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Ronan Quinn at Tir Na NOg
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Not Just Another Thursday Night-Not Just Another Irish Pub

Ronan Quinn
at Tir Na NOg
Thursday, July 17, 2003
Review by Tabitha Aybar


There was a magical atmosphere this July weeknight at the Irish pub Tir Na NOg, located in Union Square, Somerville, MA. Perhaps, that is one reason that it was recently voted as best Irish pub in Boston. One of the other reasons is, that owner Robert Elliott from County Limerick in Ireland, plays a passionate part in his business by performing in his band The Johnny Come Latelies and by being part of the audience on many nights. Mr. Elliott has made the U.S his home for over 12 years and has owned Tir Na NOg for over 6 years. His band JCL will soon release a new live CD.

The cozy size of the pub make any moment more intense, but this particular Thursday night group was energized and full of surprises. The patrons were captivated by the various songs and moods. There was the bluesy style original song of Kevin Byrne and original songs of Ronan Quinn that were dabbled with revival style Bob Marley tunes. There were gutsy instrumentals that allowed the musicians to shine without any words being exchanged. There was a fun moment when owner Robert Elliott jumped in playing his own percussion. If this wasn't enough to keep the crowd swaying, there was a guest appearance on the guitar from Mr. Paul Kenny (also from Ireland) of
Cherry Orchard, followed by a free style rap by Mr. Paul Breeden of Boston Live Magazine, who was caught up in the moment of Ronan Quinn's original song "Hold On". These unexpected performances caused sparks to fly! Everyone enjoyed themselves so much more, that the time was forgotten, and no one seemed to notice last call. People were in no hurry to leave. The smiles and the applause spoke for themselves.

The band members featured are a mixture of different musicians and bands who were introduced to each other thru the owner and center around Mr. Ronan Quinn; a powerful lead baritone vocalist, songwriter, and acoustic guitar player.

Ronan Quinn is from Milltown Malbay in County Clare, Ireland. He has been performing since 1989, when he won a local talent show in Ireland and used money earned to purchase equipment. Mr. Quinn has been entertaining in the Irish community in Boston since 1997, as a solo artist, and as part of other bands such as Cherry Orchard and with various members of Johnny Come Latelies.

Mr. Kevin Byrne was born in Danvers, MA, and grew up in New Hampshire. In addition to performing electric guitar, Kevin plays a hodgepodge of musical styles and vocals including blue grass and traditional/folk with his dads band.

Andrew Smith(or simply Drew) is from Westborough, MA, and conveniently found himself living across the street from Tir Na NOg. He originally played guitar, but the story is that his brother's band needed a base player and the rest is history. He helped to produce and record Ronan Quinn's first CD.

Neal Cadogan is from Quincy, MA. Neal plays other percussion such as the bongos and the bodhrah(Irish drums) in an Irish rhythm section. He first met up with everyone by attending open sessions when they used to be held at the pub on Sunday nights.

If this information isn't enough to get you to Somerville on any night of the week, the musicians informed me that celebrities such as Mr. Peter Wolfe of the J.Geils Band frequents the pub, along with Mr. Duke Levine, known guitarist of Mary Chapin Carpenter. Mr. Levine has further connections with Tir Na NOg having offered his services with the band Hybrazil and on Quinn's recordings.


 


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