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Andy M. Stewart

When I was an undergrad, a handful of my friends were Andy Stewart fans. They were especially fond of some of his more rambunctious numbers - Rambling Rover - but the whole oeuvre appealed. I particularly associate the songs with f_butterfly and Sam, although I'm quite sure littleowl was a regular singer of those songs too.

Early on, I bought a few album of my own, Made in America and Golden, Golden, performed by the band Silly Wizard. I didn't follow Andy Stewart's album history any more closely. I loved the albums, but I don't think it ever occurred to me to seek out his current albums. In way, I can blame that on his music-writing talents. He has written many of the classics of modern Scottish folk music, covered by innumerable bands. One of his pieces was performed by the cealidh band at the wedding I went to at the beginning of August. I learned to sing many of the pieces he'd written on the albums I had. I always did love the titular "Golden, Golden" song, for example.

Several weeks ago, pittenweem sent out a query, wondering if any of us would like to go to this concert by a performer recommended by DJ siusiadh. Andy Stewart was playing at Hugh's Room! Hugh's Room is the best venue in the city: an intimate, comfortable space, serving decent food and with all-good views in a multi-tiered space. And Andy Stewart, whose old work I knew so well, at least from two albums, was performing. Of course I wanted to go!

And it was a really good concert. The moment he opened his mouth to sing, his voice was familiar to me, as only listening to albums so often will do. He performed with Gerry O'Beirne, a guitarist. Intellectually, I knew that the world must contain guitarists on par with symphonic pianists, but I'd certainly never encountered one before. The complexity and beauty of the music he picked and strummed out from his twelve string guitar was phenomenal. I had no idea the instrument had such range and versatility. He had speed and accuracy and beauty, and it all came out of that one instrument. (That said, some of his accompaniament was on a six-string.)

I knew a good portion of the songs Andy Stewart performed, but not always for expected reasons. He did a good portion of the songs I knew from the albums I had, but also other songs he'd written which I only knew from other artists' covers - and had never realized who had written them. For several of the most familiar, he invited the audience to sing along (Rambling Rover, Queen of Argyle, Valley of Strathmore, The Fisherman's Song). He sang all sorts of songs I'd never heard before, but he sings so articulately, that it's easy to follow the lyrics. He was convivial and full of anecdotes. I bought three albums, one of which was a Gerry O'Beirne album, during intermission.

And for an encore, he sang "Golden, Golden".


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 7th, 2004 12:11 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a great time! I wish I could have been there, I'm a big Silly Wizard fan :)
Sep. 8th, 2004 09:16 am (UTC)
Squeaaaaal!!!:) You lucky girl you - sounds like a lovely time.

"Golden, Golden" is one of my favorites too - and while I do associate singing "Rambling Rover" with Sam and tromping around campus singing at the top of our lungs at that ... I associate "Queen of Argyll" and "Golden, Golden" more with Smita ...
Sep. 11th, 2004 01:11 pm (UTC)
at this particular moment, i am not being a very good dj as im sucked up in catching up on lj entries from you and lindsay when i _should_ be preparing for the celtic show tomorrow! anyway, glad that you enjoyed the andy show at hughs room. (im hoping there will be someone good there if i make it back to toronto in november this year). andy is headed down our way next friday but unfortunately i already have plans. all the same, on tomorrows show ill be featuring some of his tunes and those of an irish singer niamh parsons also performing in atlanta next week among whatever else i feel compelled to play. if the streaming is functioning and you have nothing better to do from 5-7pm...perhaps try listening online at http://www.wrfg.org. ok, now i _really_ should go plan for the show...siusaidh
p.s. btw, i started a travel blog at blogger (i totally forgot that lj existed again) so if you want to read about my summer travels, you can catch up at http://svm-travels.blogspot.com
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )