Musicians that Will Make the CD Magic – Brad Rehn and Len Crowley

Surround yourself with the right combination of people and magic happens…

Ali Gilmore Music - Brad Rehn and Len CrowleyBrad Rehn (confirmed)
Len Crowley (confirmed)

I met both Brad Rehn and Len Crowley about ten years ago, through Ned and Brenda, an Irish couple who owned and ran our local pub.  Brad and Len were members of Ned’s band “Brehon Law” that played in the pub a couple nights a week.   Ned is a master at working the crowd and can play mandolin in a way that makes you wait for the smoke to rise from it.  My friends and I couldn’t wait to get home from work on Friday nights, change and head down to the pub for what was sure to be a great night filled with great food, music and merriment.  This was before I returned to music myself. I was in awe of them and a quiet student for years.  Besides the fact that they were fun and played really well together, it was easy to see how much they loved their fearless leader, warts and all and I’ve always admired their particular brand of loyalty.

Both Brad and Len are deeply ingrained in my vision of this CD.  There is one song in particular that I hear them in. I always get verklempt when I think of it, because I know how much the story (behind the song) means to each of us.

All of my songs are stories.  Some of them are mine, some belong to others, but most often they’re a blend of moments and memories of mine as well as ones that my emotional antennae have picked up along the way.

Brehon Law

Paul, Brad, Johnny, Ned and Len at the going away party and the final performance of Brehon Law.

My song “See you around” is the latter. It was bubbling up inside me over the course of a couple weeks a­s I witnessed the progression of the impending move of our good friends from our world here in Oceanside to their home land of Ireland.  We knew they intended to return there to retire “one day”, but this decision of “when” came a few years earlier than we’d expected, which left many of us feeling torn between being happy they would be near their families again and sad to see such an integral part of our lives traverse from almost daily to “See you next spring”.

It was hard to keep cheerful under the weight of all that sadness. So, a few days before their going away party, I was home, opened a bottle of Pinot Griggio, poured a glass and started playing my guitar.  I started on A, did some Travis picking to lift the spirit of it and then the words came out…”Got half your stuff stowed in my basement…and your mailbox, well I’ve got a key…so when I see you packing things and tying ‘em all up with string, it don’t worry me…”

The rest flowed out of me as easily as the wine was going in.  I’d take a sip and start playing from the beginning again and then the next phrase would bubble up and out “but rumors are flying…while everyone is trying…to figure out why you’d want to leave…” Then I’d stop,  write down the lyrics, take another sip and sometimes wipe a tear as more and more of what I felt and sensed from the others around me sprang up, out and onto paper.

The night of their going away party was especially intense.  I had been taking my usual cheerful route and saying I wasn’t sad because I knew they were just a flight away, but inside I was struggling.  Especially as I looked through my camera’s lens and into the eyes of the others in our crew like Len who’s eyes looked like they were a damn about to burst.  Such profound sadness.  I imagine like a kid who wakes to find Santa was a no show.

This video is from that night.  We were all about two sheets to the wind by the time I braved the stage, my voice was week from chemo and the recording is from another 2 sheeter in the crowd, so don’t focus on quality of the production so much as the captured moment.  You can’t see Brad or Len, but if you listen really closely you will hear them come in when the story starts to build to…”It takes something so much wider than the ocean…to break the ties of our devotion…”

I listen to it and I know exactly where the song is supposed to go and that these two guys are meant to be part of it.  It is our way of bridging the distance between those days and the next time we are with “the Gibs”.

I am so looking forward to running this song with them and through Alan’s brilliant filter.  I believe the result will be extraordinary.  Mark my words…


PS – Just two days left in the campaign and 2 days left to order your copy of the limited edition CD: