J-100 pick guard

The clear J-100 pick guard I ordered from Greasy Groove in Canada arrived today. You can barely see it but it’s now on my CJ-165. No pick guard was installed in the Boseman factory. I wanted a clear one so the abalone inlay around the sound hole would remain visible.

My Lowdens

My G9 and F12 Lowden guitars. The F12 was made in the Lowden Glenvale shop in Newtonards one summer while I was hosting sessions a few villages south of there in Portaferry. The Galway Hookers were in port at the time. A snap of my sweatshirt from the event is below. Newtownards is situated a bit above the “L” in Galway, at the topmost point of Strangford Lough.


My S. Yairi Era Lowden is home from the shop.

In 1980, Yves asked George (Lowden)’s permission to source a small and expert company to make the guitars under license, so they would be more widely available. George recalls “Thus began a five-year period when my guitars were made by the small, dedicated band of luthiers in the S.Yairi workshop near Nagoya, Japan. Visiting the workshop regularly to give the designs and check quality, I observed their craftsmanship and serious approach to work! I found them to be honourable and courteous, and I had the greatest of respect for their hard work and excellent guitars. I learned a lot about production and tools, and they in turn were delighted to be able to make original design guitars to this quality level. I also observed, what was to me, a new type of workmanship. I had previously thought that working to a high standard took a lot of time. However, I found that, with practise [sic], the same or better results could be achieved at speed, by working at a high level of concentration. They also took me to visit a tiny store in Nagoya to buy Japanese hand tools with their laminated steel and fantastic cutting edges – which were a complete revelation to me.”

Face Lift

Blondie is home from a facelift at J B. Kline’s shop. Frets were dressed, head stock refinished, fingerboard and bridge cleaned free of 34 years of second hand smoke.

Down Sizing

I’ve cut my acoustic guitar count down to seven. I sold four and passed the rest along to my grown children. Here are the ones I said adieu to:

Drumsurn Bodhran

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!

Halo Pub

Back indoors in Princeton totally acoustic. The weather turned so cold outdoors that we moved inside after one set.

Time Out

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.

Black Beauty

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.

Yamaha Student Upgrade

I installed a Fishman Preamp/Pickup in this one. It was the only Non-Electric/Acoustic in the house. I bought this 1981 SJ 180 for a song a few years back. It’s a student guitar and all laminate, but plays well with good intonation, and the pickup addition renders her seaworthy.

Happy March

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

Happy February

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:

Roddy McCorley
Derry Aire
Kesh Jig
Star of the County Down
Dawning of the Day
I Tell Me Ma
Harvest Home
Boys of Bluehill
Gary Owen
The Wind that Shakes the Barley
Love Will You Marry Me
The Minsrtel Boy
Belfast Mill
She Moved Through the Fair

Tribute to Doc Long Details

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

Fall Update

Hi All.

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

Cycling on the Old PRR Bel-Del

Dave Anderson and I took a 55 mile ride from Scudder’s Falls to Frenchtown and return today. We hopped over to the PA side at Washington Crossing and came back over at Uhlerstown to head home on the bike path which was once the PRR Bel-Del branch from Trenton’s MG Tower to Belvidere’s G Tower. As a young man, I sometimes worked Sunday evenings at MG, which was a shack not a real tower. My old picture of MG shown below. Below that, a photo of me form the internet handing up train orders to a northbound train.

Dearg Dare

My wife’s uncle was venting over the humdrum shots of my daily guitar porch practice sessions which I was taking and posting on FB. He asked me to incorporate the Feileastram Dearg in a shot, so here it is.

Last night I played a two hour solo gig on the rear “patio” of Tir na nOg. It went well.

August 7 Update

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.



Retired TCNJ Prof Bob Mehlman and I will be returning as co-presenters for one installment of
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
Maximum: 60

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

Happy Father’s Day

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.

Lowden’s Glenvale Workshop

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.

Welcome to June

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.

Terhune Winery


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.

Happy March

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. 🙂




Happy New Year

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

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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.

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This fall all four members of Ballycastle will perform at the Hamilton Irish Fest. See my upcoming gigs page for details.


All the Best,


GF 60

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.

Birthday Present

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. IMG_2839

Merry Christmas

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.

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