Playing with new friends - the joy of Paddygrass


I love my band. We have a lot of fun on stage and I hope it comes across. But every now and then I book a gig and discover most of the band has other engagements. Then rather than turn down the chance of playing for new people I take a chance and play with new friends.

One of these occasions was last week at Paddy's. I had played with James Reilly before in Chicago at the Columbia Yacht Club. In fact he came to my rescue, when my voice broke during St. Paddy's week! Even though it could have been a disaster, I knew that I could find anyone's best points and bounce off them to make a fun evening. It turned out to be one of the best shows I've been part of. I played bodhran, cajon and djembe accompanying his flute on jigs, reels, hornpipes and polkas. We found a groove and kept it lit.

There a few venues that are very important to me so I book them a year in advance and plan the rest of my year around them. Paddy's is one of these, it's where Paddygrass was born. Sometimes family events come up for the band members and I find myself looking for players. To be honest I was hoping to get a chance to play with James again anyway.

Little did I know that his wife and son were equally talented on Fiddle and Button Accordion. So he brought them along and boy did we have an adventure. I had never played with a family band other than my own children. There is a certain harmony, a connection or a pulse that strikes you when you witness a family playing together. It sweeps you along and suddenly your cheeks are sore from grinning and you are worried that your dimples might become permanent poc marks.

I know this came across to the crowd as we had many of our core friends there that night. They thought they knew what to expect and were ecstatically bouncing with joy at the spontaneity of it all. 

So here is my point. Music should be shared and the relationship should be wide open. My regular partners in crime take a lot of risks in learning new songs on the fly or discovering new arrangements of old favorites. 

But me, I need to take more risks and step out of the norm more often. I'm daring myself to take a leap at every show, to find the "geronimo" moment.

Come to the next show and take a leap with me...

1 comment

  • Kathie M

    Kathie M Milwaukee

    You hit the nail on the head, Derek. I was at that show and agree. It was awesome. The fact that you guys were having so much fun was obvious and contagious. What a great night, more so because Woody introduced me to Celtic Honey, lol. So looking forward to the next time! BTW....You look wonderful with the facial hair! ........

    You hit the nail on the head, Derek. I was at that show and agree. It was awesome. The fact that you guys were having so much fun was obvious and contagious. What a great night, more so because Woody introduced me to Celtic Honey, lol. So looking forward to the next time! BTW....You look wonderful with the facial hair! ........

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