More notes from the Starry Plough in Berkeley...
It's 1:30 a.m. here, and I just returned from the Sunday night session at the Plough. While it was fresh on my mind I wanted to send these messages along:
Shay sends you his best. We closed the place down tonight, the crowd dwindled to just 6 of us around the table by about midnight(kinda like in the Mudcat Pub, only without the jello and velcro).
It was 2 great fiddlers, a new guitar player, a veteran mandolin/guitarist, Shay and me. We played and sang long after the crowd went home, as the crew cleaned up around us. Shay talked about the tour he just returned from, and how much he enjoyed meeting you.
He had great stories about how impressed he was with Elderly Instruments, and he was particularly tickled that he was able to stump you with a CD request, since according to him you have absolutely everything. (By the way, this Canadian band he asked you for, can you order the CD? They really sound great.)
Shay asked me to let you know that his 85 year old mother just recorded an album, cutting 15 tracks in 15 hours. A typical Black Family over-achiever, I say. He assures me that when it's finished (it still needs a bit of work) he'll let us know how to get hold of it.
He said you took good care of them and he sends his very best. So when are you coming to stay with us and go to a Sunday night session?
It's nice to meet another 'Catter who's local! The atmosphere on Sunday is a bit different from Monday nights, it's true. But I can tell you as somewhat of a newcomer (about 6 months) at the Plough, I've been made to feel welcomed by the session musicians. I like the fact that the crowd (and the players) show absolutely no distinction in enthusiastic support for anyone who'll get up their nerve to sing or play, whether they're a newcomer or a pro. I'm also constantly amazed with the quality of musicianship among the folks in the session. It's a chance for beginners to cut their teeth around some incredible musical influences each week.
Shay has the reputation for running a tight ship, it's true. But I think that's the reason so many wonderful singers and musicians want to do sets here, it creates an atmosphere where the audience really listens and the singers feel appreciated.
I loved coming to Sunday nights when I was part of the audience, and I love it as a participant as well. Come see us again sometime for a session-- You'll be able to pick Dave, Seed and me out of the crowd: look for a tall, silver-haired banjo player with a GREAT smile (seed), a tall tenor with gorgeous blue eyes and an UNREASONABLY large moustache (Dave), and a blonde bodhran player annoying the real musicians at the session table (me). I'll buy the beer!
Dave and I found a pub in Atlanta the last time we were there called Fado (Irish for "long ago"). It's in the Buckhead section of town, trendy but very interesting. We liked it so much we got on their newsletter mailing list, and recently saw that they have started regular Irish music sessions.
We're going back for a visit again next month, (my folks live there) so we'll update you on how it measures up.
Hey, does anyone know of any other good pubs in the Atlanta area? Especially ones with music, of course.