Dan Isaacson's Simple System | Traditional Irish Music for the Flute, With & Without Company

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Traditional Irish Music for the Flute, With & Without Company

by Dan Isaacson's Simple System

Traditional Irish Music Featuring Sean Nos ("old style") Percussive Dance and a unique combination of ten different instruments between the four musicians.
Genre: World: Celtic
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  Song Share Time Download
1. McGreevy's/Paddy Kelly's/The Flowers of Munster
3:16 $0.99
2. O'Callaghan's/Madam, If You Please
2:55 $0.99
3. The Honeymoon/The Curragh Races/Anderson's
4:38 $0.99
4. Pat The Budgie/The Steeplechase
3:47 $0.99
5. The Diamond/The Primrose
4:47 $0.99
6. Dave & Dan's/Dooish
3:54 $0.99
7. The Antrim Rose/The Windy Gap
4:09 $0.99
8. Oiche Fa Fheile Bride(On Brigid's Eve)/Splendid Isolation/The Nervous Man
6:02 $0.99
9. Three Highlands, Titles Unknown
3:21 $0.99
10. Two Barndances, Titles Unknown
4:29 $0.99
11. The California/Memories of Clare
4:17 $0.99
12. Touch Me if You Dare/The Cottage in the Grove
3:31 $0.99
13. Fitzgerald's/O'Callaghan's Low
4:34 $0.99
14. I'm Waiting for You/The Reel of Bogie
3:15 $0.99
15. The Lark in the Strand/Two Jigs, Titles Unknown
3:13 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
I've enjoyed this recording for many reasons. I'm familiar with Dan and his attitude to the music; the playing speaks of fun times, times past, present times, many rhythms that rhyme, composers and tunes old and new, beautiful melodies, connections, friendships, sharing and caring, old ways, lasting ways, from the heart to the heart, and all mentioned, passed on or living, present, with love and a smile.
Thanks Dan, Kelly, Danny, Aaron, and Matthew,
Tommy Peoples

" Is that some Irish guy?" my wife Annie asked me. She'd just come in and heard a speck of this new CD.
" No, it's Dan" I said.
" Oh. That makes sense" she responded.
Dan Isaacson has the gimp in his music, as an Irishman once put it. The gimp is that studied, respectful mastery of the art form we call Irish Traditional Music. And it is a rare and a beautiful thing.
Congratulations to you Dan.
Your Friend,
Billy McComiskey

Dan Isaacson’s Simple System
“Simple System” is the technical name for the wooden flutes that were played in orchestras before the invention of the silver flute; they are still used in traditional Irish music today. My system for making this recording was also simple: instead of trying to reproduce the sound and vibe of a house party in a professional recording studio, we took the apparatus of a professional studio into a house party, which we tricked out with some light rehearsal and arrangement.

We made this recording on May 8th and 9th of 2010 with the generous lend of Alex Caton and Dave Contini’s perfect music studio outside of Charlottesville, VA. Dave built the studio for Alex from salvaged materials; it features high ceilings, 100-year-old wood floors, and big windows facing the woods. I was introduced to our engineer, mixer, and editor, Joe “JoeBass” Dejarnette, through my great friend and long-time colleague Aaron Olwell. Joe and Aaron play old-time American music together and made a fantastic album, which Joe recorded, called Light and Hitch. Joe was a pure pleasure to work with on this project and is as solid an engineer as he is a musician.

It never would have occurred to me to make a “solo” album or to record myself playing the flute unaccompanied. These were both the ideas of my excellent friend and business partner Django Amerson. We’re all grateful for his (absurd) generosity and his sharp ear, which was arguably the most important member of the band.

Thanks to my great friends and dream band Aaron Olwell, Danny Noveck, Kelly Smit, and Matthew Olwell; their time, enthusiasm, great music and dancing, and many years of friendship are appreciated more than I could say. Extra thanks to Kelly for her love and support over the years and for putting up with me. Joe’s parents Mary and Spencer Dejarnette were exceptionally kind in hosting all of us for the weekend in their gorgeous home. “Family Style” thanks to Chris Undi for yet another stellar graphic design job.

I hope you enjoy this recording as much as we enjoyed our weekend in the woods,
Dan Isaacson
July 8, 2010

1) McGreevy’s/Paddy Kelly’s/The Flowers of Munster
Dan Isaacson: Flute; Aaron Olwell and Danny Noveck: Fiddles; Kelly Smit: Sean-nós dance; Matthew Olwell: Bodhran.
John McGreevy, the famous fiddler from Chicago, composed the first of these reels. The second two are favorite session tunes; the third is associated with Paddy Taylor.

2) O’Callaghan’s/Madam, If You Please
Dan Isaacson: Flute; Danny Noveck: Fiddle.
The first of these two hornpipes seems to hail from Kerry. The second tune I learned from a recording called The Star of Munster Trio, which consisted Julia Clifford, her husband John, and their son Billy.

3) The Honeymoon/The Curragh Races/Anderson’s
Dan Isaacson: Flute.
Three classic reels, which I’ve been playing for many years. I learned the second from Kathleen Conneely; the title refers to a horse-racing track in Kildaire.

4) Pat The Budgie/The Steeplechase
Dan Isaacson: Bouzouki; Danny Noveck: Guitar; Kelly Smit: Sean-nós dance.
Two reels, the first of which I learned from my great friend and peerless fiddler Tina Lech, the second is a popular session tune. A budgie is a small bird and a steeplechase is a horse race featuring large jumps.

5) The Diamond/The Primrose
Dan Isaacson: Flute; Aaron Olwell: Concertina; Danny Noveck: Fiddle.
Billy McComiskey, legendary accordion player and composer was kind enough to “make up” this beautiful waltz for the first dance at Kelly’s and my eventual wedding. We’re very grateful to Billy for the tune and all the music he’s shared with us over the years. I learned the waltz we follow it with from Danny, who learned it from an old tape of Paddy Canny, which was recorded in the 1950’s.

6) Dave & Dan’s/Dooish
Dan Isaacson; Flute.
Tommy Peoples’ one-of-a-kind fiddle playing and compositions have had an incalculable effect on traditional Irish music. He composed both of these jigs and was kind enough to dedicate the first to Dave Cory and myself when we all lived in Boston. Mr. Peoples titled the second jig in this set after a mountain in Donegal, close to where he was born and raised, and currently lives. Thanks to Tommy for the tune, his music, and his friendship.

7) The Antrim Rose/The Windy Gap
Dan Isaacson: Uilleann pipes; Danny Noveck: Fiddle; Aaron Olwell: Concertina; Kelly Smit: Sean-nós dance.
Paddy O’Brien (originally from Offaly and currently of Minnesota), one of the tradition’s finest accordion players and folklorists, composed the first of these reels and we use it here with his kind permission. The second reel is popular at sessions and is commonly referred to as “Ah, Surely”. The title listed above refers to a space between hedges, which is a common entrance to houses in Ireland.

8) Oiche Fa Fheile Bride (On Brigid's Eve)/Splendid Isolation/The Nervous Man
Dan Isaacson: Flute; Aaron Olwell: Fiddle; Danny Noveck: Guitar; Matthew Olwell: Bodhran.
I learned the song that starts this set from the first La Lugh album, it dates back to the 1600’s or so; I play it here as a slow air. Brendan McGlinchey, the great fiddler and composer from Armagh, composed the reel that follows the air; it is used with his kind permission. Paddy O’Brien, the famous accordionist and composer of Tipperary composed the last tune in the set. It is used here with the kind permission of his daughter Eileen, published by J.D.C. publications, Ltd.

9) Three Highlands, Titles Unknown
Dan Isaacson: Flute.
I learned the first of these tunes from a recording of Con Cassidy, one of the great Donegal fiddlers. Our friend and monster fiddle player Triona Tammemagi taught me the second tune. The last tune is often referred to as Danny Meehan’s, another unique Donegal fiddler whom I was lucky enough to hear play it in person.

10) Two Barndances, Titles Unknown
Dan Isaacson: Bouzouki; Danny Noveck: Guitar; Kelly Smit: Sean-nós dance.
I learned the first of these tunes from our friend Chris “Mr. McMath” McGrath. The second I learned from our partner in dude-ness Ted Davis at his bachelor party. This selection is dedicated to Michael Shorrock: he was a top-notch bouzouki player who recorded with Chris, Ted, and Jimmy Noonan on a classic CD called The Maple Leaf. “Screaming Mikey” left this world too soon and is sorely missed.

11) The California/Memories of Clare
Dan Isaacson: Flute.
Two hornpipes, the first of which is a classic session tune. The second tune was composed by Tommy Peoples and is used with his kind permission.

12) Touch Me if You Dare/The Cottage in the Grove
Dan Isaacson and Aaron Olwell: Flutes; Danny Noveck: Guitar; Kelly Smit: Sean-nós dance; Matthew Olwell: Cahon and feet.
Two traditional reels played on two flutes pitched in C, both of which were made by Aaron; one he made for me several years ago, and the other he made for himself.

13) Fitzgerald’s/O’Callaghan’s Low
Dan Isaacson: Flute; Aaron Olwell: Concertina; Danny Noveck: Fiddle; Kelly Smit: Sean-nós dance; Matthew Olwell: Bodhran.
Two unusual hornpipes, which I learned from an out-of-print record of Denis Murphy.

14) I’m Waiting for You/The Reel of Bogie
Dan Isaacson: Whistle.
Two traditional reels, both of which are popular at sessions. A bogie is a wheeled wagon or trolley, as well as a place, a family name and a river in Scotland.

15) The Lark in the Strand/Two Jigs, Titles Unknown
Dan Isaacson: Flute; Aaron Olwell and Danny Noveck: Fiddles; Kelly Smit: Sean-nós dance; Matthew Olwell: Bodhran.
This is the last set we recorded that weekend. The first jig we learned from frequenting sessions, and the second two we learned from Aaron.

The Music
I’d like to thank Tommy Peoples and Billy McComiskey for their generosity in dedicating compositions to myself and Dave Cory and Kelly Smit, respectively. As to their kind words on the back cover, “thank you” seems like an inadequate response. I would also like to thank Paddy O’Brien and Paul Groff for helping me with the names of tunes and their stories, both gentlemen were exceedingly generous with their time and vast knowledge.

The Instruments
Dan Isaacson plays a D flute by Bryan Byrne, C flute by Aaron Olwell, B-flat whistle by John Sindt, uilleann pipes by Seth Gallagher (chanter reed by Brian Bigley, drone reeds by Patrick Murray) and a cheap factory-job Greek bouzouki which is held together by epoxy and hope. Aaron Olwell plays a Colin Dipper concertina generously lent to him for this project by Walter Farrell, a C flute he made himself and an old German fiddle which he reconstructed after a student accidentally stepped on it. Kelly Smit made her dance shoes with the help of her father (thanks, Henry!). Matthew Olwell plays an unusually small Albert Alfonso bodhran, which he got from Kevin Crawford (thanks, Kevin!)

Produced by Django Amerson and Dan Isaacson. Engineered, Mixed and Edited by Joe “JoeBass” Dejarnette. Photography by Kelly Smit, Neal Golden, Dave Contini, Chris Undi, Dan Isaacson and Matthew Olwell. Amazing Graphic Design by Chris Undi. Mastering by Grey Larsen, Bloomington, Indiana. Manufactured by Merkin Records, Baltimore, Maryland. Copyright 2010 Simple System Music, All Rights Reserved.



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