, the Irish Tourist Board no longer love them (Rainey had done this for a Washington, D.C. audience a while back). The band signed so many cds for the audience that they joked that maybe there wasn’t anyone they hadn’t met. But as a result, Aaron Hagan, uillean piper and tin whistler, explained how his pipes work, since so many had asked him. And that was great. I bet even a lot of musicians don’t really know how that other instrument works (Conor, not to be outdone, held up his fiddle and said, “this is a violin.” Jim Rainey has an expressive, slightly breathy voice, and on sad songs, like “The Belfast Mountains,” from If Ida Been There, Ida Been There, I had a lump in my throat. Brian Connolly took audience pics at the end of the show….
I’d tried to get hold of the band before they arrived and didn’t manage it– but banjo and mandolin player Brian Connolly told me he had emailed me– the emails got stripped somehow. In any case, I never got them! Ah well, I’ll get them on the podcast when they release their new cd, which I hope will be soon. Conor plays a fine fiddle and we had a nice talk about writing at Deb Roeder Shaw’s house after the show. That was a nice mellow gathering– until Deb laid down the law that it was a girl’s house, so the seat stayed down (the boys are staying with her). First this concept had to be explained, then the conversation just went low and stayed low (the Scotch may have had something to do with that). Jim told us all in some detail how his excursion into peeing seated went. We hope he gets some help for his crippling shyness…
About the Author
The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.