Well...yes, its been forever. Goodness is happening all around--studio is finished, new recordings, a novel underway, Wildvine has a new product in demo--stage (and its really cool!) and spring is here. I am currently about halfway through a 30 day binge. For 30 days straight I am doing yoga every day, practicing guitar every day for at least 30 minutes and not inserting anything unhealthy into my mouth. I started this thing the Monday after Easter. I was overzealous when I started--I was going to do 100 push ups and 125 sit ups every day but I bailed out on that. I was going to play piano every day too but I have fallen behind on that so I am just doing it whenever I can. Anyway, maybe more about that another time.
Now I want to leave you with a song, called "Final Toast". Each Monday night I play music with a few of the finest musicians around at an Irish Pub in Kirkland, WA called the Wilde Rover. Machala sparked in me the idea to put this song out there. Late one night, after a fierce night of sweet music, I had everyone gather around off the stage...to make the final toast of the night. Edgars and I sang this song--no microphones, no amps...just a guitar, voices and people with their drinks. Machala sat down and joined us, and that made everything feel right. We have started to play this as the last song almost every time. I don't know how long it will last, but its a great way to end the evening. Ah, for moments like these.... Enjoy!
Looking back through the blog, I see it was about this time last year that I first started working on setting up this website for Dan. He had one before this, of course, but he wanted something that could do more. After researching some possibilities and teaching myself a few things about websites and their design, this is what I came up with. It's worked pretty well, but lately we've been talking about how we might improve it. I absorbed those conversations, and did some thinking, and yesterday, I presented Dan with a quick sketch of some of my ideas. We talked it over some more, and now, it's time to get to work.
So, over the coming weeks, you'll be seeing some changes to the site. I'll highlight those changes here, so you don't have to play the game of spot the difference (though you can if you want - just read the blog last, to see if you're right!). I like to hope you'll consider these changes improvements, but we're always open to feedback. Feel free to comment in the blog or on Facebook, or send us a message through our contact form. After all, the site may be about Dan and his music, but our goal is to make it your site - because you're the one that's using it!
Better yet, talk to us about it in person! You can always find us at the Wilde Rover on a Monday night, and you can check the calendar to find out where else we might be. While you're at it, ask us about the upcoming House Concert series and how you might take part (or stay tuned for more information, coming soon to a blog post near you!).
Okay, so there should have been a new blog entry with a report on St. Patrick's Day a while ago, given that it's been more than a week. But, well, let's just say it took a while to recover, and Shanie really wanted to be able to put some video with it, and, well, it's not done yet. But there's still cool stuff going on, and I don't want to miss mentioning that, so you'll have to wait on the St. Patrick's report for a bit.
Last night, Dan played Oddfellows. For the first set, Doug McGrew was on drums and Edgars Klepers sang backup vocals. For the second set, Nick LaPointe took over the drums. I don't know what combination of magic was in the air, but it was clear from the start that it was going to be a great night.
Dan started the first set solo, with a mellow layered-loop jam that kept building. The jam set the tone for the night and the guys let the songs expand a little more than usual, with some great moments. Dan and Doug took a fantastic bodhrain and drumkit duo. Lift Your Head, which Dan's been playing more lately, sounded great and hit a particularly high note.
During the second set, Dan continued in the same vein and had the crowd on their feet and dancing, as well as clapping along and calling out on the traditional Irish songs. Just before the encore song, someone who had never seen Dan before thanked him for the performance and pointed out that it's music that gets us through the hard times.
As I'm writing this, Dan is finishing up his performance at the Bite of Crossroads, and I'm looking at a crowd of people hanging on every note and every word of Time for a Change. It's been another high energy set, with the enthusiasm from last night still running strong.
Tonight, Dan continues the series of special shows at Second Story Repertory at 8 pm. These have always been special shows, in an intimate theatre with great acoustics and the ability for Dan and the audience to really connect. Hope to see you there!
St. Patrick's week began last Friday, with the 6th Annual St. Patrick's Celebration at Kirkland Performance Center. Here's a little more video from that night, of Black is the Color:
Saturday night, the guys played a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, attended by Seattle-area notables such as KING-5's Jean Enerson. It was a formal affair, and Dan was all dressed up, playing his sunshine guitar. I wish I could have been there, to get some pictures, but it was a closed event.
Sunday morning, the band was in Portland for the 33rd Shamrock Run. More than 30,000 people were out, to particpate in events varying from 1k to 15k. As the liquid sunshine came pouring down, the guys thought it only appropriate to play Running Under Water. This picture was captured from a news video of the event.
Monday, it was back to the Wilde Rover, for a little pre-St. Patty's fun. A lot of the decorations were already up, the clock was counting down, and the crowd was already getting into the spirit. I was only able to stay for the first set, but even that was a great time, as the guys played some old favorites, like Finnegan's Wake, along with some of their newer arrangements, including Dirty Old Town.
Last night was like a reunion, as Dan returned to Zeeks in Issaquah for the first time since last September. There were some new faces in the crowd but also lots of old friends out to enjoy the music. Dan treated the crowd to a wide selection of Celtic classics, sprinkled with a few of his originals. A number of songs had the crowd singing along, and Molly Malone earned an especially rousing chorus. Folks were reluctant to let him go, but he finally closed out with Final Toast a little after 10.
Tonight, Dan will be playing Post in Seattle, joined by Geoffrey on his volin. Although they started out as a duo, years ago, it's a fairly rare thing these days to catch just the two of them playing together. Expect some songs you don't normally hear at the Rover; it should be quite a treat.
Then tomorrow is the big day: Saint Patrick's Day! Dan and Geoffrey will be starting out in the morning at a Microsoft event. Eric and Darin will join them at Paddy Coynes in Seattle for happy hour from 3-6, and then the band will be rocking the Wilde Rover starting at about 9. Come on out and join the fun!
The time around St. Patrick's Day can get pretty crazy, especially if you're an Irish musician. Last night, Dan kicked off the madness in style at the 6th Annual St. Patrick's Celebration at Kirkland Peformance Center (KPC). This 402-seat theater is an amazing venue for seeing (and playing) music: spacious stage, excellent sound and light systems, and not a bad seat in the house. As the night began, the place was packed and the energy was infectious. Things just got better from there.
The show opened with championship dancers Kelly, Connor and Maggie, from the Comerford School of Irish Dance, literally setting the tempo for Geoffrey, Eric and Darin as they launched into the reel Maggie. The Gothard Sisters came out and danced to Strayaway Child, and then Dan joined in with Peggy Gordon. The rest of the night flowed with Celtic classics sprinkled with a few more original works. A highlight in the latter category was when the guys played Feel Your Way:
Tonight, Dan and the guys are playing at a special fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, then they'll be up bright and early tomorrow morning to entertain participants in Portland's 33rd Shamrock Run. And that's still just the beginning of St. Patrick's week!