Photos from Tony’s 2012 Irish trip

Tom Cussen working on a banjo in his workshop

Tom Cussen working on one of his superlative banjos in his workshop

I was lucky enough to land on Tom Cussen’s doorstep the day before RTÉ were due to film the band Shaskeen for a forthcoming documentary, and so it was off to Pat Jordan’s pub in Clarinbridge, and what a great night of music it was. Tom, by the way, makes instruments that are superb to look at and to hear.

Tom Cussen, Maureen Brown, Eamonn Cotter and Charlie Harris at Pat Jordan's pub in Clarinbridge

Tom Cussen, Maureen Brown, Eamonn Cotter and Charlie Harris at Pat Jordan’s pub in Clarinbridge

I’d met Sean Tyrell briefly many years ago when he was playing with Paddy Keenan in Melbourne. He’s a fine singer and knows his way around a guitar. Eamonn Cotter (flute) was there, as was Charlie Harris (accordeon). I’ve spent many a day learning tunes from their recordings. And of course Tom Cussen, who has had a big influence on my playing, on banjo.

Cover of Shaskeen's CD

Shaskeen’s new CD – “Walking up Town”

The one person I’d never met was Maureen Brown, a fiddler that Tom used to play with back in London in the 60′s and 70′s. Talk about hidden gems! I know nothing about fiddles but the tone she gets from her instrument is like nothing I’ve heard before. If you ever come across her at a festival she is a “must see”. In a tour of many highlights she was definitely a standout. John Dooley was there. He sang on Shaskeen’s recording in the early years, along with some locals whose names I’ve not recorded.

Shaskeen’s latest CD “Walking Up Town” represents a move back to more “listening” style music and away from their dance music CDs.

Gerry GaffneyPhotos from Tony’s 2012 Irish trip