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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Winter break!

Well, we've all gone back to our respective homes for the holidays, at least temporarily.


JEFF and CHRISTOPHER V will have a little while off (almost two weeks! Yowza!) before they return to the world of public music education. They'll also probably be meeting up to work on some new tunes.


GREG and MATT will spend time at their homes before they return to begin STUDENT TEACHING. They are both in their final semesters in their Hartt School music education paths and will spend the next semester at two separate placements each, verifying that teaching music is, definitely, what they want to do with their lives.

DAVID will be home for a little while before taking off to JAMAICA with some students from SUNY Potsdam. For ten days, David will be teaching music to children - mostly the folk songs of their country and heritage. David practiced guitar before leaving and now knows how to play a C without the 9th, so he's probably ready. We all hope he returns with dreadlocks.

CHRIS J will be traveling to ABHEYPUR, INDIA with the University of Hartford's Engineers Without Borders. One of their projects over the past few years has been increasing clean drinking water access to this village. They have been working on connecting water storage tanks to these villages for residents who don't have private wells as well as restoring function to non-working public hand pumps.

And then we'll reconvene! We have a few songs we'll be looking to add to our rep, including (but certainly not limited to):
  • Johnson's Motor Car
  • The Next Market Day
  • Courting in the Kitchen
  • White, Orange, and Green
  • Black Velvet Band
  • The Frog's Wedding
  • Beer, Beer, Beer
Until then, we'll be enjoying the holiday break. And we hope you do the same! Get in touch with us if you're interested in a copy of "Sunshine and Shadow" - we're still working towards setting up online sales, so for now, we can do what we can to work out a transaction with you...or come see us at a future gig!

Happy holidays!

- G

Friday, December 17, 2010

"Sunshine and Shadow" has arrived!

Yeah...the CDs look really great. Thanks so much, Mike! We'll be setting up online orders and downloads soon, but until then, come see us at a gig for a copy! See you in Long Island on Sunday!

- G

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Molly Malone

A sneak preview of something that will definitely not be on the record. But it's an alternate arrangement of one of our favorite songs. Enjoy! See you at the Hessian Lion in Avon at 10 tonight!

- G

Friday, December 10, 2010

The record is coming soon! December 19th!

It's true! Our good friend Mike Powers has finished the artwork and is duplicating the records over the course of the next few days. We'll get them and start selling them before Christmas! We're beyond excited to get this record to people. Unfortunately, we don't have many gigs coming up between when we'll have the CDs and Christmas, and it's not likely that they'll be available for download in time. I'm sure your friends and family would love an "I.O.U. 1 Sunshine and Shadow" for Christmas just the same.

We'll be setting up an online order form so you can order from us directly, and you'll receive a package delivered directly from us with a little note from one of the members of the band (I'm gonna make Chris Jasinski do all of the note writing). We'll also be going the online route so people can download our music...ideally that would be for those who don't know us and find our music online or on the radio. We hope you'll come see us at our shows and pick up a hard copy of the CD above all else. Or at least I do, I guess I can't speak for the band.

This has been a really neat project to undertake and I'm really glad I got to be a part of it. I can't wait to give someone a copy of an actual CD and say, "I'm on this! It's wrapped in plastic!" Although I might not say those exact words.

We'll be in Avon on Saturday (Hessian Lion Bar on E Main St. at 10), Plainville on Sunday (Plainville United Methodist Church at 7), and then WICN's holiday show the next Thursday!

- G

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December plans for the Beggars

Hey folks! Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!

Update on the CD publication - the album artwork has been passed off to Mike Powers, a good friend of the band's, and he will also be duplicating the CDs for us in the very near future. We still don't have a release date, but it will most certainly be printed by Christmastime. We'll work out how to get the album to people over the season. We will get it up on cdbaby, itunes, etc. so people can download it, and hopefully we'll be able to work out an online order form.

We have a busy couple of weeks coming up before the's what we'll be up to.

Saturday, Dec. 11 - Hessian Lion Bar in Avon, CT - 10 PM - 1 AM. A rare opportunity to hear us play past 11 PM! If that sort of thing interests you!
Sunday, Dec. 12 - Hartt School MENC Benefit Concert - Plainville United Methodist Church in Plainville, CT - 7 PM. The Hartt School chapter of the National Association for Music Educators puts on an annual holiday concert to benefit the Plainville Food Pantry. We'll be playing a few songs at the concert, so you should come hear us and some other amazing musical talent and benefit a great cause!
Thursday, Dec. 16 - Folk Revival Holiday Show on WICN 90.5 Worcester - 7-11 PM. Our good friend, Nick Noble, has invited us back to play on his folk music radio show's holiday show, featuring us, the Maple Street Project, Sarah Huber, Brendan Hogan, and Mary Casiello. We'll be playing some of our regular tunes and some Christmas songs as well!
Sunday, Dec. 19 - Some barn on Long Island. David still hasn't gotten me the information about this gig, but there's a barn on Long Island that's having us play there on the 19th! Stay tuned for actual information!

Then we'll head to our respective homes for the holidays. But as you sit by the fire on those chilly winter nights, you can put on our record and listen to us sing about drinking, people dying, and smashing harps so people you hate can't play them.

See you soon!

- G

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's Jeff's birthday!

Twenty-five years ago, in a hospital in Connecticut, a small baby was born. He had light brown hair, blue eyes, and one of those goatees minus the mustache part.

Then, a bunch of whatever happened until he went to Ireland and learned how to say, "Too-rai ya, faldle diddle da, derry faldle diddle derry-oh." Then he came back and asked Christopher Vece if he'd make Irish music with him. He said no.

Now, one and a half years later, he is the frontman of The Jolly Beggars, a Celtic folk band that already has two documentaries and eleven collections of recordings to its name.

Okay, so one of the band members made the two documentaries and they're mostly nonsense, and the recordings are mostly terrible quality live recordings, but it's still substantial. And he also teaches music or something, and drives an old car.

Happy birthday, Jeff. Without you, there would be no Jolly Beggars. Gooky booky.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Video of our time in the studio now online!

The record is almost ready to be sent off to be printed! Here's a little video of our time in the studio. Sorry the video quality is kind of low! I'll be putting together album art soon and then it's off and back (Offenbach) by Christmas!

Thanks again to everyone who came out to the Blue Plate in Holden last night, especially that dog. That was great. We'll see you at Catcher's on Nov. 24th!

- G

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sunshine and Shadow

Hey folks!

Sunday, the band is going to sit down with Jake and listen to the final mixes of the record tracks. We've got eleven done, two vocal tracks had to be redone but the process was not terribly taxing, and once Jake's job is done, we'll be getting album art done and sending the stuff off to get CD's produced. We will hopefully have them by Thanksgiving, but they will definitely be done by Christmas (and would certainly make a great present!).

We're still adding songs to our rep, so while we've had a little while off from a gig, we'll be roaring into the winter with a bunch of new songs. In case you are curious, "Spanish Lady" and "Step It Out, Mary" have crept into our sets, while upcoming new songs include "Whiskey on a Sunday" and shoot I forget the name of the song Jeff brought last week. It's a good one, though! So keep checking us out and hear what we've been working on.

And if you weren't already planning on coming to the Collage concert at Hartt in February, you should maybe consider it. Just saying.

On another note, our good man Jake comes to every one of our gigs that he can, runs the soundboard, makes sure we don't blow up our speakers or the board, fixes microphones and cables when they die, gives us advice about sound equipment, setup, and overall planning for the band, recorded the entire record by himself, has spent days and days listening to us over and over and fixed all of our stupid mess-ups and errors, and puts up with our nonsensical crap constantly. We're incredibly lucky to have someone as smart, helpful, and encouraging as Jake around to help us out wherever we need. When you come see us at our next show, stop over at the board and give him a hug. Or maybe just a high five, I dunno how much he wants to be hugging strangers while he's running sound. You're a dude, Jake.

Two weeks from this Friday (Nov. 12), we'll be up in Holden, playing at the Blue Plate Lounge at 8 PM. After that, we'll be at Catcher's the day before Thanksgiving (Nov. 24) and then in Avon on Dec. 11th. You'll also have to remember to tune in to WICN 90.5 FM Worcester for the Folk Revival Holiday Show on Thursday, Dec. 16th...we'll be up there playing some holiday songs and some of our regular tunes.

Stay tuned for news on the record and our upcoming gigs! Stay well! Happy Halloween!

- G

Friday, October 15, 2010

Recording is done, mixing has begun, gigs galore

Our job is officially done. The percussionists completed their tracks Sunday night, so the band is done recording, and now Jake's fun begins as he gets to listen to our songs over and over and over and over and over and over and over and turn little knobs and click his mouse a million times until he has deemed the sound worthy of being put onto record form.

We're tossing around possible names for the CD (leading title right now, "Sunshine and Shadow," narrowly ahead of "Heave Away!" and "The Jolly Benches") and figuring out how to fund the project right now, and I'm taking some free time to try to compile a video of our studio time.

Friday night we'll be at our regular haunt at Catcher's Sports Bar in Wethersfield, so if you're around the central CT area, you should come by, grab a drink, say hello, and listen to us play. We'll be debuting at least two new songs at the show.

Saturday night, we'll haul ourselves up to Holden, MA again for a benefit concert at Immanuel Lutheran Church to benefit the Holden Crop'll be a fun family event that will hopefully raise a lot of money for the band and the Crop Walk, which was created to aid world and local hunger. We're hoping for a big turnout for that event.

Sunday afternoon, the church in which I sing (First Church of Christ Congregational in West Hartford) is holding a benefit concert for their music and arts fund...there will be a huge variety of performances, of course including us, still trying to figure out when we can get married.

To take a personal aside from the band, my friend, Cory Ploessl, who I had the fortune of meeting at the summer program I've worked at for the past two years, is currently doing an art project in Eau Claire, WI, in order to raise awareness for world poverty. He describes his project through a blog as follows:

I am currently living in a hand-assembled shanty house much like those found in rural slums in many developing nations. Like some 2.6 billion people worldwide (World Resources Institute) I am currently living off of $2 a day. I eat, sleep, cook, and bathe on site, however I use indoor toilets. This blog will be maintained by Maria Boland and will act like a personal journal of my experience. A special thanks to Maria and thank you all for your time and compassion.

I encourage you to keep up with Cory's experience on his blog, run by his wonderful girlfriend, Maria, at

We have the wonderful fortune to teach music, learn about music, record music, and perform music on a regular basis to friends, family, and people we don't even know. It's always humbling to remember that there's a lot of other things going on out there that we often forget. Thank goodness there are people like Cory to remind us that there is a lot more we need to do and be thankful for in our everyday lives.

Hope to see you this weekend!

- G

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Preview of studio compilation

Back in the studio right now, Chris and Matt are putting percussion on top of the rest of the tracks. Chris needs to learn that, in order to hang with this band, he has to stop playing in time all the time.

I'm working on a compilation of video taken during our time in the studio. Here's a preview.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

In the studio

Chris: "Would it be easier to do it falsetto instead of loud?"
Greg: "Not at this point."
Chris: "Oh...your voice is bad?"

It's 11:11. Make a wish! My wish is that I can actually play the Wedding Instrumentals on my banjo. It's our last track to do, unless we decide to redo Paddy Murphy. Doing it all live has proved to be a much smoother process than multitracking. Besides the computer eating two of our tracks, it's been a solid day. We decided to have the percussionists play tomorrow over the four main tracks, so with any luck, tomorrow will be the end of the recording process and the beginning of the mixing, editing, mastering process.

Thank goodness Jake is so patient and wonderful...we've been total idiots all day. For a change.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Studio tomorrow

Heading into the studio tomorrow. Hope we don't stink. Sound checks and Danny Boy for tomorrow night, then all day Saturday. I'll be recording video a bit during, so keep checking our website, Facebook, or here to see when it's up. You'll be well aware. Check the previous post for the potential album cover, including our favorite guest star.

We love Jake.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Welcome to The Jolly Blogger!

Thanks for checking us out. The Jolly Blogger will be our primary means of updating our fans (and sometimes ourselves) as to what we're up to and what's coming up in the near future!

Next Friday and Saturday (10/8 and 10/9), we'll be heading into the studios underneath Dana Hall at the University of Hartford to record our first full-length record with the Jolly Soundman, Jake! We hope to have this record edited, mixed, mastered, and printed before Thanksgiving. We will keep you updated on the progress of the record, and I hope to post a little video of our time in the studio sometime next week.

Our next gigs will be at Catcher's Sports Bar in Wethersfield, CT, on 10/15, and Immanuel Lutheran Church in Holden, MA, on 10/16. Check our website for more information about those.

Way, hey, and away we go!

- G