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ISGF October 2009

The Irish Steel Guitar Festival 2009

Wow, what a weekend of ‘Wall to Wall Steel’ with players from home and abroad
and some from even further abroad! …..

Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Finland, The Netherlands, Germany, The USA and Canada.

Paul was 1st up and caught me out without the tripod, sorry it is floating a little!


Richard Nelson, (himself an outstanding steel player) pulled together a hand picked bunch of guys for the house band, the likes of which you rarely hear! These guys had talent oozing from their fingertips! To say they in themselves were entertaining would be doing them an injustice! Their playing was awesome! They were : ....  Jimmy Smith and Bas Leahy-guitars, Jimmy gave us some stonkin licks in various genres not to mention his chicken pickin to rival any I've heard, Bas! Well his mastery of Jazz is already well known to us and was certainly to the fore at the weekend! .... Charlie Arkins on fiddle and Harmonica, Charlie's fiddle playing is to die for and the only person I've heard on the 'harp' to rival Charlie McCoy, you should see the guest steel player's jaws drop when he kicks in!  ...Laurens Van Wessel on bass, we know Laurens as the bass with Mark Horn, Laurens can certainly slap it till it crys! Good on vocals too! ... Jonathan Owens on drums, this man's timing is spot on and he can sure move round the kit when he gets the opportunity, super stuff! Last but by no means least was Gerry Simpson on Piano, he rocks! We had Cramer To Peterson and all points in between. A Simply Outstanding bunch!


The Genres covered by the steel players included Country, Blues, Jazz, Cajon, Hawaiian, Pop, Gospel to name but a few!

The atmosphere was super friendly, which of course comes as standard at this venue, with players flying in from France such as Lionel Wendling giving us a wonderful take on  ‘Fool such as I’ ..  Peter Nylund from Finland covering, among other things  Tommy and Lloyd’s version of  Softly & Tenderly, Mark Horne giving us some beautiful steel, jumping between necks with ease! Hans from the Netherlands and Jay from France also giving us outstanding playing, Jay having been at the steel for only two and half years! The two Daves excelled as ever (Mr Hartley and Mr Kirk of course, both no strangers to fame!) as did Francois DeVille from Brighton & Donny Johnston from Scotland both of whom also gave us a song! Ireland’s own talent came form Percy Robinson, Paul Brennan and Ivan McLernon all of whose playing was simply superb and of course Mr Nelson whose C6th playing makes your jaw drop! Then there were those who flew in mid tour such as Sarah Jory arriving at 3.00am getting little or no sleep and giving an outstanding performance only a few hours later. Gerry Hogan also broke his visit to Paris to get back for the latter part of the event and of course Jim Cohen who flew over from Philadelphia as did this year's headliner, Bob Taillefer from Canada both of them giving us playing to make your hair stand on end!


If you have not made it to this Festival in the past make sure you put it in your calendar for next October. Do you enjoy steel!?  Get there next time! Your satisfaction is guaranteed!  This is no Second Rate Event!! You won’t want to go home!


NB: Apologies for some distorted sound, stills are my thing but I wanted to stitch together a memory for now until the lads get the professional quality videos on the go! As for the brief endings on some clips, that was down to some over enthusiastic folks standing immediately in front of the camera!  (diplomatic or what!!)

Stills are now on the Galleries Page. You may just 'See yourself as others see you'!!  as they say!