Rich Hall will bring his celebrated Hoedown to the Galway Comedy Carnival on 25th and 26th October.
Of all the unlikely former careers of now celebrated comedians, Rich Hall’s stint as a hurricane namer in the United States Meteorological Service takes some beating. Thankfully Montana’s funniest son heeded the call of comedy, abandoning hurricane naming two decades ago for the bright lights and beer of the stand up circuit. Since then Rich has become one of the most respected and sought after comics in the industry, bringing his trademark deadpan wit, intelligence and absurdist irony to audiences both on stage and onscreen.
Over the course of his career, Rich has received wide acclaim from critics across the globe. He is the 2013 winner of Australia’s renowned Barry Award, the Antipodean equivalent of the Edinburgh Comedy Award. In the U.S., he is the winner of two Emmys for his work on the legendary ‘David Letterman Show’. In the U.K., he is a regular panelist on the likes of ‘Don’t Mind the Buzzcocks’, ‘Q.I.’ and ‘Have I Got News For You’ and has written and presented a number of popular documentaries on America for the BBC.
In 2000, Rich won the prestigious Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for his show ‘Rich Hall is Otis Lee Crenshaw’. Otis Lee is undoubtedly one of Hall’s most masterful comic creations, a redneck petty criminal from Tennessee who has been married seven times, all to women named ‘Brenda’. Otis Lee however, despite his mightily checkered past, knows his way around a country tune or two, banging out showstoppers like ‘White Trash State of Mind’ and ‘Do Anything You Want To the Girl Just Don’t Hurt Me.’ As anyone who had the pleasure of his company in the Black Box Theatre during the comedy festival a few years ago will happily testify, Otis Lee is one heck of a performer.
Otis Lee Crenshaw’s ability to craft a tune and hilariously weave it into banter with the audience is evidence of Rich’s expert skill as a comedian and also his deep knowledge and love for country music. Describing his tastes as ‘traditionalist’ in a recent interview with Newstalk’s Orla Barry, Rich cited Hank Williams and Johnny Cash as examples of the type of country music he enjoys as opposed to the more mainstream stuff (did someone say ‘Garth Brooks’?). Rich uses the genre’s most recognisable characteristics – pain, suffering, heartbreak, more pain and other fun stuff – to craft darkly hilarious songs about the tougher and more bizarre side of life to side splitting-effect. It is unsurprising then that Vodaphone Comedy Carnival is hugely excited to be bringing ‘Rich Hall’s Hoedown’ to Galway this October, where fans of comedy and country music can experience the show the Guardian described as ‘not to be missed.’
The Hoedown in its present incarnation emerged from Rich’s 2011 Edinburgh Fringe show. Since then, Rich and the band have performed to enthusiastic audiences in select clubs and festivals, enjoying two sell out runs in London’s Soho Theatre. Having started out as a late-night comedy spectacular with drinking, dancing and special guests thrown in for good measure, the Hoedown has since evolved into a more streamlined line-up featuring Hall, his band and a host of top notch comedy songs. In a live setting, Rich also likes to draw inspiration from audience members so there’s a good chance you might find yourself immortalised in country music before the night is over. You’ll be in good company. The Hoedown setlist includes a song taking Bob Dylan to task and another chastising people who wear their jeans too tight.
Rich has enjoyed a long, warm relationship with Galway and Galwegians. In an interview with Galway Bay FM’s Keith Finnegan, he called Galway ‘The Montana of Ireland’ with a landscape noted for its stunning natural beauty. That’s a compliment we’ll graciously take. Country music is usually designed to make you cry but in the hands of Rich Hall and the Hoedown, the only tears audiences will shed will be laughter-induced.
‘Rich Hall’s Hoedown’ will perform at the Vodafone Comedy Carnival, Galway on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th October in the Town Hall Theatre.
Folk duo launch What Will Be Will Be
Folk duo Niall Teague and Pádraic Joyce are launching their new album What Will We Be, a blend of folk, Americana and acoustic music, this Friday, May 19, at 8pm in An Taibhdhearc.
The success of their well-received 2020 release Taobh le Taobh, as well as recent successes at the Pan Celtic and Oireachtas Song Contests, spurred the duo on to record this new album which represents many years of collaboration and musical development.
It features Niall and Pádraic on vocals, harmonies, and acoustic guitars, Maidhc Ó hÉanaigh on double bass and Neil Fitzgibbon on fiddle. The catchy title track, What Will We Be, features contributions from percussionist Jim Higgins (The Stunning, Christy Moore, Paul Brady) and haunting, driving melodies on vocals, guitar, and fiddle.
Themes of love and hope are woven through Come Away with Me which features interplay between piano and fiddle as well as rich vocal harmonies.
People, places, and broken dreams are celebrated and lamented on Martin and Tom, Guitar Gold, Memories of You and Achill Island. The influence of David Henry Thoreau’s novel Walden features on the tracks Simple and Wise and Walden, with the beauty of nature, escape and simple pleasures at their core.
The album moves from minimalistic folk ballads such as Galway Ghost to swirling, string-laden arrangements on the song Neptune, both of which are influenced by maritime tales from Galway. Much of the work on this album was supported by the Arts Council, including work with musical arranger Eoin Corcoran and the string ensemble Treo.
The album will be launched this Friday, May 19, at 8pm in an Taibhdhearc. Tickets €22, plus booking fee at Eventbrite.ie.
All roads lead to Dunmore as town tunes up County Fleadh
Dunmore is the place to be this weekend for lovers of traditional music, as the Galway County Fleadh will take place there from this Friday, May 19, to Sunday, May 23.
It is 10 years since Dunmore last hosted a fleadh and the local Comhaltas branch, which has re-formed since Covid, is looking forward to facilitating this gathering of music, song, dance and craic.
The official Opening Concert will take place in Dunmore Town Hall this Friday at 8pm with the acclaimed Mulcahy family from Limerick. Mick, Louise and Michelle are well known throughout the country, thanks to their live performances, television appearances and numerous CDs. They were the winners of the TG4 Gradam Ceoil Grúpa Ceoil Award for 2023. Tickets for their concert can be purchased on the door and a great night of music is promised.
Two days of competitions will kick off this Saturday at the town’s Community School, with more than 1,500 competitors taking part. Participants will be hoping to qualify for the Connacht Fleadh 2023, which will be held in Ballina, County Mayo, from June 23 to July 2.
Competitions for those aged Under 10, Under 12 and Under 15 will be held in a large variety of instruments on Saturday, as well as in singing and Comhrá Gaeilge. Sunday’s competitions will be for the Under 18 and Over 18 ages groups, as well as in dancing.
On both days a large entry is expected for Grúpaí Cheoil and Céilí Band competitions across all age groups.
Seventeen Comhaltas branches from across Galway will have participants in this weekend’s competitions, which will result in a large number of visitors to the Dunmore area.
Members of the public are welcome to attend the competitions, which offer a great opportunity to hear and see the talent on display. There will be sessions in local pubs over the weekend as well and everybody is welcome to attend these.
For more information on the County Fleadh, go to www.galwaycomhaltas.ie.
Piano concert rescheduled for Tuesday
Music for Galway’s concert with renowned Swiss pianist Cédric Pescia which had been due to take place on April 27 but which had to be deferred, will now take place next Tuesday, May 23, at 8pm, in the Emily Anderson Concert Hall at the University of Galway.
This concert of German classics with Bach at its core, will brings the Bach element of Music for Galway’s 41st season to an end.
This world-class pianist who won the famous Gina Bachauer International Artists Piano Competition, has a repertoire that spans many eras from baroque to contemporary and he is widely known for his elaborate programmes. Cédric Pescia describes music as ‘language and movement at the same time’.
Audiences will have a chance to experience his soft, clear touch as he performs a programme for solo piano that will include classics such as Schumann’s popular Waldszenen (Forest Scenes), a suite of nine short pieces, and the penultimate of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, No. 31. These pieces will be interspersed with French Suites by Bach.
■ Ticket for Cédric Pescia’s concert are available at www.musicforgalway.ie, or by phone 091 705962 and on the door on the night. They cost €20/€18. The price for fulltime students of all ages is €6 while MfG Friends can avail of the friends’ rate of €16.