As regular readers of this column may recall

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Apr 092015
 

A proper writer or journalist would say –

‘As regular readers of this column may recall’ –

On a previous tour here in North America, Anto and I stayed in a motel across the road from Satan’s Kingdom. A deep, dark-eyed, heavily-bearded man of about thirty, wearing one of Kurt Cobain’s shirts, appeared out the door of the next room and asked if we were ‘New here’ and invited us in to play video games.

His name – Nick.

I have to say I found it a bit spooky but guess what – here we are back at The Alcove Motel for the first two nights of the Leo & Anto Spring Tour of some of the United States of America.

It’s a long way from a gloriously sunny, warm and Springy Bank Holiday Monday, driving from Headford to Tuam via the narrow country roads, through Carragh past the land and the four acre meadow on the hill where ‘Hay Wrap’ was conceived, past Bid Moran’s oul’ house, meeting the odd car and tractor and trailer, no-one in any hurry.

Leo + Anto Merc Side (1 of 1)

It’s a long way from there to rush hour traffic out of Logan Airport in a newly rented car in hail and sleet and snow (reminds me of the line Padraig and I borrowed for ‘Maroon And White’ from that maverick genius of a gaelic footballer, Michael Donnellan when he was interviewed about the tough Winter training in that classic sports fairy-tale film, ‘A Year ‘Til Sunday’) crawling bumper-to-bumper, brake-lights for miles. And the night falls so quickly here on this side of the Atlantic at this latitude, on the MassPike, like a swift, dark blanket, unlike the long, beautiful dusk and twilight back in the West of Ireland, recently enhanced by the advent of SummerTime.

Off the highways and on the smaller roads in the dark every red light I come to I’m stopping a few feet too far forward, unintentionally ‘Steppin’ out over the line’ (© Bruce Springsteen ‘Born To Run’ 1975) Proper book publishing would require I get permission to use this line here but I don’t think it’ll be required for this folly and, as my mother would’ve said –

‘The cursh a Moses on him anahow” – he never acknowledged receiving those outstanding CDs Anto and I dropped off at his house in New Jersey a while back.

As Anto says, the room is cold and smelly here. It probably hasn’t been slept in much since last season and the ‘Smoke-Free Zone’ sign obviously hasn’t been heeded by everyone over the years. But Anto gets a plasticky small electric blow-heater from the man at reception and it’s actually comfy enough after a while.

Motels offer an intriguing glimpse of the underworld, I fancy. I imagine this room being a venue of illegal deals and illicit sexual encounters; of money gotten or earned beyond the clutches of the InlandRevenueService changing hands amongst whispers and schemes and false promises. Likely it’s mostly fly-fishermen who come to fish across the road that stay here and what I’m describing is only in my imagination…….

Spring US Tour by Leo & Anto in April / May 2015

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Jan 172015
 

Leo Moran of The Saw Doctors and Anthony Thistlethwaite of the Waterboys will undertake an acoustic tour of the US this Spring, starting in Collinsville CT at the Bridge Street Live venue on Thursday April 9 and finishing up in Winchester VA on Friday 22 May at the Bright Box Theatre.

The Leo & Anto acoustic tour will include a headline concert in New York City on Tuesday 14 April at the Rockwood Music Hall, a Boston concert on Friday 10 April at The Burren Backroom and two Philadelphia Concerts at the Tin Angel venue on Saturday April 18 and Sunday April 19.

Leo & Anto – US Shows in April / May 2015

4/09 – Collinsville CT – Bridge Street Live
4/10 – Somerville MA – The Burren
4/11 – Holyoke MA – Log Cabin Delany House
4/14 – NYC – Rockwood Music Hall
4/15 – Piermont NY – The Turning Point
4/17 – Glastonbury CT – Irish American Home
4/18 – Philadelphia PA – Tin Angel
4/19 – Philadelphia PA – Tin Angel
4/23 – Buffalo NY – Irish Society
4/26 – Pittsburgh PA – The Priory
5/03 – West Peoria IL – Jimmy’s Bar
5/07 – Madison WI – Kiki’s House of Righteous Music
5/21 – Vienna VA – Jammin’ Java
5/22 – Winchester VA – Bright Box Theatre

Extra Scottish Show for Leo & Anto in March

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Jan 172015
 

Leo Moran of The Saw Doctors and Anthony Thistlethwaite of The Waterboys will play an extra Scottish show in Perth on 11 March as part of their short tour in the run up to St. Patrick’s Day.

Tickets are now on sale for the Leo & Anto show at the Inchyra Arts Club in Perth on Wednesday 11 March from Ticketmaster outlets.

http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/event/36004E28E6EC686C

Leo & Anto will also play acoustic shows in Glasgow on Thursday March 12 at the Oran Mor venue and in Edinburgh on Friday March 13 at Electric Circus. Tickets for the Glasgow and Edinburgh shows are available by clicking the following links:

Glasgow http://bit.ly/1xO3Blm
Edinburgh http://bit.ly/14hMwWv

Leo & Anto play Glasgow and Edinburgh in March 2015

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Jan 172015
 
Leo Moran of The Saw Doctors and Anthony Thistlethwaite of The Waterboys will bring their acoustic duo show back to Glasgow on Thursday March 12 at the Oran Mor venue and the lads will also play the Electric Circus in Edinburgh on Friday March 13
Tickets are currently on sale for both the Glasgow and Edinburgh shows in March – click on the links below.
 
Glasgow, Oran Mor @ March 12 – http://bit.ly/1xO3Blm

Edinburgh, Electric Circus @ March 13 – http://bit.ly/14hMwWv

Leo & Anto – New Shows in Liverpool and Stockton in October 2014

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Aug 202014
 

In October, Leo Moran and Anthony Thistlethwaite of
The Saw Doctors will now play seven acoustic shows
in England including two newly announced shows
in Liverpool on October 28 and in Stockton on
October 29.

The opening English show by Leo & Anto in St. Helen’s
on October 22 is now sold out.

Leo & Anto will play Morecambe on October 23, Bradford
on October 24, Shrewsbury on October 25 and
Wolverhampton on October 26 as well as the newly
announced shows in Liverpool on October 28 and
Stockton on October 29.

Tickets for all shows are currently on sale from the
venues and online from the tour links below.

Leo & Anto – UK Shows – October 2014

Wednesday Oct 22: St. Helens – Citadel (SOLD OUT)
Box Office 01744 735 436 or buy direct by clicking online
http://www.citadel.org.uk/online-booking?stage=unitsel&product=357791&isostartdate=22%2F10%2F2014

Thursday Oct 23: Morecambe – Platform
http://www.shopccc.co.uk/141023-one-saw-doctor-and-one-water-boy-1438-p.asp

Friday Oct 24: Bradford – Alhambra Studios
Box Office: 01274 432000 or follow the ‘buy online’ link at theatre website below.
http://www.bradford-theatres.co.uk/event/leoanto14

Saturday Oct 25: Shrewsbury – Walker Theatre
Box Office: 01743 281 281 or buy direct by clicking online
http://www.theatresevern.co.uk/shows/whatson/leo-anto/

Sunday Oct 26: Wolverhampton – Slade Rooms
Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or buy direct by clicking online
http://www.wolvescivic.co.uk/Default.aspx?loc=new-show-details&i=102827

Tuesday Oct 28: Liverpool – St. Michaels Irish Centre
Tickets from The Irish Centre PH: 0151 263 1808

Wednesday Oct 29: Stockton – The Arc
Box Office: 01642 525 199
http://arconline.co.uk/whats-on/music/leo-anto-one-saw-doctor-one-waterboy

Extra US Concert for Leo & Anto on July 26

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Jul 212014
 

Following their great success at the Vancouver Folk Festival last weekend, Leo Moran and Anthony Thistlethwaite would like to announce an extra US acoustic concert in Natick MA on Saturday July 26 at The Barn. Tickets for this Natick MA show by Leo & Anto are currently on sale from the following Ticket website.

https://leoandantoatthebarn.eventbrite.com

Leo Anto Couch

This Summer Leo & Anto will play eight US acoustic
shows from July 22 to August 3. See details below.

Tues July 22 Glastonbury CT – Irish American Home Society

For Tickets: Call Maureen Kennedy 1 860 550-3126
Tickets and Info: http://www.irishamericanhome.com

Wed July 23 Glastonbury CT – Irish American Home Society

For Tickets: Call Maureen Kennedy 1 860 550-3126
Tickets and Info: http://www.irishamericanhome.com

Thurs July 24 Glastonbury CT – Irish American Home Society

For Tickets: Call Maureen Kennedy 1 860 550-3126
Tickets and Info: http://www.irishamericanhome.com

Sat July 26 Natick MA – The Barn

71A West Central Street, Natick 01760
Tickets and Info: https://leoandantoatthebarn.eventbrite.com

Tues July 29 S. Yarmouth MA – Cape Cod Irish Village

Wed July 30 S. Yarmouth MA – Cape Cod Irish Village

For Tickets:  tony@raine-man.com

Sat Aug 2 Asbury Park NJ – The Saint

Box Office Phone No: 1 732 775 9144
Tickets and Info: http://www.thesaintnj.com/

Sun Aug 3 Piermont NY – The Turning Point – 4 p.m.

Box Office Phone No: 845 359 1089
Tickets and Info:  http://store.turningpointtickets.com/servlet/-strse-452/Leo-Moran-and-Anthony/Detail

Extra English Show by Leo & Anto Confirmed for Morecambe on October 23

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Jul 092014
 

Following their sell out show at Bury Met on Saturday last, Leo Moran of The Saw Doctors and Anthony Thistlethwaite of The Waterboys have just announced a new English show in Morecambe on October 23 at the Platform venue.

Leo & Anto

Leo & Anto will now play five English shows in October from Wednesday 22 to Sunday 26 in St. Helens (22),
Morecambe (23), Bradford (24), Shrewsbury (25) and Wolverhampton (26).

Tickets are currently on sale for the Morecambe Platform show by Leo & Anto on Thursday October 23 from the online link below.

October 2014

Wednesday Oct 22: St. Helens – Citadel
Box Office 01744 735 436 or buy direct by clicking online
http://www.citadel.org.uk/online-booking?stage=unitsel&product=357791&isostartdate=22%2F10%2F2014

Thursday Oct 23: Morecambe – Platform
http://www.shopccc.co.uk/141023-one-saw-doctor-and-one-water-boy-1438-p.asp

Friday Oct 24: Bradford – Alhambra Studios
Box Office: 01274 432000 or follow the ‘buy online’ link at theatre website below.
http://www.bradford-theatres.co.uk/event/leoanto14

Saturday Oct 25: Shrewsbury – Walker Theatre
Box Office: 01743 281 281 or buy direct by clicking online
http://www.theatresevern.co.uk/shows/whatson/leo-anto/

Sunday Oct 26: Wolverhampton – Slade Rooms
Box Office: 0870 320 7000 or buy direct by clicking online
http://www.wolvescivic.co.uk/Default.aspx?loc=new-show-details&i=102827

Isle Of Skye

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Jun 302014
 

It’s not every gig where the promoter greets you, does the sound, gives you dinner, drives you to the quayside pub and back, puts you up in the house, serves a delicious breakfast, takes you out fishing, fries up the freshly caught mackerel for lunch and sends you on your way with directions for a drive that takes in some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll ever see.

Well that’s how Duncan and Polly treated Anto and myself for our show at Sabhal Mor Ostaig in Sleat on the Isle Of Skye on Saturday.

The Highlands are an expanding universe. The more we see and learn, the more we realize we don’t know and the more we want to find out. Both Davie Gardner, our man on Shetland, and Duncan on Skye have described other, more out-lying gigs that myself and Anto could come back and do. Our gig in Shetland’s capital, Lerwick, and this gig here on Skye are really just scratching the surface of the possibilities that the highlands and islands offer as regards small, well-established gigs for all kinds of acts. There’s a solid sense of a vibrant artistic community and a circuit that is both well run and well supported.

After the soundcheck, Duncan brought us over across the road to his and Polly’s house, set in an idyllic situation looking across to the mainland over Sleat Sound. The sunshine is on the mountains across the way and it truly is divine on this Summer’s evening. Theirs is a fine house, about a hundred and fifty years old, spacious and airy and comfortable and as welcoming as could be.

The sea is down the bottom of the garden and Anto wants to go for a swim. I’m a little more reticent – while the sun is present alright, there’s a biteen of a nip in the breeze. Anto is determined though and leaves me standing with my trouser legs rolled up in the cool water amongst the rocks and the weeds while he goes up to the house to get shorts and a towel. While I’m standing there motionless for a few minutes a tiny flat fish, like a little flounder, about an inch and a half in diameter, scoots over my foot and lands on a stone. Not to save my life would I see this lovely little creature if I hadn’t seen it move. Then a little crab scuttles sideways across the same foot and small fish swim around the weed and between my ankles.

Back down from the house in his shorts, Anto is gung-ho and in no time he’s on his way out past the hard-on-the-feet rocky bits towards the sand, up to the hem of his shorts in the cool salty water of the North Atlantic. Good man Anto, but I can’t let it be said that I let him be in there on his own. As soon as he’s down swimming I’m on my way out to join him. The water is cold, but not shockingly so and it’s gorgeously refreshing – it’s both our first dips in the sea this year. Skin freezing cold and my insides roasting with coursing blood – ALIVE!

Anto Pint

Showered and dried, Polly cooks us up a lovely seafood pasta and we’re well fed and ready for the show by the time we get back over across the road to the centre. There’s about fifty people at the gig, mostly locals but also some long-time supporters and friends of ours, the Blogg family, from way down in the South of England who coincidentally are starting their holiday in Portree this very day.
The acoustics in the venue are easy and pleasant on the ears and coupled with Duncan’s warm sound it all adds up to a well-appreciated and a pleasure-to-do, gig.

Duncan kindly offers to drive us to the pub, Am Praban, about four miles up the road at Isle Ornsay. Standing outside the front door in the mid-Summer twilight, looking across at the moored boats in the sheltered sound with a pint of eighty shillings in my hand, I’m thinking – this is it.

We arrange to rise at nine for a small bit of fishing and when I arrive down the stairs Polly already has the table outside set for breakfast. Grapes, oranges, apples, cereal, tea, freshly brewed coffee, croissants, bread and jams and butter and scrambled eggs on toast with a couple of rashers. What a start to this Sunday.

Duncan goes out in the kayak and brings in his boat for Anto and I to board with the mackerel in a bucket for bait that Polly has prepared. He takes us West up the Sound, we pull in to say hello to a couple of the neighbours, who were at the gig, fishing from their own back garden and then on to the local seal colony where Duncan is careful not to go too close in order not to make the residents leave their restful perches and slither in for a swim.

Lobster Leo

We throw out a line each to see if there’s any sign of mackerel today and while myself and Anto get not a nibble, Duncan pulls in four silvery-green swimmers in one go. Then we go over to check the crab pots. Anto hauls up the first – only one small crab – and I haul up the other two with the same result. Duncan reckons he didn’t have the right bait in this time and he re-baits the pots with the mackerel from the bucket and we head back to shore.

Back on dry land, Polly puts out the freshest of the fresh mackerel fried in oatmeal on the al-fresco table and the lunch is fairly perfect as we chat for ages about all sorts of things. In the early afternoon we hit the road, taking directions from Duncan and Polly for the breathtaking drive towards the back of the island and onwards towards Ullapool.

What a stay we’ve had in Sleat – a huge thanks to Duncan and Polly for everything. It’s not every gig…….

Mid Summer’s Night in Aberdeen 2014

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Jun 232014
 

Since the first time The Saw Doctors arrived, back in the cold Spring of 1989, coming to Scotland has always held a special magic for me. It’s an electrifying combination –the sense of feeling at home mingled with the exotic – the accents, the architecture, the majestic scenery an a’ that.

Over the years I’ve come to know and love this country even more but familiarity has chipped away a little at my sense of how distinctive it really is here.

I remember on that first trip regarding the castles and bridges in awe, listening to every accent in shops and on the street, reading plaques on the walls of pubs commemorating Rabbie Burns and his poetry. Not that I haven’t tuned in of late, but maybe not so much as I’d thought.

However, last night in Ma Cameron’s pub in Aberdeen blew me away, Scot’s style.

We were in the bar, the match between Germany and Ghana just ending on the tele and an enchanting sound caught my ears and my spirit by surprise, from beyond the room. I thought it was coming from out in the main bar but when I followed to investigate it led me to the front snug. Inside, a small, bearded man, dark blue beanie on his head, sitting wearing a well-worn anorak and a jumper was singing a shanty, ‘Weigh Haul Away”. His strong but sweet voice hit me like a cold salty wave lashing over the gunwales of a ghostly frigate. You could be in no doubt in the world where you were – I knew I was in Scotland. The sea-faring history of Scotland’s East coast was here, personified, in front of us.

The company in the snug asked him to sing some more – he sang ‘I Once Loved A Lass’, Anto and myself clapped and thanked him. He asked me was I from Ireland. Yes. I’ll sing an Irish song, says he an he launches into one of the finest versions of ‘The Enniskillen Dragoons’ that I’ve ever heard.

Three men went out the door and we were left, just four of us, Anto, me, David, and his friend and fan, Bill. We got chatting. This marvelous singer’s name is David Dow. He was in the military band for six years, during which he played on a number one single and appeared on Top Of The Pops, performing ‘Amazing Grace’. He told us he’s the ‘Master Of The Sabbath’ and would be singing the following night, Sunday, in The Prince of Wales.

David’s passionate and evocative voice is a Scottish national treasure. He has that special ability to bring a song completely to life, its characters and its scenes, right in front of you. I’m afraid it’s not often enough that music touches me to the core of my soul these days, but David’s singing certainly did that last night in Ma Cameron’s. He made my night and more. On this mid-Summer’s night to be in the presence of someone who can evoke so strongly the history and culture of his native land is a joy and a privilege. Thanks David.