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re: recent posts (yeesh!)

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  • stephen finley
    Man... 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
    Message 1 of 9 , Oct 20, 2005
      Man...

      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
      wrong things.

      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
      little bit):

      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
      with them.

      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
      harmony-impaired guy.

      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
      anybody else's.

      -- 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
      they want.

      -- 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
      posting theirs.

      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
      for me.


      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
      being self-evident.


      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)



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    • Clint Boal
      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
      Message 2 of 9 , Oct 21, 2005
        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!












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