Last week we attended the inaugural house concert at the Dancing Tree Listening Venue. This is the newly-renovated home of Ralph and Karen Holyoke, former owners of the Homeport Historic Bed and Breakfast. The house concert series they hosted at the B&B was a huge success. Ralph and Karen are so committed to bringing high quality live folk music to our area, that they
renovated Ralph’s family home on Kennebecasis Drive with a view to continuing the tradition there.
Their first Dancing Tree house concert was auspicious. The musical guests were Ryan McKasson and Eric McDonald. Both musicians have a passion for traditional Celtic music.
McKasson coaxed the full spectrum of emotions and moods from the strings of his fiddle. He highlighted the various styles and traditions which have influenced him over the years. His interpretation of pieces by Québec’s André Brunet and Scotland’s Alastair Fraser were memorable.
Eric McDonald, on lead vocals and guitar, shared traditional ballads and more contemporary songs written in the style of the traditional ballad. His voice has a plaintive quality that harkens back to the minstrels and storytellers of a bygone time. McDonald’s skillful and intricate guitar-playing and McKasson’s understated vocal harmony added a rich texture to the music.
If this first concert is an indication of things to come, Dancing Tree will become a successful and popular venue. Thank you, Ralph and Karen, for opening your home and hearts to great musicians and the folks who love listening to them.