Big News

So it looks like I'm going to be moving away. My wife has accepted a job with Boeing in Philadelphia. The timeline of our move is still a little fuzzy, but I'm taking a couple classes and need to finish the semester here. Therefore it looks like the last of the move will happen after I take my last final on May 14th. 

We are both excited and a bit sad about the move. We have been enjoying living here, and we were not planning on leaving anytime soon. I have certainly invested quite a bit in making a home here. But the company that Tracy is with has had a couple rounds of layoffs in the last year, and has shown some other signs that it may not be the place to bet on for job security. 

As for what will happen with the set dancing at The Folk School and in St Charles, I belive that Erin and Beau would like to continue them after I move, although I'm sure the schedule will change. I do intend to keep them up for as long as I can be for we leave. The set dance workshop and ceili at The Tionol festival are still on as planned. I am also making arrangements to make sure that I can come back to run a ceili at the Missouri River Irish Festival on Memorial day weekend. 

As for the session at Picasso's, I hope that someone might be able to step up to continue running those as well. 

I'd like to express my gratitude for all of you who've helped me feel welcome out here for the last 2-1/2 years, and who've come out to support the things I've attempted to do out here. It's been a lot of fun. I do hope to be able to pass through town from time to time in the future.

Thanks everyone,

My St Patrick's weekend

Friday, March 16th

Irish Set Dancing
The Folk School
3155 Sutton Blvd
Maplewood, MO

More info at

Saturday, March 17th

Noon-4 pm
I'll be playing solo at
Llywelyn's in St Charles
100 N. Main St
St Charles, MO

And 9pm-1am
In the same location
I'll be playing with Clay Hunter

You can take a listen on the home page

Sunday, March 18th

I'm hosting an
Irish Music Session
Picasso's Coffeehouse
101 N. Main St
St Charles, MO

Irish Set Dancing in St Charles

Saturday, February 25th

Connections to Success
1701 N. Second St
St Charles, MO

Set dancing is a form of social dancing which has been popular in Ireland for over 150 years. Sets are danced by four couples in a square. They are descended from the French quadrilles, and English country dances, and are therefore a relative of American square dances and contra dances.

Dances are held two Saturdays a month, 8-11pm at Connections to Success in St Charles. You can find the schedule at

The only cost will be a voluntary donation that will simply be used to support the dance.
All dances are taught. Everything is aimed at being beginner friendly.

There is much more info on what set dancing is at
I also set up a facebook group for set dancing in St Louis at St Louis Irish Set Dancers.

We are also holding dances 1st and 3rd Fridays at The Folk School in Maplewood.


Set Dancing at the Tionol

I just want to let everyone know that I've been working with Mike Mullins on trying to hold a Set Dancing ceili at the Tionol this year, as well as an all day Set Dancing workshop. If you are unfamiliar with what the Tionol is, take look here . It's festival that takes place the weekend of April 20th-22nd. 

Here's my attempt at summarizing the festival. A number of truly phenomenal Irish musicians are brought into St Louis from around the world. 
  • They play for a concert on Friday night in the Schlafly Taproom. After the concert we're planning to hold the ceili in the same room. 
  • Then on Saturday those musicians teach all day workshops at Cardinal Ritter College Prep. The workshops are about six hours long plus a break for lunch. 
  • Saturday night there is another concert at The Sheldon Concert Hall. 
  • Sunday there is a big brunch with sessions the rest of the afternoon at McGurk's.
We're going to try to teach an all day set dance workshop on Saturday, if we can get enough people interested. I'm hoping this will make a nice opportunity to introduce everyone to a few of the more commonly danced sets, as well as dig into some of the details, work out some kinks in people's dancing and generally leave everyone feeling prepared to show up at a ceili.
Another reason I'm excited for the opportunity to put together this ceili and workshop is that it all leads up to the following weekend when St Louis will be hosting the North American CCE convention. If you don't already know, CCE stands for Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. It's an organization dedicated to the preservation and fostering of Irish music, dance, language, and culture. The convention will be another opportunity for Irish musicians and dancers to descend upon St Louis and teach workshops and hold ceilis all weekend. One of the big draws for the the convention is that there is a set dancing ceili each of the four days of the festival (Thurs-Sun). Therefore I do hope that our workshop can help get some people excited about and ready for the weekend of set dancing at the CCE convention, as well as all of the ceilis that we're hosting around St Louis the rest of the year. 
For more info on the CCE convention-
For more info about the ceilis we're hosting year round in St Louis-

My Tuesdays at O'Malley's are Coming to an End

I've been playing at O'Malley's Irish Pub on Tuesday nights. I've been doing this since February. But this upcoming Tuesday will be my last. It's been a nice run, but Tuesdays seem to be a tough night to get people down there. Tommy, the owner, has been trying some other things to get people there on Tuesdays as well, but without much luck. So anyone who wants to come down for the farewell would be appreciated. Also, if any other musicians want to come down, we can totally make the night into a session, and we don't actually have to stop at 10pm if we don't want to.


  • Tuesday November 15th 
  • 7-10pm 
  • O'Malley's Irish Pub 
  • 1900 Cherokee St, St Louis 
  • Corner of Cherokee St and Lemp Ave


Changes to the Set Dancing Schedule

I've found a new location in addition to The Folk School to hold our ceilis. And with the addition of a new location comes a new schedule.

1st Friday of every month, 8-11pm at The Folk School at 3155 Sutton Blvd, Maplewood, MO.

3rd Sunday of every month at Connections to Success at 1701 N. 2nd St, St Charles, MO.

This has been changed again. Check here for the current schedule. 

I'm excited about starting to hold ceilis in St Charles. Connections to Success is just a few blocks from my house, it has a great old hardwood floor, a big parking lot in back, and the rent for the room is quite affordable. 


And for those who would like an additional dose of listiening to Irish music. On 3rd Sundays before the ceili I host an Irish music session at Picasso's Coffehouse on Main St, St Charles 2-5pm.

What is an Irish session?

An Irish session is an opportunity for musicians who play traditional Irish music to get together and play in an informal setting. Most sessions are open to any musicians who are familiar with the music and want to join in. It is a little less like a usual performance as the musicians typically will sit in a circle and play for their own enjoyment, rather than to an audience. That said, sessions are usually held in public places for people to listen. 

This session happens at

Below is a video put together from photos taken and audio recorded at the session. 


Update on the new session

So I've talked to Chris, the owner of Picasso's Coffee, again to work
out the details of holding a monthly Irish session there. This is a
little experimental, and it may change in the future, but for now
here's what we got.

3rd Sundays
First one will be July 17th
Picasso's Coffee
101 N. Main St
St Charles, MO 63301
Corner of Main St & Jefferson St.

All levels of players, singers and dancers familiar with Irish music
are welcome join in. Let's try to make this a good time.

Possible new session

I talked to the owner of Picasso's Coffee on Main St, St Charles today
about the possibility of starting a session there and he is quite
interested. He had expressed interest in this possibility some time
ago, but at the time I didn't know if there were enough Irish
musicians in the St Charles area to support such a thing. But since
the Irish festival I've met a few more musicians who live out here and
might be interested. I'm going to talk to him again this week and
figure out details. It's most likely just going to be once a month, as
Tracy will not be terribly excited if I commit myself to another
weekly obligation. I also think that I'm going to aim for a Sunday
afternoon. They close at 5pm on Sundays, so perhaps something like 2-5
or 1-4ish might be the way to go. If not Sundays then Friday nights
are the next most likely option. In that case it would likely be

So I'm curious if anyone has any input or suggestions, particularly if
you have preferences for a day or time. I would also accept any help
in organizing that anyone might like to offer, or perhaps committing
to being a regular, at least in the beginning, to help get this off
the ground.

Ceili at The Folk Scool 6/17/11

So the ceili last night went great. I want to give a huge thanks to Jesse Evans who came out and played accordian for us. Everybody did an awesome job of getting through the Mazurka set. Below is a link to a PDF of written instructions.


Mazurka Set


And here are some reasonably good videos I found of the Mazurka in its entirety being danced at a ceili in Toronto. 

Figure 1


Figure 2


Figure 3


Figure 4


Figure 5


Figure 6

O'Malley's Pub 6/8/11

Tuesday night some friends came out and sat in with my during my weekly gig at O'Malley's Irish Pub in St Louis. On the far right is Wayne Schell. In the middle is his friend, Stephen Fox.


All For Me Grog


Go To Sea Once More


The Handsome Cabin Boy


Hangin' Johnny


Haul Away Joe


 Jack Tar


John Rise Her Up


Leaving of Liverpool


Mauling Live Oak


Rio Grande

Ceili 5/6/11

My plan for tonight is to teach the Caledonian Set. I'm trying an experiment in teaching aids. Below is a PDF of written istructions for the set. Keep in mind that these are not the full istructions with descriptions of all the terms and steps, but instead a shorthand to serve as a reminder of how the set goes.

 Celedonian Set

And I found a video of the complete Caledonian Set being danced at a festival in The Catskills in Upstate New York. This is a really good example of what dancing a set at a ceili typically looks like. Coincidentally, the set on right is made up mostly of people I've danced with for the last few years from Connecticut. And most of the rest of the dancers I recognize as the usual New York and Boston crowd I see at most ceilis takinig place at festivals in the Northeast.

O'Malley's Pub April 26th 2011

Continuing with my experiment from Picasso's on Saturday, I shot more video while playing my usual weekly gig at O'Malley's on Tuesday.


Out on the Ocean / Shandon Bells / Connaughtman's Rambles


A Polka / A Finnish Polka / Jessica's Polka


Frost is All Over / Kitty Lie Over



Loch Erin's Shore / O'Keefe's / Sgt. Cahill's


Where I Told Her I Loved Her and Sprained Her Ankle / Gander in the Pratie Hole / The Persistence of Noel Reid

The first and third tunes are written by me.


Mason's Apron / Tam Lin / Master Crowley's


The Well Below the Valley


 While Cruising 'Round Yarmouth


The Worn Petticoat / Tehan's Favorite / Eileen O'Riordan's