Well, I admit, this review was from October, but since we never got around to posting it, and since we have a slew of shows coming up, I thought it was worth the post. So here ya go….
Stoneybatter Band at the 1728 Coffeehouse
by Nancy Farrell 10/11/13
It was a full house at Jordan Hall for the 1728 Coffeehouse on Saturday. The coffeehouse is organized by Linda Schumacher to raise money for various projects around town — this one for funds to upgrade the playground at HCCC.
Linda and a cadre of volunteers create a very nice coffeehouse feel in Jordan Hall. The desserts looked sumptuous, pulled pork sandwiches smelled delicious. A cheerful camaraderie filled the hall while Stoneybatter Band got ready to come on stage.
I love to go out to hear live music. Stoneybatter did not disappoint. The band plays mostly Celtic music, a set list full of lively jigs and reels. (Pity I didn’t bring my dancing shoes.) Add to the mix some fine old sea shanties, soulful ballads and just for the fun of it, a Grateful Dead song, Friend of the Devil.
Each of the six band members is a very talented musician, but the real energy and magic of the performance is in the wonderful harmonies of this tightly-knit ensemble. You wouldn’t expect to find a Greek stringed instrument in a Celtic band, but George Arata’s bouzouki rhythms seem to hold the whole thing together. A true standout here is the newest member, Liz Alexander, who played a solo sea shanty so beautifully. Greg Bacon’s guitar and vocals throughout are so good, and so full of feeling on Farewell to Fuinary to bring a tear to the eye. Jim Gleason, what’s to say, an outstanding musician, flute, whistle and mandolin, who plays Irish music like he was born to it. Such a pleasure to listen to, his flute playing still rings in my ears.
A picture maybe worth a thousand words, but not one note of the eerily beautiful uillean pipes played by Pelham Norville. So many beautiful tunes, sounds to dream away on.
But the real heart-stopping moment in the performance was Joey Sullivan’s solo on the bodhran. Wow! (Those who stepped out to hear Walk That Walk across the street really missed out.) I wrote in my notes “evocative and sensuous,” but that may be too telling.
It was such a great night. If you get the chance, go hear them.
And a huge thank you to Linda Schumacher for putting it all together’