Green Briar Pub, Boston, MA
If you ever can be in Boston on a Monday night, you’re in for a double-barrel treat!
First, at 7 PM, you can sit-in with Boston’s Original Slow Session. We play all the old favorite
session tunes but at a more relaxed pace than the usual session. All are welcome. Contact us
if you’d like our playlist.
Then, at 9 PM, Boston’s longest running session (~ 35 years) takes over. Led by the local CCE
President (Larry Reynolds) and his son (Mike) the music soars until all hours. All are welcome
and you’re guaranteed to hear the best there is.
The Green Briar is on an MBTA bus line or 20 minutes by cab from downtown.
Was in attendance last week (on holidays).
Enjoyed very much, Finbarr Doyle singing on Sunday nights is excellent also.
I went to the 9pm session for the first time recently. Draws a sizable crowd (~20 people) and a good mix of instruments. For the first hour or two, the sets are led by Larry or a guest, and after that, they open it up to others.
The musicians are some of the original folks who brought Irish music to the states. As such, you’ll find a lot of gray-haired players, most of whom dwell from the Emerald Isle.
I wouldn’t mind a few more younger players (I’m in my mid-20s), but otherwise, a very enjoyable session, and one I’ll be returning to.
Re: Green Briar Pub
Popped round to The Green Briar this evening and I can confirm that this session is still going strong with its original format: a (big!) slow session from 7:30 and then a more advanced session from 9pm. Good stuff.
Here’s a nice little video about the session(s):
Re: Green Briar Pub
Jeez, Jeremy, what time were you around? I would’ve loved to been able to meet you and thank you for the site!
The early "Slow Session" begins at 7:00 and is led by Frank Horrigan (accordion, whistle). Frank maintains that though the session began slow, at this point in its life it ought to be considered intermediate, but regardless it is a welcoming place for any beginner. Many members use sheet music and most of the tunes selected come from Comhaltas’s Foinn Session books. Frank goes around the room and asks each player for a set or tune, and they are given the chance to lead the tunes for their go-round. The session ends at 9:00 with Frank’s tune, Fanny Power. There is also a tune of the month that is voted upon and then played weekly to add to the session’s repertoire, but that has recently fallen by the wayside.
The slow session is a great one to pick up tunes, as well as figure out how to play with ones you already know (going up or down an octave, ornamentation, variations…) I would say that average crowd is some 30 participants.
At 9:00 tables and chairs are dragged over to the bar, and a new crowd shows up to join some of the slow session attendees. Tom Sheridan (accordions) and Terry (banjo, guitar, voice) lead a variety of tunes for about an hour (including Boston favorites such as Cooley’s / Bird in the Bush, or Brendan Tonra’s Jig) before opening up for a song and going around the table asking for sets from attendees. Tommy and Terry are both extremely talented players in their own rite but keep the session welcoming and fun for all. Occasionally Mike Reynolds (box, guitar, voice) will join and lead the session with Tommy, and to hear the two of them play together is a real treat. A quiet night might see 10 players, and a busy one would see 20. Any musician nearby ought to be at the Greenbriar — it’s impossible not to learn something from those three, box/banjo player or otherwise. With the four mentioned session leaders and unmentioned participants I would never be near as confident in my playing nor enjoy the music as much as I do now. The 9:00 session usually begins to wind down at 10:45 before ending around midnight.