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Hello everyone,

Well, this is the month for the iBam (Irish Books, Art, and Music) this year. It’s usually held in October but, this as we all know is one crazy year. It will be online virtually and it’s free. In my opinion, it is the best festival in North America because it promotes all the arts of Ireland. Also, we’ve had people like Phil Coulter, Sharon Shannon, plus lots more perform at iBam in the past. So, if you mark your calendar for Friday, December 11th, which will be the Gala Awards Dinner (That’s a ticket night). Then on Saturday 12th, and Sunday 13th, there is a fully packed program. You can watch it all from the comfort of your own home. Keep your eyes on the iBam FaceBook page for details. I believe Declan and I will be doing a set of songs and music, via our living room. I will put a short promo video up on my FaceBook pages and a poster.

On the 4th of this month, 2009, we lost one of Ireland’s finest balladeers, Liam Clancy. He sang with a rare passion, and could hold you in his presence like a hypnotist, with his wonderful way of telling a story. Liam and his brothers Tom and Pat, and of course Tommy Makem were one of Ireland’s finest treasures to land in America. Many have tried to revive their sound, but there will never be a replacement for a balladeer like Liam Clancy.

Just about a month ago, Ireland bid farewell to another national treasure, and that was Brian Coll, from County Tyrone. He was known and loved all over Ireland and abroad.

He was another man who you could gladly pass the day listening to his stories of being on the road. He had such a great sense of humor. He was an outstanding singer. Brian will be sadly missed by all his friends and fans, all over the world. R.I.P.

Best wishes to Nathan Carter on his Anniversary album, which is now on sale. It has 20 great tracks. There is a very special song that Nathan wrote in memory of my brother, Nicky James. It’s a beautiful song, and I know Nick would have been so proud of it. His memory lingers on in another song that Nathan has recorded. It’s a song called ‘Gipsy Queen’, Nick sent it to Nathan last year. He was always looking out for songs that he thought would be good for Nathan. They had a great friendship, and I know Nathan is like me, missing Nick very much, especially in this, our first Christmas without him.

Here’s a few famous birthdays this month, and I’d better start off with Declan McShane who will be 18, on Dec 11th. On the 12th, it’s Daniel O’Donnell’s and Sinéad O’Connor’s birthday. On 16th, it’s Barney McKenna’s (Dubliners) R.I.P.

Recently, I’ve been doing quite a lot of writing with multi-instrumentalist and singer, Stephen Smyth. He came up with, as we say in the business “a hook line.” We were talking about when we were on the road traveling from show to show, and how nice it was to enjoy the comforts of home, at the end of a tour. Well, we’ve been doing that since the pandemic arrived, and even though you can’t beat the comforts of home, us musicians are missing the road right about now. So, we came up with an immigration type song and I will make it the song for this month. After all, this is coming up to Christmas time and a good time to enjoy the ‘Comforts Of Home’.

I hope you have a wonderful and safe Christmas in your home. And, until next time, be good to one another,  Joe

‘Comfort Of My Home’
Words and Music by Joe McShane and Stephen Smyth
verse 1
standing on the doorstep, a desire in me to roam
To take me on a journey, far across the foam.
The first time in my life I saw my father cry
With my broken hearted mother by his side.
Verse 2
As I reached the garden gate I put my suitcase down
With a heavy heart I turned and looked around
A bittersweet farewell the only place I’ve known
I know I will never forget the comfort of my home.
CHORUS. The comfort of home, I will not forget
The music, the laughter, the songs are with me yet
One thing I know is certain as from the nest I’ve flown
I won’t forget my birthplace and the comfort of home
Verse 3
Now I’m settled in a city far across the sea
With unfamiliar sounds no birds singing in the trees
No mountains in the distant, no bright stars in the sky
Just a lasting memory of the day I said goodbye
Verse 4
Then I met some of my country men just the other day
It felt like I was home again as we pass the night away
It was great to join their company and not feel so alone
It’s times like this bring to mind the comfort of my home
CHORUS. The comfort of home, I will not forget
The music, the laughter, the songs are with me yet
One thing I know is certain as from the nest I’ve flown
I won’t forget my birthplace and the comfort of home

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