Sunday, October 23, 2005

On TV again - BBC NI - "Dander with Drennan"

Yep, it'll be broadcast in March 2006, but yesterday was spent with a production crew who are making a series with Willie Drennan on a walking tour across Antrim, Down and the south of Scotland. For episode one, Willie comes to the Low Country of County Down where he has a dander and a yarn with Mark, and then joins in for a jam session in Ivan's house and a wee chat with Graeme, Gibson and Ivan.

StraightForward Productions are handling it for BBCNI (cant find their web site, but this might help: ) and we had a really great time with Derek, Tony, Christine and Cara. Barbara made some piping hot vegetable soup to keep us on the go.

In the end, we filmed 2 tracks - a new medley "Jesus Is Ma Hairt's Fand Luve / Yer Faither" and Willie joined us on fiddle for Hank Williams' "I Saw The Light".

We were at it from 10am till 4pm - great crack and we're looking forward to seeing the programme. (apparently Willie nearly drowned the day before on a wee boat coming into Donaghadee Harbour, but sadly the camera crew didnt capture it on film!)

Gotta go!

Ballymena, Magherafelt, Comber & Portadown

It sounds like a real Tour of the North - The Ballymena Arts Festival event was great, organised by our good friend Colin Agnew, who brought Tony Collins (visit ) over from Glasgow, and also arranged the opening act as well. They were stunning even though they only played two or three pieces - they're an old-time guitar and musical saw duo and were spellbinding. Literally the most astounding version of Amazing Grace I have ever heard. They had to leave immediately after their set so we didnt even get a chance to speak to them , so now trying to find out more about them to see if they might like to tag along with us at LCB shows. We did an hour and a half set and really enjoyed meeting up with some old friends again. The best bit was getting to play the new track "The Hallelujah Man" which Colin gave us, because Colin's mum and aunt were there and came over for a chat and photos at the end. The Hallelujah Man was James Lamont, their father. A great song and we're delighted they've passed it on to us. Crowd of about 180 (filled to capacity)

Magherafelt was ok-ish, it was held in Rainey School, and we did a short 20min set. However it was an organisational nightmare - nothing to do with us - so let's just leave it at that. Poor turnout of only around 70 people as there were two other big events on locally on the same night.

Comber was in the 2nd Presb Church Hall with the new incarnation of the Ulster-Scots Folk Orchestra - and it was a mighty night! Willie Drennan on fiddle, mandolin, tin whistle and of course the Lambeg Drum, with a new accordion player called Ken Hopkins, a new fiddler/dancer called Kerry who was fantastic - a great night. They did an hour, then a fifteen minute interval, then we did half an hour and stayed onstage with them right to the end. Another great night with another crowd of about 180 (filled to capacity)

Portadown was in the Town Hall - we were one of 4 acts who took part, we went on last and did a half hour set. All new stuff not on the "Gran Time Comin" cd, and it all went down really well. Crowd of about 120 (maybe 3/4 capacity)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Hurricane Katrina cancels LCB performance in Co. Down!

Tonight's scheduled performance at Ballygowan Presbyterian Church ( was cancelled - sorry to anyone who had travelled to see us.

The preacher for the week-long mission was due to have been the Rev Clint Pressley from Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama (visit - but due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina he wasn't able to travel.

We hear it's being rearranged for March 2006 so hopefully we'll be able to take part in the new year.

We wish the folks in Alabama, Louisiana and all of the states affected by hurricane damage a very speedy recovery and every blessing in their hour of need.

Friday, October 07, 2005

County Cavan Town Hall

Tomorrow evening sees us heading off to County Cavan to play in Cavan Town Hall. We're playing with a woman who's also from County Down (Ballynahinch Presbyterian) who sings Psalms in Irish.

An interesting linguistic combination - our Ulster-Scots and her Irish - but regardless of what the language is, the message is the same!!


Update: It was a 2hr 45min drive both there and back again, got home just after 2am. The Irish singers were Joyce Gibson from Ballynahinch Presbyterian and Jacynth Hamill from Belfast. Really lovely people and we got on very well - their music is worship-oriented (plenty of overheads and audience participation) and as you know ours is very evangelical with sin, conviction, repentance, salvation and the christian life all combined (we handed out our leaflets in abundance). The balance and mix was good.

It was a good night (a lovely clear, crisp evening) with a crowd of about 80 people which the organisers were delighted about. We did a set each followed by an interval and another set each. We tried a few of the newer tracks too which seem to be sounding better each time. Still getting used to the PA system - Barbara did a good job with it.

Joyce and Jacynth are involved in the Irish language services at Fitzroy Presbyterian Church, which is holding its first ever Ulster Scots service next month. (we're not playing at it in case you were wondering)

Many thanks to Pat Nally, Charley McAdam and everyone else who gave us such a great welcome.

Northern Ireland Music Industry Commission CD Launch

NIMIC launched their "New Folk Roots and Traditional Music from Northern Ireland" cd yesterday - a double set of what they describe as "the finest artists from Northern Ireland." Ivan and Mark went - Gibbo and Graeme couldn't get off work.

One of our tracks - Did Christ O'er Sinners Weep - is included on it, with the majority of the other stuff being Irish trad stuff - some very trad and some pretty contemporary interpretations of Irish trad.

We met Robert Watt there (he's on the cd too) - he's well known in Ulster-Scots circles as one of the world's best solo pipers. And of course the magnificent Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band are on there too.

NIMIC say the CD will be sent out around the world to promoters, record companies and radio stations. Hopefully we'll get some feedback.

It's kinda funny to be selected because we know we're not that good. In fact when we were asked to be on it we thought it was some joker having us on... tone deafness must be sweeping the nation!

The Harvest is Past and the Summer is Ended

Sorry its been quiet round here.

July was really busy and the highlights for us were playing in Drum in County Monaghan, and also at the 12th July "Field" at Barnett's Park / Malone House. Absolutely amazing weather and really great crack too. We did Portstewart Town Hall one night and the organisers were turning people away - they had to open the balcony for the first time in ages and there were even people sitting on the stage area too.

August was quietish with a couple of church bookings which had been long-term commitments, but we took most of August off as a break and to help us pull together some new stuff. We've got a list of nearly 20 tracks for our next album (!) which has the working title of "Sangs o Bairns an Hame" - a lot of the material is about Heaven and a lot of them are Sunday School choruses folk have sent to us.

September was good - Portadown Town Hall one night, Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle (audience of 650), Waterside Theatre in Londonderry (crowd of about 350) and just this week Carrowdore Presbyterian Church (full house in the church hall with seats in the aisles - crowd of around 150). A few weeks ago we had a great night at Killead Presbyterian (near the airport) with a crowd of about 150 too.

Things are going well - we're still enjoying it - and we hope we can survive a fairly hectic run-in to Christmas and the New Year.