Album #25, Music at Matt Molloy’s, Various Artists
Irish Traditional Music sometimes gets a bad rap. Maybe it’s the accordions. Maybe it’s the singing. But hearing good traditional music, or “trad” can be absolutely transcendent. Live bands can be good or they can be bad. I’ve heard both bad and good in Ireland, and in the States and the UK. The best sessions I’ve heard started spontaneously in pubs. Players would sit with one instrument and start to play, and then others would join in. The act of creating the music was always centered around having a pint and a laugh. A recorded session with no audience outside of a pub can be great. But I have yet to hear any single recording of traditional music that really captures what it’s like to hear it better than this album. Aeron Bergman played this album for me.
In the liner notes, Matt Molloy refers to it as capturing the behavior of birds in the wild. They had to snake cords and microphones between kegs and bottles of whiskey to make it so that the musicians wouldn’t be spooked. They would sometimes set up the microphones in one corner because that’s where the musicians always sit; to then find that the musicians set up in the opposite corner. This album so completely captured the essence of good traditional music. I went to Matt Molloy’s twice. Both times I was able to hang out with Mick Lavelle, now deceased. He was a treat of a human being and a real entertainer. He sang both times. I was so excited the first time I met him I was gesturing wildly with a pint in my hand and it flew out of a split door into the alley. Mick helped me clean it up.
I used two of these tracks for my wedding music.