Local Rhythms – There’s Irish, Then There’s Salt Hill

lrnewsmall.jpgEverybody’s going green this weekend. Murphy’s in Sunapee has a leprechaun DJ and a contest with an Ireland vacation as grand prize, Hullabaloo in Claremont features green beer, something you won’t find in Dublin, and Guinness – something you will.

For something more authentic, Killarney in Ludlow is a real Irish bar, or you could get in line before sunrise for a chance to see the band Flogging Molly’s annual acoustic set, complete with bohdrain and accordion, at the Black Rose in Boston.

Anyone can hang a shamrock on the wall for St. Patrick’s Day, but there’s really only one local watering hole where being Irish is a 365-day a year condition – Salt Hill Pub, on Lebanon’s Green.

The celebration has been running all month long. Two days ago Longford Row, a traditional band from Burlington, marked an unofficial return of the weekly Irish Sessions; they resume in earnest at the end of the month. The Pub also made a foray into concert promotion. Tuesday, Galway’s Saw Doctors played an energetic set, capped by a 7-song encore, to a fevered crowd at the Lebanon Opera House.

Inchicore, named after band front man Derrick Keane’s Ireland hometown, perform traditional songs about, says Keane, “Irish history and the patriot dead” tomorrow night. It’s certain to provide a rousing lead-in to the big day.

At Salt Hill, March 17 commences at 9 AM with the ceremonial “pouring of the first pint,” followed by a traditional Irish breakfast of fried eggs, thick cut bacon, bangers, along with two pate-type sausages called black and white pudding. Oh, and a side of beans.

“It’s the kind of thing you’d find in any pub in Ireland,” says Salt Hill owner Josh Tuohy.

The pub is also sponsoring, along with Harpoon Brewery, the annual “Shamrock Shuffle” 5K race at 11 AM. There’s also a 1-mile “fun walk” for those still recovering from morning pints.

Music starts at 4 with the Roger Kahle Zigzag Band, a traditional group that will pack up at the end of their set, and head for Salt Hill’s new location in Newport’s Eagle Block. There also be, says Josh Tuohy, “random step dancing and drive-by bagpipes.”

O’hanleigh, a year-round Salt Hill favorite, closes out the evening beginning at 9.

Now, if being Irish isn’t your thing, here’s what the rest of the weekend looks like:

Thursday: New Kind of Blue, Sophie & Zeke’s – This sort of sultry jazz is the antithesis of Irish music. You won’t hear Emily Lanier sing “Danny Boy,” but the songs she does sing – “I Get A Kick Out of You,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Route 66” – are smooth and elegant. It’s a biweekly tradition that doesn’t ever get old. Tomorrow, S&Z’s welcomes pure bluegrass with the Spiral Farm Band.

Friday: Sarah Blair & Friends, Seven Stars Center (Sharon, VT) – Blair is one of Vermont’s best fiddle players. She celebrates the release of her new record by teaming with Ben Power and Colin McCaffrey for an evening of high-powered music infused with Celtic traditions. Power plays flute and bohdrain and is also a first-rate singer. Multi-instrumentalist McCaffrey brings a down-home elegance to the project.

Saturday: Sun King, Heritage Tavern – Straight up rock and roll from one of the area’s favorite party bands. Word this week of the club’s sale was quickly followed with assurances that live music Saturdays would continue under the new management. That’s good news, as some of the area’s most interesting talent passes through this Charlestown landmark.

Sunday: Blues Jam, Off the Green – I received word via Dave Clark’s weekly email that this regular Woodstock jam session is going great. Last Sunday, Clark joined guitarists Terry Diers and Jason Twigg-Smith, upright bassist Lisa Rojak and harp player Jed Dickinson. When the playing commenced, says Clark, “a bunch of folks drifted in off the street and we ended up having a nice little blues jam.” Sounds perfect.

Tuesday: Mark Vogel, Canoe Club – Called a Swedophile, if that’s a word, by John Chapin, Vogel plays an interesting mix of music – “blues, country, jug band and folk, woven into a tapestry of tales about hanging on and letting, coming together and falling apart.” He performed at Canoe a few months ago with an all-Swede band, so this is a bit of a departure I suppose. Vogel plays solo, accompanying himself on guitar.

Wednesday: Keb’Mo’, Lebanon Opera House – I mention this show for two reasons. First, to point out the high caliber of performers that swing through the area. Second, to let anyone thinking of seeing this master of the American blues-rock idiom know that the show is sold out. There’s a waiting list if you’re really desperate, but thankfully no one’s scalping seats on EBay. When that happens, I’m moving to Yarmouth.

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One thought on “Local Rhythms – There’s Irish, Then There’s Salt Hill

  1. Hey dude,

    Not sure where you stand on the techno/rock & roll “real music” vs. synthesized. My feeling (as it has long been): If you smoke..well smoke it then.

    & shut the hell up.

    Only the dance-floor groovers know whether the music is good enough to move them.

    I propose this all because there’ll be wild mob-loads of ’em (dance floor groovers) at the local DJ Heroes party at the Weathervane on Friday. Probably you’ve got plans but I wanted to give you the heads up anyway — because these are the best energized & most fun & all around down home gigs in Town.

    Yeah. So If I don’t see you tomorrow I’ll be sure to bug you next time around.

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