Monday, March 14, 2005

Sunday night in Gort

A rainy Monday morning here in the west of Ireland. Last night went to Gort (yeah, like the robot), a small town about a half hour drive away. A friend of my wife's invited us to see her brother play music in a pub. "What does he play?", Una made strumming motions in the air, "The guitar". "Trad music?", I asked (I respect that many folks appreciate Traditional Irish Music and can't get enough of it, but I am not one of those people. Generally find that not unlike thrash metal, blue grass or Martin Denny stuff, that a little goes a long way). "No, he plays songs by other people.", she said. "You mean cover tunes, like the Eagles and such?" I replied. "Exactly."

O'Donnell's pub most Sunday nights, is full of regulars that were absent (at first) last night as everyone was at a wedding celebration some where else. This worked out fine for us as we were able to enjoy Paddy's singing and playing. He sat down with us before his session and handed out his song list that ranged from Prince, "When Doves Cry", to Johnny Cash, GnR, "Sweet Child O' Mine" and Christie Moore and everything in between. Paddy had a quick, easy smile and was light hearted and damn near jolly. When he took the tiny stage, his singing and playing were as light and clear as his smile and I sank back into my seat, sipping my pint of the brown stuff enjoying this human juke box do his thing. Una requested, "Piano Man" by Billy Joel, and Paddy acknowledged the irony of playing that song on guitar and launched into a spot on version that had us singing along. I knew all the lyrics from having sung along with it all those times stuck in tunnel traffic commuting to Hampton from the south side. As the verses rolled out, I realized how comfortable I now feel here in Ireland and how little time we have left before we return to the US in May and how I'll miss nights in the pub like this one. A young woman at the bar made a request and Paddy slid into a rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", that was so sweet and painful and beautiful that it squeezed a salty tear or two out of my old right eye. I was amazed and grateful that Mr. Cohen created such a powerful thing; that one person can transmit such profound feelings and thirty years later another person can retransmit that same message and it is all there, the hugeness of that emotion. Gave me hope for the creative life, for my own creative life.