Steph McAlear: Drums, percussion, vocals
James Libbey: Highland pipes, whistles, trumpet, keys, vocals
Shelley Downing: fiddle, mandolin, vocals
Nigel Gibson: bass guitar
Management: Glen Forrester
Link: Greenwich Meantime — I checked out the website; these guys have quite a tour schedule!
Yes, I went out to a concert last night, at Murphy’s Inn, to hear as Gilles put it, “James Libbey’s band”. That meant quite a bit to me, because, back in their pre-driver’s licence days, for several years I drove my son Peter and Wes’ son James the thirty-five minutes up to Maxville every second Saturday for their piping lessons with the legendary Pipe major J.T. MacKenzie, who for a long time had been the Queen Mum’s Piper. I knew that J.T. gave his students a very rigorous musical education that a sound foundation, both practical and theoretical. In all those years, I never heard James say a word from the back seat. Peter has since become a major piper in Picton, has a CD of his music out (Peter Harry Hill). Now I was going to see the payoff for James.
I wrote about my experience last night, after the concert in “Celtic Music”. Now I would like to talk about the music itself. First, let me confess that much as I would have liked to, I did not stay for the whole concert: I am too old to stand for four hours at the end of a long day, particularly when I had not finished the poem I had started for yesterday (“Takoniweha stops by a tree”). But I did hear the first four numbers.
Let me say this: Greenwich Meantime is wonderful. Their music was all original, witty, richly arranged, affective, and thoroughly enjoyable, even to my old ears. I was pleased to see Nicholas’ dad, Ernie Sequin, whom I had not seen for years, playing a mean harmonica for a tune Nicholas wrote for him. The musicians are versatile, strong performers, with an alert crowd sense. The production values are strong, even on the limited stage of a somewhat cheesy venue like Murphy’s Inn. I do not know much about bands, have never been interested, even though I am a singer in a barbershop chorus, and taking part in attempting to start a quartet. But when I come across it, I know what I like. So did the overflow house in attendance. Bravo!