A Long Series of Memorable Nights Forgotten​:​The Belfast Sessions

by Robert Sarazin Blake

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Waiting 03:32
In a Poem 02:49


Recorded Feb 10 and 12, 2009
in Belfast, Ireland.

John McSherry on Uilleann Pipes &Low Whistles

'he captures the raw energy Irish singers like Christy Moore are known for. The spontaneous nature of the sessions capture the spirit of the songs perfectly.”
- Jim Lee, Driftwood Magazine

'A perfect blend of American songcraft and Irish tuncraft, especially when McSherry’s pipes begin skirling out a contemporary reel alongside Blake’s guitar.'
- Rick Anderson, Hot List


released March 1, 2011

All Songs by Robert Sarazin Blake
Published by Sarazin Music copyright 2009
All songs/tunes arranged by Robert Sarazin Blake and John McSherry
Written in Oso (USA)
Recorded at Rhubarb Recording, Belfast (Northern, Ireland)
Mixed and Mastered by Marc L’Esperance in Vancouver, BC (Cananda)
Recording Engineer: Bernard Flannagan
Produced by Robert Sarazin Blake
Executive Producer: James Rider

Dead Slack Strings-Belfast, N. Ireland
SameRoomRecords Bellingham, WA, USA

On the second day of my first visit to Ireland, I thumbed from Dublin to Dingle. I stumbled into An Droichead Beag where Tony Byrne, Garry O’Brien, Dessie Kelliher, Aoife Granville, and Eoin Duignan were playing in the corner.

The room pulsed and heaved
The pipes sucked smoke and the banjo sipped spiritual elixirs
Black beer and strong whiskey danced with the jigs and reels
I shared a rolled cigarette with a beautiful Basque girl
We stood and swayed
She shouted in my ear
'Irish music is good'
I was in love

My weekend turned into a week as I biked over O’Conner Pass, slept on the beach, busked in front of Garvey’s, swapped songs at McCarthy’s, swam nude on Ventry Beach, and spent many more hours in An Droichead Beag. Reluctantly, I dropped a postcard to my father reading ‘I’m on the west coast of Ireland dancing with a Spanish girl while an English man sings the blues’ and stuck out my thumb. My first lift dropped me three miles from town. Night was approaching. I flipped my thumb the other way and walked back into town for a few more nights.

Two years later, I was hitching from Castle Gregory to Dingle in search of another mighty session. A couple picked me up who turned out to be Tony Byrne’s parents. They drove me straight to the gig.

In Jan of 2009, I arrived in Ireland for a 6 week stay with very few plans. I had the vague notion of writing and recording with Irish musicians between gigs. James Rider offered his couch in Belfast and I took a long windy bus ride up from Athone. I wrote Tony Byrne and he put me in touch with John McSherry. I met with John and Francis. John rang Tina and the next day we went in the studio.


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