Hello - Farewell (an authorized Bootleg)

It was early October of 1986, The Renaissance Festival had just ended, the leaves had begun to fall, and the radiators were starting to ping and groan in sympathy. Ken and I, friends and music partners since high school, shared an apartment in an aging fourplex in the almost-historic Capitol hill area of St.Paul. Joe Smith, a refugee from Duluth lived upstairs in #4. Joe - whose main instrument was at that time still a Fender Stratocaster - was a vocalist and true multi-instrumentalist who had picked up a mandolin somewhere along the way and was learning to play. Ken, already an accomplished vocalist, had been inspired in part by his friend Steve Schoenbohm and had learned to play the Irish Bodhrán. I had been playing guitar for about four years at that point, but I generally consider the fall of 86 as the point when I started to learn to play.

Ken and I had been playing some songs together here and there, both at the MN Renaissance Festival and at home. With both of us being chronically under-employed, we had a lot of free time.

Joe stopped down one evening to say that Lojo Russo, someone that all three of us had met recently at the MRF, was coming over to play a few tunes, and that we were invited to join them. Also present at the jam session was Lori Butzke, Joe's significant other, who was well on her way to learning every instrument under the sun.

What happened after that is, as they say, history. Ewen Maccol's Terror time was the first song ever to come from this band: Afterward, we all suspected that with a little hard work the music could be very, very good. All of us grew during these years, as musicians as well as in other ways. Lojo mastered the mandolin, perfected her guitar. Joe traded his Strat for bagpipes (literally), and re-acquainted himself with his boyhood training in violin. I grew as a guitarist, and gradually picked up the mandolin, cittern, hammered dulcimer, mandola, tenor banjo and bodhrán. Ken continued to grow as a vocalist and quickly mastered the bodhrán, as well as picking up the guitar and bones.

Then in 1988 Joe and Laurie left the band, for a variety of reasons. Now, reduced to a trio from a quintet, all of us needed to work much harder to produce the same level of sound and quality. I became (by default) the main guitarist, something I was not ready for at the time, but - by immersion therapy- struggled through. Ken and Lojo shared the title of lead vocalist.

We were frequently surprised when people listened to our music. Since the beginning, we played for us. if anyone else wanted to listen in , that was cool, but -I think- always flattering.

W played. Not a lot, but sometimes I think that tempers ran high between all three of us when we played too much. There is timing and rehearsals and equipment and expenses. In the end we just wanted to play - and sometimes the business of being a musician gets in the way of playing music.

Then we had an offer to move to Blue Eye, MO, to perform year-round at a Renaissance Festival there. Lojo realized early on that it would be impossible for her to go for a number of reasons. But Ken and I were greatly interested. We both sign contracts, but when it was time for me to leave Mpls., there was no housing available for me in Blue Eye. Meanwhile, Ken and his partner Tamara were camping on the living room floor of a friend, waiting for housing. I waited, Camelot (the fair) was unconcerned about the housing, and canceled my contract for waiting. Five weeks later (with another 9 months left in the run) the fair went belly up, closing their doors nearly three weeks pay. What can we say... the king is a fink. Ken and Tamara, along with others from Camelot , decide at this point to relocate to Portland, OR, to see what they can accomplish as musicians/actors.

Thus endeth the saga. We hope to reune as often as possible, but the mileage is great. The friendships, however are strong.

-Michael David Matheny, August 1994

This cassette was recorded live at the Irish Well, St.Paul, MN in may of 1994. It was recorded with two ambient mics into a Tascam Portastudio 4 track, and mastered onto DAT by Lojo Russo and Burr Holland studios. It is Copyrighted 1994 By Gallowglass Irish Trio: Ken Larson, Michael David Matheny and Lojo Russo.

Everything on this cassette is either traditional or borrowed with the exception of Fire-1993 Michael David Matheny. He wrote this for his sweetie. any unauthorized duplication or use of this song will guarantee an early demise For permission to use this song, either ask the author or write to him c/o Marilyn Matheny at: 2304 30th Ave S., Mpls, MN 55406. Please - no other Gallowglass mail here. We're still working on an official address.

Thanks to Bedlam Boys (for Carlow, to name one), and to Joseph Smith for Gallowglass (the song). Thanks to everyone for everything. It's been groovy.

Track List:

Click on Name for Lyrics

Side One:


Right ON!

Hymn 694

Johnny Jump Up

Side Two:

Barbara Allen

500 Miles


Look at the Coffin

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