Luke Plumb

Mid Tour Update from Luke Plumb

Howdy Folks!

So, back after weekend number three of the 6 week(end) tour with Andy Irvine. Up til now we have been focused on three festivals – Woodford, Cygnet and Illawarra – with Andy taking in a couple solo shows in between.

It really is a marvel that these events happen as smoothly as they do for the sheer size of the logistics involved in running and managing the catalogue of artists, venues, volunteers and stallholders. It’s a Herculean feat and hats off to those brave individuals who come together to pull it off.

It feels like we’re really hitting a stride in this last batch of gigs and i’m genuinely excited for how the sound will further develop over the next 3 weekends. We have gigs in and around Sydney this weekend, Newstead festival the week following and to wrap the tour up a handful of shows in and around Melbourne.

The official launch of the album “Precious Heroes” at the Spotted Mallard will definitely be a highlight as Kate Burke and Ruth Hazleton will be joining us – what a thrill!

More soon, lots of news but I’m seizing the moments where I can….



Luke Plumb to play with musical hero Andy Irvine

FORMER Tasmanian folk musician Luke Plumb will team up with his musical hero, Irish legend Andy Irvine, at this weekend’s Cygnet Folk Festival.

A talented multi-instrumentalist and session musician, Plumb was recruited by popular Scottish “acid-croft’’ fusion band Shooglenifty when they toured Tasmania in 2002.

He spent the next 12 years touring the world as Shooglenifty’s mandolin player, before leaving the band in 2014 to return to Australia, where he is increasingly in-demand as a record producer, composer and arranger, and music teacher.

Now Plumb has joined forces with Irish troubadour Irvine, best known as one of the driving forces behind influential Irish ’70s band Planxty.

With a keen ear and eye for history, a social conscience and a wry sense of humour, Irvine has also played with bands such as Mozaik, Sweeney’s Men, Patrick Street, LAPD and Usher’s Island, while also touring and recording solo.

“I first saw Andy play Hobart when I was 17,” Plumb says.

“I was playing violin in the Tasmanian Youth Orchestra and classical piano at the time, and went home from the gig and said to my parents ‘I want a mandolin for my birthday’. That was it. I was hooked. Andy has been my all-time mandolin and folk hero ever since.”

After performing together as a duo for the first time at Queensland’s recent Woodford Folk Festival, Andy Irvine and Luke Plumb play three shows at the Cygnet Folk Festival: at the St James Catholic Church tomorrow; at Carmel Hall on Saturday; and in the St James College Auditorium on Sunday.

For details go to


DEC 2016 – FEB 2017 – AUSTRALIAN Tour w/ Luke Plumb



28th DEC. – 1st JAN. Woodford Folk Festival, QLD w/ Luke Plumb

4th JAN. Old Museum, Brisbane, Queensland w/ Four Winds
480 Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills, QLD 4006
Doors 7pm. / Stage 7.30pm. Tickets: $25/$20
Booking info: +61 (0)7 3257 4089 Email

6th – 8th JAN. Cygnet Folk Festival, Hobart, TAS w/ Luke Plumb

10th JAN. Private House Concert, North West TAS Solo

12th JAN. Smith’s Alternative, Canberra Solo
76 Alinga Street, Nigel McRae, Canberra ACT 2601
Booking info: +61 (0)401 084 773 Email

13th – 15th JAN. Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW w/ Luke Plumb

19th JAN. Bathurst City Community Club, Bathurst, NSW w/ Luke Plumb
Lower William Street, Bathurst NSW 2795
7.30pm / Tickets: $25 Available at Bathurst City Community Club and Books Plus
Booking info: Roger +61 (0)2 6332 1175 or +61 (0)427 028 433

20th JAN. Fairlight Folk Acoustic Lounge, NSW w/ Luke Plumb
3 William Street, Fairlight, NSW 2094
(the old Church off Sydney Rd)
Doors 7pm / Stage 7.30pm
Tickets: $30/$20 Online Booking

21st JAN. Petersham Bowling Club, NSW w/ Luke Plumb
77 Brighton Street, Petersham, NSW 2049
8pm / Tickets: $30 Online Booking
Booking info: +61 (0)2 9569 4639 Email

22nd JAN. Music Hunter Presents
at Kindlehill Performance Space w/ Luke Plumb
8 Lake Street, Wentworth Falls, NSW 2782
Doors 3.30pm / Stage 4pm. Tickets: $30/$25
Booking info: +61 (0)425 270 632 Email

26th – 29th JAN. Newstead Live! Music Festival, VIC w/ Luke Plumb

2nd FEB. Spotted Mallard, Brunswick, VIC w/ Luke Plumb, Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton!
314 Sydney Road, Brunswick, VIC 3056
Doors and Dinner 6pm / Stage 8pm
Tickets: $35/$30 Information and Online Booking
Booking info: +61 (0)3 9380 8818

3rd FEB. House Concert, Melbourne, VIC w/ Luke Plumb
7.30pm – 8pm Start Booking by Email

4th FEB. The Tablelands Community Centre, Ruffy, VIC w/ Luke Plumb
8pm / Tickets: $25
Booking info: +61 (0)428 380 114

5th FEB. Duckpond House Concert, Healesville, VIC w/ Luke Plumb
7.30pm / Tickets: $25

11th FEB. House Concert, Harcourt North, VIC w/ Luke Plumb
2pm / Tickets: $20 Booking by Email
Booking info: +61 (0)3 5439 6525

MARCH 2017

USHER’S ISLAND Gigs in Paris and Ireland
w/ Dónal Lunny, Paddy Glackin, Mike McGoldrick and John Doyle

MAY 2017

Andy Irvine & Paul Brady – 40th Anniversary Tour in IRELAND (featuring Dónal Lunny & Kevin Burke)

Andy Irvine & Luke Plumb – New Album Update

The album was recorded in Australia with Multi-Instrumentalist & Producer Luke Plumb. Andy’s “Australian Mates” are to make an appearance (Kate Burke & Ruth Hazelton) & also features Mike McGoldrick & John McCusker. No track list as of yet, but the album is expected to launch before the end of the year to coincide with an Australian tour. – Watch this space!

Here’s what we know so far & i must say it sounds exciting.

AndyIrvine on Luke Plumb:

“He knows everything about my music,” “He’s not going to do anything I don’t like.”

Luke Plumb on the prospect of recording the album:

“In the meantime though, one of my two all time musical inspirations is trekking across the globe to record an album with me at the helm. It’s huge honour for me and a bit of a bucket list thrill to work on a recording with Andy Irvine – particularly in the context of a duo album. We’ll be launching it in Australia in the January festival period so come see us! The material is stellar in typical Andy fashion so I reckon we’re ALL in for a treat.” via

Luke Plumb had this to say about the making of the album:

“Howdy folks, Been a long time since I checked in last…On the work front things have been rather frantic. Last I wrote, Andy Irvine was about to travel down south to record with me in Melbourne. He did and we converted a house made available to us by our good friend Corinn into a makeshift studio. 7 long days tracking and I had hours of unedited Irvine – a complete album somewhere in there… He’s a tireless worker putting down 14 tracks of bouzouki, mandola, harmonica and vocal takes.

I said later that his parts could have easily formed an entire album of unadulterated Andy, but as producer that would have been both a wasted opportunity and a cop out. I fired the finished takes over to the trusty Big Macs – Mike McGoldrick and John McCusker, our backing vocalists extraordinaire – Ruth Hazleton and Kate Burke and I began work on how to complement Andy’s playing with my own.

A few trips out to Inverloch in Victoria gave me the time and quiet space to record my own parts, we had a lovely day of vocals with Kate and Ruth and slowly the album took shape. Fairly early on it became clear it was a special record with a lot of first class material. I had a wee trip planned to come over to Scotland and got the parts from John and Mike plus some icing on the cake in terms of percussion from James MacKintosh – the final member of my Big Mac trinity.

Two days with Calum Malcolm for mixing and there’s the album. It’s been mastered now and awaiting pressing for an Australian release at the Woodford Folk Festival. I’m very proud of the album we made particularly given the “all eggs in one basket” pressure we had from Andy’s initial trip over. He played a blinder and that has set the tone and backbone of the whole album…” via Nov. ’16.

Kate & Ruth tweet on pre-recording nerves & post recording excitement:

Not at all worried about nailing tomorrow’s backing vocals for #AndyIrvine & #LukePlumb ‘s new album #folkmusic #pressure


— Kate & Ruth (@KateandRuth) October 30, 2016

Giddy with joy listening to mixes of @andyk_irvine & Luke Plumb’s new album… featuring Mike McGoldrick & John McCusker… and us too!

— Kate & Ruth (@KateandRuth) November 11, 2016

Celebrated Irish Musician Andy Irvine Kicks Off Middletown House Concerts

Celebrated Irish Musician Andy Irvine Kicks Off Middletown House Concerts

“It was partly the location,” Cormack says. “I won’t take you downstairs, but there’s this great finished room downstairs. That was the first spot. And then there’s a deck out in the back. We had outdoor concerts in the summer.”

The concerts were sporadic. After Viswa’s death in 2002, Cormack revisited the idea.

“We made this space,” Cormack says, pointing to a tight, square area adjacent to the living room, lined with instruments, books and compact discs. “We knocked out a bedroom. Right here, there’s a sweet spot, and the acoustics are really, really good. If you’re performing or out here listening, the sound is terrific.”

On Friday, Sept. 23, two dozen or so listeners will arrive at Cormack’s house for the return of celebrated Irish musician Andy Irvine. The show is one of four concerts this fall. Upcoming performers include John Carty (Oct. 20), Jeanne Freeman (Nov. 5) and Niamh Parsons (Dec. 8).

Fans can look forward to several new projects, currently in various stages of completion. Irvine recorded tracks for a new solo album with Australian producer Luke Plumb. "He knows everything about my music," Irvine says. "He's not going to do anything I don't like."

“It’s nice that the room fills up,” Cormack says. “It’s intimate and comfortable for both the audience and performer. That’s what people like about the concerts: they’re relaxed. The informality is nice.”

Irvine, 74, arrived in the U.S. on Thursday, Sept. 22. He flew to Detroit, performed in Lansing on Friday, then appeared twice at the Michigan Irish Music Festival in Muskegon. We met on his day off, before concerts in Boston, Portland and here in Middletown, then down to Brooklyn for the weekend.

“I’ve never counted, but it’s quite a lot,” Irvine says, when I ask how many appearances he makes a year. “It’s hard to quantify.”

Irvine likes house shows. He’s comfortable performing in unorthodox spaces. A founding member of the Sweeney Men and Planxty, Irvine busked around Eastern Europe in the mid-’60s.

“Me and my friend were the only Irish duo on the scene at that time,” Irvine says. “I used to get to Munich for about two weeks, then move further east. I’d busk every day for two hours or so. I could more or less guarantee what I would make. It was like a job. It wasn’t a very well-paid job, but you knew it was going to be money in the hand.”

After a trip in 1968, Irvine became fascinated by Bulgarian rhythms. “I didn’t understand it for a long time: where’s the beat?” he says. Irvine quickly worked up a version of “Stewball,” a song he’d learned in the north of Ireland from Eddie Butcher, interpolating a middle section in 7/8 meter. His rhythmic experiments influenced the next generation of traditional musicians, including Michael McGoldrick and Steve Cooney.

“I thought, ‘Do I dare do this?’ I do consider myself to be the instigator of that. I’m proud of that. But some older musicians said, ‘Tut, tut.'” Now, “7/8 seems to be the rhythm of my body,” Irvine says.

While busking, Irvine started writing songs “I was playing for my own amusement, and I got tired of the repertoire I had,” he says. “A good way of learning new stuff was to write it, when you were away from any other source of being able to find material.”

What came out were “personal” songs: “The West Coast of Clare,” recorded for Planxty’s 1973 self-titled debut; “Time Will Cure Me,” for “The Well Below the Valley”; and “Autumn Gold,” which appears on Irvine’s landmark 1977 duo album with Paul Brady.

Later, Irvine turned to politics and history. “Raoul Wallenberg,” about a Swedish architect who disappeared in 1947, after saving thousands of Hungarian Jews from extermination, and “Michael Dwyer’s Escape,” a song for the Irish leader of the 1798 rebellion, appeared on “Rude Awakening,” Irvine’s 1991 solo record.

“People would come up to me and say, ‘You know that song you sang about Raoul Wallenberg? I never knew that. I’m going to look into that more,'” Irvine says. “I thought, ‘Yes! That’s it.'”

Fans can look forward to several new projects, currently in various stages of completion. Irvine recorded tracks for a new solo album with Australian producer Luke Plumb. “He knows everything about my music,” Irvine says. “He’s not going to do anything I don’t like.”

Usher’s Island, Irvine’s group with McGoldrick, John Doyle, Paddy Glackin and longtime associate Dónal Lunny, also has an album that’s coming out soon. And Irvine has two limited-edition retrospective CDs that he’ll sell at gigs in the near future. Irvine’s current U.S. tour, however, will likely be his last.

“From the 30 percent withholding tax, to the tiresome, expensive and ultimately humiliating application for a work visa, which very often doesn’t come through in time,” Irvine recently wrote on his Facebook page. “Most of all, to the totally unfair disparity between a U.S. musician touring Ireland and all this sh*t we have to go through to tour over there, enough is enough.”

Cormack, meanwhile, will keep hosting concerts.

“All of the concerts in the more traditional settings: They were smaller venues, where it was not mic’d,” Cormack says. “Some of the instruments are very subtle. If they are mic’d, you lose the feeling of the instruments. It’s better to have the room acoustic. That was an aesthetic that I grew to understand and appreciate.”

ANDY IRVINE performs as part of the Middletown House Concert Series on Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Suggested donation is $20. Call 860-983-7963 or for reservations and directions for the upcoming concerts.

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