Highlighting our Adams & Staats October 2019 nationwide tour of Ireland 🇮🇪 | PART 1 of 3 | #AdamsandStaatsIreland2019
#AdamsandStaatsIreland2019 | Tour Map
#AdamsandStaatsIreland2019 | Days 1-3
LOTS of ground covered. From the airport to UPS to Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast to rural Donegal to sleepy Cork. A puncture, a missed radio interview, the first three GIGs, and the first three post-gig jams. It’s our media-heavy recap of days 1-3 of #AdamsandStaatsIreland2019, our 2019 9-gig nationwide tour of Ireland 🇮🇪 by flatpicking guitarist Brandon Lee Adams and mandolin maestro Johnny Staats.
OCTOBER 12, 2019
THE BEEHIVE BAR, ARDARA, COunty DONEGAL
‘You never know who might pop their head in the door. Ardara is just one of those places,’ says Pat.
True that. The late John Prine was a ‘local’ (his wife is from Ardara) and on this particular night 6-time Academy Award nominated Irish playwright, screenwriter, film director, and film producer Jim Sheridian was in the audience enjoying the first Adams & Staats gig of the tour just like everyone else.
There were many firsts about tonight’s gig: it was the first gig of the tour; it was our first time hearing the guys live (we’re fans as well as promoters, obviously); and, incredulously, it was the first time Brandon and Johnny had played a gig together, not that one could tell. Commenting on the Bluegrass Ireland Blog following the gig, we noted:
‘The first gig was special – they truly are phenomenal musicians and it’s a pleasure to not only facilitate their tour but also to be around them… Seeing them play, it’s really hard to believe that before last night they had never – NEVER – before played a gig together.’
OCTOBER 13, 2019
CRYAN’S TEACH CEOIL, CARRICK-ON-SHANNON, COUNTY LEITRIM
GIG 2 Venue Low-down | Cryan’s Teach Ceoil in the charming Shannon River inland resort town of Carrick-on-Shannon is another well-established live music venue – ‘Teach Ceoil’ is Irish (Gaeilge) for music house.
– Fergal Woods, mygrassisblue.com Facebook page comment, October 13, 2019
OCTOBER 14, 2019
THE VILLAGE ARTS CENTRE, KILWORTH, COUNTY CORK
GIG 3 Venue Low-down | An artist favourite, The Village Arts Centre in the sleepy County Cork village of Kilworth was the only former church venue to feature on the tour’s itinerary. Formally opened as a performance space in June 1995 by the then president of Ireland, the 100-seat venue has since hosted a bevy of both professional and amateur talent from all over the world, artistes who invariably praise the centre’s acoustics; so good are the acoustics that it has been used as a recording facility. Another constant on the Irish bluegrass circuit, it would be rare to encounter an overseas grasser who has toured Ireland and who has not graced the Kilworth stage.
Intro & ‘Baby Why You Been Gone So Long’ (05:24) | A little bit of background about how the tour came about (Brandon touches on the reverence with which Johnny Staats is held) before a rendition of the old Mickey Newbury song, covered by The Byrds, among others, ‘Baby Why You Been Gone So Long’.
‘Big Mon’ (02:33) | We like this. There’s a grainy video on YouTube dating to 2007 of Johnny, accompanied by guitarist Robert Shafer, blazin’ through this Bill Monroe classic. And we mean blazin’! The upload was entitled ‘Fast fingers’ and it spawned a June 2008 Mandolin Café thread in which the poster stated (or asked, minus the question mark) ‘The fastest “big mon” you’ve ever heard!‘. While some bemoan the ridiculously fast tempo (‘playing a tune faster than it needs to be played ruins the tune’ according to one commentator), comments on the thread range from ‘pretty impressive from a purely technical point of view’ to ‘jaw dropping speed’ to praise for ‘the “cleanliness” of Johnny’s playing at that speed’ and the enviable ‘taste and style’ evident in his playing. Johnny is 12 years older now and maybe time has slowed his right hand a tad; we’re pretty sure this rendition is a notch – maybe two notches – below that 2007-level breakneck speed, but we’re beating it’s probably just as artistically perfect.
‘Nine Pound Hammer’ feat. John Nyhan (03:14) | Bluegrass in Ireland owes a monumental debt of gratitude to John Nyhan, a Cork-based musician who has been tirelessly promoting the genre in Ireland for over four decades. John took the stage with Brandon and Johnny for a rendition of the bluegrass standard ‘Nine Pound Hammer’, much to everyone’s delight.
‘Amazing Grace’ & ‘Angeling the Baker’ (08:41) | The video quality is not what it should be but thankfully the audio stands up throughout this take on ‘Amazing Grace’ with a segue into the popular fiddle or banjo tune ‘Angeline the Baker’. We heard this a few times over the course of the tour but feel this Kilworth performance was the best of the lot. Those Kilworth acoustics no doubt. Enjoy.
– Joan O’Rahilly
A few bluegrass standard fiddle tune instrumentals to finsish, ‘Cherokee Shuffle’ and the Bill Monroe-penned ‘Jerusalem Ridge’.