Thursday, December 31, 2009

More Fun at Farrell's | Video

To the right, you'll see a link to our new "Calendar Blog." Bookmark it to return to see updates in the coming weeks. We hope to see you again soon! In the meantime, here is a video clip of some of my students playing along with us the other evening. We all had so much fun!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fun at Farrell's! | Video & Gigs Below

We had a great time at Farrell's last night. Many of our friends -- old and new -- braved the frigid weather to join us. Sheila & Jim and Liz & Don are very faithful and always show up wherever we play. Actually, they were our first fans since they were our "test audience" in our home before we went public with our music. (Luckily, they gave us the green light to go ahead!) Cait & Steve brought along Steve's parents who were up from Virginia for their Christmas visit to the area. Cait & Steve's friends, Coral & Steve, were in -- with their whole family, it seemed! Many of my students and former students came with their moms and dads. Liz gave the children kazoos so they could play along with us from their tables. That was a lot of fun. Andy & Dave were in with their two friends -- Irish music experts -- who we hope to see again. Charlie F. and his brother John surprised us. Last summer, Charlie had sent us an email from our GregRyanSingsIrish Web site to say he was a New Jerseyan living in California for the time being and had found us online and enjoyed our music very much. Well, he's back home now and came to hear us play. The Internet is a wonderful thing, isn't it? New York radio legend, Joe Coggins, requested some songs that he remembered from his more-than-25 visits to Ireland. Before we left at the end of the evening, Farrell's music manager, Christian, invited us to come back soon, so today we compared calendars and were able to book January 12, February 9 & 23, and March 9 (which will be a special pre-St. Paddy's Day celebration at Farrell's). We hope you'll be able to join us for one or two of these nights. In the meantime, here's a short clip of an old favorite from last night.

Friday, December 18, 2009

More Winter Gigs

In addition to FARRELL'S, we'll be at CONNOLLY STATION in Belmar on Thursdays, January 21 and February 18 (6:00-9:00). We'll be at THE IRISH RAIL in Manasquan on Thursdays, January 28 and April 22 (6:00-9:00). We'll be playing at a private party for an Irish-American Club in Manchester on January 10. On March 13, we'll be playing at a "post-parade party" in Morristown. Other gigs will be posted as they are confirmed.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Winter Gigs

We'll be at FARRELL'S Stout & Steak (Point Pleasant) Tuesday, December 29 from 6:30-9:30 PM. We hope to see you there.

Soon we'll announce January and February dates for CONNOLLY STATION and THE IRISH RAIL. Watch this space.

We hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Irish Rail | Fun for All!

[Photo by Billy B.] Last night we had a great time at The Irish Rail. Becky and her crew (Sean, Craig and Sue) always make everyone feel very welcome. Throughout the evening we performed a number of songs we had not done in public before, though there were requests for many of the "standards" too. Many of our friends came in, as did lots of people we met for the first time. Bill & Kay brought Ed & Cathy and Dick & Mary for dinner and a good time. Liz welcomed her Habitat friends, Sue, Jim, Jean & Barbara. Pam & Mark and their son, Chris, came and had dinner. Kathleen and her friend Gloria really know their Irish music. They should! Kathleen is from the "Holy Land" and Gloria is a drummer who played in a Pipe and Drum band for many years. Mike and Billy came -- without their wives this time -- and were lots of fun to be with. Pam ("The Singing Nurse") and Bill offered to spread the word about our music. Timmy came in for a couple of sets before heading home. Sue (one of the wait staff) had invited her mother, Mary, who is from Belfast and friends to come and listen -- and request a few songs. There was a table of folks who had grown up in Hudson County and had gone to the same schools Greg and his family had gone to. It really is a small world! Watch our Web page and Blog for calendar updates. We hope to see you again soon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Irish Rail | October 29

We hope we will see many of you at THE IRISH RAIL next week. At one point, there was an hour wait for a table the last time we played there so come early and get a good seat.

Photo above: Last week we filled-in at CONNOLLY STATION. Some of my students came with their moms (on a stormy night) and joined us on stage for a few songs. It was so much fun!

See you soon!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Refuge from a "Nor'easter"

It was a terrible night out last night, but inside CONNOLLY STATION it was warm and friendly for those who braved the elements. On short e-mail notice, many of our friends and family came out to join us for an evening of Irish music. Sheila & Jim met Liz (who took this photo) & Don for dinner. Anne, Mark and Chris came in out of the weather, too. As did Barbara & Paul and Pam & Mark. A group of friends and former colleagues from school joined us: Shirley, Gigi and Andy & David. Fellow-teacher Maryann and her husband came along with long-time friends, Eileen and her husband. Some of my Second Graders and their moms surprised us! The children joined us on stage for "The Rattlin' Bog" and "A Place in the Choir." They came up and clapped along on a couple of others. Children's participation is becoming a regular part of our routine, it seems. It's such fun having them there! We made some new friends, too: Steve and Patricia who recently relocated to the Shore area from New York. Tom and his wife knew most of the songs we performed, though some were new to them. Mike and Amy thought they'd be able to join us at THE IRISH RAIL on October 29. We hope you will, too!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Newsflash! Newsflash! Newsflash!

Yesterday, we had a call from CONNOLLY STATION (Main Street, Belmar) asking us to fill-in on Thursday, October 15, from 6:00-9:00 PM.

We know it's a bit last-minute, but if you can make it, we'd be delighted to see you there!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

September Gigs Revisited

Yesterday afternoon, we had a great time performing for The Irish Rail's "Half-Way to St. Patrick's Day" bash. On Thursday, we were joined by many friends -- old and new -- at Connolly Station in Belmar. Watch a slideshow here to see the fun.

Watch this space for more dates as they are announced. In the meantime, mark your calendar to join us on Thursday, October 29 at THE IRISH RAIL (6-9pm) and Tuesday, December 29 at FARRELL'S (Point Pleasant Beach) 6:30-9:30pm.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Back at The Irish Rail -- Tomorrow!

Just had a call from Becky, the manager at THE IRISH RAIL in Manasquan, inviting us to play at their "Half-Way to St. Paddy's Day" bash tomorrow. We'll be performing from 3-6 pm. We know it's short notice, but we'd love to see some of you there. Pass the word. No time today to post photos from last night's gig at CONNOLLY, but watch for them soon.

Greg & Liz

Thursday, September 17, 2009

GRSI "Groupies"

True fans -- and good friends -- at a recent performance at The Irish Rail. Lots of fun at Connolly Station tonight! Watch for photos of the night and news soon.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


We hope you'll be able to join us on Thursday for our first appearance at CONNOLLY STATION in Belmar. We'll be performing there from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. You'll hear many of your favorites, for sure, and some that may not be as familiar to you -- yet. Please pass the word to your friends. The more the merrier!

See you soon!
Liz & Greg

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

More at The Rail | Video

Another video excerpt by Ruairi Clare.

Join us at CONNOLLY STATION in Belmar on Sept. 17 (6-9pm).

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Night at The Rail

[Photo by Ruairi Clare. More to follow.]
Liz and I had a great time at THE IRISH RAIL last night. We saw lots of friends -- old and new! It was great seeing the legendary Jersey Shore entertainer, Timmy Gough, again after all these years! Sea Girt was well represented with a large group of merry revelers celebrating a special birthday. St. Rose Grammar School teachers were out in force -- and in good voice, too! We hope they'll all come back next month. Cliff and Carol were back and caught up on the latest happenings with friends, Ron and Geri. Kay and Bill are always "fan"tastic! Liz's brother Glenn and his wife Stella joined us -- before leaving for vacation in Myrtle Beach next week. Sheila & Jim brought along the evening's littlest "party animal" and the newest addition to our family to the festivities: "Nicolas James Briggs Sullivan" who made the trip all the way from Santiago, Chile. (Grandparents, Jerry and Kathleen, were beaming.) Maureen and Tim and I were the first Ryans to see the Little Angel. Nico and his mom, Kerry (Sheila's daughter), and dad (Ricardo) had flown into Newark Airport earlier yesterday afternoon and came directly to The Irish Rail. Not bad for just 10 weeks old! Siobhan brought along little Gerry and Kara to join in the fun with Aunt Meg and "Baby on Board." Liz was happy to greet her friend Erika -- and her friend.

We'll be back at The Rail on Thursday, October 29 (6-9pm). In the meantime, mark your calendar to join us at CONNOLLY STATION in Belmar on September 17 (6-9pm). Some folks -- like my Superintendent and his family -- weren't able to stay last night since there was an hour's wait for a table! So plan on arriving early. Hope to see you soon!

BTW: Yes, that's a real Irish potato sitting on the counter. :-)

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Irish Rail & Connolly Station

Just a reminder that we will be at THE IRISH RAIL (Manasquan) on Thursdays, September 3 & October 29, from 6:00-9:00 PM. We hope to see many of you there. We're happy to announce that we will also be playing at CONNOLLY STATION in Belmar on Thursday, September 17, from 6:00-9:00 PM. It's a beautiful restaurant and pub with a tradition of Irish music on Thursday nights. We hope you'll be able to join us!

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Good Time Was Had By All! | Video

The Wild Rovers Return (Thanks for the video, Cait!)

We had a great time at St. Stephen's Green again last night. (View a slideshow here.) Thanks to all those who came out to join us. My sister and her extended family were there (with friends, Don and Liz C.), just having gotten back from a month in Chile visiting the latest addition to our clan, Nicholas Briggs. Meghan and "Baby On Board" were there with Auntie Ruairi. My friend and musical mentor, Ed Finn (that's right: FINN) and his wife Dorothy were there, as were several friends from both our meditation group and Merton Discussion Group in Belmar. For the first time in public I sang "Danny Boy" for Bill and Kay Pentony who were there with their friends, the Whitman family, whose daughter, Wynne, will be moving back to Spring Lake soon. (So we'll expect to see her in The Green more often.) Peggy Sullivan (not Danny, this time) came with Frank and Suzie Carey. Carol and husband-local entertainer Cliff Bloodgood were back again, too. Several families of former students were there. The children even got up on stage to join me in "The Garden Song." That was so much fun. I hope someone will share the video clips of that one! It was great to have Cait & Steve and Abbey with us again, though it's such a long trip for them. (This morning Cait told me they had counted 80 people that they recognized in the crowd.) One of their friend's mom was there, too -- born and bred in Mayo she was. ("Up Mayo!") Maureen and Tim brought Aileen along. Tim will be hosting a "cousins party" next week, so that will be a lot of fun for the younger set. Frank and Mary Dunn were there. Their daughter, Bridget, played grammar school basketball with Abbey at St Rose. It was great to see Liz's friend, Judy, and her family. Anne and son, Mark, stopped in to see us again. Bob & Helen Tuffy (friends since Marriage Encounter days) arrived in the area on Saturday so they could avoid the Sunday traffic on the Parkway, staying over with the Brady Bunch in Manasquan. ... That's enough for now. I'll write more and post more videos soon.

We'll be at The Irish Rail in Manasquan September 3 and October 29 (6-9 pm). Watch this space or look on our Calendar page for future engagements as they are booked. Feel free to drop us an email or leave a message below.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

It's a Small World!

This week we had some interesting emails from people who had visited our Web site and Blog. For example:

Hi, Greg!

My name is Charles and I was recently exploring my Irish roots, especially the music. I came across your website.

I really like your genre of music.

I have to compliment you on your talent. You are very good and your story on your blog is very touching.

I grew up not far from where you play at St Stephen's Green Publick House. We moved from Newark in the early sixties to West Belmar. I was very young. My older brothers may know of the places in Newark you speak of.

Since then, I've moved away from New Jersey and currently am living in California with my family, but soon we're to move back to the Jersey Shore.

I will make it a point to come listen to you play when I get back home.

Also from your blog I see a hint that you may be a man of faith... I, too.

Peace and Blessings!
Charles Farrell

Feel free to leave a comment below about yourself -- and your interest in Irish music. Hope to see you tonight at The Green!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

August, September & October Dates

Mark your calendar!
Liz and I will be at St. Stephen's Green Publick House this Sunday, August 16, from 6:00-9:00 PM. We'd love to see you there. If you are unable to make it Sunday, we will be at the The Irish Rail in Manasquan on September 3 and October 29 (Thursdays) from 6:00-9:00 PM. Check the Web links above for menus, directions, et cetera. Spread the word!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer Break & Rehearsal Video

While Liz and I are off-line for a bit, mark your calendar to join us at St. Stephen's Green on Sunday, August 16th from 6:00 till 9:00 PM. We'd love to see you there!
"The October Winds" Rehearsal. [2:57]

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cousin Peg ("Peg o' My Heart")

Here's a photo of my cousin Peggy (AKA Peg, Meg, Meggie, and more). On a previous post I told how her son, Paddy (now Fr. Pat), is the one who taught me how to play the guitar. We spent untold hours playing and singing at his house which was right across the street from our house. Through it all, Peggy never complained. She was -- and is -- a singer herself. Some of my earliest memories of family gatherings were of Peg and her sisters dressing up in the men-folk's army fatigues and singing "close harmonies" just like the Andrews Sisters. (Watch them below.) They not only had the songs down pat, but they had all the moves, too. They were terrific! Whenever Paddy and I played for family members, we'd seem (to her) to spend an inordinate amount of time tuning our guitars -- we wanted the sound to be right. Peggy would say: "Why do you have to do that? You never see them doing that on TV! Can't you just play?" For years, Peg has been a faithful follower of Bobby Byrne and she invariably gets up to do a few numbers during his show. She's a real show-stopper!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Video: "Moonshiner / Whistling Gypsy" [8:12]

Here's a video clip that Abbey took at St. Stephen's Green last Sunday. More clips to follow.

Monday, July 13, 2009

St. Stephen's Green Debut | Slide Show

Liz and I had a wonderful time performing at St. Stephen's Green last night. We could not have hoped for a nicer place to play. While we met a lot of new people, the best part was seeing many of our friends who were able to make it to the gig.

Abbey and Jury were able to be with us, even though they've been so busy taking such good care of their ailing dog, Cale. Jury took the photos in this slide show. Abbey shot some videos which I will post soon.

Liz and I will be back at The Green on August 16. We'd love to see you there if you can make it. Until then, you're welcome to leave a comment below.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Latest Gigs Announced!

St. Stephen's GreenLiz and I will be performing at St. Stephen's Green Publick House on Route 71 in Spring Lake Heights on July 12 and August 16. We'll play three sets starting at 6:00 PM. Other dates to follow. Watch this space.

Please pass the word to anyone you think might be interested.

We hope to see you there!

Friday, June 26, 2009


After some years away from performing, I'm excited to be getting out there again.

Liz and I spent this winter brushing up on the music I loved as a teenager when I first learned to play the guitar. And Liz has become a great bodhrán player! (Her favorite things in kindergarten were the little percussion instruments in music class.)

My cousin Paddy taught me how to play the guitar when I was 16 and we spent hours and hours -- and hours! -- playing songs by Bob Dylan; Pete Seeger; The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem; Peter, Paul & Mary; the Beatles and others. One of our first public performances (other than Sunday Folk Masses at Holy Cross Church in Harrison) was in his high school's variety show. We played a couple of Mamas and Papas songs and they went over very well.

During my college years, I played at a lot of campus coffee houses. The music at that time was perfectly suited for a voice and a guitar. When I was 19, my sister Sheila arranged for an audition with Joe Finn. I played for Joe at a friend's house and he liked what he heard. He asked me to come right over to the McCann Hotel's "Silver Edge Bar" in Belmar, where he was headlining, to play for the crowd there. It went OK and Joe offered me a job playing there. (I was under-age so I had to be bonded to be able to play in a place for over-21-year-olds.) I then played at the Vailsburg Inn in Newark, the Norwood Hotel in Avon, and other places around the State. When I started teaching, I dropped out of the music scene for some years till I was offered a spot playing and singing in Ed Finn's country western band, "Firewater." That gig lasted for more than 20 years!

Last summer, Tommy Makem died and it really saddened me. He was one of my lifetime musical heroes and I knew I would miss his being in the world. I wrote to Liam Clancy expressing my sadness -- and my appreciation for their music over the years. Then, in November, Joe Finn passed away. When I had learned about the seriousness of his illness, I emailed him to thank him for his gift of music and for all he had done for me personally. He very kindly thanked me for my message. I was more motivated than ever to return to Irish music -- partly as a tribute to Joe and his music.

So, Liz and I have started approaching restaurants and pubs in the area that have "Irish Nights." We're also interested in playing for private parties -- no late hours, though! ("Been there; done that!") We'll see how it goes. Wish us luck!

Bookmark our Web site and this blog for the latest news about

Special thanks to Abbey Ryan for creating our Web site and this blog!

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