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Monday, September 17, 2012

Excitement in Celtic-Thunderland: Album, Kickstarter and Tour

I almost missed Keith Harkin's live chat today- I spent way too much time reading through old papers from the files of the fledgling non-profit I am working with, and got back to the computer for just the last 5-6 minutes. Once home from work, though, I put the recording of this chat on and watched it all the way through. Keith's debut album comes out tonight, at midnight, EST. I won't get mine till sometime tomorrow, since I pre-ordered mine via amazon, but it'll be here for sure tomorrow.

I would be wise, I'm sure, to wait before declaring my favorite song off the album, at least till I've heard them all, but for the fact that the song I requested a while back when he was asking for requests/ suggestions is going to be on this CD. I'll have "Daisy Fields" in my head from now till that album arrives here tomorrow, and will still probably have it stuck in my head for days after I've heard the nice professional quality recording of that song off the new album. It's been one of my favorite Keith Harkin songs on youtube for years, so there's a good chance it's still my favorite (along with his cover of "Where Do You Go To My Lovely"). The other songs are sure to be amazing, but if getting to hear your request at a live show is cool, getting to have your request on the album is even better. (Sure, he probably did not pick it because I asked for it, but since it hardly matters anyway, I'll go on enjoying my happy delusion a while longer.)

The other event going on it Celtic-Thunderland is the Kickstarter Paul Byrom started. Had I known he did not know of Kickstarter I'd have bugged him about it months ago, but in any case, he has one now, to raise $50,000 in the next 40 days to put a PBS show together. It's just the first afternoon of the first day of his project now, and he's starting out well. Actually, at the $10,000 level he has as his gift a private concert, for 'you' and up to 39 guests, and if any of his fan clubs can get together 40 people willing to go in on it, $250 is less than a lot of people pay for tickets and meet & greets, and those 40 people would get to meet Paul, in a rather cosy setting where they could actually talk with him.
And, they'd get to see him do an hour-long show with just that tiny audience of their fellow fans. 5 of those mini-concerts and he'd be set. His campaign has smaller donation increments too, and every bit counts. Hopefully his campaign works, because this guy is good enough and has enough loyal supporters that he ought to be doing very well in the music world right now. If he can launch himself on PBS properly, where he already knows the culture and the system fairly well, he can get his singing career properly on track and make us a new album to enjoy. And if he gets on track with his singing, he might make it out to my part of the country for a show or two.

And, of course, Celtic Thunder is in the US now. They had the rest of the day off today after crossing into the country at the ungodly hour of 4:30am, if Keith's account is correct. I remember seeing tweets from them in the middle of the night when they had to bundle out of the bus at the border checkpoint one night last tour- nothing like that this year, but an amusing tale of them singing for their fries at McDonalds for breakfast (thanks to Neil). I still wish I had the money to be a Celtic Thunder groupie and travel along somehow with the tour, cause it would be great fun just tagging along with my camera and learning how to set up stage equipment from cute crew members. I loved how Ryan and Neil put up enough photos and videos from their Acoustic By Candlelight tour this spring that it was like we were going along with them on their adventures. So far the big tour is not quite so thoroughly documented, but Ryan is back to posting running pictures, and all the guys put up something pretty regularly on twitter/facebook.

I've got my tickets displayed where I can gaze at them on my dresser, and they'll have gathered about 2 months of dust before the guys get to my area, but the countdown is underway, at least. Two months from now I'll have a camera full of pictures from my adventures in Denver, a city I haven't actually been to in a couple years. Even without shots of the show itself, which I am not sure I'd be allowed to take even if I was not going to be in the balcony (too far away for my camera to take recognizable pictures of anyone anyway), I can find plenty to photograph as illustrations for that day's events.

I've pretty much decided I am too much of a coward to pester anyone for autographs, and I can't afford to buy extra tickets/passes to their sound checks, so this year's concert will probably not be an opportunity for me to meet my beloved Irish men, but at least I'll get to finally see my first live Celtic Thunder show. Maybe in another year or two I'll be enough of a music industry professional that I'll get to meet them where I might actually get to talk with them. You just never know. With any luck I might even get to meet Keith sometime, either when he's touring solo, or if he reunites with Celtic Thunder later for a future tour. He sounds less certain now as to where he might end up down the road, so you just never know. I love chatting with musicians, I've discovered, but I hate feeling like an idiot, and with all the stress of being at a proper concert where I can't hide behind my pink camera, meeting any of the Celtic Thunder guys could be rather painfully embarrassing. Whatever happens that day, till then I'll be soaking in Keith's new album and continuing to explore all the great emerging and local talent that is still at a scale where I can meet the musicians casually near the stage and just chat over beers and sodas.

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