The Temple Bar Trad Festival comes round every January, and 2010 was our year to finally attend an event. We have a couple CDs from Beoga, a fivesome comprised of keyboard, fiddle, guitar, button accordion and guitar. We caught their show at the Project Arts Centre and they rocked the house. In addition to rocking, Beoga is at any given moment jazzy, bluesy, riotous, beautiful and always exuberant. Beoga’s rollicking repertoire includes original compositions, arrangements of traditional Irish tunes and a sampling of songs from the past century, such as the swing song “Don’t talk about me when I’m gone,” a 1940s gospel-soul tune “Strange Things,” and a traditional American song “Factory Girl,” which you can listen to below. One outcome of the evening is that after a transfixing drum solo, we now know how a bodhrán is truly to be played.

On a recent night out with some girls from work, I saw these guys at a club. Mutefish busk around Dublin playing trad rock. The flute player is awesome.

Last week was a big week for Texas music in Ireland. Nanci Griffith is touring Ireland, and we decided to catch her in a smaller venue in Kilkenny.  She performed with her percussionist and a guitar player. Nanci may have brought down some of the high notes, but her voice is still strong and she owns those tunes. She sang some new songs, some favorites, and of course left us wanting more.

On Wednesday we saw Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt at the Olympia. The seats at the Olympia are far from comfortable, but I would have perched on a milk bucket to watch these two guys trade songs and stories for two and a half hours. We weren’t very familiar with John Hiatt–he’s quite entertaining. A coworker was also at the show, and she told me the next day that she thought Hiatt was the better musician. Well, John is quite a showman, but Lyle doesn’t have to play fancy guitar and wail to win my heart–he just plays it cool. This was the most intimate venue in which we’ve seen Lyle, and it was great to hang out with him for a while.

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