Session homework FTW!

I’ll say this for the session that userinfosolarbird and I have started attending: I haven’t been this inspired to start working on learning new stuff to play in ages. Playing with a group of people who are all very clearly not only comfortable with the material they’re playing but also in several cases comfortable with switching off between diverse instruments is a new experience for me! And the pressure is on for me to step up my game. Noodling around on my guitar in the living room is all well and good. But I’ve come to the realization that it had stopped being really challenging; I can noodle around without thinking about it.

I am ready for something more, and I hadn’t really realized this until I was called upon to play “Lukey” at last week’s session. I’ve been hit upside the head with a resurgence of the same feeling I got in the very earliest days of my Great Big Sea fandom, to wit: THIS. I WANT TO DO THIS.

Where by “this”, I mean, “play this type of music along with people who are as engaged by it as I am!”

For the first time I finally have a reason to start looking through these various songbooks I’ve got–in particular, the Celtic Guitar book, the Irish flute book, and the guitar fakebook. In which I found proper sheet music, including chords, for both “Drowsy Maggie” and “Morrison’s Jig”! I don’t appear to have “Road to Lisdoonvarna”, but a quick Google pointed me here, which more than served the purpose. (Although I’m not a hundred percent sure about that AF#m–Dara says that’s just an inversion of an F#m chord, so I can work with that, sure.)

All of this of course was leading up to the fact that I’ve got multiple recordings of both “Drowsy Maggie” and “Morrison’s Jig”, and in particular, those of you who are fans of Heather Alexander or her Heir, Alexander James Adams, will recall that on the album Insh’allah, there’s a kickass set of Road, Morrison’s, and Maggie all tearing right through one another.

Tonight, ladies and gents, I more or less played along with it! I say “more or less” mostly because I just need to memorize these chords. But you know what’s awesome? Being able to play rhythm guitar along with AJA ripping away on his fiddle. Even if it IS just a recording.

And then jumping over to The Fables on a recording of theirs that ALSO paired up Morrison’s and Maggie was fun, too–since their style was significantly different, it meant I needed to play around a bit with how to strum in support.

Altan’s got a recording with Maggie in it, but they don’t line it up with Morrison’s, they’ve got it instead with “Rakish Paddy” and “Harvest Storm”. Yet here too the style was significantly different.

I came out of this pretty sure I’ll properly recognize “Drowsy Maggie” now, anyway! And a few more times playing it, I should have it down cold.

Something else I’ll need to consider, too: I’ve been mostly a guitarist the last few years, but I’m also a goddamn flute player, and I want to remind myself of that! However, my piccolo ain’t exactly in keeping with the overall idea of an Irish session, so I’m thinking I’ll have to break out the bamboos instead. Most likely Jade, who’s in E minor, and Sparrow, who’s in G (which will also let me cover D), but possibly also Sorrel, who’s in A minor.

I look forward to the Bringing of It next week. 😀 Session homework FTW!

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