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22 Nov, 2009

We had a wonderful time playing in Salado. Lots of time to visit with old friends and make some new ones. We played at the Tattoo up on college hill for the first time and sang Far Far Away and The Fields of Athenry. There was a nice crowd of about 100-200 people. There are pictures of us in Salado posted on our new Facebook page. Great performances by Lonestar Stout, Michael Harrison and Don Gabbert as well. It really was magical. If you ever are in Salado, check out Roy T's, a great cozy little bakery and diner. They treat you right and have great donuts, coffee and Pizza! Thanks, Roy and all!

----John----

27 Oct, 2009

We're making great progress recording our CD. You also may have noticed changes to the website, there'll be more to come.

----John----

19 Oct, 2009

Howdy folks, were now in the studio recording our second CD: Far,Far Away. it should be done in time for our gig next month in Salado.

----John----

28 Oct, 2007

Yikes! It's been almost a year since the last entry! I've been working a lot, so haven't had much time for blogging, anyhow, our gigs have been picking up in the last few weeks, including playing at Salado on the 9th-11th of November. I've been appointed as Entertainment director for the San Antonio Highland games 2008, so I will be busy hiring bands in the next few months.

----John----

31 Oct, 2006

We just got back from the O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat near Dallas, and I have to say that it was a real blast. Hats off to Ken Fleming and all the organizers and volunteers. Camp Hoblitzelle is a idyllic location to play and hear Irish music, and the weather was cool clear and generally perfect. The instructors were outstanding, and there is nothing like being surrounded by over 200 Celtic musicians for three days! I got some excellent accordion instruction from Mark Kenneth of Jiggernaut, and had a great time sharing songs during the song exchange session with Betsy Cummings of Beyond the Pale. Susi from Queen's Gambit shared some great songs, and we heard some beautiful singing from Lisa as well. Shannon and Matt Heaton ran a class for Irish songs for American singers which was very informative as well as fun. We'll definitely be back next year! We were also able to do some catching up with our good friend Michael Harrison.
Great news! We will be appearing at Cassidy's in Corpus Christi on the 26th and 27th of January (our first multiple day gig!).
Our CD, the Swaying Branches is now available on CD baby, here is the link: The Swaying Branches

----John----

16 Oct, 2006

We had a great gig at the First UU Community Music Festival last weekend, and sold several CDs. Sally had bunion surgery on 22 September and is recovering well, she should be back to normal mobility mode in a couple more weeks. We are working hard to get some more gigs scheduled in addition to our normal Sundays at the Nine Lives Bookstore.

----John----

10 Aug, 2006

Our CD release party was a blast and we met a lot of really cool people who came out to see us. We are working hard to get some more gigs the next couple of months, and hope to begin filling out our schedule as I have been buisily distributing our demo to many of the venues here in town. Our good friend Ron Wilson has been recording with us and has contributed his mandolin and concertina talents to Alaska Bound and The Lighthouse on the album. See ya soon!

----John----

22 July, 2006

Woo-Hoo! We now have our new CD, The Swaying Branches available for sale. We're going to have a CD release party at Nine Lives Books on the 5th of August at 7:00 p.m. Please come out and see us play some tunes and sign your CD!

----John----

20 June, 2006

When Sally broke the bridge on her fiddle before a gig a couple of weeks ago, little did we know what an adventure it would turn into. Of course we took her fiddle in to Antonio Strad Violin to have it fixed right away the next day. While we were there Sally had an urge to play some of the many violins there. She picked up a $9500 French made violin and fell in love with it. Unfortunately at that price it was quite out of the question. It did plant the seed though, that Sally was ready for a better fiddle. We went back the next day to pich up her repaired fiddle and of course we had to stop to play the nice ones again. Day 3, Sally wanted to go to the fiddle store again, so I said, "Lets take your old fiddle and my guitar to see what these fiddle will sound like all together. " She then played nearly every fiddle in the store and compared it to the sound of "Frenchie". Happily one of the more reasonably priced fiddles had a similar sound and a good feel, so we bought it. It is also French made, over 100 years old and has a wonderful sound. Since it doesn't have a makers label in it, the store couldn't sell it for as much as they might have, but that's great for us. When you hear it I think you'll agree that it really sounds great.

We had a super gig with the Otters on June 3rd, the are a great bunch of people and really treated us right.

On the 7th of June we had an opportunity to play for the 50th anniversary of Bishop Flannigan's ordination. Made lots of new friends there including an Irish Nun, Sister Katrina who really liked our music.

My accordion is finally back from the repair shop after about eight months and it sounds better than ever, I played it a little for Sally's Mom over the phone (it had belonged to her husband) and she was so pleased it was playing again. Looks like accordion lessons are in the future for me!

We are working on our album which is likely to be titled Far, Far Away It is sounding great so far. We took some of the early tracks and made a demo to take to several venues around town and hope to get some new gigs.

----John----

2 June, 2006

Sally and I went to the Kerrville Folk Festival on Memorial Day and had a blast. Our friend and fellow Celtic musician Michael Harrison was performing in memorial service for one of the festival founders Allen Damron and he did a wonderful rendition of Come to the Bower and The Mary Ellen Carter. We had a chance to hang around with Michael and his wife Kelly afterward and enjoy some great folk music and atmosphere. Kerville is a huge festival celebrating folk songwriters and draws thousands of outstanding musicians from all over the country. The festival continues until June 11th and is definitely worth checking out. I got an excellent leather belt there from Fantasy Leather, and Sally found some great sandals from Medieval Moccasins.

After many months of anticipation, my accordion is finally ready to be played, thanks to Tim Schofield of the San Antonio Accordion Center for his efforts in rebuilding it and making it playable again. The instrument is a Lo Duca Soloist Console from the 1960's which previously belonged to Sally's stepfather. I look forward to playing some accordion music in the coming months.

We finally got a chance to cut a demo CD, so that hopefully many more gigs will be forthcoming soon. We gave the first copy to Tim from the new Irish Pub, Waxy O'Connor's on the San Antonio Riverwalk and hope to get some gigs there soon. We also are currently recording for our soon to be released CD.

----John----

27 May, 2006

We are really enjoying our weekly Celtic Session at the Nine Lives bookstore. A special thanks to Dan and Karla who have joined us recently with Karla sharing her beautiful voice and percussion skills, and Dan on his fiddle and even giving us a few tunes on the Uillean Pipes. We'll be out there again tomorrow, Sunday 28 May at 2:00. See you there!

As of last Friday I have retired from the Air Force, and will be working on getting our calendar filled with gigs, recording our CD and getting my web design business going. Let us know if you have any leads on gigs or people looking for web design help.

We had some challenges at our last gig for the Irish Cultural Society on Sunday. As we were tuning up, Sally noticed that her "A" string was coming unravelled so she changed to for a new one, but then the new string broke! Sally put the old string back on, but then the bridge (the little wooden part that holds the strings up) snapped in half! Well with a little quick thinking and a change of set list, we did a set of songs only and not our usual mixture of songs, jigs and reels. The crowd enjoyed it, so I guess it worked out OK.

I now have a Blackberry/cellphone so you can get in touch with me at (210) 232-3688 in addition to our normal phone (210) 256-9732.

----John----

30 April, 2006

We had a great gig at the San Antonio Highland Games, our musician friend Michael William Harrison stayed at our house, and we had a hard time not staying up all night jamming with him. He has two new CDs out, First time 'Round, and For Kids of all Ages which area availbale on CDbaby. This was our first festival gig at 11:00 on the 8th which went very well, perfect weather and a small but enthusiastic audience. We spent the day enjoying the other musicians, vendors and celtic athletic events.

To better keep in touch with our rabid fans we've created a Yahoo newsgroup that you can join by going here: SallysGardenCeltic (you'll need a yahoo account in order to post messages and use the other features of the site like the calendar and files, but you can receive messages without joining yahoo.)

A big thanks to all out friends who have helped us in the years we have been playing. If you have any comments about us and our music we could post on our website we'd love to hear from you.

----John----

21 March, 2006

We had quite an active St. Patrick's week indeed! We Played at a retirement home on Friday and had a great time, one lady there was even related to O'Carolan! The residents really seemed to appreciate our music. On Sunday we played the Alamo Irish Festival at the Arneson theater on the Riverwalk for several hundred people, that was pretty cool. The other acts cancelled so while we had planned for a half hour gig we ended up playing 90 minutes instead. I broke a string near the end, but after a a quick change we were back in business. Later we played for an hour at another stage they set up, so we had a full day. We met a lot of interesting people associated with the Harp and Shamrock Society who put on the event. Next up is the San Antonio Highland Games in April.

----John----

31 January, 2006

Sally and I went to the Chieftains concert on 24 January and had a wonderful experience. The Chieftains often request local musicians and dancers to appear with them, and we had seen an ad in our local paper stating that musicians could show up for the sound check at 6 p.m. to work out a tune or two for the end of the show. We went down to the Majestic Theater where they were appearing and had to ask around as to where the stage door was. Well, we went past the tour bus and through an open door and there they were, up on stage doing the sound check as large as life (or in Paddy Moloney's case, small as life!) We met some of the dancers from the Inishfree Irish dancing school who were guests in the show and then got a chance to talk to Paddy, what a thrill! He really is a nice and approachable guy. We had a fantastic experience watching the show. The Chieftains were playing with the Cottars, a young Nova Scotia band who were really good. The two hour show just flew by and it was time to make our way down to the stage where Paddy announced us. Sally and I walked out into the spotlight on stage with the Chieftains and joined them for a few reels. Definately an amazing experience I won't forget, especially since we were the only local musicians who showed up! After the show, we went backstage and got a chance to speak to Paddy, Matt Malloy and Sean Keane (I don't know where Kevin Conneff went, we didn't see him) and took pictures with them. We also chatted with Don Shannon, a Dallas bagpiper who was touring Texas with them. The Chieftains are really a class act and well deserve their acclaim.

----John----

23 December, 2005

We had a great time at the O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat at the end of October, we learned a great deal and had a blast hanging out with 200 or so other celtic musicians for a whole weekend, we'll be back next year for sure! We have had several successful gig in the last few months, but are looking for more in January. We are still working on our album, but it has been going a bit slow due to some health issues. We hope to have it done by this spring.

----John----

23 October, 2005

Hi folks! We just had TWO gigs on the same day yesterday and both went very well. We played a short set for a local music festival and then music for a wedding in the evening. It was a lot of fun playing for the wedding at the San Antonio botanical gardens. Playing the first dance for the couple was especially neat. We have been a little slow at the recording business recently due to the death of a close friend, but hope to be recording again soon. We will be at O'Flaherty's Irish music retreat near Dallas this coming weekend to commune with our fellow Celtic musicians and hopefully learn some new tricks. Sally has recently started playing the Viola, and it definitely works well for many of our slower tunes. I am having Sally's Dad's old Lo Duca Soloist accordion repaired so I learn to play it and can use it in the future. It has a beautiful sound, but is 40 years old and needs some work. We also attended the International Accordion Festival in San Antonio last weekend and heard a great new Canadian band called Le Vent du Nord. They play traditional tunes from Quebec on fiddle, accordion, guitar and hurdy gurdy. Great vocals too! They are outstanding, check them out!

----John----

Aug 29, 2005

Lots of new gigs on the schedule, the calendar is filling up! We've been asked to play at the San Antonio Gardens by Moonlight event, and have even had a request from the San Antonio St Patrick's Day River Parade. On 29-30 October we are going to O'Flaherty's Irish music Retreat near Dallas to hobnob with our fellow Celtic musicians and learn some new tricks! Also check out the new mp3s of The Breton Bog, Finnegan's Wake, and Will Ye Go Lassie Go? I have posted to the home page.

----John----

Aug 2, 2005

Boy, we've been busy the last few weeks. Our gig on Sunday at the Blue Cactus Cafe went great, and the owner has asked us to play again, so it looks like we will have a regular gig there. Lots of friends showed up and we all had a good time. I'll post the next date as soon as I know when it will be. We are diligently recording material for our CD between getting ready for live gigs, and will hopefully be playing at the South Texas Celtic Music Festival in Corpus Christi, I'm about to send in our application. In the next few days I will also be posting some tunes to our music section.

----John----

July 16, 2005

We are working on recording our first album, tenetatively titled "The Swaying Branches" it will have around a dozen new tunes by me, in addition to a number of traditional Celtic songs and tunes. If all goes well it will be ready by the end of August. Give a listen to an mp3 of our original tune Chequamegon Bay.

----John----

June 25, 2005

We had a fun playing for the Otter's on June 5th, Sonya was out of town so it was just me and Sally, but it was excellent all the same. We've started recording on my newly acquired equipment, a TASCAM 2488 muliti track recorder, I'm using event TR8 monitors for mixing and Adobe Audition for sound editing. I'll keep you posted on our progress.

----John----

May 11th, 2005

Our gig on the 7th went great! We played at a dinner for about 25 people and they really enjoyed our music. We made several contacts and gave away all the business cards I had with me! We were treated to dinner and played for about 90 minutes, with lots of requests thrown in. We also played at Community Unitarian Universalist Church the next day and met a wonderful man, John So who is a Tai Chi grandmaster who spoke for the service. He asked whether we could play for some of his Tai Chi routines, and of course we said yes. I am working on creating a nicer looking business card which I will post on the contact page soon. On another note, some of my hand carved walking sticks are now for sale at the The Irish Cajun Gift Shop.

----John----

April 24th, 2005

Hi again folks. Yesterday a milestone of sorts happened. The Otters Rennissance group asked us to play a gig on May 7, but we were already scheduled for one on the same date. That's the first time that has ever happened. I wish we didn't have to turn them down because we had a lot of fun at our last gig with them in February. Sally has fully recovered after her surgery and is now feeling great. We have played the music for our church the last three Sundays so it's nice to get a bit of a break today (and give me time to work on the website!). I have been trying to buy sallysgarden.com domain name but the owner wants $500 for it and that's just out of range for our budget. I guess we'll just stick to .org. We went to the San Antonio Highland Games a couple of weeks ago and had an excellent time. I bought the hat you see in the photos, and Sally and Sonya got some Celtic pattern dresses also. We heard a new Austin based band called the Tea Merchants and they were great! They appear at the Fado Irish Pub in Austin on Tuesday evenings if you want to check them out. We also talked to one of the organizers of the South Texas Celtic Music Festival and they sounded interested in having us play there in Corpus Christi in November. We'll keep you posted.

----John----

Feb 19th, 2005

Hello! I'm going to use this space to just let you know what's going on with us, and what we are thinking about and doing. Sally has been a bit out of commission for a while due to gallbladder problems, but she had surgery on the 17th and is now doing well. She should be back to her old "fit as a fiddler" self in a few days. I am working on some new tunes this weekend and hope to have enough to make up the main part of the tunes on out upcoming CD. I had one person comment that my tunes reminded him of O'Carolan, which to a Celtic musician is like being compared to Mozart (!). I don't know if I compare to O'Carolan, but I appreciated the compliment. I'm also learning HTML in order to put together this website, so I hope you'll bear with me as I learn how to do this stuff.

----John----

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