Flash Company

Summer Update


Many, many thanks to all who came to our show at the Towne Crier last Sunday!  We LOVE playing at the Crier.  Owner Phil Ciganer is an old friend who has supported great  music in the Hudson Valley for many years, and we're privileged to be standing on the Crier stage again.  Lots of friends, old and new, were at this show.  We had delegations from New Jersey and Rhode Island sitting down front, along with lots of friends from closer by who came to share a night of song, food, drink, and more song.  We had a splendid time, and we look forward to the next time we see you all!  

(A special note:  As we move into the fall, Flash Company will  morph into its alter ego Maggie's Farm.  Along with our percussive buddy Roy Notaro, we'll strap on our electric instruments and present a concert of the music of the British Invasion 1962 - 1968 or so... that's right!  On October 5, 2019, we'll fill the stage at the Methodist Church Hall in Hyde Park, NY with the sounds of the Zombies, the Kinks, Manfred Mann, the Searchers, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and, indeed, The Beatles, among others.  Check out (and LIKE) the Maggie's Farm page on Facebook to keep abreast of details for this show.  Come on out and join us for a trip to perhaps the greatest decade in American popular music!)   

Many Thanks!


Many thanks to all of the folks who made our Saint Paddy's Day weekend such a great one!  To the management and all of the revelers who joined us at Juan Murphy's on Friday night, we had a great time,  and we very much appreciate the warm and energetic support that you all gave us.  And to the Artists Collective of Hyde Park (and especially  Marilyn, Liz, and Barbara) who hosted our third (or is it fourth?) annual Saint Paddy's Day Concert in Hyde Park, we owe you yet another debt of gratitude for supporting us and making us feel at home - and bringing another great crowd of old friends to this year's show.  Finally, on The Day itself, we were privileged to play on the mainstage at the fabled Towne Crier in Beacon, NY.  Our hats are off to our friend of many years' standing, Phil Ciganer, for creating such a great venue, and we very much appreciate the opportunity to grace its storied stage.  To all of the folks who came to the Crier show, you were quite a handsome, winsome crowd (and we mean that in a good way!), and we loved getting the chance to celebrate with you all.  And a special vote of thanks goes to the Towne Crier's intrepid sound engineer, Nick, who gave us the sound we always wish we could have on every gig.  

     Now we're looking forward to ringing in Spring with some tunes at Mahoney's in Poughkeepsie, New York.  Check our calendar page for the particulars,  and come and join us!  Johnny B. promises that there will be dancin'! 

A Day of Unwinding


Don't know where the time went, but here it is - the day after Saint Patrick's Day - and what a great weekend it was!  We hope you managed to come by one of the venues that we played over the weekend.  Our thanks to all of the Flashers who came to our shows and shared the merriment with us!  We started of the weekend in a great pub close to home, Juan Murphy's, located in Poughkeepsie, NY.  A wonderfully friendly staff and a lively crowd, combined with delicious food and drink, awaited all who joined us, and it was, indeed, a truly enjoyable evening for us.  A great way to get the party started!

     On Saturday night, we picked up the thread in a performance that benefited the Artists Collective of Hyde Park, an organization that has supported Flash Company from our very first gig three years ago.  So this third ACHP evening of Flash Company's music was attended by lots of friends of longstanding  (No, we didn't say "old" friends - that's too close for  comfort these days!), and it was great to catch up with folks.  A very special thanks to Liz, Marilyn, and Barb at the ACHP for their unwavering support of our music and of us!  We had a great time at this show, as we always do,  and hope that next year, we'll be doing the fourth annual ACHP St. Paddy's Day show.  Come and join us for that one!

     As the title of this blog suggests, today is, indeed, a day for winding down.  Last night (Sunday, 3/15), we had the wonderfully heady experience of playing at the esteemed Beacon, NY venue The Towne Crier.  And so it was that we had what every performing band dreams of:  pro lights, pro sound, a dressing room, a huge stage -- AND, we didn't have to carry anything but our instruments.  The Towne Crier has been a constant source of great music, gourmet  food, and fantastic libations in our area for many, many years.  The owner, Phil, is another friend of longstanding.... and for a couple of our members who have played the Crier in previous incarnations going way back into the Nineties and beyond, this was a homecoming in every sense of the word.  A special shout out to the house sound engineer, Nick, who did a fantastic job, and to the Towne Crier staff who took such good care  of us.  AND, to the very special audience that came out to share the music and the food and the drink and the laughs, our heartfelt gratitude for making this very special gig such an enjoyable experience for us all!  Very soon, we hope to have a video of the entire show up on our website and on YouTube,  thanks to our great friend,  Maureen!  So, if you missed this show, you can relive it with us any time you'd like!

     So, as always, we wish you a great year ahead.  March is our busiest month, but we're always ready,  willing, and able to bring the joy of this great music and culture to any occasion!  Nothing cools off a hot summer day  than some jigs and reels, and a couple of heartfelt ballads can warm the frostiest fall evening!  So if you're planning an occasion that needs a bit o' music, please do get in touch!  And visit us on our Facebook page.  Drop us a post and let us know you're there! 

We LOVE PorchFest!


Every fall, a wonderful group of folks from Rhinebeck, New York put on PorchFest - an amazing event that commandeers  many porches around this picture perfect small town for a day and turns them into stages where an amazingly diverse collection of performers holds  forth.  It was our pleasure to play PorchFest this past Saturday for the second year in a row, and we hope to be going back again in 2019.  If you come to PorchFest, be prepared to be  blown away by an amazing gathering of talent - this year, there were over 100 acts presented on many stages around town on a beautiful fall afternoon.  The boys from Flash Company were holding forth on a Chestnut Street porch from 2:30 to 3:30 this year.  While we were setting our equipment up, it was very gratifying to have some folks set up their lawn chairs and watch.  Since this is not usually a part of the gig that most folks want to watch, we had to ask - and it was lovely to find out that these folks had seen us at last year's PorchFest and had come looking for us this year so as not to miss our set.   That certainly set a great tone for the afternoon's music.  So next year around this time, if you're in the mid-Hudson Valley, make it a point to find the Rhinebeck PorchFest online (best to  look for it in early September, so  you don't miss out).  Then, on the appointed day, make your way to Rhinebeck for a truly wonderful day of music!!!!

St. Paddy's Day 2018


Whoa!  Finally waking up from a very busy month of March.  The Flashers, as we've come to be somewhat affectionately known among a certain circle of our audience members - though without literal cause, we should add - had a very busy month of March, especially on St. Paddy's Day weekend this year.  We love it when THE DAY, itself, falls on a Saturday.  We got ourselves ready for the big event with appearances at Mahoney's in Poughkeepsie and the Millbrook Library in lovely Millbrook, NY.  (Special thanks to Patrick at Mahoney's and the wonderful Diana at Millbrook for setting up great gigs for us!)  Big thanks also to Christine at D'Vine Wine Bar in Wappingers Falls, where we spent a lovely afternoon playing 'chunes after the big Wappingers Falls St. Paddy's Day Parade (which happens the week before THE DAY).  

     On St. Paddy's Day, itself, we started early with an afternoon set at Paula's Publick House, playing to an increasingly enthusiastic crowd as the Guinness flowed.  Special thanks to James and Paula for having us back again this year - and we'll be back next year, too!  Then we sped off to set up our gear at the Methodist Church Hall in Hyde Park where we played our third annual St. Paddy's Day concert for the Artists Collective of Hyde Park to a capacity crowd.  What a great time we had - and we tip our hats to Liz and Marilyn and Barbara for getting the word out and for treating us so wonderfully once again.  Can't wait for next year!

     We're looking around for more places to play this summer - you may see us around at some Farmer's Markets in Dutchess and Westchester Counties.  And we may spent some time basking in the Autumn sunshine at a local orchard here and there.  And we very much look forward to doing our first show for the Friends of Fiddlers Green in Hyde Park on November 2, 2018, just in time to celebrate (slightly belatedly) Samhain and the Irish National Bank Holiday!  Come see us!

Eamon Goes In Search of Bodhran Enlightenment


Recently, Flash Company's intrepid banjo/octave mandolin specialist embarked upon a journey to seek enlightenment regarding an instrument sacred to many (and, to be frank, reviled by some!) - the bodhran!  Seems that Eric, affectionately referred to among us as Eamon (among other, less printable sobriquets), feels that he has some spare time onstage, and since he was once upon a time the drummer for a pre-adolescent proto-punk band named Sinjunwood, it seems appropriate for him to be adding some percussion to the FlashCo sound, as it is known around here.  ("Here" being this author's rather small garret-office-practice room-sometime pool hall.)  

     So, dear Eamon signed up for a bodhran class given by the Connecticut Irish Music Academy and taught by the lovely and most capable Mary Gardner, a most impressive exponent of this percussive art.  This past Saturday marked the beginning of the monthly class, so our boyo set off on what MapQuest said would be a two-hour tour....a two-hour tour.  (Those of you who remember the television show Gilligan's Island already know where we're  goin' with this.)  Always one to be punctual or something close to it, Eamon set off from home a little after 11:30 in order to have some breathing room before the 2:00 PM class was to begin.  In calculating his buffer time, however, Eamon forgot one little detail,  and that was the fact that his route was to take him through Waterbury, CT, sometimes known as the Highway Construction Capital of the Free World.  He was within four miles of the Waterbury city limits when he was stopped dead by a traffic jam so mammoth in size that a space station in orbit signaled to Earth that a giant serpent was making its way east through central Connecticut.  But Eamon, ever a patient man, took solace in knowing that he had that precious extra half hour as a buffer.  So, feeling smug, he unwrapped the sandwich that he had prepared for the journey and began to enjoy his lunch.  Well, dear reader, suffice it to say that by the time he had finished his capacious lunch, he had traveled exactly one mile.  As he packed up his crackers and hummus, he looked off to the South to see the lovely and majestic towers of a famous Waterbury church, Our Lady Of Perpetual Construction.  Grateful he was to have plenty of time to examine and appreciate the Renaissance-y (or was it Medieval-y) architectural flourishes of this grand cathedral, but such is life when you're moving at two miles and hour in the fast lane.

     Well, to make an overly long story a bit shorter, suffice it to say that Eamon arrived at his beginning bodhran class quite late.... in fact, so late that his 2:00 PM Beginners class was  mostly over.  Eamon wasted no time in venting his long tale of traffic woes, so the instructor, the aforementioned and fortunately sympathetic Mary, invited him to stay for the next class,  which was an intermediate class.  Well, it's oft been said that our boy Eamon leaves little time for the grass to grow  'tween his toes, but this was a new record for him, having gone from being a beginner to an intermediate bodhran player in less than ten minutes.  We're so proud of him - we can't wait to unveil his bodhran prowess for our St. Paddy's Day audiences in, say, 2022.

      As Mark Twain said, "let us draw the Curtain of Charity across this scene" and leave Eamon, a confused but eager look on his face as he contemplates the intricacies of what was once a Medieval threshing implement....say just a few  minutes before he realizes that he will be traveling through the Waterbury Twilight Construction Zone again on the way home.  'Nuff said.

The Great Porch Controversy


Three-fourths of Flash Company enjoyed a great afternoon playing music for a good crowd at the Rhinebeck PorchFest in Rhinebeck, NY yesterday (9/24).  We drew the best porch in Rhinebeck, by far!  It was expansive - we  could have fit four or five more bands and still had room for Dancing John Allers to go through his moves.  Our host Kathleen was most gracious, and the crowd was friendly and helpful.  (Well, ya see, we had a little snafu on the first couple of songs....seems that we forgot to turn up the volume on the main PA.  The monitors were working so well, that we  didn't realize it until a sympathetic audience member suggested that we turn it up.  So, turn it up we did - ALL THE WAY, but still nothin'.  Well, the three of us put our heads together after the second song and figured out that the volume controls for the sound system were, um, well, simply off.  Once we had that problem fixed, we sailed through a set of mostly uptempo numbers to a lovely reception from our audience.  The house also had a large front lawn which was bathed in sunlight on a very hot afternoon....so our audience wisely stayed in the shade, which was to be found about thirty yards in front of us along the sidewalk and street.  If we closed our eyes tightly, which we shouldn't do because we're supposed to be watchin' our flyin' fingers, we could imagine ourselves playin' a giant stadium, enjoying the distant roar of the cheering audience.  Hooray for us!

     We did miss our fourth member, Jim, who was off playing a previous commitment for the afternoon, but we slogged along, though we certainly did miss Jim's whistle playing and witty repartee!  

      The threesome version of Flash Company is looking forward to a stand at Mahoney's in Poughkeepsie on Friday, September 29 from 5:00 to 8:00.  If you're in the area, please do come and join us as we enjoy our first gig at this justifiably venerated restaurant and pub.  Truly, it's a great place to enjoy a Guinness (or other favorite beverage that you might be thinking of), some great grub, and some tuneful exhortations from our stage to have one more!  Slainte!

Here is a tale of the castaways...


Well, we made it!  Our Father's Day trip out to Bannerman's Island, out in the mighty Hudson River, went off without a hitch, and we had an absolutely wonderful time playing music out on the island to folks who were there for the three-hour tour.  Eric drove his trusty Honda Element, picking up each of the boys on the way down Route 9.  Delayed only by a necessary coffee-and-bagel stop (necessary to Bryan, anyway!), the band pulled into Cornwall, NY on time and ready to go.  The gig was "rain or shine," and the weather forecast spoke of possible thunderstorms as we pulled into the dock in Cornwall-on-Hudson to catch the boat out to the island.  Seeing our anxiety about the impending voyage, our intrepid pilot, Jesse, assured us that though he was a young man, he was thoroughly experienced in the ways of the mighty and unpredictable river....and he also said that at the slightest hint of thunder, we'd be turning back.  A comforting thought, that!

     In the end, we had a thoroughly dry run out to the island in Jesse's noble nineteen-footer, and upon arrival, we were met by the most amazingly hospitable group of Bannerman's Island Trust volunteers that could be imagined.  The climb up to the entertainment area was invigorating, and all of the Flash Company boyos made  it to the top in good form, carrying a pared-down, ready for action collection of instruments.  Once there, we found a couple of platforms that we'd be using for a stage, and the good volunteers were very good-humored about moving it around for us - not once, but twice.  And so, we ended up sitting around a tree in a shaded picnic area with a gorgeous view downriver of Storm King Mountain.  The thunder clouds were there, to be sure, but the sun was shining on our little spot.  So, in good humor, we played a good share more than our original schedule called for, making sure to honor requests from the Bannerman volunteers.  Then, precisely at 2:15, our friend Jesse popped in to tell us that our chariot was awaiting for the return trip to the river's west bank.  Again, the assembled volunteers helped us carry our instruments down the many, many steps back to the dock.

     The return trip was a bit choppier with some spray, but the thunderstorms had vacated the valley for us and a splendid time was had by all.  Great thanks to our buddy Maura, who arranged the gig - and to the volunteers on Bannerman's Island who treated us so well.  And, lastly, to our intrepid pilot, Jesse, who put up with more pretend-nautical shenanigans than any person should have to.  We're  not naming names here, but  let's just say that the Flash Company blarney was  flying thick and fast as each member of the band contributed from a very limited fund of knowledge about life on the Water.  Amid cries of "Avast!" and "Batten down the hatches, boys!", Jesse brought us back to land and put our feet firmly back on Terra Firma.  Pictures will be posted as they become available.

     Then, there was the long ride home - but that's a story for another day!

St. Patrick's Day 2017


What a great St. Patrick's Day weekend we had!  Friday, we spent the afternoon playing for the great folks at Paula's Public House just outside of Poughkeepsie, NY.  Great thanks to Paula and James for making us feel so welcome, and for the wonderful collection of folks who were there with us to celebrate the day.  We also had the pleasure of having Paula's cousin, whose name we never knew, do some great Irish step dance with us.  Fine food, delicious libations, and a warm and festive atmosphere.  Thanks to Paula's Public House!

     A bit later in the day, we traveled down to the Farm to Table Bistro in Fishkill, NY, where we played for the evening.  Farm to Table is known for its excellent cuisine, and on this particular St. Paddy's Day night, the place was packed with both diners and folks who were hanging out with us in the bar.  A real listening crowd it was, and they kept us hopping - so much so, that we ended up playing the whole evening with no break (and no Guinness, much to the chagrin of a FlashCo boyo or two!).  We owe thanks to owner Chris and manager Nick for a truly enjoyable night of music and friends and for making us feel so welcome!

     So, we slept in a bit on Saturday morning to regain our strength for our second annual Artists' Collective St. Paddy's Day concert which was sponsored by the Artists' Collective of Hyde Park.  Special thanks to Marilyn and Liz and the Collective's members for coming together to help make this night a success.  Our gratitude goes to the tremendous collection of kindred souls who braved a forecast of snow and some warning flurries to come out and share the craic with us.  Great sing-along-ers all of 'em, and they kept us on our toes, as many were knowledgeable fans of Irish music who really knew their stuff!  We look forward to our third annual Artists' Collective St. Paddy's Day show in 2018....though we certainly hope to see you before  then!

     In sum, it was a lovely St. Paddy's Day Weekend!  From all of the boys in Flash Company, May the wind be at your back and the smoke from your chimney  everlasting!  

Teaching an auld madra (old dog) new cleasanna (tricks)!


One of the great adjustments that any slightly aging shenanigator must face is dealing with the apparently endless demands of the technology that we live with.  And so it is that in taking on the duties of webmaster for the boys in Flash Company, I find myself wrangling with technology on a regular basis.... Kind of like an aging cowboy riding into town on an equally aged silver steed to save the community from the clutches of Bad Bart and Company, I saddle up my ancient laptop every so often to do battle with our website and keep the smiling mugs of my Flash Company bandmates front and center on the Internet.  And so it was that I today discovered that the email forwarding that I thought I had set up so that booking mail would go directly from the site to my own email account was not, in reality, happening at all.  So here I am, sheepishly answering a two-week-old email because I had neglected to check the site webmail.  Y'see, Officer, it was supposed to have landed in my personal email account like magic, BUT....

     So, if you send Flash Company an email inquiring about a booking (or just to say hi!), I promise from this moment forward to get you a timely reply.  I'm trying very hard to teach this auld madra some new cleasanna!

Welcome! (Failte!)


Welcome and thanks for visiting the Flash Company website!  We're happy that you stopped in.  Please do sign up for our email list so we can keep you apprised of upcoming gigs, and stop by from time to time to see what's new here.  Jim might drop some jokes here for you;  Bryan might have some family history to impart;  Eric might want to explain why banjos always sound just a wee bit out of 'chune; and John can explain why you can't have a top if you have no bottom!  We'll try to keep the website as entertaining as our shows!  Come back for the craic!

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