Along with spending a day at the Galway Races and sailing to the Caribbean aboard an Irish music cruise, a trip to see live music at the Towne Crier Café has been on my bucket list for quite some time now. So I was feeling a bit blue when I heard that the venue in Pawling, N.Y., would close its doors after their line-up of February shows. Then I read the happy news that founder and owner, Phil Ciganer, plans to continue his mission of presenting live music in the Hudson Valley in a new location in 2012. Yes! I had not missed the boat on this one.
The decision to relocate came about as a result of an expired lease and the building going on the market. The Towne Crier Café moved twice after Ciganer opened it in 1972, the second time 23 years ago. Irish artists continued to flock to the venue through the changes. The Hothouse Flowers, Cherish the Ladies, Solas, Eileen Ivers, Paul Brady & Andy Irvine, and Lunasa have all graced the stage at the Towne Crier, and when I asked Ciganer what his favorite Celtic music memory at the club is, he simply said: “They have all been really special.”
I must admit that I feel a little strange writing about a venue I’ve never been to, but when I recommend that Irish Echo readers stay tuned to hear more about the new location of this venue, trust me on this one. The Bothy Band has played there, and so have the Clancy Brothers. Seriously, the Bothy Band and the Clancy Brothers! Phil Ciganer is definitely doing something right.
Besides, I tend to go there in my imagination each time I listen to one of my favorite recordings of live Irish music, “The Clancy Tradition Live at the Towne Crier Café.” The 1998 album features very fine and lively music, but just as present as the Clancy Tradition is the joy of the audience. Each time I hear it I can picture myself front row in a cozy café swaying and singing along in the company of true music lovers who know how to have a good time.
I’ll keep you posted on Ciganer’s future plans for the café, and since I don’t have the time or money to take off to Galway or the Caribbean I look forward to grabbing hold of my next chance to see live Irish Music at the Towne Crier Café, no matter where it’s located.
In the meantime, check out Mary Courtney followed by Broken Banjo Strings at An Beal Bocht in Riverdale on 1/13, and on 1/14 you’ll have to choose between Jameson’s Revenge at Ulysses in NYC, the Cunningham Brothers at Byrne and Hanrahan in Yonkers, and Cathie Ryan at the Walkabout Clearwater Coffeehouse in White Plains. That’s the Sound Around this week!