Golf Central interview, Whit Watson with Martin Kaymer May 9, 2011

By Rodger Hara (September 2015 Celtic Connection newspaper)

There is an unending and good-natured debate over the invention of whiskey/whisky – in Scots Gaelic it’s uisge beatha and in the Irish it’s uisce beatha and in both it means “water of life”.
At the same time, on film and on stage, Scots are often depicted as hard-drinking and hard-fighting, kilt-wearing hard men and the Irish drunk has become a stereotype in films of all kinds, an image perpetuated by the St. Patrick’s Day revelries, the tee shirts involving drink that accompany them and the innumerable Irish drinking songs. Quickly now – can ye name me one good old Scottish drinking song? The list of literate, funny, perceptive and talented Irishmen who have risen to fame and who were well-known alcoholics is lengthy – Wilde, Joyce, Behan, Fitzgerald, O’Hara, O’Brien, O’Toole, Harris – and the darker side of that disease is often forgotten or overlooked in the light of their words and talent.

David Feherty is every bit the wit and talented, quick-minded and literate Irishman of any of the above. In a December 2009 interview in Golf Magazine, when asked what he’s reading, he “…first mentions what he is re-reading — the poetry of W.B. Yeats, the essays and dramas of Oscar Wilde, Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front — before copping to an obsession with the collected letters of Thomas Jefferson. (“The language is so beautiful. Jefferson’s so succinct and so insightful.”) When he gets rolling, Feherty can lose his golf-industry pals on the cultural backroads. His Charles Peirce is the 19th-century philosopher known as “the father of pragmatism,” not the Charles Pierce who wrote a GQ profile of Tiger Woods.”

Born and raised in Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland, he was his class-clown at an early age, worked for a time for a one-armed window washer in Belfast as his “wringerouter” and became a professional golfer when he turned 18 in 1976. Ten years later he had his best year as a professional, winning both the Italian and Scottish Opens. In the same Golf Magazine interview he said of the Scottish Open win, “They handed me the trophy-a big-ass silver cup. The oldest trophy in all of sport. I drank all sorts of crap from it. I woke up two days later on the 16th tee at Gleneagles, which makes no sense, because I won the tournament in Glasgow [45 miles away]. I opened my eyes to see blue skies and Peter Gant, the road manager for Led Zeppelin. I hadn’t seen him in ages. He’s saying, ‘You all right?’ And the trophy’s gone. Just f–in’ gone. They never did find it. That was a low point.” In all, he won 10 European Tour events before retiring.

In 1997, he became part of CBS Golf’s broadcasting team, and in 2011, star of his own weekly show on the Golf Channel (the highest rated show on that channel), has written six books, including Somewhere in Ireland a Village is Missing an Idiot, An Idiot for All Seasons and The Power of Positive Idiocy. The latter is on the New York Times best-seller list and in it,he discusses his perspective on addiction.
Diagnosed with Bipolar 1 Disorder that he had been treating for years with a variety of pills and two or more bottles of Irish whiskey a day, he acknowledged his alcoholism and battles with depression in 2006 and has been dealing with it daily with the support of family and friends ever since. In a February 2013 Golf Magazine interview he said “I would go for my annual physical once every three years [arched eyebrows] and my numbers were all right, until the last one. My doctor was looking at the chart, and he said, “How much are you drinking?” And I thought, Oh god [slumped shoulders], here we go. I said, “Well, you know, one and a half, two and a half bottles a day.” He said, “Of wine?” And I said, “No, Irish whiskey.” The doctor said, “My god [mouth agape], these numbers should be in Cooperstown! They’re Mickey Mantle’s! Have you ever thought about getting help?” And I said, “No! [bewildered look] I can drink it all by myself!”

Blessed with another Irish stereotype, the gift of gab, some of his observations and comments from the Tour (at least the ones that made the air before getting bleeped out) include such classics as:
“That green appears smaller than a pygmie’s nipple.”
“Watching Phil Mickelson play golf is like watching a drunk man chase a balloon
near the edge of a cliff.”
“That ball is so far left, Lassie couldn’t find it if it was wrapped in bacon.”
Jim Furyk’s swing “…looks like an octopus falling out of a tree.”
Of his drinking, he says “I didn’t quit drinking because I was a bad drunk. I quit because I was a spectacular drunk. It got to be like a video game, where you get to the highest level and it’s not even a challenge.”

At 12:00 noon on September 15, Feherty will appear on behalf of Arapahoe House to speak about his life in golf and living in recovery from drugs and alcohol in the Sewell Grand Ballroom in the Bonfils Complex in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, 1101 13th St. His rehabilitative tool is humor; he knows the healing value of laughter and wit and uses that tool to charm all in his path. Proceeds from the event will benefit the life-changing addiction treatment programs of Arapahoe House.

For tickets and more information about the event, go to or call 303-312-3643.

Sep 102015
Carlos Nunez_w.PanchoAlvarez(JavierMercade))

Photo: Carlos-Nunez_w.PanchoAlvarezJavierMercade.jpg

September 2015 Festivals
by Rodger Hara (from the September 2015 Celtic Connection newspaper)

Longs Peak Scottish-Irish Highland Festival-September 10-13, Fairgrounds and other venues, Estes Park, CO w/Albannach, Cal, The Elders, Seamus Kennedy, Sligo Rags, Ed Miller, Socks in the Frying Pan, Chef Eric McBride. Fountain City Brass Band and Highland Dance, Irish Dance and Pipe Band Competitions, Scottish Athletics, Tattoo, Country Dance, workshops, seminars and story-telling, clan tents, lots of merchandise and food, dogs of the British Isles, military heritage, living history, Guinness and full contact jousting. Ticket prices vary by day and by event. Check the website
Celtic Harvest Festival Edgewater – September 19-20, Citizens Park, Edgewater, CO w/Colcannon, Angus Mohr, Skean Dubh, Avourneen, Potcheen, Across the Pond, Folk Ragout, Colorado Youth Pipe Band and Highland Dancers, Wick School of Irish Dance, Colorado Welsh Society Dancers, Ren Scots, Dogs of the British Isles, HawkQuest and Sheep herding, children’s area, story-telling, clan tents, calling of the clans and bonfire on Saturday night, food and fun, lots of merchandise from local artists, merchants and vendors. HOW MUCH: $2.00
Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival – September 24-27, Walsenburg, La Veta, Gardner and Cuchara in Huerfano County, CO W/Carlos Nunez, the MacDonald Sisters, Daimh, Ed Miller, Adam Agee, Jon Sousa, Mairtin de Cogain, Tanya Perkins, Arlene Patterson, Jerry O’Sullivan and Instrument, dance and singing workshops, seminars, story-telling, concerts, incredible music and cráic, demonstrations, classes, singing, sessions, céilidh and lots of brilliant fellowship. Prices vary according to event – check the website or registration in this paper.
McPherson Kansas Scottish Festival and Highland Games – September 26-27, Lakeside Park, McPherson, KS W/City of McPherson Pipe Band, Earl Grey in the Morning, Jeremy Kittlel Band, Tairis and Highland Dance and Pipe Band Competitions, Irish Dance, Scottish Heavy Athletics, Rugby, Country Dance, clogging, clan tents, genealogy, food, merchandise, children’s events, Kirkin’ O’ the Tartan, Falcons & Raptors, Highland Cows, Clydesdales, Border Collies Herding Sheep. HOW MUCH: $13 Saturday, $10 Sunday. Children 12 and under admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. Youth aged 13 through 17 – $3
Aztec Highland Games & Celtic Music Festival hosting the Four Corners Highland Games Championship,
October 3 & 4, 2015 at Riverside Park, Aztec, New Mexico W/ The Angry Brains, Gypsyfire, Kitchen Jam Band, Devils Dram and Patrick Crossing and Celtic Heavy Athletic events (Caber Toss, Hammer Throw, Braemar Stone, Weight for Distance, Weight for Height, and Sheaf Toss), Highland Dance Competition, Highland Dance Workshop , Clan booths, Vendors including The Celtic Caterer/ Chef Eric W. McBride conducting live cooking Demos, Oz Highland Farm serving traditional Highland Beef products, Fish-n-Chips, Celtic artesian, Kilts, Pipe Bands, Bonny Knees Competition, Children’s Activities – Pick up a Clan Passport at the Entrance Booth and use it as you visit the Clans, Dancers, Pipers and fight a Viking! Return filled out Clan Passport at the Information Booth and be entered into a drawing for a commemorative handmade wooden train! The Kids Highland Games will be held during the lunch break of the Athletic Competitions on Saturday and is free for Kids to try their hand at each of the Celtic Athletic Events. Kids can also participate in activities at the free Children’s Tent and if they are under 12, they get into the entire festival FREE! Info tickets at or 505-419-7526.

Indulgers tasteofCO2015

by Rodger Hara (from September 2015 Celtic Connection newspaper)

The Wicked Sheehogues Celtic Band plays at Clancy’s Irish Pub in Wheat Ridge on the 5th from 5 – 8 PM
Colcannon closes the Celtic Harvest Festival Edgewater on the 20th at 3:30 PM on the 20th.
You can see Big Paddy on the 6th at 9 PM in the Back East Grille in Denver or on the 18th at the Bohemian Biergarten in Boulder on the 18th at 10 PM.
The Rare Ould Times is on stage at Jack Quinn’s Irish Ale House and Pub in Colorado Springs on the 26th from 7-11 PM.
Skean Dubh has a busy September with appearances at the Colorado European Festival in the Civic Green Park, Highland Ranch on the 12th at 12:30 PM, the Commonwealth festival,
Memorial Park, Manitou Springs on the 7th from 12:30-1:30 PM, the Exchange Tavern in Westminster on the 18th for the Halfway to St. Patrick’s day party from 8:30-10:30 PM, at the Celtic Harvest Festival Edgewater on the 19th, 1:30-3:30 PM and at the First Presbyterian Church of Littleton, Wisdom Elders Concert on the 26th at 1 PM.
Avourneen fills their usual time at Katie Mullen’s downtown at 9 PM on the 4th, 11th and 25th, move to the Sheabeen Pub in Aurora for Halfway to St. Pat’s Day at 8 PM on the 18th, head to Edgewater for the Celtic Harvest Festival stage 1-3 PM on the 20th, and The Abbey Tavern on East Colfax in Denver at 9 PM on the 26th. Adam Goldstein is at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret for his solo act each Saturday at 11 PM.
Skanson & Hansen’s All Beatle’s Set Premier Show is on the 13th at 7:30 PM in Nissi’s in Lafayette. Tickets are $15 in advance, $17 at the
Celtic Friends are at Brendan’s Pub, 4th and Broadway, Denver, at 7:30 PM on the 1st and on Karl Kumli’s Seolta Gael program on KGNU on the 16th.
The Indulgers are on the Heritage Stage at the Taste of Colorado on the 4th at 8 PM, the Pirate Ball in Northglenn at 5:30 PM on the 18th, Boulder’s Fall Fest at 8 PM on the 19th and close out the month at Conor O’Neill’s pub in Boulder at 10 PM on the 25th.
Brian Clancy is at Jack Quinn’s Irish Alehouse and Pub in Colorado Springs on the 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th at 7:30 PM and The Irish Snug on Capitol Hill in Denver on the 12th and 26th at 8:30 PM.
Chancers Hooley provides the entertainment at Living the Dream Brewery in Littleton for their Labor Day Lobster Bake and Brews party at 4 PM on the 5th.
Angus Mohr rocks out at Lonigan’s in Estes Park on the 11th and 12th and closes the Saturday show at the Celtic Harvest Festival in Edgewater at 7 PM on the 19th.
The Mountain Road Ceili Band does their FAC/Happy Hour gig on the patio at The Margarita, Colorado Springs on the 4th at 6 PM, followed by an outside movie at dusk.
Adam Agee and Jon Sousa perform at GIG in Santa Fe on the 18th and the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival in La Veta the 25th-27th. Jon plays with Andy Reiner for the Boulder Contra Dance on the 4th and does a solo show on the 12th at 2 PM in the Central Branch of the Denver Public Library for their Fresh City Life concert series.
On the 5th, Harpist Margot Krimmel appears at 6 PM with poets Jared Smith and Janice Gould at The Book Bar, 4280 Tennyson St., does a solo show in the Vail Library on the 16th from 5:30-6:30 PM then performs with Beth Gadbaw at the Black Rose Acoustic Society gathering in the Black Forest Community Center on the 11th at 7 PM. Beth and the members of Take Down the Door are in Lyon’s Sandstone Park for a free show on the 12th, time TBD.
Potcheen opens a busy month on the 5th at the Whitewater Bar and Grill in Canon City at 8 PM, plays for the Central City Fest at 4 PM on the 12th, is at Pirate Con in Boulder at 7 PM on the 18th, takes center stage at the Celtic Harvest Festival Edgewater at 4 PM on the 19th then heads to Northglenn later that day for Pirate Fest in E.B. Rains. Jr. Memorial Park at 7 PM and closes out the month at the Fruita Fall Festival in downtown Fruita at noon.
The Stubby Shillelaghs and Keep Britain Irish play at Scruffy Murphy’s Irish Pub in LoDo on the 25th, time TBD.


“Across the Pond” to Debut at Celtic Harvest Festival Edgewater
By Rodger Hara (from September2015 Celtic Connection newspaper)

At one time, it was common for residents of the United Kingdom to talk of traveling to Canada or the United States as “taking a trip across the pond” in a droll, understated sort of British way. The expression entered the lexicon on this side of the Atlantic and could often be heard on the East Coast. Today, it seems, the only place you’ll hear the words is in reference to one of Colorado’s newest Celtic Bands.

Formed in January 2015 by three long-time session players, Phil Coombs, Grace Carter and Brint Lukens, the band chose the name to reflect how the music they play came “across the pond” and influenced the sound of bluegrass and American folk music.

Phil, originally from London, is a microbiologist musician who plays melodeon, guitar, bodhrán and spoons with the band as well as vocals. Grace is a website developer who came to Colorado from Texas 20 years ago and plays fiddle. Brint, a computer programmer, is a Colorado native who plays rhythm guitar, provides backing vocals and also plays Flamenco guitar and the Highland pipes. Phil is self-taught, Grace has taken lessons from many teachers, including Adam Agee and Brint took pipe lessons as a junior member of the City of Denver Pipe Band and guitar lessons from Flamenco great Rene Heredia. All have Celtic roots and ties: Brint’s mother is a Fitzsimons, Grace has Sinclair blood and Phil has a childhood in Parochial schools where half the teachers and students were Irish. Together, they play traditional music that would sound at home in a pub or parlor in Ireland.

They began playing with each other at sessions over the years and one night, found themselves the only musicians at a session. At the end of the evening, they asked themselves “Why don’t we form a band?” Rather than leaving it in the abstract and theoretical, they acted on it and began performing here and there – including busking on Santa Fe Drive one recent First Friday Art Walk night.

They enjoy playing the music as it has been handed down from across the pond and enjoy seeing the pleasure it brings to people, especially children, for whom their playing well might be the first performance of live music they have ever seen. The timeless quality of music that came down through oral traditions, that still resonates with people and comes from the time before recording when music moved and people didn’t is the music they love to play. They explore the historical context of the music they play to infuse it with the energy of the time and place that created it and distinguish session music from performance music with the former being inward looking and the latter outward.

Their first appearance at a festival will be at the 6th Celtic Harvest Festival Edgewater where they will open the music stage at 11 AM on Saturday the 19th and you can see for yourself how well they have succeeded.

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