Andy Lamy | The New Blackthorn Stick

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The New Blackthorn Stick

by Andy Lamy

The New Blackthorn Stick is the first Irish traditional clarinet album featuring acclaimed clarinetist Andrew Lamy, Mary Bergin, Brian Conway, Dermot Byrne, Donie Carroll, Floriane Blancke, Kevin Crawford, John Whelan, Jerry O'Sullivan, Pat Mangan & more
Genre: World: Celtic
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Jigs: Felix Gone Fishing / Tell Her I Am / Tom Billy's Jig
4:54 $1.29
2. Reels: The Cottage in the Glen / The Otter's Holt / The Lame Fisherman
3:36 $1.29
3. Jigs: Gallagher's Frolics / Paddy Taylor's / Mist On the Meadow
3:15 $1.29
4. Air: Tiarna Mhaigh Eo (Lord Mayo)
6:11 $1.29
5. Slip Jigs: The Echo of Carrowkeel / The Cock and the Hen / Hardiman the Fiddler
4:23 $1.29
6. Reels: Tom Steele / The Lads of Laois / The First Month of Summer
3:26 $1.29
7. Hornpipes: The Fiddling Barrister / Galway Bay Hornpipe / The Banks
4:50 $1.29
8. Jigs: High Part of the Road / Monk's Jig / Queen of the Fair
4:03 $1.29
9. Reels: Jug of Punch / Lamey's Reel / The Repeal of the Union
4:03 $1.29
10. Air: An Feochán (The Gentle Breeze)
4:55 $1.29
11. Reel: Rogha Fhinn Mhic Cumhaill (Finn MacCoul's Favourite)
4:52 $1.29
12. Hornpipes: Castle of Gold / New Century / Flowers of Spring
4:27 $1.29
13. Reels: The Blackthorn Stick / The Green Mountain / The Red-Haired Lass
3:05 $1.29
14. Song: Come By the Hills
3:44 $1.29
15. Reels: Connaught Heifers / Mountain Lark / Green Branch / Green Linnet
3:12 $1.29
16. Jigs: Lila MacIsaac's Favourite / Neil Doherty's Jig / The Ship in Full Sail
3:38 $1.29
17. Highlands & Reels: The Low Highland / Duncan Davidson's Highland / The Wild Irishman / Dinky's Reel
4:43 $1.29
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The New Blackthorn Stick is the first ever Irish traditional clarinet album. The album features clarinetist Andrew Lamy performing dance sets and lyrical airs in both solo and group instrumental combinations, co-featuring the master musicians who taught and inspired him in his pursuit of adding the voice of the clarinet to Irish traditional music.

"Although regularly a classical clarinetist, I used to play only the tinwhistle in Irish music sessions such as Dempsey’s in the East Village and Saint James’ Gate in Maplewood (where I played my first ever session)—particularly since the clarinet is not [yet] a traditional Irish instrument. One of the first times I ever played clarinet sets in public was at the encouragement of harpist Iris Nevins at a session years ago with fiddler/composer Tommy Peoples…Tommy was welcoming, said he loved hearing the Trad on the sweet voice of the clarinet, and encouraged me to learn more, citing that “the clarinet merges aspects of the concertina, the pipes, and the wide-ranging fiddle all in one, and how it can whisper when you back a singer!” A few years later, the idea of this Irish clarinet album began under a tree in the Catskills by the Weldon House in an inspiring conversation with Mary Bergin, Felix Dolan (whom we dearly miss), and Don Meade (which then turned into a mighty porch session!) The details of the album project plan, however, only came together with the extensive and expert help of Brian Conway, whose lively session at Dunne’s Pub in White Plains, NY has become a second musical home for me (in addition to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.) It’s taken a long time to complete this project (just shy of 18 months) due to my own learning curve and the schedules of busy artists—and AT LEAST 2 musicians (Mary and Gabriel, and these are just the ones we know of) have become grandparents during the recording process. Congrats to them, and many thanks to my friends and colleagues for your inspiration and patience."--Andy Lamy

Clarinetist Andrew Lamy has received consistent critical acclaim for his sweet, colorful tone, liquid phrasing, immaculate technique, and his energetic performance style. Mr. Lamy has performed with The New York Philharmonic, The Saint Louis Symphony, The Royal Opera of London, has been concerto soloist with The New Jersey Symphony, The Knoxville Symphony, and The Lake Placid Sinfonietta, and has performed more than 20 live international broadcasts with The Metropolitan Opera. He is a member of the NJSO, founding member of the Halcyon Trio and The Mixed-Flock Ensemble. Andy has gone on to study Irish Traditional music from fiddle master Brian Conway, tinwhistler Mary Bergin, and flutist Joanie Madden, and has won gold on clarinet in the Rogha Ghleas category of the Regional Mid-Atlantic competition, has performer with the acclaimed Chieftains at New York Town Hall, and has traveled to Fleadh Cheoil events and enjoyed playing numerous traditional music sessions in Ireland.

Acknowledgments—Artists—Greg Anderson, Mary Bergin, Floriane Blancke, Dermot Byrne, Donie Carroll, Brian Conway, Kevin Crawford, Gabriel Donohue, Dylan Foley, Steve Holloway, Patrick Mangan, John Nolan, Jerry O'Sullivan, Haley Richardson, John Walsh, John Whelan, Jimmy Musto, Mike Stewart, & Jonathan Storck

Mixing References—Brian Conway, Mary Bergin, Jet Lamy, Mike Stewart, Greg Anderson, Kathleen Nester, Tommy Peoples, Charlie Lennon, Don Meade, Connie Drost-Byrne, Ricardo Morales, and Michele Zukovsky

Audio Engineers—Dave Kerzner of Penguin Studios (Principal) @ William Paterson University, John Walsh, Greg Anderson, Steve Holloway, Ed Kenehan, Dermot Byrne, and Floriane Blancke in Spiddal, Galway; Mixing—Dave Kerzner, Greg Anderson, and Jeannette & Peter Clemons; Mastering—Scott Anthony; Graphic Art—Boaz Kimelman; Arrangement Assistance—Trent Johnson & James Chu; Production Crew—Stacy Beltran & Mike Bisdale

Sponsors—Many thanks for major support from Sean Dunne of Dunne’s Pub in White Plains, NY and to John Meade of St. James’ Gate Pub, Maplewood, NJ; also to Russ Prince, David Chang Family, the family of Aaron, the Sandor Mills & Kapil Chawla Families, The Sichak’s, Dermot Byrne, Mary Bergin, John Whelan, Gabriel Donohue, Jimmy Musto, Mike Stewart, Donna & Haley Richardson and family, Dylan Foley, and Donie Carroll; much gratitude to my parents, Richard & Gloria Lamy who are dearly missed; to my own wonderful people—Cindy, Jet, Greg, & Bryan Lamy, and Diane Deuchar and families, and to many other generous friends and music lovers who’ve given support via preorders and Indiegogo pledges.

Special thanks to Tommy Peoples for permission to record his beautiful slow air, “An Feochan”—and to Brian Conway for his constant help and support!

Track Listing with Historical Notes by Don Meade...

1. Jigs: Felix Gone Fishing*/Tell Her I Am/Tom Billy's 
(Andy Lamy “ACL”, clarinet & bass clarinet; Pat Mangan, fiddle; John Nolan, button accordion; Jerry O’Sullivan, uilleann pipes; John Walsh, guitar; Greg Anderson, bouzouki; Steve Holloway, bodhrán) 4:51

Andy wrote the first jig in early 2013 for the late New York piano great Felix Dolan, a man he describes as “a friendly hero of mine and of many others.” “For me,” Andy says, “the unmitigated joy of this A-Mixolydian tune evokes the image of Felix humming a jig while fly fishing.” “Tell Her I Am” was collected from piper Barney Delaney by Chicago police chief Francis O’Neill and printed in his 1903 Music of Ireland collection. It became widely popular among traditional musicians when it was recorded in 1926 by the great Sligo fiddler Michael Coleman. “Tom Billy’s” is named for Tom Billy Murphy (1879-1944), a renowned fiddler and music teacher from Ballydesmond, County Kerry.

2. Reels: Tommy Coen’s/Poll an Mhadra Uisce (The Otter's Holt)/The Lame Fisherman
(ACL, clarinet; John Whelan, button accordion; Gabriel Donohue, bouzouki) 3:34

The first tune is often called “The Cottage in the Glen,” the title under which it was recorded by Irish supergroup De Danann, but was originally an unnamed composition of the late east Galway fiddler Tommy Coen. “The Otter’s Holt,” i.e., den, was composed by west Clare fiddle legend Junior Crehan. It has a resemblance to “The Old Dudeen,” an older tune played by Sligo fiddler Paddy Killoran. Killoran recorded the third reel as “Sweeney’s Dream” (perhaps after his fiddling partner Paddy Sweeney) but O’Neill published it in 1903 as “The Girl with the Laughing Eyes,” listing himself as the source.

3. Jigs: Gallagher's Frolics/Paddy Taylor's/The Mist on the Meadow
(ACL, clarinet; Mary Bergin, whistle; Steve Holloway, bodhrán; Greg Anderson, bouzouki) 4:00

“Gallagher’s (or “O’Gallagher’s) Frolics” was published by O’Neill, though a step lower than the key in which it is now played. Paddy Taylor, who contributed the second jig to Breandán Breathnach’s Ceol Rince na hÉireann, vol. 2, was a flute player who spent most of his life in London. He picked up the tune from from Mick Barry, a blacksmith in his native Loughill, County Limerick. Mary Bergin calls the third jig after Sligo fiddle master John Joe Gardiner but it was first recorded in 1941 as “The Mist on the Meadow” by the Lough Gill Quartet.

4. Slow Air: Tiarna Mhaigh Eo (Lord Mayo)
(ACL, clarinet & bass clarinet; Dermot Byrne, button accordion; Haley Richardson, fiddle; Mike Stewart, viola; Floriane Blancke, harp; Jonathan Storck, bass) 6:08

There are several marches and airs by this name, but the haunting melody at the heart of this arrangement comes from Néillidh Boyle, one of the most famous of Donegal fiddlers. Andy picked it up from A Feeling in the Blood, a three-CD collection of Boyle’s music issued by Claddagh Records.

5. Slip Jigs: The Echo of Carrowkeel*/The Cock and the Hen/Hardiman the Fiddler
(ACL, clarinet & bass clarinet; Pat Mangan, fiddle; John Nolan, button accordion; Jerry O’Sullivan, uilleann pipes; Greg Anderson, guitar; Kevin Crawford, flute; Steve Holloway; bodhrán) 3:40

Of the first tune, one of his compositions, Andy wrote: “When visiting Carrowkeel neolithic site for the first time in southern Sligo, the fog-enveloped landscape masked any trace of the modern world, and the echoes of sheep, voices and wind in the cairns, and in the notched hills, created a reflection that defied chronology and reflected a sense of secret knowledge and stories curated by these ancient people, even as they first arrived in Ireland. Thanks to my adventurer/naturalist friend Terry Carruthers for first telling me about this magical place.” County Fermanagh flute player and singer Cathal McConnell of the famous Boys of the Lough is the source of this F#-minor setting of the old jig “The Cock and the Hen.” “Hardiman the Fiddler” (or “Hardy Man, the Fiddler”) was included in the O’Neill collection by Francis O’Neill himself.

6. Reels: Tom Steele/The Lads of Laois/The First Month of Summer
(ACL, clarinet; Brian Conway, fiddle; John Walsh, guitar) 3:23

“Tom Steele,” named for an important political ally of Irish nationalist hero Daniel O’Connell, is also known as “Hand Me Down the Tackle” and is another tune from the repertoire of Michael Coleman. The late New York fiddle great Andy McGann famously recorded “The Lads of Laois” and “The First Month of Summer” together on A Tribute to Michael Coleman, a 1965 LP made with button accordionist Joe Burke and pianist Felix Dolan. This setting of “The First Month of Summer” was, according to Longford and New York fiddler Paddy Reynolds, crafted by the Mayo fiddler and accordionist John McGrath.

7. Hornpipes: The Fiddling Barrister*/Galway Bay/The Banks
(ACL, clarinet; Pat Mangan, fiddle; John Walsh, guitar) 4:48

Andy says of the first hornpipe: “I wrote this tune to fit in a set with those exuberant, triplet-filled flat-key clog hornpipes that Brian Conway plays and champions so beautifully. The tune is playful and chock full of vertical jags and virtuosic triplet bursts.” “Galway Bay” was lifted by Francis O’Neill from the earlier Ryan’s Mammoth Collection, in which it was called “The Democratic Hornpipe.” “The Banks” is a Scottish fiddlers’ showpiece attributed to one Parazotti, a Glasgow native whose grandfather had emigrated from Italy and who originally named it “Mrs. Taff” after a patron. 

8. Jigs: The High Part of the Road/The Monk's Jig/The Queen of the Fair
(ACL, clarinet; Dylan Foley, fiddle; John Whelan, button accordion; Gabriel Donohue, piano & bouzouki) 4:04

The first tune (a close relation of O’Neill’s “Blooming Meadows”) was collected from Clare piper Willie Clancy by Breandán Breathnach, who published it under the Irish-language title “Ard an Bhóthair” in vol. 2 of his Ceol Rince na hÉireann series. Breathnach got “The Monk’s Jig,” aka “The Reverend Brother,” from piper Seán Potts. The monk of the title was most likely the piper Brother Gildas (Padraig Ó Seaghdha), who died in 1961. “The Queen of the Fair” was contributed to O’Neill’s collection by its composer, Mayo fiddler John McFadden.

9. Reels: The Jug of Punch/Mrs. MacDonald of Clanranald (Bill Lamey’s)/The Repeal of the Union
(ACL, clarinet; Mike Stewart & Haley Richardson, fiddles; Dermot Byrne, button accordion; Jerry O’Sullivan, uilleann pipes; John Walsh, guitar; Steve Holloway, bodhrán) 4:01

“The Jug of Punch” was collected by Francis O’Neill from Limerick fiddler John Carey but was popularized in more recent years by a recording from New York fiddler Kathleen Collins. Cape Breton Island fiddler Bill Lamey is the source of the second tune, a composition of Scottish fiddler Nathaniel Gow (1763-1831). “The Repeal of the Union,” which O’Neill collected from Leitrim piper James Early, bears a title that reflected Irish nationalist aspirations for a break with the English crown.

10. Slow Air: An Feochán (The Gentle Breeze)
(ACL, clarinet; Jonathan Storck, bass) 4:58

This beautiful melody was composed by Donegal fiddle great Tommy Peoples. It was first recorded by Altan, a group co-founded by the late Belfast flute player Frankie Kennedy, who christened Peoples’ unnamed air with the composer’s blessing.

11. Reel: Rogha Fhinn mhic Cumhaill* (Finn MacCool's Favorite)
(ACL, clarinet & whistle; Jerry O’Sullivan, uilleann pipes; Kevin Crawford, flute; Mike Stewart, fiddle; John Walsh, guitars; Floriane Blancke, harp; Jonathan Storck, bass; Jimmy Musto, concert bass drum; Steve Holloway, bodhrán) 4:51

Andy: “This is a tune that I dreamed--I simply woke up singing it...but the dream reminded me of the legends of Fionn McCool with his thunderous footsteps.  For fun, Tommy Peoples renamed it from "Finn McCool" to "Finn McCool's Favorite", stating that ‘he woulda liked it!’ For full effect, listen on a system with some low-end frequency response...and download the high-res audio file!”

12. Hornpipes: Caisleán an Óir (Castle of Gold)/The New Century/The Flowers of Spring
(ACL, clarinet; Brian Conway, fiddle; John Walsh, guitar; Steve Holloway, bones & bodhrán) 4:25

Junior Crehan turned the slow air “The Priest’s Lament” into the first hornpipe. “The New Century,” which appears in O’Neill’s 1907 Dance Music of Ireland collection, was popularized by Joe Burke’s performance on A Tribute to Michael Coleman. Sligo fiddle great James Morrison recorded “The Flowers of Spring,” which he almost certainly found in O’Neill’s collection, in New York in 1935.

13. Reels: The Blackthorn Stick/The Green Mountain/The Red-haired Lass
(ACL, clarinet; Greg Anderson, guitar & bouzouki; Steve Holloway, bodhrán) 3:05

“The [Old] Blackthorn Stick” is a version of a tune also known as “The Rising Sun” recorded by Michael Coleman. “The Green Mountain” is a close cousin of the well-known reel “The Maid Behind the Bar” and the latter tune is also sometimes called by this name, as it was in O’Neill’s collection. “The Red-Haired Lass,” another tune O’Neill got from fiddler James Kennedy, was popularized by a 78 disc featuring James Morrison and Leitrim flute player John McKenna.

14. Song: Come by the Hills
(Donie Carroll, guitar & voice; ACL, clarinet, bass clarinet, whistle, & low whistle) 3:48

Scottish playwright W. Gordon Smith wrote the lyrics to this popular song, which is set to the air of a much older Irish-language“Buachaill o'n Éirne Mé.”

15. Reels: The Connaught Heifers/The Mountain Lark/The Green Branch/The Green Linnet
(ACL, clarinet; Pat Mangan, fiddle; Jerry O’Sullivan, uilleann & small pipes; Greg Anderson, guitar; Kevin Crawford, flute, Steve Holloway, bodhrán) 3:07

“The Connaught Heifers” was collected from piper Seán Potts and published in in Breandán Breathnach’s first collection. Andy found the other three tunes in O’Neill’s Music of Ireland. “The Mountain Lark” (one of two tunes in O’Neill by this name) came from Leitrim fiddler James Kennedy, “The Green Branch” from Offaly piper Barney Delaney and “The Green Linnet” from Belfast fiddler James O’Neill, who served as Captain Francis O’Neill’s musical scribe. James O’Neill wrote it down with three sharps but Andy (no doubt correctly) surmised that it should really be in the A-Mixolydian mode rather than A major.

16. Jigs: Lila MacIsaac’s Favorite/Neil Doherty’s/The Ship in Full Sail
(ACL, clarinet; Pat Mangan, fiddle; John Nolan, button accordion; John Walsh, guitar) 3:39

The first jig is a Cape Breton Island tune composed by fiddler Sandy MacLean and named for his favored piano accompanist. It was first printed in Gordon MacQuarrie’s The Cape Breton Collection, an influential book published in Massachusetts in 1940. New York Irish fiddlers somehow picked it up and it was printed in 1976 (from the playing of fiddler Larry Redican) as “The Nova Scotia” in Luke O’Malley’s Collection of Irish Music. The great County Cavan and Philadelphia fiddling composer Ed Reavy picked up the second jig from Neil Doherty, an immigrant fiddler from Glenties, County Donegal. Reavy in turn passed it on to his friend Lad O’Beirne and other New York musicians. The tune was first recorded (as “Neil Doherty’s”) by Donegal fiddler John Gallagher on Our Musical Heritage, an LP compilation produced by Seán Ó Riada. The final tune, often played in only two parts, was recorded in the 78 rpm era by James Morrison, who called it “Kitty’s Wedding.”

17. Highlands and Reels: The Low Highland/Duncan Davidson's/The Wild Irishman/Dinky Dorrian’s
(ACL, clarinet; Pat Mangan, fiddle; John Walsh, guitar) 4:40

The final selection consists of tunes from Donegal, Ireland’s northernmost county, where the Scottish musical influence is strong. The first two pieces are strathspeys adapted by Donegal fiddlers as “highlands” for two-hand dancing. The original title of the first is “Miss Steward of Grantully.” The reels include one of many versions of “The Wild Irishman” and one composed by southwest Donegal fiddler Francie “Dearg” Byrne, who named it for Hughie “Dinky” Dorrian, a friend from Killybegs.

—Don Meade



to write a review

James Cleveland

Great! Just great!
This is my new favorite album. It's a wonderful mix of dance tunes and soulful airs played by a master of his instrument and joined by some of the best musicians anywhere. Beautiful.

The New Blackthorn Stick

A complete feel-good album
I personally was excited to find the inclusion of the clarinet in this series of tunes. The collection includes everything from hornpiples, (my favorite), jigs to beautiful airs and everything in between. It's a fantastic album for any lover of Irish music. I'll be spreading the word to other Irish music lovers :)

Jeannette Clemons

Add a LILT to your LIFE!!
How lucky I have been to participate in the birth of this CDBaby! Disclaimer: Andy is my brother! And I am PROUD! VERY Favorites are 4.Tiarna Mhaigh Eo 14. Come by the Hills and 5. Slip Jips! I hope that folks reading this have favorites as well!

joe barnett

great music by great musicians
My title says it all!

Iris Nevins

Great and Unique CD
The clarinet is rarely played these days in Irish traditional music. yet years ago it was included in many well known Irish Dance bands. I know older people who had ceili bands play for their weddings in the 1940s and 50s where there was clarinet in the band. Andy Lamy is of course also a brilliant musicians and there are many well known Irish music luminaries on this CD such as Mary Bergin, Tommy Peoples, Dermot Byrne, and many others. Overall a unique and excellent CD. Will be often played!

Dr. Stephen Clark

A Leprechaun's "Pot of Gold"!!!
What an absolutely magnificent treat it was listening to Andy Lamy's new album, "The New Blackhorn Stick". A proven master of the clarinet in the classical realm, Lamy generously and robustly extends his enormous musical gifts to his new frontier of musical expression -- Irish traditional clarinet.
This joyous, mystical journey of music-making should be experienced by anyone who loves the clarinet, Irish folk music, or just plain great music! It is my hope that this album is only the beginning, a springboard, for many more albums of this genre to follow for Maestro Lamy. Generous kudos to Andy's Irish musician colleagues. Lamy has surrounded himself with an "all-star ensemble". One is particularly impressed with the CD's highest quality of both musicianship and technical sound recording artistry. This album could easily be used as a film soundtrack (depicting historically Irish or folk themes). Andy and his group absolutely deserve the broadest treatment of media exposure -- yes, they're REALLY that good! Guaranteed, this sublime audio adventure into the fascinating world of traditional Irish (clarinet) folk music, will have its lucky listeners "kissing the Blarney Stone", dancing a jig, and sharing that proverbial "Pot of Gold", at the end of the rainbow, with a wise old Leprechaun!!! After receiving Andy's splendid new album, I feel as though I have magically discovered that Irish "Pot of Gold"! Bravissimo, Andy (and Andy's friends)!!!


Great and Unique
The clarinet is rarely played these days in Irish traditional music. yet years ago it was included in many well known Irish Dance bands. I know older people who had ceili bands play for their weddings in the 1940s and 50s where there was clarinet in the band. Andy Lamy is of course also a brilliant musicians and there are many well known Irish music luminaries on this CD such as Mary Bergin, Tommy Peoples, Dermot Byrne, and many others. Overall a unique and excellent CD. Will be often played!


Wonderful tunes
I was listening to this album in the car over the weekend and enjoyed every moment of it. The tune selection is excellent and the musicians are top-notch. The clarinet adds a new dimension to the music. I highly recommend having a listen for yourself!


great music by great musicians
My title says it all!

Mitch Kriegler

Fantastic CD
This is an extraordinary CD. The material is delightful and handled beautifully by the players. The engineering expertly serves the musicians' balance and blending with a warm and congenial sound. I've given this CD as gifts and everyone loves it. If you love Irish music, this is a must have and my friends that love bluegrass also adore it. I was particularly impressed with the way clarinetist Lamy blended with all the traditional instruments.