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Mountain Home Music Showcases a ‘Green Saturday’ Celtic Christmas Concert in Boone

Finn Magill

Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music welcomes Irish Fiddler extraordinaire, Andrew Finn Magill, for a return engagement to headline this year’s Celtic Christmas Concert on Saturday night, Nov. 25.

The performance will take place at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Boone, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Joining Magill for this special “Green Saturday” show will be his good friend from Galway, Ireland, a multi-instrumentalist, singer and dancer David Gurley. Rounding out the line-up for the evening is a JSMHM favorite group, Little Windows, featuring Julee and Mark Weems.

Magill grew up immersed in music, spending every summer at the Swannanoa Gathering Folk Arts Workshops, held each summer at Warren Wilson College, near Asheville, NC. Here he learned fiddle from some of the finest folk musicians in the world.

By age 16, he was a two- time finalist at the All-Ireland Championships and he is equally proficient in several American folk idioms such as old-time and bluegrass. Magill is a multi-instrumentalist, multimedia director and composer who has watched his career surge ever since the 2016 release of his 2-disc concept album “Roots & Branches”. The “Roots” disc pays homage to the music and musicians that first inspired Magill’s fiddling and the “Branches” disc contains ten originals that are snapshots of Magill’s musical journey from Irish trad to oldtime, bluegrass, and jazz. He has toured France with the popular Celtic music & dance revue, Celtic Dances, under the musical direction of Liz Knowles & Kieran O’Hare and he produced a Fulbright-MtvU Fellowship funded concept album, Mau a Malawi, about those affected by AIDS with Malawian Afro-vibes artist Peter Mawanga. In 2014 Magill relocated to Rio de Janeiro for three years to immerse himself in Brazil’s choro music tradition, resulting in his own choro quartet, O Finno.

David Curley(Finn’s buddy)

Dave Curley, has been making big waves in the Irish music scene in Ireland, Europe and the USA in the last number of years. After graduating from the University of Limerick’s groundbreaking Irish Music and Dance program with first class honors, Curley became a creative member of award-winning bands SLIDE and RUNA. He also regularly performs with Grammy Award winner Moya Brennan of Clannad. More recently, Dave has been performing with “Instrumental band of the Decade”, The Brock McGuire Band. Curley has also recorded with producer Donal Lunny and Grammy award Winners Ron Block, Jeff Taylor and Buddy Greene. His most recent record, “A Brand New Day”, marks a new beginning in his musical career and showcases his vocals and writing style, which has a contemporary sensibility while still rooted in tradition.

Mark and Julee Weems, aka Little Windows, are no strangers to JSMHM concert series attendees. They were both close friends to JSMHM founder and director, the late Joe Shannon. Shannon had a special affinity to all things Irish and the Weems duo have been mainstays in JSMHM concert for years. Mark is a multi-instrumentalist, playing banjo, guitar, and dulcimer. Julee, who learned traditional Irish singing during her seven-year stay in Dublin, often sings solo or accompanies the duo on the Irish drum. Together they create a mix of Appalachian and Irish music, plus traditionally based originals. The two focus on the art of the pure voice with tight harmonies and often sing a cappella. They will be sure to include songs from their Christmas CD – The Snowman’s Waltz.

Mark and Julee

Rodney Sutton, Director of JSMHM, said of this concert – “JSMHM was lucky to be able to book Finn Magill and David Curley as a part of their American East Cost Fall Tour. Finn joined John Doyle last year for our Celtic Christmas Concert and our packed house at St. Luke’s got a preview of this young man’s amazing fiddle playing. Finn and Mark and Julee have played together for years at The Swannanoa Gathering and with adding David into the mix, the combination possibilities of these two duets mixing it up is very exciting.”

When asked for insight as to how this show is called a “Green Saturday” concert, Sutton explained – “I came up with that name last year. On our American Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, we have Turkey Day Thursday, Black Friday and now “Green” Saturday. The green color designation for this special day is two fold. First, it falls on “tree-cutting” day here in the High Country. Second, JSMHM founder, Joe Shannon, selected this day for his our annual MHM Celtic Christmas Concert. You can’t get much greener than fresh Christmas trees and Irish music!” Sutton added, “We are inviting everyone, but especially our off the mountain visitors who are in the High Country hunting trees, to come and enjoy some of the best authentic Irish music to be found anywhere!”
In addition to the music, snacks and fellowship, JSMHM will be drawing the winning raffle ticket for the beautiful quilt that has been promoted all summer. The quilt was created by former JSMHM board member Karen James and has a fall color scheme with pictures of Joe Shannon and the Mountain Home Bluegrass Boys stitched into it and has been signed by many of the JSMHM 2017 performers. You can still buy raffle tickets up to intermission on Saturday night.

This concert is supported by the following private sponsors: Lynn Hubbard and Dr. E. Frank and Tara Hancock. Business Sponsors include; Stick Boy Bread Company, Mast
General Store, Mountain Times Publishing, and the High Country Press. 
Additional support is provided by; The Watauga Arts Council, The NC Arts Council, and Boone TDA. Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music is also proud to be included as a site on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina (BlueRidgeMusicNC.com). 

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is located at 170 Council St. Boone, NC(up behind Earth Fare) Tickets, directions and more info can be found at the JSMHM website – www.mountainhomemusic.org/
Tickets cost $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Student tickets are $5. Children 12 and younger are admitted free. Advance tickets may be purchased online and at the Mast General Store (Boone and Valle Crucis), Fred’s Mercantile on Beech Mountain, Stick Boy Bread Company (345 Hardin St, Boone), plus Footsloggers and Pandora’s Mailbox on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock.