It's been a busy, busy week for musically inclined friends of the Bastard:
Last night, the Star of the County Bronx, Mary Courtney, had a release party at An Beal Bocht for her new single, a heartrending rendition of transportation song Sky and Sea. As always, Mary provided a lovely night of ballads, both traditional and new (check out The Sky Belongs to Dreamers, a paean to the martyred Mychal Judge, in which she plaintively sings, "What's that sound I'm hearing? Ring the bells of freedom, louder than the drums of war"). Even when singing about melancholy, or even tragic subject matter, the clear, sweetness of Mary's voice serves to interject a note of hope, a conviction that love, beauty, and humanity will eventually win out over cruelty, hate, and tyranny. Joining Mary were fiddle virtuosa Bernadette Fee , a bodhran player whose name I didn't catch (and I wasn't even drunk last night), and a Japanese harmonica wizard named "Ari" (I didn't get his last name) who brought down the house with a delta blues number which morphed into an Irish reel- I'll ask Mary if he plays any local gigs, because I sure would love to be able to do him the justice of writing a real profile.
My great and good friend Jim Keyes released an album of historic music. This pressing is so new, it's not even up on his website. I forget the name of the disc (I have an unpackaged, unlabeled advance copy- Jim rushed the production before playing a big gig at a local historical site last weekend), but I suggested the title A Child's Garden of Murder Ballads- most of Jim's gigs are family events, and Jim was a little perplexed when five and six year olds in his audience would sing along to such gruesome songs as The Ballad of Binorrie and Matty Groves (featured in the linked video clip). I'll post an update as soon as information about the new disc is posted on the web.