Back to HomeFeature Article - March 22, 2012

St Paddy's Day revelers get their Irish on

by Julie Druker

Photo:The Skirmish at The Crossing pub in Sharbot Lake l-r; Victor Maltby, Bill Cameron and Linda Grenier

Those looking for traditional-sounding entertainment on St. Paddy's Day headed to The Crossing at the Sharbot Lake Country Inn, where longtime Lanark players The Skirmish entertained energetic revelers with their favored traditional Celtic tunes.

Band members Bill Cameron on mandolin, bass guitar, whistle and vocals, Victor Maltby on fiddle and Linda Grenier on guitar vocals have been playing in pubs in Ottawa, Perth, Smith Falls, and at various community festivals since 2006 and their experience shows. A tight-knit trio, they were joined onstage by Gary Glover on bodhran, an original member of the band who recently retired but who still makes regular appearances.

The band played three generous sets, primarily of popular traditional Celtic tunes with a few Celtic inspired originals added into the mix. The band opened their second set with Roddy McCorley, an Irish rebel song about a man hanged in the 1798 rebellion. They continued on with numerous popular festive crowd favorites including “Mary Mack” and Stan Rodgers' “Fogerty's Cove” which roused people from their seats and onto the dance floor. The band also slowed it down with numerous beautiful romantic numbers like “Lovers Waltz” and Linda's very own “Lanark County”, and a number of pretty E-minor jigs including “Morrison’s” and “Swallow Tail”.

Meanwhile over at the St. James Major church hall, local rockers The Strat Cats, i.e. Garry Giller, Terry Reynolds, Dave Limber and Jim MacPherson (photo right), got their groove on for a special St. Paddy's Day dance with a less traditional set of rock and blues classics that had the 40 plus dancers out on the floor. The band interspersed sets with DJ Chuck, who pleased dancers young and old with a eclectic choice of new and older classics.

Festivals goers at both venues mentioned the difficulty of having to choose between a number of events all happening on Saturday and many hoped that in the future the events be spread out through the weekend to give enthusiastic music lovers a chance to catch the wide array of local talent on offer.