Saturday, June 30, 2007

First Big Night in Washington

It's Friday night here, we've been in DC since Monday night and playing at the Festival since Wednesday. As usual we're pretty rough round the edges, and getting used to the heat has been hard work. But the natives are friendly and things are going ok.

Tonight we had one of our most special nights ever. We played as the "headline act" for the Northern Ireland evening concert at the big marquee called the Lagan Stage. I guess it holds about 600 people. Very scary...

...but it was amazing. The audience were clapping and cheering and really enjoyed the songs, the message, the stories in between and the cultural connections stuff as well. We played half an hour of easily the best reaction we've ever had. Lots of people spoke to me at the end to say how wonderful it was to hear the gospel message at such a huge secular festival; others were keen to hear more about the Ulster-Scots-Virginian-American links. I can't even begin to describe how good it was and how positive the reaction was. Getting 600 Americans to do the actions for "Fu an Skailin" was something special!!

We are very blessed that our limited talent is being used for such positive outreach. Keep prayin' - tomorrow night will be a whole new ballgame . It's the formal setting of The Kennedy Centre. Shirts and ties job (gulp)

Iver an oot fer noo.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Anither wee step for't

Our version of "My Ain Countrie" is on the Smithsonian Folklife Festival cd "Sound Neighbours - Contemporary Music in Northern Ireland".

Exactly 10 years ago I visited the Smithsonian shop to buy this great cd.

10 years on I can buy yin o my ain in tha same shap!

We're fleein oot at half eleeven themorra forenoon. A wunner whit wull happen iver the neext twa weeks? Pits me in mind o "for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth"

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Washington here we come...(gulp)

We fly out on Monday 25th June. Just got our performance schedule through.

21 one hour performances in 10 days, plus I have 3 public panel discussions to take part in, plus a number of other important meetings forbye. An fowk in Bangor cannae unnerstan us maist o the time - I dinnae know whit the yins in America'll mak o' us.

This is going to be hard hard work... prayer would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Joel and the Tattoo Parlour

Now, before you reach for your Old Testaments in bewilderment, let me explain.

One of the great things about the LCBs is that we get to meet a fantastic variety of people from all walks of life.

One day a crowd of very cool (and a lot younger than us) metaller types came to see us at Killicomaine Baptist Church in Portadown, having travelled all the way from Larne. They're members of, and friends of, a Christian rock band called Crimson Fight (maybe the translation of that in Ulster-Scots is "Rid Fecht"?!). They've come to see us a few times since and have even posted mobile phone clips of us on Youtube! Really great people.

One of them, Colin Muir, created a Myspace page for us, and just the other day we got an email from Joel Neill. Here it is, totally unedited:


Subject: Wee story for you boys...
Date: 30 May 2007

How's it going boys? Haven't seen you or spoken in a while. I just thought I'd e-mail and tell you a funny thing that happened to me last week.

Now, you'll have to enter my heavy-metal world for a moment here (apologies), but I was at my tattoo shop (Skullduggery on the Dublin Rd. in Belfast) getting a few bits and pieces coloured in. They were playing this american Hillbilly gospel music, and when I asked about it they told me that their friend had sent it over for them. They also said it's "a shame we've nothing to send back".

Says I: "...well...I know something."

So, off I go today to a tattoo shop with Gran Time Comin'. Quite a surreal experience for me I'm sure you can imagine!

Just thought I'd let you know, you never know where your music goes!

Joel CrimsonFight


So it's great to know that our music is making it into all sorts of places, ears, heads and hearts. Graeme got a letter the other day from a (probably middle aged) woman who used to attend Killaughey Mission Hall here in the Low Country many, many years ago, and was delighted to hear the gospel in the language her grandmother used to speak. And I got one from Vancouver in Canada a while back saying more or less the same thing.

It goes to show that you can be used for mighty things, even if you're as amateurish as we are! (You can discover Crimson Fight for yourself here)

Night night