Monday, October 3, 2022

Published October 03, 2022 by Erich with 0 comment

Sessions in Hampden

 Continuing the tradition of sessions previously held at In Like Flynn's (and before that, J. Patrick's) in Locust Point, we're now holding sessions at the Five and Dime Alehouse in Hampden.  These sessions occur on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month, and on the 5th Thursday if there is one, from 7-9:30pm.  They typically involve musicians at various levels of experience, many of whom have been playing Irish trad music for a long time.

In this session we play a variety of traditional dance tunes - the standard fare of jigs, reels, hornpipes, and polkas, but also slip jigs, hop jigs, slides, set dances, flings, mazurkas, waltzes, etc.  Most of the musicians play from memory, although some may check for unfamiliar tunes.  The sessions are held in the upstairs bar, which is a huge room with great acoustics and very little background noise.

The Five and Dime Alehouse ( is in Hampden, at 901 W. 36th St., just east of the Jones Falls Expressway (Rte. 83).  Parking is usually available nearby, either at meters on 36th St. or on cross streets.  After 6pm parking spaces tend to fill up, so arriving before 6pm (in time to have dinner before the session) makes parking easier.  For more information, see the session posting at

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Published October 03, 2022 by Erich with 0 comment

Sessions in Towson

 For those who enjoy playing music in a pub setting, the Kent House Pub (, at 506 York Rd. in Towson, MD is a great option.  There is a session at the Kent House on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month, from 7-10pm. These sessions are open to all musicians, and sessions typically include songs as well as traditional dance tunes.  

Jack, the organizer of this session, often introduces a new tune or two by email before each session, so musicians can learn and practice the tune beforehand.  Musicians take turns calling and leading tunes or songs.  Some musicians play from sheet music while others play from memory.  The sessions are usually held in the rear of the pub, which is large enough for a dozen or so musicians.  

The Kent House Pub is about a mile south of the Baltimore beltway, in the heart of Towson - just south of the traffic circle where York Rd., Dulaney Valley Rd., and Joppa Rd. meet.  Free parking is available after 6pm in the lot across the street (Pennsylvania Ave.), and fairly inexpensive paid parking is also available behind the pub and in several parking garages nearby.  For more information, see the session posting at
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Published October 03, 2022 by Erich with 0 comment

Sessions in Catonsville

For those who are new to Irish traditional music, Drew Vervan's "Celtic Music Club" sessions are a great way to get started.  They are open to all who have an interest in playing Irish and Scottish dance tunes.  They occur every Tuesday evening from 6:30-9:30pm at the Catonsville Clubhouse, a community arts center at 10 St. Timothy Lane in Catonsville, MD.  The first hour is a slow session focused on learning basic tunes from sheet music; the rest of the time is a faster session that involves playing more tunes and sets at speed, also from sheet music.  The sheet music is all available online.

This is an excellent place for musicians to learn about traditional dance tunes (tune types, modes, playing styles, etc.) and practice playing together in a group.  It's also a great way to begin or continue building a repertoire of tunes to play in these and other sessions.  

The Catonsville Clubhouse is easily accessible - just west of the Baltimore beltway on Frederick Rd - and there is free parking.  There is a small fee involved for the lessons.  For more information, see Drew's web page at
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Saturday, June 4, 2022

Published June 04, 2022 by Erich with 0 comment

New Home for Sessions

In early February 2022, In Like Flynn's closed permanently.  The pub we've played in for years, both as In Like Flynn's and as J. Patrick's before that, was no longer available for sessions.  So we started looking for another home for our weekly session.  After many months and trial sessions at various possible venues, we've ended up at the Five and Dime Alehouse in Hampden, on alternate Thursdays.  The Five and Dime is a great place to play - plenty of room for the musicians, excellent acoustics, very supportive management and staff, and centrally located in Baltimore.  

Since we're only at the Five and Dime every other Thursday, we're also holding house sessions on the off weeks.  Session attendance has increased quite a bit recently at both Five and Dime sessions and at house sessions, perhaps in part due to less concern about covid.  For information about the session schedule, contact me via the "Get in Touch" box on this site.

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Monday, December 20, 2021

Published December 20, 2021 by Erich with 0 comment

Session on 16 Dec 2021

 In Memory of Mark Grasso

One of our friends was missing in the session on December 16, and we'll be missing him for a long time to come.  Mark Grasso finally lost his battle with cancer the day before.  His son Eliot has written a lot about Mark - his music, his principles, his approach to life, his humanity - in a CaringBridge blog.  It's well worth reading.

In honor of Mark's life and the time and music he shared with us, in this session we played many of the tunes that Mark liked to play: tunes that he learned from Eliot and taught us, such as The Bear in the Buckwheat; tunes that he learned in our session, such as Tommy Peoples'; and old classics such as Cooley's and Providence.  Following is the complete list of the tunes we played in this session:

The Bear in the Buckwheat / Bonnie Ann (reels)

McCarthy's / Congress (reels) 

The LuckpennyHumours of Ennistymon (aka Coppers and Brass) (jigs)

The Galtee Hunt (set dance)

Tuamgraney Castle / The Good-Natured Man / The Rights of Man (hornpipes)

For more specific details (e.g., key, settings) see the InLikeFlynnTunes spreadsheet.

Here is one other set of tunes that Mark was working on recently, with the intent of bringing up this set in a future session:

Last Night's Joy / The Youngest Daughter / My Love is in America (reels)
We will indeed be playing this in future sessions, in memory of Mark.

Thanks again to everyone (Pete, Kathy, Tracy and Eric, Jason, Gary, Rachel, Bill, Jane, Nancy, Peter, and Dara) who came out to the session in memory of Mark.


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Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Published December 14, 2021 by Erich with 0 comment

Session on 9 Dec 2021

Tunes and sets we played in the session on 9 Dec 2021:

Tunes marked with ** were just added to the InLikeFlynnTunes spreadsheet.
Tune names are linked to thesession entries or other sources.
For more specific details (e.g., key, settings) see the spreadsheet.

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Monday, December 6, 2021

Published December 06, 2021 by Erich with 1 comment

Session on 2 Dec 2021

Tunes and sets we played on 2 Dec 2012:

(Tunes in bold have just been added to the InLikeFlynnTunes spreadsheet.)

Battering Ram / Gallagher's Frolics / Connachtman's Rambles
A nice set led by Jason.

Boys of Bluehill / Harvest Home
A pair of very common hornpipes.

Aggie Whyte's Favorite
 / Belles of Tipperary
A set from the Mulcahey family's CD "The Mulcahy Family", track 14 (first tune mislabeled as Father Kelly's)

Tar Road to Sligo / Paddy Clancy
A set from the Bothy Band CD "The Bothy Band 1975".

Mountain Road / Tommy Peoples' / Rolling in the Ryegrass
A local 'standard' set that we play almost every session.

Jackie Coleman's / Jack Rowe
Two tunes we haven't played in quite a while, which go nicely together.

Humours of Glynn
 / Cordal Jig / Australian Waters
Three great tunes!

Crib of Perches
Another nice tune that we haven't played for a year or two.

A much more common tune than the previous one.

Trip to Durrow / Concertina Reel / Lady Anne Montgomery
Another of our local 'standard' sets.

Collier's / Miss Thornton / Concert Reel 
A set from Billy McComiskey's CD "Out of the Box".

The Castle
 Jig / The Nightingale 
A pair of jigs composed by Seán Ryan.

The Swallow's Nest
 / Bubbling Wine 
A pair of Paddy O'Brien compositions.  We actually played them one at a time, but they would make a nice set.

Father O'Flynn / Morrison's
Another local 'standard' set.

Cliffs of Moher / Sliabh Russell
Finally found something that goes with Cliffs of Moher.  Maybe would work better if the order were reversed.

A few additional tunes came up but weren't played in the session.  (Those in bold are not currently in the spreadsheet yet but will be added if/when they get played in a future session.)

Breen's / Hangman's Rope 
Two hornpipes from Martin Mulvihill's CD "Traditional Irish Fiddling from County Limerick".

Maho Snaps 
A tune that Jason mentioned.

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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Published December 02, 2021 by Erich with 0 comment

Most-Played Tunes (Dec 2021)


Below is a list of the most-often-played airs, hornpipes, jigs, reels, polkas, and slides during the past four months (from late July 2021 to late November 2021), derived from the tune tracking we've been doing in the InLikeFlynnTunes spreadsheet.  Roughly half the tunes we play each week are from this list.  New tunes or less-frequently-played tunes typically make up the rest of the session.

Tunes in this list have been played at least twice (2+) or three times (3+) in the past 4 months, and some of the more common tunes have come up almost a dozen times in that period.  The tunes in each group are listed in order of decreasing frequency, so those near the top of a group are more likely to come up than those at the bottom (assuming that past history will be reflected in future sessions).  So if you are not familiar with some of these tunes and want to learn them, you might want to focus on tunes that appear higher in each group before those that appear lower in the group.

While the list of tune names can be helpful, it isn't sufficient to fully identify what we're playing.  Many (perhaps most) tunes have multiple names, and quite often any given tune name may be associated with multiple tunes.  Both of these possibilities show up in the list below.  Alternate tune names show up as "(aka ...)" notes.  The entry for Pipe on the Hob is qualified as "(2-part in Dmix)" to distinguish it from the completely different tune with the same name that has 3 parts and is in Ador.  Similarly, the entry for the Blackbird is qualified with the note "[dc | B2BG A2A/B/c | ...]" to indicate which one of several hornpipes named The Blackbird is intended by specifying its incipit, or first few measures.  (This is 'abc' notation, an ASCII representation of music that can be used to transcribe tunes, format scores, and playback tunes.  More about this in a future post.)  

So take this list as a starting point, but it needs further qualification, which will be coming along soon.

Top 5 Airs (2+)

  • Island of Woods
  • Loftus Jones 
  • Carolan's Draught
  • Planxty Hewlett
  • Morgan Magan (aka Morgan MacGann)

Top 9 Hornpipes (3+)

  • Home Ruler
  • Taylor's
  • Bantry Bay
  • An Comhra na dTonn (aka An Comhra Donn, The Brown Coffin)
  • Boys of Ballycastle 
  • Rights Of Man
  • Kitty's Wedding
  • Murphy's
  • Blackbird [dc | B2BG A2A/B/c | ...]

Top 24 Jigs (3+)

  • Blarney Pilgrim
  • Out On The Ocean
  • Gallagher's Frolics
  • Helvic Head
  • Jimmy Ward's
  • Pipe on the Hob (2-part in Dmix)
  • Rambling Pitchfork
  • Morrison’s
  • Dusty Windowsills
  • Gander in the Pratie Hole
  • Killavil 
  • Geese in the Bog
  • Goat on the Green
  • Swallowtail Jig
  • Tobin's Favorite
  • Calliope House (in D)
  • Father O'Flynn's
  • Banish Misfortune
  • Strike the Gay Harp
  • Old John's Jig
  • Hag at the Churn
  • Garrett Barry's
  • Lilting Banshee
  • Monaghan Jig 

Top 10 Polkas (2+)

  • Ballydesmond #2
  • Ballydesmond #1 
  • Britches Full of Stitches
  • Bill Sullivan's
  • O'Callaghan's
  • Bridgie Con Matt's
  • Ballyvourney (Baile Mhuirne) 
  • Waves of Tory 
  • Barren Rocks of Aden
  • Ballydesmond #3 (aka Andy Boyle's)

Top 29 Reels (3+)

  • Rolling In The Ryegrass (aka Shannon Breeze)
  • Tommy Peoples'
  • Mountain Road
  • Father Kelly’s
  • Lady Anne Montgomery
  • Concertina Reel
  • Trip to Durrow
  • Congress
  • Did You Wash Your Father's Shirt 
  • My Love is in America
  • Cup Of Tea
  • Cooley’s
  • Golden Keyboard
  • Earl's Chair 
  • Bank of Ireland
  • Maid of Mt. Kisco 
  • Rakish Paddy
  • Tom Billy's (aka O'Keefe's Speed the Plough)
  • Swinging on the Gate
  • Roll Her in the Rushes 
  • Foxhunter’s
  • Virginia
  • Silver Spear
  • Jim Donoghue's
  • Providence 
  • Hunter's House 
  • Claudette's
  • Shoemaker's Daughter
  • Woman of the House

Top 8 Slides (2+)

  • Star Above the Garter
  • Dan O'Keefe's
  • Eileen O'Riordan's 
  • Brosna #2 (aka Scartaglen, Donal O'Connor's)
  • Patsy Geary's
  • Brosna #1 (aka Trip to the Jacks)
  • Palm Sunday
  • Denis Murphy's

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Published November 30, 2021 by Erich with 0 comment

Tunes We Play

Sessions at In Like Flynn's are pretty relaxed.  There is no designated leader; anyone can lead a tune or set of their choice.  This leads to a fairly diverse collection of tunes being played over time, as new folks join us and bring in their own favorite tunes.  To keep track of the tunes we've been playing, we have an online tune list spreadsheet (InLikeFlynnTunes) that is updated each week to reflect the tunes we've played that week and how many times each tune has come up in a session since the tracking started in late July 2021.  

Here is a snippet of the online tune list:

A snapshot of the tune list

At present there are 286 tunes in the list - about 10 airs, 20 hornpipes, 60 jigs, 20 polkas, 130 reels, a dozen slides, and a smattering of other tune types.  Of these, about 70 have been played at least 3 times, and about 35 have come up 4 or more times.

One reason for tracking tunes played has been to help newcomers to the session determine what tunes are more likely to come up, so they can work on learning any of them they don't already know.  Another use of the tunelist is to help us remember new tunes that have been introduced to the session, which some or many of us might like to learn and play more often.  Future posts will touch on both of these aspects.

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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Published November 28, 2021 by Erich with 0 comment

 In Like Flynn's is quite a change from J. Patrick's in some ways, but very similar in others.  While the inside looks very different - gone are all the great old wall decorations, the dodgy ceiling, the piano, the old bar, etc., and instead there is a new floor, new bar, new kitchen, windows in the exterior walls, and new furnishings throughout - the pub still feels like the same old place.  The spirit of J. Patrick's, and indeed the spirit of Joe Patrick Byrne, lives on at Flynn's.  It is still a neighborhood pub, and families still come in with their kids for dinner.  And of course, Irish traditional music is still very welcome and encouraged by the owners, especially Cora Flynn.  Also, a few vestiges of J. Patrick's remain, such as the sign over the kitchen window (to the upper right of center in the above photo).  We're very fortunate to be able to carry on the J. Patrick's tradition of Irish sessions in this familiar and friendly environment.

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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Published November 27, 2021 by Erich with 0 comment


A session at J. Patrick's, led by Peter Fitzgerald on banjo, on October 18, 2012.  

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