PUB SONGS & STORIESAuthor: Marc Gunn
06 Oct 2022

PUB SONGS & STORIES

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Pub Songs & Stories, the virtual Public House for Celtic culture and change through music. Marc Gunn plays Sci F'Irish music. He will take you on an adventure. He'll share the stories behind his songs as we explore pop culture media through the lens of Irish & Celtic music. You will have fun and sing along, and maybe get a far too real glimpse of yourself.

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    Grace O'Malley & Celtic Invasion Vacation Expectations

    Where are we going on the next Celtic Invasion Vacation? Listen and also enjoy some music related to the invasion. Plus, you’ll learn what you can expect to experience when you join an invasion.

    It’s Pub Songs & Stories #258

    WELCOME TO PUB SONGS & STORIES

    I am Marc Gunn. This is the audio liner notes for the songs I record and play.

    The show is brought to you by my Gunn Runners on Patreon. If you enjoy this podcast and my music, please join the Club. You’ll get 2-3 podcasts per month. You’ll be able to download songs featured in this show, get sheet music, and access to Coffee with The Celtfather video concerts. You get a lot for as little as $5 per month. And you can save 15% with an annual membership.
    Thanks to my newest Gunn Runners on Patreon: Cecilia F

    1:01 - WHAT’S NEW?

    This is a bonus episode. I finally settled on where to go for the next Celtic Invasion Vacation in 2023. I looked at Galicia in Spain, the Wicklow Mountains, south of Dublin, Ireland, and Westport in County Mayo, Ireland. And the winner is… Westport in County Mayo.

    I don’t yet have details about the trip. Nor have I opened it up to the public. I’m gonna spend the next month working those out. But there are few things I want to explore while we are there.

    First, County Mayo was the home of Grace O’Malley. She was known as the Pirate Queen of Ireland. A quick search revealed that there are not many records of her. However, there are some letters that were exchanged with Queen Elizabeth I, which show a mutual admiration of each other, two strong women in a time of men. I’m gonna research a bit about the Pirate Queen and see what we can find.

    And to give you a small taste, The Gothard Sisters have a song inspired by Grainne, as she is often called.

    2:15 - “Grace O’Malley” by The Gothard Sisters from Mountain Rose

    5:49 - MORE ON TRAVEL

    One of my regular invaders, Jim, once said that what he enjoyed about our trips is that there are frequently different types of travel that we do. Meaning we might take a boat or train, instead of a car. So I’m always looking out for something cool like that for at least one day. Happily, Clare Island is nearby.

    I honestly know very little about Clare Island. Although, it sounds like Gracy O’Malley spent some time there as well. What I do know about it is that The Saw Doctors have a fantastic song called “Clare Island”. It makes me excited to see it.

    That’s what I have so far.

    6:31 - UPCOMING SHOWS

    I’m gonna share a replay from the Celtfather Unkilted podcast. I noticed after publishing that episode last month that there is one thing that is a bit off at present. That is the requirement of a vaccination card. I am not requiring that at present though the sentiment is still valid. These trips are small and your fellow invaders should be treated like family. Meaning I do expect that you will get vaccinated as needed to protect your family.

    7:54 - WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT ON A CELTIC INVASION VACATION?

    If you go to the website you won’t find much information. I usually list the itinerary when it becomes available but that can be January or March before the trip. You will find podcasts and links to pictures and videos. I don't know that any of it really paints a good picture.

    So I thought I would try to break down how these trips work to help you decide if you want to join me in the future.

    Celtic Invasion Vacations are not your typical travel tour experience. Most tourists travel on big buses. They go place to place. You stay up late. You get up early. There’s 30, 60 or even 90 people packed on one to three tour buses.

    If you’re like me, that sounds pretty miserable. My first two trips were on tour buses. Everyone was a fan of my music. So that was pretty awesome. The bus drivers were awesome too. But that's a lot of people for an introvert like me.

    I don’t know how much of the fatigue was from so many people or the staying up late/getting-up-early business. But it’s not my preferred way of traveling. I like small groups.

    My mom moved to Italy in 1985. So I’ve gone back-and-forth to Europe for a long time.

    My mom is an awesome adventurer. I went to school on an American military base in Vicenza, Italy for my senior year of high school. While all the other high school seniors went to Remini to get drunk, my mom and I went on in artistic pilgrimage following the works of Piero Della Francesca. She instilled in me the value of planning as well as spontaneity.

    You see that in my Celtic Invasion Vacations itinerary. When I finally make one that is. Typically, I don't have a full itinerary when I announce the latest trip. I have… ideas.

    In fact, I usually have one big idea. Then I find a way to make it work.

    One person told me he was disappointed when my trip to the Highlands of Scotland a few years back did not also include the Isle of Skye, like it was initially listed on the early itinerary.

    That was because I had a big idea. But when I finally settled on details, I realized it was impractical. I learned from that error. If I make any big changes to what was planned, you are welcome to back out.

    I don’t usually settle on solid itineraries until December or January. I just don’t have enough details to make a solid decision.

    That might make some people uncomfortable, especially when you’re putting down nearly $3000, plus air travel, to join me.

    The adventure is worth it!

    The great thing about traveling on the Celtic Invasion Vacation in my opinion is that it is a small group. That means maximum flexibility for adventure.

    So let’s answer some questions.

    11:08 - WHEN ARE THE CELTIC INVASION VACATIONS?

    This can always vary. But typically I run my trips in late May or early June. This seems to be the best time to travel to Ireland and Scotland. People talk about rain in Ireland. June seems to invariably have one of the lightest rain falls ever. It's just... perfect!

    11:28 - HOW LONG IS EACH TRIP?

    Celtic Invasion Vacations are about seven days long. The trips are officially scheduled from Saturday to Saturday. That’s because that’s how long most vacation rentals book. But I’m not going to be taking you to seven hotels in seven days. We stay in one place most of the week.

    If the vacation rental is more than a couple hours from the airport or there's something cool to see closer, we may stay in a hotel near the airport on the last night of the Invasion. It just depends on how soon everyone on the trip has booked their departure.

    12:00 - WHEN SHOULD I ARRIVE?

    I usually ask Invaders to arrive the day before the trip. That way you can recover from jet lag and adjust to the time change. But that also allows us to leave first thing in the morning on Saturday to drive to our vacation rental.

    While it is recommended, it is not required. As long as you arrive by 11 am on Saturday, we will adjust. You are also responsible for the hotel on Friday night. But you might find a roommate with other Invaders.

    12:39 - WHEN SHOULD I DEPART?

    Again, it’s up to you. I prefer you to set your departure after noon on Saturday. You can stay as long as you want.

    I usually leave on Sunday after the trip is over.

    12:50 - HOW DO YOU SELECT THE DESTINATIONS?

    Destinations are chosen by invaders and of course me. I usually have an idea of a place I want to see. I look for a suitable vacation spot.

    But sometimes I ask for suggestions from Invaders. Our trip to Brittany and Cornwall were both chosen because some regular Invaders wanted to visit all seven Celtic nations.

    Of course, I get the final say. And if I can't get enough people to attend one of these more remote spots, I may make adjustments.

    Once we settle on a big destination, the next step is figuring out the generalized itinerary.

    13:23 - IS THERE DOWNTIME?

    Yes. This is not an intense, constantly moving tour. Celtic Invasion Vacations are about relaxation, adventure, and fun. But how much can be up to you.

    There’s usually at least one day where we are near to the cottage and take it easy. We explore the local town. Wednesday’s have the option of a little extra downtime for those who need it.

    13:49 - HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE ITINERARY?

    You can't make an itinerary until you know where you are going, right? Well, the challenge for me is that I need to know the exact place we are staying to figure out where our itinerary will go.

    My next step then is to start researching vacation rentals. I look for rentals in our destination area that hold between 8-12 people (sometimes more). I want it to look nice, comfortable and easily accessible. In fact, I want the majority of the cool stuff that we will explore to be within 30 minutes of where we are staying.

    Once I know the exact location, I can plan the itinerary.

    14:23 - WHAT DOES A TYPICAL ITINERARY LOOK LIKE?

    The first day of the trip involves driving to our destination. We need at least one interesting place to stop along the way. Maybe two if you include lunch.

    When we arrive, we need groceries. I confess, there's something extra fun about going to a grocery store in Europe. Some of our Invaders join me for a shopping experience as we load up on breakfast and a couple dinners.

    I make dinner the first night, typically my secret pasta recipe. That evening is usually concluded with a little music by me.

    The second day is usually a good day to stay local. So we explore one or two of the cool things nearby. We try to spend time out of the car, walking around. It's good to stretch our legs after traveling.

    On either the second or the third day, I like to bring in a tour guide, if possible. My trips are not geared around "tours", but local guides are great for adding a little bit of history, culture, and legends to the experience.

    Guides are also good at giving us a local perspective of things we should check out that are not necessarily on our itinerary.

    In Brittany, we found some cool cairns that were not on our original itinerary. In Cornwall, we got an overview of Tintagel and found some standing stones I would've never found. In Wales, Gwilym Morus shared the incredible legends of Merlin and introduced us to an eco-resort, hidden in the mountains. In Donegal, we found some great restaurants and a former passage tomb.

    Around day three, we're ready for a different travel experience. That's when I try to get us out on the water or on a train. Something to shake up the feel of the trip.

    Day four is the midweek break. Again we stay local. Some choose to relax in our cottage. Others explore something new that’s local.

    Day five usually takes us on a long adventure. We'll get in the van and drive further to see something outside of our main region. This gives us a nice look at other regions nearby. It also adds to the fun adventure.

    Day six is intentionally left open. We usually find something cool by this time that we might not have realized before the trip began. Or perhaps a guide or a local we met had a recommendation. That's when we take the advice of others to explore something different

    The final day is usually spent fairly local. It’s time for last minute exploration of our area. Sometimes we pack up and make our way back  \towards the airport. One or two bonus destinations end up on the final day.

    17:17 - WHAT MAKES A CELTIC INVASION VACATION DIFFERENT FROM OTHER TOURS?

    I like to stress that Celtic Invasion Vacations are not tours. They are vacations. I want my Invaders to feel relaxed and happy by the end of the trip. Not exhausted, like I was on my first two trips to Ireland. You should be energized and excited for the next Celtic Invasion experience.

    17:36 - HOW MANY PEOPLE JOIN THE INVASION?

    The number can vary. But I usually aim for between 8-12 invaders. Too many people and I start having trouble finding restaurants to eat at.

    17:55 - WHAT PERSONAL PAPERS ARE NEEDED FOR TRAVELING ON A CELTIC INVASION VACATION?

    You DO need a passport. It's usually good to get your passport at least 90 days out. I would suggest applying for one a minimum of six months before you depart. But there are some expedited services that can get them sooner. Just plan ahead.

    You do NOT need a visa. You don't need an international drivers license either. In fact, your regular driver's license is fine if you plan to drive in Europe with any car company. Make sure you bring that at the very least. But of course, driving on the Invasion is usually done by me.

    Since the pandemic, you will need a vaccination card. Invasions are like family vacations. We want to take care of our fellow invaders. So your COVID vaccination card is essential for my trip and a lot of European travel.

    18:45 - HOW MUCH DO CELTIC INVASION VACATIONS COST?

    That varies year to year. It starts at about $2800 for the land part of the trip, for each person on the trip.

    It does not cover the cost of air travel. You handle your own airline tickets.

    Your fee covers your housing for a full week. That's for a shared room, either a double if you’re a couple or two singles. Depending on our housing, it may cost extra to get a single room to yourself.

    Your fee covers a breakfast every day and dinner at least five times. Often I cover more than that. Sometimes it works well to make lunches if we're not planning to be near restaurants. So I happily pay for lunch supplies if we need them. But in general, you are responsible for your own lunch.

    You can have what you like for breakfast each morning. Some days we have a full breakfast with eggs, bacon, yogurt, fruit, cheese, or whatever you want.

    Grocery shopping usually happens on the first day. So whatever you need, we can probably find it.

    Other days, if we want to get going early, then we will have a Continental Breakfast with just breads, cheese, yogurt or fruit.

    And yes, there's coffee. Every morning. And tea too. I need my coffee!

    I cook dinner at least 2 days during the week. We have my world famous secret pasta meal. And then there's the Celtic Invasion specialty... Prince Charlie... Secret. It's a recipe we picked up years ago and is now a tradition on the Invasions. There may be more than two meals. But of course, we like to eat out too.

    The toughest thing about dining on the Celtic Invasions is finding a place to eat. If the group is under nine people. That's usually not too difficult. But if we have more than that, it can be a challenge. I plan ahead for that. Because who doesn't like to eat out in Europe!?!?! I consider that a big part of the experience.

    20:38 - IS THERE MUSIC?

    At least twice a week, we spend the evening relaxing at our cottage with dinner... and music.

    I am, of course, host of the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast. But I'm also a musician. I play Celtic music with a sci fi drinking song twist. I call it Sci F'Irish music. You can hear my music through my website at celtfather.net.

    I plan to play for at least an hour. But a lot of it depends on you and how excited you are to hear some music. If we're really lucky, you might bring an instrument too. Then we can have an Irish session with songs and tunes afterward.

    And if we're really fortunate, I will find a musician or bring in a musician to come play for us. That's frequently difficult to pull off.  But when it happens. It's absolutely amazing!

    21:27 - WHEN DOES OUR DAY BEGIN AND END?

    Breakfast is usually around 7:30 or 8 AM with a departure time of 8:30-9 AM.

    We don't usually do too much in the evening. Since Irish sessions usually don't begin until 9 PM, it's not something we usually attend outside of our cottage. But if it's something you want to do, we might be able to make it happen.

    22:29 - HOW OLD IS TOO OLD? HOW YOUNG IS TOO YOUNG?

    I have had people ages 18 on into their 70s on my Celtic Invasion Vacations. I'd say the vast majority are in their 40s, 50s and 60s. But I don't really think much about it because I adjust each trip to who's on it.

    In 2019, the younger group hiked up Skellig Michael while the less physically able landed on the Greater Blaskett Island by boat.

    The physically active walk, hike and run ahead if they so desire. Those who aren't, take it at their own speed.

    The Isle of Skye was one of the few places we went where it was better to be physically active. There's a lot of hiking on that island. But ye know, I don't think anyone's vacation fun was hindered by their physical activity.

    As for younger folks, I typically don't prefer to have young kids on the trip. I know the challenges associated with that. But I'm willing to consider it as long as the you feel the kids are up to getting up and going.

    One lady asked about a teenager. I think I might be open to a teenager who is a bit more independent but still willing to follow the rules.

    23:48 - HOW DO WE TRAVEL?

    Typically we travel in a van. These are usually large nine-seaters with lots of luggage space. Sometimes we will add a second van or a car to carry extra Invaders.

    Speaking of luggage, we do have limited space. I find one suitcase per person is plenty, plus a carry on. You typically don't need more. There's usually laundry facilities too. So you can always wash something extra. There's a whole bunch of videos on YouTube where you can learn how to travel light.

    If you truly need an extra suitcase, that's fine. But your experience is so much better when you travel light.

    24:32 - HOW DO YOU SIGN UP?

    The first step is for me to open up the Invasion to the public. You see, former Invaders get first dibs. Once it's public, here's what you do.

    First, email an application form to me.

    Second, send me a check for your deposit. That reserves your spot on the Invasion within 2 weeks of emailing your application form.

    Finally, just send me your final payment before the deadline and you're golden.

    Speaking of your final payment, you are welcome to break it up into multiple payments if you don't want to or can't pay all at once. I'm happy to work with you to make the trip happen.

    25:05 - HOW DO I CANCEL IF I NEED TO?

    First off, there is a $400 non-refundable deposit. Though there is a caveat for the "non-refundable" part. If I change the dates, you can get a refund. If you can find someone to take your spot, or someone willing takes your spot, then you can get a refund.

    However, if you are sick and turned away by an airline or country, I can't offer a refund. Typically, 30-60 days before the trip, once I start paying for things, like our housing, vans, tour guides, whatever, I can no longer offer a refund. That usually starts about the time of the Celtic Invasion deadline.

    I'm not a corporation though. So there may be flexibility. My goal here is to have people "sign up" and then not drop a month later as happened on my very first Celtic Invasion. If you wanna go, make a commitment with a non-refundable deposit.

    25:54 - CELTIC INVASION VACATIONS – CLOSING REMARKS

    All in all, Celtic Invasion Vacations are about happily experiencing the fun culture, history, and legends of one small but magical location. I hope you'll consider joining me on the next Celtic Invasion Vacation.

    Sign up at CelticInvasion.com so you don't miss out on this incredible adventure!

    And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

    26:20 - STAR OF COUNTY DOWN PLACEHOLDER

    Let’s finish up with a recording of “Star of the County Down”. This was released on show #255 ConJuration: From Ren Fest to Sci Fi Conventions.

    You can download this song as an MP3 when you join my Gunn Runners on Patreon.

    26:45 - “Star of the County Down” by Marc Gunn also from How America Saved Irish Music

    30:24 - CLOSING

    What are you doing while listening to Pub Stories? I’d love your thoughts and feedback. So take a picture of yourself or where you are or what one of these stories reminds you of. Post it on social media. Use the hashtag #pubstories so I can find it and share your story.

    Thanks for listening to Pub Songs & Stories. The show was produced by Marc Gunn, edited by Mitchell Petersen with graphics by Miranda Nelson Designs. You can subscribe and listen to the regular show wherever you find podcasts. You can also subscribe to my mailing list. You will get regular updates of new music, podcasts, special offers, and you’ll enjoy more stories behind several of my most-popular songs.

    And of course, please tell one friend about this podcast. Word of mouth is the absolute best way to support any creative endeavor.

    Have fun and sing along at www.pubsong.com!

    #pubstories #countymayo #thegothardsisters


  • Posted on 04 Oct 2022

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    Favor of a Dance | West Side Story Meets Firefly

    West Side Story meets the TV show Firefly. We’re digging into fake gallantry, a duel with swords, and fighting back against those who feel the need to control others.

    It’s all on Pub Songs & Stories #257.

    WELCOME TO PUB SONGS & STORIES

    I am Marc Gunn. This is the audio liner notes for the songs I record and play.

    The show is brought to you by my Gunn Runners on Patreon. If you enjoy this podcast and my music, please join the Club. You’ll get 2-4 podcasts per month. You’ll be able to download songs featured in this show, get occasional sheet music, and access to Coffee with The Celtfather video concerts. You get a lot for just a little, just $5 per month. And you can save 15% with an annual membership.

    Thanks to my newest Gunn Runners on Patreon: Rex H, Kathryn H, Timothy H, Bobby C

    0:59 - WHAT’S NEW?

    My pizza stone cracked yesterday. I’m not really surprised. But I’m really sad.

    This is my first pizza stone. I didn’t know how to cook with it when I started, let alone take care of it. And to be completely honest, I’m also a bit negligent on a lot of things.

    As I took the broken stone out of the oven, I carefully cleaned off the burnt cornmeal that remains after making pizza. I learned through trial and error that if you have cornmeal on the stone, the pizza slides off it easier.

    A lot of that cornmeal falls onto the bottom of the oven.

    What do I usually do with that cornmeal? I leave it there. I don’t finish the job.

    It’s sort of like the twisty tie that came off the finished loaf of bread. I saw it lying by the back door on the floor. Usually, I leave it where it lies in my home. I don’t clean it up. But I picked it up yesterday.

    I’m still learning about personal responsibility. It’s been haunting me a lot more as time goes by and our world becomes more partisan. It’s the first stepping stone for communal responsibility. Something just as important, yet just as ignored.

    I understand better now. Picking up that twisty or cleaning up the stove is essential for the health of our home. It also means I have less time doing things I WANT to do.

    However, it could mean that the pizza stone that I loved might not crack. I wouldn’t have wasted good money and added waste to our environment.

    Hm… I just finished re-reading Shepherd’s Tale, the story behind Shepherd Book of Firefly. I feel this whole thought process is relevant. I’ll let you know more when we publish the new episode of In the ‘Verse.

    In the meantime, I have a new Firefly song to talk about in today’s show. But first, let’s talk about upcoming shows.

    2:50 - UPCOMING SHOWS

    3:58 - STORY OF FAVOR OF A DANCE

    “Favor of a Dance” is a single I released at the end of June. It features the music of Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer, with backing vocals by Jamie Haeuser.

    I love the instrumentation that Vicki and Jonny added to the song. Jonny’s guitar takes a big lead on it. And Vicki’s flute playing adds a joyful, touch of brilliance. I liked the song before. But I love it so much more with those two playing along.

    The song is based on the episode Shindig, the 4th episode of Firefly. I originally wrote the song for the 4th episode of In the ‘Verse. That’s a podcast I make with my friend Mikey Mason. I recommend you check out that TV and podcast episodes too, or at least the synopsis, if you want context for the song, but I’ll share a shortened version for those who don’t do that.

    I love the story of my song. “Favor of a Dance” is based on the episode “Shindig”. It’s a love triangle about respect, rules, and kindness.

    In the episode, Malcolm Reynolds runs into Inara at a ball. She and her customer, Atherton Wing, are dancing. But despite his fake gallantry, Atherton proves himself to be the kind of man who believes in controlling women.

    Malcolm picks up on that and picks a fight with Atherton by asking Inara for a dance. This leads to a punch in the face and eventually a duel with swords.

    I feel like my story does a good job following the storyline of the episode. The first verse talks about the “social event of the season”. It talks about Mal’s and Inara's joy of dancing, and ends with the hostile, controlling nature of Atherton.

    Verse two digs into that hostility. “His hand is tight around your arm”. I love that line. I have trouble coming up with good metaphors when I’m writing songs. Especially the initial drafts. I frequently add those in later, like I did here. I feel like this is a great line to show the mean nature of the antagonist.

    The last lines of the second verse dig into the rules aspect of the episode and how sometimes you have to break the rules to bring kindness to a situation.

    Each chorus has a slightly different phrase in it. “Give me the favor of a dance” was a line that Mal respectfully uses to ask if he can dance with Atherton’s guest. And it’s all done from the perspective of Mal.

    The third verse again continues the original story. Mal and Inara dance even though Mal is not a great dancer. But they have a nice time, at least until Atherton breaks up the dance and pulls Inara away from Mal.

    This is where the story for me takes a twist. The two main characters draw swords to fight. And thematically the song starts to remind me of West Side Story.

    If you haven’t seen West Side Story, you’re missing out. That musical was written as a modern version of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. There are some brilliant musical-based, choreographed fight songs.

    In one scene, there’s this big dance off. Lots of posturing, back and forthing as they threaten each other. This culminates in a big Rumble with even more fantastic dancing to music and then the death of one of the main characters.

    “Favor of a Dance” makes me think of those dance scenes. Except my song is doing the same thing, lyrically.

    So the second chorus talks about the animosity of Atherton. But it also uses the idea of sword-fighting as dancing. Or fighting as dancing.

    What is that, a boxing phrase, “you wanna dance with me?”

    That’s how the chorus ends. You can hear a little grumble in my voice as I sing that one asking for a fight.

    The final verse announces the defeat of the antagonist. It uses the idea of a puddle of blood. But instead, I changed the line to a “puddle of shame” because in the episode, Atherton isn’t killed. He’s stabbed, because “mercy is the mark of a great man,” says Mal. Then he stabs Atherton a few more times and says, “I guess I’m just a good one.”

    The dance and the verse conclude. Our hero has won. But he doesn’t feel like it. It just feels like a different game that people play. Different rules. A different world.

    Some people feel the need to control others, to install their own values on someone else. That is the opposite of kindness. People should be in charge of their own bodies. Their own lives. They should make their own decisions as long it doesn’t affect another living, thinking human being.

    And yes, I am referring also to the right of women to choose what happens to their bodies too. They should have that individual right.  And not having legislators try to control and manipulate them through legislation.

    But that’s a tangent.

    Ultimately, “Favor of a Dance” is about kindness and generosity.

    I took the idea of generosity from my friend Jamie Haeuser, who sings on the song. She has continually proven herself to be overflowing in generosity. She’s one of the most generous and giving people I know.

    Whatever game we play, we should approach things through kindness and generosity. Whether that means not throwing trash on the ground or picking up a piece of trash someone else threw on the ground, so that our community is improved.

    That’s one of the areas I’m still waking up to. We have some control. We can pick up stuff that we didn’t toss, because it’s the right thing to do to make our community better.

    Of course, it could be as simple as making time and taking better care of the things in our own homes, so that they last longer. They don’t need to be tossed out like my pizza stone. We can take care of our world with kindness, generosity and respect for ourselves as well as for our community.

    9:41 - “Favor of a Dance” by Marc Gunn with Vicky Swan & Jonny Dyer and Jamie Haeuser from Come Adventure With Me

    12:37 - CLOSING

    I hope you enjoyed the song. “Favor of a Dance” will be on my next album, Come Adventure With Me. The album is on Kickstarter right now until September 11, 2022. So there’s less than a week to go for you to support this album and the merch that I am fundraising for.

    Oh! FYI. There’s a $100 level that pretty much has everything. That is your best option for this album. So please consider it.

    You can download this song as an MP3 when you join my Gunn Runners on Patreon.

    Finally, What are you doing while listening to this Pub Songs & Stories? I’d love your thoughts and feedback. So take a picture of yourself or where you are or what this story reminds you of. Post it on social media or email it to me. Use the hashtag #pubstories so I can find it and share your story.

    Thanks for listening to Pub Songs & Stories. The show was produced by Marc Gunn, edited by Mitchell Petersen with graphics by Miranda Nelson Designs. You can subscribe and listen to the regular show wherever you find podcasts. You can also subscribe to my mailing list. You will get regular updates of new music, podcasts, special offers, and you'll get more stories behind several of my most-popular songs.

    And of course, please tell one friend about this podcast. Word of mouth is the absolute best way to support any creative endeavor.

    Have fun and sing along at www.pubsong.com!

    #pubstories #westsidestory #shindigfirefly


  • Posted on 06 Sep 2022

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    Lads in the Shire | New Lord of the Rings Song

    Do you have song lyrics that you wrote that could be set to music? Send them to me. Kelly and Mitchell did. Their song “Lads in the Shire” is on my new CD, Selcouth. We will tell you how it happened and if it’ll work for you.

    It’s Pub Songs & Stories #256.

    0:02 - WHO'S PLAYING IN THE PUB TODAY

    Welcome to Pub Stories. Hey, if you want to know more about the songs I play? This is the audio liner notes for you to get to know more about my songs and how they might relate to your life.

    0:30 - THANK YOU GUNN RUNNERS

    But first, Pub Songs & Stories is a podcast brought to you by my Gunn Runners on Patreon.

    The public version of his show is released on the first Monday of each month starting in August. There will, however, be a private version. It will come out two weeks after the public one, exclusively on Patreon.

    If you’re looking for Stories from other Celtic bands, like we had in episodes last year, then be sure to subscribe to the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast.

    As a patron of mine, You’ll get this podcast, be able to download songs featured in this show, get sheet music, and access to Coffee with The Celtfather concerts. You get a lot for as little as $5 per month. And you can save 15% with an annual membership.
    Thanks to my newest Gunn Runners on Patreon: Ivan MacKillop, Don Rice, Antonya Pickard, Debra Cottrell, Didi Magnin, Nancy DouglasdeBaca, Wayne Finegar

    1:40 - WHAT’S NEW?

    My new Kickstarter goes live in August. The album is called Come Adventure With Me. It features that title track, and some of my newest music. Several songs are already recorded and released as singles. And if I haven’t given them away on Patreon yet, they will be. Why is that?

    Well, Streaming music gives you a quick and easy way to sample all of my music. Digital sales keep my business running. Tips and CD sales allow me to tour. Patreon funds my songwriting! Kickstarter funds physical products like CDs, shirts, pins and other merch. The plan is to officially release the album next year. But in what format?

    I have quite a few people who ask that I keep releasing CDs. I also started releasing Album Pins, which are lapel pins associated with each album.

    That is what this new Kickstarter will fund. Yes. Some of the music will go to pay musicians for their time in helping me create the music. But most of it will go into producing physical merch for this album. Although I’m also raising money for album lapel pins of a couple past albums.

    If you’re interested in supporting this album, please subscribe to my newsletter and follow the link to my Kickstarter page in August.

    3:13 - UPCOMING SHOWS

    A while back, Mitchell Petersen emailed me some lyrics. Mitchell is not only the sound engineer for my podcasts. But he and his wife Kelly are also fans of my Firefly Drinking Songs and Hobbit Drinking Songs shows at Dragon Con. And of course, he’s a fan of the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast which is where they found the song that they filked.

    I will let them start by telling you more about the song “Lads in the Shire”.

    3:43 - STORY OF LADS IN THE SHIRE

    To answer that question about whether Andrew and I had played that song much before our Hobbit Drinking Songs show. The answer is no.

    It’s funny getting song lyrics from people. What makes me choose one song or another? It really varies. First off, I don’t do nearly as many parodies as I used to. I enjoy parodies. However, one of my big goals these days is to write song lyrics and melodies.

    It’s rare that I follow up with songs sent to me that are parodies. Especially if I don’t know the original song. Sometimes, I will write my own melody. Mitchell and I have gotten to know one another over the years. So I thought it would at least be worth trying that.

    Some songs are really tough. They just don’t click. I have some lyrics from Rie Sheridan Rose that I still haven’t set to music. But of course, I also have a whole bunch that I did.

    Maybe it’s the hobbit-y nature about this song, But I loved the lyrics. They were different from my standard hobbit lyrics. Especially the ones that I write. It felt like a good change to try. So I picked up the autoharp and started strumming.

    I said some songs are really tough to write melodies for. This one was not. The autoharp and melody came together with minimal effort. I also decided to record it. Initially, I thought I would just have Mitchell mix it and release it on Patreon as a one off freebie.

    But after getting additional instrumentation added and hearing the mix, I decided to consider it for This CD.

    Now I should point out, I had about 20 tracks I was considering for the album. Why did this one make the cut instead of being delayed until the next album?

    Length.

    My goal was to keep the album at under 44 minutes. That’s 22 minutes per side. After organizing all of the songs, this 2 ½ minute song fit perfectly on the A side of the album.

    Yeah. I know. It’s kind of silly.

    That’s not to say it wouldn’t have made the cut. I still love it and as Mitchell pointed out, it is the latest addition to my Hobbit Drinking Song show I do.

    The delightfully simple instruments of bass and mandolin were provided by Daniel Briggs. And of course, Mitchell Petersen mixed and mastered the song.

    You can download “Lads in the Shire” as an MP3 when you join my Gunn Runners on Patreon.

    13:55 - Marc Gunn “Lads in the Shire” from Selcouth

    Thanks for listening to Pub Stories. The show was produced by Marc Gunn, edited by Mitchell Petersen with graphics by Miranda Nelson Designs. You can subscribe and listen wherever you find podcasts. You can also subscribe to my mailing list. You will get regular updates of new music, podcasts, special offers, and you’ll get an album for free. Welcome to the pub at www.pubsong.com!

    #pubstories #ladsintheshire #hobbitsongs


  • Posted on 02 Aug 2022

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    Conjuration: From Ren Fest to Sci Fi Conventions

    Live podcast from Conjuration 2021. You will learn how I became a podcaster, how I moved from Renaissance festival musician to science fiction conventions. You’ll find out what crazy things I sang in college.

    It’s Pub Songs & Stories #255.

    PUB SONGS & STORIES

    Welcome to Pub Stories. Do you want to know more about the song I play? This is the audio liner notes for you to get to know more about me and my  music. But also to find out how the song relates to your life

    0:43 - THANK YOU GUNN RUNNERS

    But first, Pub Songs & Stories is a podcast brought to you by my Gunn Runners on Patreon. The public version of his show is released on the first Monday of each month starting in August. There will, however, be a private version. It will come out two weeks after the public one, exclusively on Patreon.

    If you’re looking for Stories from other Celtic bands, like we had in episodes last year, then be sure to subscribe to the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast.

    If you enjoy my music or this podcast, please sign up on Patreon. You’ll get this podcast, podcasts from my travels, be able to download songs featured in this show, get sheet music, and access to Coffee with The Celtfather concerts. You get a lot for as little as $5 per month. And you can save 15% with an annual membership.
    Thanks to my newest Gunn Runners on Patreon: Ivan MacKillop

    1:07 - UPCOMING SHOWS

    1:58 - WHAT’S NEW?

    • Kickstarter coming in August

    02:06 - LIVE STORY AT CONJURATION

    03:38 - Star of the County Down

    11:49 - Irish Ballad

    15:08 - Poisoning Pigeons in the Park

    18:40 - O'er the Way

    23:10 - Happily Ever After

    28:58 - Jedi Drinking Song

    34:17 - Don't Go Drinking With Hobbits

    40:28 - Blink

    44:30 - Name on My Soul

    49:51 - I WANT YOUR FEEDBACK

    You can download a copy of “Happily Ever After” in the Gunn Runners Club on Patreon.

    What are you doing while listening to Pub Stories? I’d love your thoughts and feedback. So take a picture of yourself or where you are or what one of these stories reminds you of. Post it on social media. Use the hashtag #pubstories so I can find it and share your story.

    Thanks for listening to Pub Stories. The show was produced by Marc Gunn, edited by Mitchell Petersen with graphics by Miranda Nelson Designs. You can subscribe and listen wherever you find podcasts. You can also subscribe to my mailing list. You will get regular updates of new music, podcasts, special offers, and you’ll get 21 songs for free. Welcome to the pub at www.pubsong.com!

    #pubstories #conjuration2022 #harrypotterconvention

     


  • Posted on 21 Jun 2022

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    Wherever I May Roam

    Are you like Bilbo Baggins? Do you love a good adventure? Will shaking up your life help you to find happiness?

    Subscribe to Pub Songs & Stories #254 to find out.

    WHO'S PLAYING IN THE PUB TODAY

    Welcome to Pub Songs & Stories. This is the Virtual Public House to share stories and inspiration behind my music.

    0:24 -  WHAT’S NEW?

    Let me start by reminding you that Pub Songs & Stories is a podcast brought to you by my Gunn Runners on Patreon. The public version of his show will be released on the first Monday of each month starting in August. However, there will be a private version. It will come out every other week, exclusively on Patreon.

    If you’re looking for Stories from other Celtic bands, then be sure to subscribe to the Irish & Celtic Music Podcast.

    If you enjoy my music or this podcast, please sign up on Patreon. You’ll get this podcast, and be able to downloads songs featured in this show. You also get Stories from the Road, sheet music, and get access to the Coffee with The Celtfather concerts which happen on Wednesdays at 11 AM eastern. You get all of that for as little as $5 per month. And you can get a discount with an annual membership.

    Thanks to my newest Gunn Runners on Patreon: Ivan MacKillop

    I’m still putting together my next Kickstarter. The album is called Come Adventure With Me. It features that title track, and some of my newest music. Several songs are already recorded. And if I haven’t given them away on Patreon yet, they will be available there.

    That’s because Streaming music gives you a quick and easy way to sample all of my music. Digital sales keep my business running. Tips and CD sales allow me to tour. Patreon funds my songwriting!

    Kickstarter funds physical products like CDs, shirts, album pins and other merch. The plan is to officially release the album next year. But in what format?

    I have quite a few people who ask that I keep releasing CDs. I also started releasing Album Pins, which are lapel pins associated with each album.

    That is what this new Kickstarter will fund. Yes. Some of the music will go to pay musicians for their time in helping me create the music. But most of it will go into producing physical merch for this album. Although I’m also raising money for album lapel pins of a couple past albums.

    If you’re interested in supporting this album, please follow the link to my Kickstarter page and make a pledge.

    3:15 - UPCOMING SHOWS

    3:30 - STORY OF WHEREVER I MAY ROAM

    I’m like Bilbo Baggins. I love a good adventure. I think it all started when my parents divorced. My dad would drive us to Texas each summer to stay with our grandparents. My brother and I would fly home a few weeks later. I loved air travel.

    Then my mom moved to Italy in 1985. My brother and I flew, just the two of us, across the big blue ocean, to Italy. This was the height of my Dungeons & Dragons days. So going to Italy was like stepping inside one of my D&D campaigns. It was magical. I relished it.

    My mom had a small home in Isola Montagne. It was a few miles from the Vicenza military base. I moved to Italy in 1989 to live with my mom. I visited Rome, Venice, the alps, Florence, Verona, just… everywhere. It was incredible. Life was an adventure.

    But I also knew that I didn’t want to adventure alone. Sure I had fun in 2003. I sprained my ankle. But I had already booked a flight to Germany where I would take a train to Italy. It was fun. But also lonely.

    I wanted a family. In 2009, I met my wife, Gwen, at a house concert in Virginia. It was one of the few actual tours I ever made as a professional musician. We clicked instantly. We solidified our kindred spirits a couple months later when we met up in London. Our first big date was in Cambridge.

    I was living in New Orleans at the time. It turned out that New Orleans was where she called home before she swam out of it during Hurricane Katrina. We are connected in part by our love of travel.

    That’s something we’ve made a big part of our lives, and that of our children too. We took Kenzie to Galway, Ireland when she was 1 ½ years old. It was cold, wet and rainy that April of 2012. But an adventure!

    Since then, we’ve gone back to Cambridge. We’ve traveled around the US. This summer, we’re heading to Scotland and Europe as a family.

    This is what “Wherever I May Roam” is all about. It’s finding happiness and love wherever we are. One of my first epiphanies back in the 80s was that if things aren’t working out how you want them to, shake things up. Do something radical.

    That’s why I moved to New Orleans. It’s why I split up the success of the Brobdingnagian Bards to move to New Orleans. Travel is a great way to open your mind and spirit to great possibilities.

    7:50 - Marc GunnWherever I May Roam” from Selcouth

    You can download “Wherever I May Roam” as an MP3 when you join my Gunn Runners on Patreon.

    Hey if you want to join me on an adventure, every year I host Celtic Invasion Vacations. These are small group trips to Ireland or Scotland. This year we’re going to Invade the Banks of Loch Lomond. The trip is already filled up. I don’t know where we are going next year. But you can subscribe at celticinvasion.com to be the first to find out.

    Thanks for listening to Pub Stories. The show was produced by Marc Gunn, edited by Mitchell Petersen with graphics by Miranda Nelson Designs. You can subscribe and listen wherever you find podcasts. You can also subscribe to my mailing list. You will get regular updates of new music, podcasts, special offers, and you’ll get an album for free. Welcome to the pub at www.pubsong.com!

    #pubstories #whereverimayroam #kickstarter


  • Posted on 03 May 2022

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