What did I do in a former life to deserve the kind of moments that flutter by? There are times when it sure does seem like living in a movie.
So, we've just finished Mohave rehearsal and Roger says let's go down to, what sounded like "Daughtry's", to play. "They serve Guinness," and I says, "well, that's that, then, isn't it?"
The host band was rocking the blues; I was a little fried. Tired from the travel, tired from the rehearsal. I ordered a Guinness, then went outside in the humid-yet-cool night and lit up one of the cigars that Jae brought me from the Dominican Republic last month. The dulcimer case was propped against the wall. This is important.
Presently, a bright-eyed woman walked outside and went over to chat with some of the folks standing around. Some animated discussion followed with much laughter and she was about to turn around and walk back inside when she saw me sitting there. She stopped, took a look at the case and asked what I played and I told her. "You comin' inside to play?" she asked. There. Just a hint of Irish accent.
When I laid the "I'm tired" rap on her, it fired up that brogue.
"So you're not a real musician, then? You just look like one, and look suave with your cigar, but you can't play a fucking thing?" This, with a playful snarkiness - a "come on, I dare you" sort of tease. How could I back down from that? So I offered up "Rosin The Beau" and she sort of blinked, then said "alright, inside then," and into the pub, called O'Doherty's, leaving me to grab my MicroCube amp from the car and prepare to play some traditional Irish music in a traditional Irish pub.
While I'm still fiddling about, she returns and says, "I found someone to sing 'Rosin The Beau' with ye; it's up to him whether you're good or not. He'll tell ye," she said matter-of-factly. Not long after that, someone walked up and said, "wow, you're going to duet with the man himself."
That "man", as I perused the many photos and newspaper articles in glass cases along the walls, was actually Irish folk legend Cahir O'Doherty.
The enormity of what was about to go down wasn't lost at that point. This is a guy who knows weepy Irish drinking songs; and as the other cases came into view, containing CDs and signed shamrock-colored guitars, I knew the "A" game needed to be in play, no 'effin' around and, most of all, enjoy the ride.
Cahir came out and joyously exclaimed, "you play lap dulcimer!" He shook my hand and asked what key I'd play the tune, to which I replied "D." A moment's calculation and then he said, "okay - let's go outside for a bit of rehearsal."
What a voice, what passion! What a pro! We played through several verses and choruses, with him indicating for me to take a lead here and there or to "bring it home." Some of the regulars had begun gathering around when we walked outside, and after emerging from the musical bubble, saw that quite a few had been standing within feet of us, big grins on their faces. Cahir did a much longer version of the song when we performed it inside, with a nice little intro explaining what the tune was all about. I gotta say that it's been a dream of mine to play in a real Irish pub with a real Irish musician some kind of real Irish song and by golly, look at my life. It's simply amazing.
So now I'm learning "Whiskey In The Jar" and "Drowsy Maggie" - just to do that again.
Incidentally, the fiery Irish lassie with the challenge is Cahir's lovely wife Theresa, who wanted to make sure afterwards that I knew she was funning and that she enjoyed the music immensely. I thanked her for the whole experience - a very precious memory gone screaming to the archives in another reel of this celluloid life.