Marty Moonshine McKernan, Don Banjo Smith & The Thorn & Roses Band | The Rose Sessions

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Folk: Celtic Folk Easy Listening: Love Songs Moods: Type: Acoustic
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The Rose Sessions

by Marty Moonshine McKernan, Don Banjo Smith & The Thorn & Roses Band

Herein lies a collection of rose songs, some very old, some with familiar titles, all tastefully done and played respectfully, sensitively, and with a maturity that is rare to find with this sort of material, and all the while staying rather musical!
Genre: Folk: Celtic Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Rose of Clare
Marty Moonshine McKernan & Don Banjo Smith
3:12 $0.99
2. Rose of Killarney
Marty Moonshine McKernan & Don Banjo Smith
4:02 $0.99
3. The Rose of Tralee
Marty Moonshine McKernan & Don Banjo Smith
2:51 $0.99
4. Roseville Fair
Marty Moonshine McKernan & Don Banjo Smith
3:17 $0.99
5. My Love Is Like a Red Red Rose
Marty Moonshine McKernan, Don Banjo Smith & The Thorn & Roses Band
2:21 $0.99
6. The Banks of the Roses
Don Banjo Smith, Marty Moonshine McKernan & The Thorn & Roses Band
2:31 $0.99
7. My Wild Irish Rose
Marty Moonshine McKernan, Don Banjo Smith & The Thorn & Roses Band
3:23 $0.99
8. Roads of Kildare
Marty Moonshine McKernan, Don Banjo Smith & The Thorn & Roses Band
3:34 $0.99
9. Red Is the Rose
Don Banjo Smith, The Thorn & Roses Band & Marty Moonshine McKernan
4:00 $0.99
10. Rose of Castlerea
Marty Moonshine McKernan, The Thorn & Roses Band & Don Banjo Smith
3:06 $0.99
11. Rose of Arranmore
Marty Moonshine McKernan, Don Banjo Smith & The Thorn & Roses Band
2:10 $0.99
12. Rose of Allendale
Marty Moonshine McKernan, Don Banjo Smith & The Thorn & Roses Band
3:46 $0.99
13. Rose of Mooncoin
Don Banjo Smith, The Thorn & Roses Band & Marty Moonshine McKernan
3:57 $0.99
14. Ringsend Rose
Marty Moonshine McKernan, The Thorn & Roses Band & Don Banjo Smith
3:29 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Don Smith and Marty McKernan!
Don Smith and Marty McKernan are two Tri-State Area musicians who have been on the Irish Pub and festival circuit for many years, entertaining audiences from Vermont to Virginia. Marty was the founder of the very popular band “The Moonshine Mountain Boys”, who performed from 1975-1982, and played primarily Bluegrass and Irish Folk music. (Don and Marty met at one of those performances in 1980, and have been friends since) When that band disbanded in 1982, Marty re-invented himself as a solo act (occasionally putting a band together for special events), being known as the “Incredible One Man Band”. This moniker derives from the fact that whilst playing guitar sitting down, Marty plays bass pedals with his one foot, the tambourine or hi hat cymbals with his other foot, and the harmonica, in a rack around his neck. He sounds like a three or four piece band all by himself! He has played with and opened for many well-known performers over the years, such as Doc and Merle Watson, Earl Scruggs, Peter Rowan and Tex Logan, The Clancy Brothers, Makem and Clancy, Mary O’Dowd, Gaelic Storm, Vassar Clements, and many others. His lightning fast guitar picking belies the fact that he has a smooth baritone voice, perfect for sensitive ballads, which he accompanies with tasteful fingerpicking.
Don is a banjo player who now calls Glen Spey, NY home. Though primarily an Irish folk style tenor banjo player, Don also plays tenor guitar, five string banjo, anglo concertina, tin whistle, porch board bass, mandolin and ukulele. Don is frequently seen in the Irish Folk Duo of Driscoll and Smith, featuring Jack Driscoll on guitar, harmonica, and vocals, and Don on everything else! He specializes in up-tempo songs and tunes. Don has played with and opened for people such as Pete Seeger, The Sloop Singers, Tommy Sands, Andy Cooney, The Saw Doctors, Eileen Ivers, Black 47, Jim Connors, R.J Storm, and can call people such as Carl Corcoran, Davey Arthur, and the Late, Great, Joe “Banjo” Burke, friends….
Don and Marty have played together many times, starting in the 80’s, sharing a love of Irish and acoustic folk music. They have written and recorded together many times before this project, and have put on and produced musical shows and festivals, the most recently being the First Annual Moonshine-Lumbafest, held in Glen Spey, NY. Though both have their share of playing in Ski resort towns, they diverge in the summer, with Marty going to the NJ shore, and Ocean City, MD, and Don heading north, to the northern Catskills, mostly East Durham. They’ve frequently been guests on Radio shows, such as WFUV’s Ceol na Gael, A Drop of the Irish on WTBQ, WRIP in Windham, NY, The Celtic Hour on WFDU, and “That’s How I spell Ireland on WRHU, Hofstra. Besides radio, they have also appeared on “Celtic American Television” a number of times. They both currently work in education, Don as a vocational instructor, and Marty as a Special ed. Teacher.
Marty’s discography: Pickin’ in the Bushes, LP, 1977 Sand Castle Records; Irish Moonshine, 1979, LP, Moonshine Records; Santa Claus Plays the Five String, 1981, 45 RPM single; The Old Bushmill Boys/Fiddler of Dooney, Featuring EILEEN IVERS, 1991, 45 RPM Single; The Rose Sessions(with Don Smith),2015, CD; and many self-produced singles and collections.
Don’s Discography: Live at Home(Driscoll and Smith), 2002, full length CD; Stay a While, Sing a While(Driscoll and Smith), 2010, full length CD; The Rose Sessions(with Marty McKernan)2015, full length CD. Co-writer and producer of “The Old Bushmill Boys”. For more information, go to:; ; ;

Back in the nineties, we (Don Smith, Jeanie Cassels, Marty McKernan, and Peggy Greene) started a recording project inspired by Don’s experiences playing with Peggy and Jeanie as the” Thorn Between the Roses”, then later on as “Thorns and Roses”(usually with Jack Driscoll as the other male in the group). This got Don thinking about a concept album revolving around a rose theme, as there seemed to be many Irish songs with that recurring subject, so we started recording in a chapel in Vernon NJ during the winter of 1999-2000, with two friends as recording engineers. After a few sessions, unfortunately, the project stalled due to scheduling, personal commitments, etc…, and was put on the back burner for , well, for, fourteen and a half years!
The idea however, never left Don Smith’s head, and periodically he would try to get people interested in the project, but to no avail, the timing was never right….until October, 2014, when Don and Marty were dis-assembling the stage they built for the FIRST ANNUAL MOONSHINE-LUMBASTOCK FESTIVAL, when Don brought the idea up to Marty again, and Marty agreed. Two weeks later they were in the Twain Studio in West Milford, NJ, where Marty and Danny McKeown recorded “Irish Moonshine” in 1979.
Over the next three and a half months, Don and Marty made seventeen trips to Bob Both’s studio, and with the help of Jeanie Cassels, Peggy Greene, James Sattler, and Lynn Panico, they were able to record 14 songs, most Irish, all with some sort of Rose theme, and an obsessive dream became a reality.
These songs, some very old and with well-known titles, are handled very differently on this recording.  None is trite or cliché.  They are sung and played with a maturity, sensitivity, and respect that only a lifetime of learning, loving, and performing these songs can allow. A number of the recordings on this album may very well end up being the standard by which these songs are remembered.



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