re: recent posts (yeesh!)
I don't post much to this group--or at least not much
of any real worth--but boy, do I have to pipe in now.
Some of the people on this list are particularly
important folks to me, so it matters to me that we get
this right, and that nobody goes away thinking the
Going subject by subject (not necessarily in the order
in which they were brought up, and please remember, I
still haven't caught up with any of the mail sent
today [Thursday], so if anything seems repetitive or
inappropriate, I'll apologize/correct/whatever in a
1. Tripping Up the Stairs is nowhere NEAR "my" band.
It could be that that statement wasn't meant in
exactly the way that sounds; might have been one of
those "how email comes off in the absence of human
contact" things. But I am the _fourth_ member of that
four-person group, both chronologically and in terms
of dispensability, and lucky as hell to be playing
Another group, Roan Inish, sort of a Lubbock-side
evolution of the County Hockley group out at South
Plains College in Levelland, lets me bang and hack
away at guitar with them, too. I'm not sure why. I
think they're on a hire-the-disabled track. Already
got an English guy, now they gotta get a
I do appreciate the plug, and we'd love to be playing
whenever we can, particularly for pay. But man...it
is the melody players in Tripping, definitely _not_
me, that make that group what it is, and I'll let them
identify themselves if and when they wish. I love
'em, and I am totally secondary to what they do. I've
been playing with one of them since at least as far
back as late '99 or early 2000, when a bunch of us
used to get together at J&B Coffee Co. over on Boston.
I mean, we go back.
I'm in both of those bands not only because of the
outright charity of the melody players involved, but
because Last Night's Fun was well-staffed. Boy are
they ever. And with people who are like brothers (and
a sister) to me. Well, really, Steve is more the
brother thing. I'd step in front of a bus for him.
With John and me, it's more of a physical thing, but
that's probably not anything anybody wants to hear
about. But you've got to appreciate what these guys
have done. Who else is doing it? Who else got it
together at that level of musicianship earlier, more
organized, and more focused than they did?
Yeah, sometimes the "premier band" stuff (although
they've earned it) and the "real deal" stuff makes
people kinda go "erk," probably because it comes off
differently in print than it's really intended. I
mean, promotion is promotion. But I can tell you that
there has never been a time, _ever_, when I have
failed to learn something at a session Chris has put
together and where those guys are playing. I learn
something from Angie about chording, various
progressions, etc., every time I'm in a session with
her. (And when Chris takes over guitar for a song by
someone, mostly what I learn is I should put my own
guitar away in a closet somewhere. It's humbling, to
put it in the mildest possible terms.) It would be
totally wrong not to acknowledge what these guys have
meant by being the earliest band out there at their
level, and what it has meant for Chris (and others,
for that matter) to keep these sessions going.
2. There is room on this list for any activity that
anybody wants to post (Celtic-Irish-Scottish-cultural
related, that is), as far as I know. I know of no
effort by Chris or anyone else to keep stuff off the
list. This means, for instance:
-- If there is inaccurate scheduling info for Irish
dance classes in Lubbock, that is the responsibility
of the dance school, which means it's my and my wife's
fault for not keeping up with it. Not Chris's. Not
-- If the Amarillo festival wasn't mentioned,
that's not because Chris is keeping it off, nor is it
his responsibility to make sure it's on there. The
organizers and/or participants can post it anytime
-- If Chris has stuff he wants to post here, of
course he should do it. Lots of people are interested
in where he and/or Last Night's Fun are performing,
what they're doing. Lots of people will buy his CDs.
Etc. There is no reason in the world for him to avoid
posting his own stuff because other people aren't
In short--and please, somebody, correct me if I'm
wrong about this--Chris isn't, and shouldn't be, under
any obligation to keep up with anybody else's stuff.
The absence of other people's stuff on this list is
not an indication of anything other than having more
to do than to keep up with everybody else's schedule.
Or at least I don't think so.
I mean, the guy runs the list in addition to
everything else that's going on. Plenty good enough
3. Some of the people on this list probably are aware
of occasionally snippiness or disagreements that go
further than they probably should, things like that.
Damn artist-musicians, I swear. (Fortunately, I
myself have never ever gotten my back up over stuff
that wasn't worth it. Hmm-mm.) But whatever
occasional disagreements have happened, the big
picture is that Irish music around here absolutely,
positively would not be what it is right now without
Chris and a bunch of people who have learned from him
at slow sessions and elsewhere.
What's more, if you talk to some of the people who go
out of town to sessions, they'll tell you that the
level of musicianship here, especially considering it
started widely about six years ago at most, is pretty
remarkable. Other musicians here have dropped in on
sessions in, for instance, Houston and New York State
(speaking for two members of Tripping), and they
couldn't match what was here. Not to say you couldn't
find a killer session in New York or Houston; of
course you could. But the point is, not _all_ of them
are even as good as ours. For the population here,
we're in notably good shape, and nobody has had a
bigger part in that than Chris Smith.
I mean, seriously: Last night, I played with Roan
Inish at Marc Mason Harper's memorial open-mike thing
at the Spoon; we had played at a benefit thing for him
at Bash Riprock's back in July (I think), and we're
also playing at a genealogical society thing on Friday
night. Tripping just played in Amarillo, and we
played at Sugar Brown's before that, and probably will
again. LNF is wherever, doing whatever they do;
they've always got bookings one place or another, both
in town and out of town. Even in Ireland, for God's
sakes. So what's going on here? Between LNF,
Tripping, Roan Inish, and County Hockley--however you
assess the relative value of those groups, however
fledgling or advanced they might be--there are four
bands playing this kind of music regularly around here
these days. Four. Somebody's doing something right.
Yeah, some of us were playing before Chris got here,
doing the best we could, and even doing OK at times.
But nothing like since Chris came. It would be
completely wrong to understate the value of what he
has meant to this community. I could not be more
serious about this. This is obvious to the point of
4. I'm personally thrilled to have Chris plugging his
stuff on the list, because I don't see any of this as
a zero-sum thing. It's not like if he does well,
somebody else suffers; in fact, it's the opposite.
The more interest is created, the more everybody
benefits. I hope you sell a million copies, Chris.
I'm serious about that. I wish we had our own CD to
put out there. (Anybody wanna advance-order, we'll
take the cash. Just call me personally.)
5. As for the stuff posted on Chris's website, I have
found that pretty much unfailingly useful, which is
why I posted a thank-you a couple of weeks ago to one
in particular that I thought was very good for
harmonists like guitar players and such. If I knew a
beginning guitarist (even more beginning than me, I
mean), that's where I'd point 'em. That, and his book
on accompanying melody players. (That one's on
Amazon, or was last time I looked.)
Not all of the above is addressing anything
specifically from anybody's previous post. Some of it
is just stuff that needs to be said. And none of it
is intended to piss anybody off; all of it _is_
intended to move away from contentiousness and from
the idea that we're in some kind of competition.
Steve Finley (pints all around, but you pay)
Start your day with Yahoo! - Make it your home page!
- Wow. I just got back in town last night after about a month out of country. I checked in at this listserve to check schedules, etc., and ended up finding this ill-informed and personal vitriol. Rather than providing anything of merit, it reveals 1) the authors ignorance as to what a listserve moderator does, 2) a willingness to take no personal responsibility in the sharing and distribution of information concerning local celtic oriented events, and 3) a lack of class in taking what appears to be a personal dislike public.Clint Boal
Nicole Ramirez-Lambeth <nikki_338@...> wrote:
This listing has become a directory for Chris Smith related things only. I
find it disconcerting that there are many other Celtic community activities
available throughout west Texas and the panhandle, and the only ones I find
on here are the ones involving Mr. Smith. The lack of mention of last
weekend's Celtic festival in Amarillo, and the innacurate scheduling info
for the dance classes (like when they host a ceili or have cancelled
classes, for instance), reflects your lack of respect and/or interest in
other members of the local Celtic community who have done (thus far) an
outstanding job of supporting you.
Until you find some room on your list to graciously post information for
non-Smith related activities, please remove my name from the mailing list. I
couldn't care less about whatever BS you've posted on your website; I do
care about relevant activities being mentioned to those who might be
interested, because word of mouth does not get around to everyone.
By the way, to those that are interested, I quite recommend catching Steve
Finley's new band "Tripping Up the Stairs" (featuring some fantastic
musicians!) There is no longer just one "premier" Irish band in town, folks!
We are taught that man most loves and admires the domestic type of woman.
This is one of the roaring jokes of history...the breakers of hearts, the
queens of romance, and goddesses of a thousand devotees have not been cooks.
- C.P. Gilman
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