How It’s New York:  It’s New Jersey and St. James’ Gate is a comfortable friendly pub.  The tri-state area thing is so New York!  And lots of good players from all over.
How It’s Irish:  Tom IS Irish, and it’s a great Irish session.

There was a surprise birthday party for Tom Dunne at the Cat and Fiddle Session at St. James’ Gate in Maplewood, New Jersey, this past Sunday.  This is my neighborhood session as I live in the neighboring town of Millburn.  I love this Sunday afternoon session; there’s always a mix of players from intermediate to pro; there’s a nice playing area at the front by the window, and the first drink for players is on the house.  Food is good, too!  Players included Cathy Hornberger, Iris Nevins, Dan Milner (have you checked out his Civil War Naval Songs CD yet? He’s also leading a traditional song workshop at Irish Arts Center Saturday, June 4!), Lawrence McCullough, Peggy O;Mahoney and Frank Curran (I should but don’t know their last names!).  Peggy made the delicious carrot cake.  Usually the session ends at 5 but some of us lingered and just kept playing, as we snacked on munchies and told tales.

Although the Facebook invitation from Tony Horswill said “surprise 65th birthday,” I think it actually was his 64th.  Andy Lamy (the only clarinet playing session player I’ve ever seen_ played “When I’m 64” for him; we all played “Happy Birthday” on our instruments, and Larry McCullough even had a composed tune in his honor!

Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.