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I've been playing off and on for thirty years, I suppose. I grew up in County Roscommon, Ireland, listening to The Clancy Brothers, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, Rory Gallagher and top twenty music from the late sixties and seventies. Around that time Irish music was making a comeback and building on the music of The Clancy Brothers of the 1960s, with The Bothy Band, Planxty, Paul Brady and many others. This was, in a way, a different type of Irish music in that the arrangements were a little more elaborate and the addition of new musical instruments, like the cittern, gave it a slightly different sound. It's not to say it was better, it was just different, and so it appealed to a wider audience and connected this audience to the past through their music. I play because I love the stories contained in the songs - songs like Little Musgrave by Christy Moore; The Homes of Donegal by Seán McBride; England's Motorways by Ewan McColl; The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot. I write a few songs myself about contemporary issues (Sweet Anne's Road touches on an aspect of the war in Afghanistan) and historical issues (The San Patricios, about the Irish Brigade who fought for Mexico in the Mexican American war of 1846). I also love to revisit the old Child Ballads and rework the arrangements. If you are out and about in Roanoke, Virginia, and looking to hear some Irish and Americana music look me up, and if I'm playing stop in for a while. Thanks, Jim. [+]