Setting up for Saturday night’s return to Dubliner in New Hope
Time out from my chores for a bit of practice.
Local Lambertville legend J B Kline taking my Gibson for a test drive in his guitar store on Bridge Street.
My 1965 Heritage sounds incredibly sweet. What a tone.
The Feileastram Dearg is blooming.
Photo by my darling wife, Mary.
This bodhran hangs in a private bar south of Limavady. The family asked me what was the story behind my autograph on the skin. Sadly, I don’t recall signing it, but that is my signature. Must have been a top evening!
I will again teach an Evergreen course this fall, hopefully a hybrid version at the Princeton Senior Resource Center. Enrollment begins August 3. I placed no cap on enrollment this time and the course is not the same as the last two classes I led.
The course booklet is available from Amazon.com in paperback and KINDLE e-book formats.
Joe Zuccarello joined me at Tir na nOg for an evening of Irish, folk, and blues music.
Back indoors in Princeton totally acoustic. The weather turned so cold outdoors that we moved inside after one set.
Taking a coffee break from my work on a guide book for my upcoming fall Evergreen Forum course in Princeton. The wee book is entitled A Simple Survey of Irish Folk Music. I will finish the final draft this weekend and send it off to publication.
Back from a trip to the shop for a setup and Fishman Thinline install.
Beginning Father’s Day June 20th the Sunday Irish Session returns to Tir na nOg. I’ll be hosting again. 3-6 pm.
My son John playing a few licks in Costa Rica.
Today I added this 1987 Westerly Era Guild D25 to my modest collection of guitars. Ever since I passed along my old D25 (last three slides in this show) in Ireland, I’ve been wanting a replacement. The budget friendly D25 model, in production from 1968 – 1999, was Guild’s all-time best selling acoustic guitar.
I stopped by George’s sign shop to play some tunes and putz around. Top time!
I hope everyone out there is doing well. Given the current COVID situation, I have cut back on my appearances for March. Hopefully I will soon be vaccinated, but no luck so far.
Today we played at Hopewell Valley Vineyards, away from the customers, on a stage. Be safe!– Bill
Our son Thomas asked for a classical guitar. I found this 40-year-old well-kept one up in Edison and purchased it for him.
Lent has arrived. Time for everyone’s favorite treat.
The COVID slowdown continues. Hopefully by early summer we’ll be back to normalcy. We have booked a few gigs, including St. Patrick’s Day at O’Connor’s and a series of short sets in the chapel at Historic Allaire Village.
I decided to revamp an old KAY mandolin from the early 1950s which was sitting idly about the house. Here it is after the clean up and then after a restringing. I’m learning a few tunes on the fellow. So far it’s:
Star of the County Down
Dawning of the Day
I Tell Me Ma
Boys of Bluehill
The Wind that Shakes the Barley
Love Will You Marry Me
The Minsrtel Boy
She Moved Through the Fair
What to do?: Me Fodder called me William and me mudder called me Pat!
Since this year’s Dodge Poetry Festival will be entirely online (Oct 22 – Nov 1), we have created a Zoom Community Room where Festival attendees and poets can join each other and connect.
In the Community Room, we will be hosting tributes to Doc Long and Paul-Victor Winters, two Dodge Poets who passed away this year. Paul-Victor was also a 2020 Festival Poet. We received a pre-recorded poetry reading from Paul-Victor this fall, which will be aired during the Festival.
Doc and Paul-Victor were poets so beloved by their friends, colleagues, and the many teachers and students whose lives they touched.
We wanted to make sure you knew when their tributes are happening, in case you would like to join to share a poem or memory of Doc or Paul-Victor.
Paul-Victor’s poetry reading will be aired as part of the Festival Poet Reading on October 25, 5 – 5:45 p.m.
The Tribute to Paul-Victor, hosted by Peter E. Murphy and Christine Salvatore will happen in the Community Room later that evening, from 7 – 7:45 p.m.
The Tribute to Doc Long, hosted by Bill O’Neal is happening October 31, 10 – 10:45 a.m.
In order to keep our online space as safe as possible for our Festival Poets and attendees, we are asking anyone who would like to join the Community Room to register for the Festival (you can register for free). Once you have your Festival Pass, you can Enter the Festival and access a full schedule that has links to each session, including the tributes.
We would love for you to share this information with anyone you think would like to be there. We also have social media graphics that you can download and share: one for Doc Long and one for Paul-Victor Winters.
We hope you and your loved ones are safe and well,
Dodge Poetry Staff
Andrew and I played a pair of outside gigs last month at Terhune Orchard and the Hibernian Club. I played two solo ones indoors at Tir na nOg. A photo from the second one is posted below. Given the uptick in virus cases, I don’t anticipate playing indoors this winter. In the absence of a Covid vaccine, March 17th is looking bleak as well. Be safe.– Bill
Greetings. Last Saturday Andrew and I played our first gig since the COVID outbreak. Ironically, it was the same venue as our last gig before the COVID outbreak: Terhune Orchards. This coming Wednesday I am playing solo at Tir na nOg, weather permitting. Given all the outside gigs likely to occur, I acquired another outside-gig guitar: A Takamine G series jumbo.
Eric Bogle wrote this song about leaving his mother to head off to Australia from Edinburgh. Sad stuff, but here it is anyway.
A belated thank you to James ‘Seamus’ Farrell of Killarney’s Publick House for gifting me this awesome practice amp.
Retired TCNJ Prof Bob Mehlman and I will be returning as co-presenters for one installment of
MIGRATIONS: CONTINUING STORIES
Organized By: Barbara Kirsh, chair, Lynne Cullinane, Art Firestone, Elaine Jacoby, Sandy Kurinsky, and Judy Walzer
Wednesdays: 10:00 a.m. to noon, 9 weeks: September 23 through November 18
The Fall 2019 course, Migrations: More Than a Border Story, filled up quickly and was deemed a great success. This second Migrations series is suitable for new and previous participants. The course will cover a variety of topics related to migrations, including whether we can call the earliest moves of our ancestors “migrations,” the legal and political context of migrations, along with the rich contributions to music, poetry, food, film, and art of current and past migrations. We will also hear about refugee resettlement to the Princeton area. Each week’s topic will focus on one aspect of migration and be presented by different experts in a variety of formats such as lecture, panel discussion, and a virtual field trip to the Princeton University Art Museum.
Registration opens Registration opens August 4, 2020
I’ve only written one song about fathers and sons. I was going for something in the the line of Bobby Burns. It’s called “When We Meet Again”. Have a listen. I hope you enjoy it.
Andrew Koontz and me as depicted in Ryan Lafferty’s children’s book When I Grow Up!
Back in 1997 Jim and I toured the Lowden (a small batch guitar builder in Ireland) guitar workshop in Newtownards. I took a couple of photos, but didn’t purchase a guitar.
I ‘ve finally purchased a Glenvale-Era Lowden F-12. They have since moved across Strangford Lough to Downpatrick.
Greetings. Gig after gig has been cancelled. I will be happy to get back to some music work when things loosen up. Meanwhile, down in Monteverde, Costa Rica my son John plays sunset concerts virtually from Morpho Restaurant every other Friday. They start the broadcasts at 7pm Eastern time.
Andrew and I played at Terhune Winery to an outdoor audience. Given the trends in Corona Virus deterrents, this might be our last public appearance for several months.
Update of March 17th: Yes, it was indeed our last gig of the March season. All other appearances for the month have either been cancelled or rescheduled. Hopefully by April we will return to normalcy. We shall see. Be safe and may God bless everyone.
Only 17 days until St. Patrick’s Day. Hard to believe. We’ve been playing quite a bit this past fall and winter. Check my Appearing page for upcoming events. We’re playing some wineries, farmers’ markets, pubs, parties and of course restaurants.
Andrew and I host the third Sunday session at Tir na nOg in Trenton. Stop in!
Here’s from the March 1st one. The young ladies wanted to hear me sing “Toora Loora Loora”. Dave Anderson to the far right. Where am I? That’s my guitar head to the left. Probably best this way. 🙂
I took a few weeks off for the holidays and the family went south to Florida. Once we returned, I sang the national anthem at the county reorganization meeting, played for a birthday party, and a also few other gigs. My daughter was in town for my brother Eugene’s memorial service, so we sat in at the Hopewell session and sang a duo. Many more gigs coming up soon. See the Appearing page for details. — Bill
Greetings. I have been remiss of late in regard to posting updates. I’ve been playing a few gigs a month here and there at festivals, libraries, farmers’ markets, Dubliner on the Delaware, etc. , and also hosting the third Sunday session at Tir na nOg in Dermot’s place. We had a nice session this past Sunday. I took the photo so I am not shown.
All the Best,
March was a busy month. I looked forward to getting away for a weekend with Mrs. O’Neal.
I bought my Guild GF 60 way back in 1987. She was the show model for the 1987 NAMM show in California. Manufactured in Westerly, RI, she was one of the final Guild design acts executed during the partnership with George Gruhn. Just 82 of these solid maple grand concert models were produced over a two year period ending in 1988. They also made 277 Indian rosewood versions of the GF 60 between 1987 and 1990.
For my birthday I picked up a guitar for those gigs where I wish to spare my vintage instruments abuse: parade floats, bars, farmers’ markets, outdoor concerts, etc .
Update March 2021: I passed this one on to my oldest son who needed another axe.
While out for dinner and drinks in Pipersville, I was called up to sing “Walk Away Renee”, backed up by The Big Chill Band.
Photo by Michael Mancuso
Photos Courtesy of Fred Fishkin
We’re back home from a brief holiday in Florida. Tomorrow night I’m back at Tir na nOg and Saturday it’s Halo Ice Cream Pub in Hamilton. See the gigs page for details.
It’s been a busy year around our (now former) home. While browsing through images of our former home & reflecting on the many happy moments we spent there, I chanced upon quite a few photographs of my wife. I have many things for which to be thankful: Our God, my children, my family, and friends, but I am most thankful for the love and companionship of this remarkable woman, she who is the sole reason I prefer staying close to home whenever possible.
I wish everyone cheer and prosperity in the coming year. May all of us be blessed with the love of God, children, family, and friends. These simple gifts matter far more than material wealth.
Andy and I returned to Manville for the annual potluck holiday party, held in the ballroom Canal Walk Community.
My darling wife before the hearth on our last day in The Israel Stevens House. After twenty years, we sold our Lawrenceville home and have moved on.
An early Christmas present for my darling wife.
Yesterday evening I provided the music for the first WINK service of the 2018-19 series.
A bit of tongue-in-cheek humor from the mind of Sam Graff, former editor for the NY Daily News. Sam created this back in the 1980s for a Trent House fundraiser at which Carl Daugherty and I performed.
Note the disclaimer at the bottom of the bill: Printer Not Liable for Errors.
Egad time for a haircut!
Tonight we played over in New Hope at Dubliner on the Delaware. We are booked to return in September, November, and monthly through the end of May.
This fall I will teach an eight-session course entitled “Themes in Irish Folk Music”. Class will meet in “downtown” Lawrenceville at the Presbyterian church on Main Street.
Andrew and I were slated to be the last act on the indoor stage for Art All Night 2018. Sadly, a shooting incident cut short the festival, and the door to the stage area was marked off as a crime scene. This would have been our third annual appearance at the event, a community festival badly needed in an often troubled, fiscally depressed city. How troubled? Six of my former students (Benjamin Davilla, Sheree Davis, Jeri Lynn Dodson, Jermaine Johnson, Shamere Melvin, and Shakir Williams ) have been shot dead in the past few years. I would mention, as a Trenton-area native, that Trenton is no longer the city it was when I was a child. The decline began in earnest when James Earl Ray’s actions incited a riot in our city. Trenton has long been in need of federal intervention and has suffered from many years of poor leadership, underfunding, poor tax base, and suburban flight.
A former student from and (very) short-time fellow teacher at the high school in Trenton where I taught for many years, Jerrell Blakely, who was quite recently elected councilman-at-large, stated in this morning’s Trenton Times:
“There is a tendency when a tragic event occurs to pull back and retreat, but I think Trenton has to show the world that we won’t be frightened,” he said. “We can’t allow folks that mean us harm to change such a beautiful event.”
I disagree with Blakely’s naive remarks. The perpetrators are gangbanging criminals, not terrorists. In my opinion, this tragedy WILL have a frightening effect on would-be festival attendees. Art All Night’s reputation as a family-centered affair has been seriously and possibly irrevocably tarnished. The people of Trenton have a serious crime element embedded in their midst; this city of primarily respectable citizens needs to remove this surly element from their midst.
I am so very pleased with my oldest son, John O’Neal, who plays music in his adopted home of Monteverde, Costa Rica. Like his younger sister, he has a unique and beautiful voice which comes straight from his soul. By all indications my granddaughter, Elisabeth, will follow in his footsteps. God bless them.
March madness ended last night. The Tir na nOg birthday celebration for Trenton mayoral candidate Reed Gusciora, the last of numerous March gigs, is now behind us. My sound equipment has returned to its garret home until May or June. It is my desire to spend Mid-March of 2019 in the north of Ireland, playing music with James McCarthy.
It’s been a busy month. Many gigs. One more weekend of them to go.
Here’s a few pics.
All the Best,
A fun evening last night on Ocean Avenue in Belmar. We played a two-hour concert for the Belmar Public Library.
Hi All. It’s been a busy one so far, even with all of the bad weather we’ve been seeing. The photo below is from this past Saturday at Bill’s Olde Tavern in Hamilton. Three awesome operatic singers out for a bit o’ fun! We’ll be back there on St. Patrick’s Day from Noon until 2pm so please stop in.
Last Saturday night Kaitlin, Chris, Andrew, and I spent a few hours in the recording studio laying down audio tracks for the Comma Music, a Chicago-based music library company. It was fun. We recorded instrumental tunes—jigs, reels, & hornpipes. To learn more about Comma Music, visit their website.
Update March 2: The tunes we recorded for Comma Music Library are now loaded to their site. Go here and filter for Public Domain. We’re the selections directly above Mozart. If you click the top one, the rest will auto feed.
Photo taken by Fran Gentile in the 1970s on Riverside Drive near Blaugard Island/Log Basin.
What a gorgeous November fall day for our two hour gig on Witherspoon Street in downtown Princeton, NJ. We’ll be back to play in the spring.
Geraldine Dodge Poetry gave me a photo credit. The same photo also appeared in the 2016 & 2018 GR Dodge Poetry Festival Programs.
The guitar on the lawn at the Belmar Library is a tribute to the E-Street Band, which in its early years used to practice down the street at David Sancious’ mother’s house at 1107 E Street
Chris and Bill performing in Weeden Park, Lawrenceville on July 20th.
I retired from teaching at the start of this month. I will miss many things. I will miss guitar club. I will miss teaching Greek mythology, especially Homer. But teaching is not what I will most miss about teaching. I will most miss no longer being there to greet and speak to former students. That has always been my greatest joy.
By no means have I retired from writing and performing music. We’ve booked five or so gigs for both July and August at various venues. I will also continue on as a member of the leadership team of The National Writing Project at Rider University, and as recording secretary to the historic preservation advisory committee to the Lawrence Township planning board.
Joe and I got back together for three sets of acoustic rock music on the patio at Momma Rosa’s in Hamilton, NJ. We had a great time. Here’s what one of the attendees had to say about the night:
“Bill O’Neal is famous for his Irish music but he is also great with contemporary music. What a phenomenal voice! He and Joe Kramer serenaded Bill and I tonight. Great time!” -Terri Purcell