Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekend Ramblings...January 2015

This weekend started a little early.

On Friday, Haley and I drove to Cranford, NJ to meet with our friend, Mike, who was putting us up for the night because we had a concert together in Westville. After a quick stop at Carlos' Bakery for some treats, we met up with Andy at the church for rehearsal. They rehearsed all afternoon, adding in musicians as they arrived, then did a sound check and had some pizza before the concert.

Sound check...
The concert went really well. There was a variety of music…some O'Carolan played renaissance-style with harmonies on violin (Haley) and viola (Mike) to go along with Andy's whistle and they also played a slow air like a round similar to the way they recorded it on Andy's soon-to-be-released CD.

After the concert, we spent the night with Mike and Noreen. It snowed about five inches overnight which caused a rescheduling of Saturday night's concert to Sunday afternoon. We hung out at Mike and Noreen's until the roads were clear, around noon, then drove up to Brian's in White Plains. Haley spent the afternoon practicing violin then she had a lesson with Brian. We watched a movie before bed.

Sunday was a lazy day. Haley practiced for a couple hours and we hung out listening to lots of fiddle music (Brian was teaching all day).  We drove to CT for the concert. Pride of New York is one of our favorite ensembles. We love their music and interactions on stage. 

Pride of New York.
Haley joined Brian on stage for a little Sligo fiddle duet.

Haley and her teacher, Brian. Photo courtesy of Bernard Keilty.
As is usual after this concert, there was a bit of ceili dancing. Haley took Brian's seat to play for the dancers.

Ceili Band
She and I drove home very late at night because a blizzard was on the way. The snow started this morning around 8am. Maybe we'll be snowed in for a day or two before we head out for another long weekend of fun and Irish music. On the way home last night, Haley exclaimed, "Playing Irish music is the best thing I ever started doing!"

Here's a little video of Haley and Brian…

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


This week, Haley posted an interview she did for her blog, Tuneful Journeys. The subject of her interview was her brother, Dylan.

I am re-posting her interview here because I love it.

Interview by Haley Richardson as posted on Tuneful Journeys.

Tuneful Interviews: Dylan Richardson

Dog whisperer, avocado avoider, good-humored and intelligent--join me today for a quiz visit with my brother, Dylan Richardson, a multi-instrumentalist, musical accompanist, and tune composer. 
At seventeen years old, Dylan has been playing guitar for twelve years. He started with conventional guitar lessons from the age of six until he was thirteen years old. Besides summer camps and a few Skype lessons with Zac Leger (Irish music mentor), he has been largely self taught in Irish guitar accompaniment as well as banjo, bouzouki, and mandolin. He has won 1st place in the under 13 accompaniment competition at the Maryland State Fleadh, and in August of 2011 he qualified to compete in the All-Ireland Fleadh under 15 accompaniment competition. In addition to backing up melody players, he enjoys composing tunes for them. 
Credit: Matt Ferrara Photography
The main focus of this interview is Dylan's work accompanying melody instruments. In my opinion, Dylan is a fantastic accompaniment talent and my favorite guitarist with whom to perform. He is also the main accompanist on my soon to be released debut CD.

What's it like being an accompanist?

Nobody really recognizes you, unless they have a similar appreciation and knowledge of accompaniment. You don't want to be the center of attention at all. The accompanist mainly pulls the melody together by adding down beats and more complex rhythm.

What's the most important thing about being an accompanist?

To know when not to play and what not to play. Also, to know what not to add. Rhythm is a big part of being an accompanist. If you add too much it can crowd the melody, if you add too little, it doesn't quite enhance the melody and can change the listeners perception of the tune. It's a lot to think about at first, but once you get the feel for it, it becomes easier. Many accompanists only really want to hear themselves and what they are doing, they don't really take enhancing the tune into consideration.

What was your favorite gig to play and why?

A recent gig we played at The Burren was my favorite. We opened for Kevin Crawford and Cillian Vallely. It was a good atmosphere to play in. The crowd really appreciated traditional Irish music. The sound technician was phenomenal in capturing the true sound of each instrument. And the hospitality from The Burren was incredible in making us feel welcome during our first visit to Boston.

What inspired you to play the guitar?

I don't remember really. I think I just liked the way it sounded. 

 What other accompanists do you enjoy listening to?

John Doyle and Eamon O'Leary as solo or duo accompanists are two of my absolute favorite players because of their ability to work together with two completely different styles. I love the way they enhance each other's playing and accompany other musicians.

Who has most influenced your style of playing and why?

John Doyle because I have learned great tips from him such as, how to keep the tempo going, how to work with varying rhythmic patterns, and to work out nice accompanying variations whilst keeping an imitative rhythmic percussion.

How can you vary the rhythm?

Difference in downbeats, accents in the up strokes, triplets, quadruplets, and change in the overall picking pattern within the tune, are some of the variations I use.

Currently, Dylan and I keep a busy schedule of gigs, but his plans for the future include a possible career in sound engineering, growing as a professional guitar accompanist, and pursuing his love of photography. 

Friday, January 02, 2015

Rice Pudding

I am have been keeping a journal of sorts on a project Haley and Dylan are working on but will wait for the project's completion before posting it to my blog. In the meantime, here's one of Haley's favorite dessert recipes…Rice Pudding. The recipe comes from my Aunt Dale.


2 cups rice
2 cups sugar
1 gallon milk

Bring to boil then cook for 2.5 to 3 hours until thickened. Stir every 20 min or so.

Remove from heat then stir in 4 eggs (tempered with a little milk and beaten) and 2 Tbsp. vanilla.

Cool a bit then enjoy!