Sounds Local

Why not Banish Misfortune Friday?

Area band brings its lively, traditional Irish music to the Great Hall

Many music fans view Irish music as something you listen to around St. Patrick’s Day and then pack away like your favorite Christmas decoration to be enjoyed next year. But like every musical genre, there are people who play and enjoy this uplifting music year round. Musicians and listeners alike join together at area pubs and coffeehouses that host weekly Irish music sessions and it was at one of these weekly jam sessions that the band Banish Misfortune came together.

Banish Misfortune is David Meuser (guitar) of Northampton, David Brule (fiddle) of Millers Falls, Sean Burke (mandolin, bouzouki) a native of Ireland who lives in Amherst, Tim Donoghue (concertina) of Springfield, Kira Jewett (fiddle) of Northampton and T.J Ezold (accordion, flute, banjo, whistle) also from Northampton.

The group plays traditional music from Ireland — rousing jigs, reels, hornpipes waltzes, polkas and airs — as well as the occasional inspired song or accompanied Irish poem. They also occasionally delve into tunes from Scotland and Cape Breton.

It’s fitting that the band members first met at the Harp as this Sunderland establishment is as close to an authentic Irish Pub as you’ll find here in western Massachusetts. After years of playing together in this informal sessions, the group was asked to perform at a wedding reception in Northampton. That gig proved such a success that the band got to thinking that maybe it could do more shows together.

“We were very well received there and thought we might try to create a marketable session, a hybrid that was very relaxed (an essential ingredient in Irish music), but also a known quantity that whoever hired us could rely on,” wrote Meuser, in a recent email exchange.

So, Banish Misfortune officially became a band in 2008.

Banish Misfortune will perform at the Great Falls Coffeehouse on Friday, Aug. 9, at 7 p.m. The coffeehouse is held in the Great Hall at the Great Falls Discovery Center located at 2 Avenue A in downtown Turners Falls.

“We played The Great Falls Discovery Center in Turners Falls two years ago and had a wonderful time; it’s very lovely there with great acoustics, and all of us are true nature lovers,” Meuser said.

In addition to the coffeehouse, Banish Misfortune has performed throughout western Massachusetts and Connecticut, playing at public libraries, wedding receptions, festival, private parties and even several parades on a horse-drawn cart.

In 2009, the band was asked to play St. Patrick’s Day at the Northampton Brewery, which marked the beginning of a weekly gig that continues today. Each Sunday, from 5 to 8 p.m., you’ll find the band huddled up in the corner of the popular brew pub entertaining listeners with traditional music. The band has recently noticed an increase in the number of young children who are frequenting these shows, playfully dancing along to jigs and reels and even expressing interest in learning an instrument

“Parents tell us they love having their children hear and see actual instruments played by real people, up close,” Meuser said.

He added the band has fans on the other end of the age spectrum, even attracting some listeners in their 90s. “ I’m always impressed by how wide an age demographic traditional Irish music appeals to,” he said.

Despite the group’s commitment to playing together, they have only played shows close to home. “We’ve never toured anywhere, mainly because we’ve been blessed with gigs within driving distance from home,” explained Meuser. “But, I like to joke that our upcoming gig in Turners is our one-stop big summer tour and that we’ve officially hit the small time!”

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Coffee and homemade baked goods will be served. The suggested donation is on a sliding scale of $6 to $12. Children are free.The museum and museum store are open during intermission. All proceeds from the concert will be used to support the work for the Discovery Center. The Discovery Center is wheelchair accessible. For more information, please call 413-863-3221 or visit

Seth Glier returns to perform at Greenfield Energy Park Sunday

Singer-songwriter Seth Glier, a Shelburne Falls native, will take to The Station stage at the Energy Park on Miles Street in Greenfield on Sunday, Aug. 11, at 6 p.m. This show is the final show in the “Sundays in the Park” summer series. According to Glier, the last time he played the Energy Park he was 16 and had just released his first album, “Why.”

Glier, 24, released his fifth album, “Things I Should Let You Know,” in January. The disc has won wide acclaim, with critics praising his memorable lyrics, supple, emotive voice and irresistible pop melodies.

After hearing the verdict of the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman trial, Glier was recently moved to write a new song called “Dead in the Streets.”

“Personally, the best way I know how to cope is by writing songs,” he wrote on his website. “ I decided to write this song from the perspective of George Zimmerman, my intention is one of healing and moving forward.”

The video of Glier performing the song can be viewed at or at

Joining Glier for the Energy Park show will be local musician Joe Nerney on vocals, saxophone, piano and recorder. Nerney, 61, has been accompanying Glier on his tour in support of the new album. Despite their different musical backgrounds (Nerney has worked with rock cover bands and with John Sheldon’s Blue Streak) and the big age difference between the two, they have forged a strong musical partnership. So don’t miss out on what promises to be a special evening of music.

For more information, or in the event of a weather cancellation, please call the Greenfield Recreation Department at 413-772-1553. $10 suggested donation at the gate.

Sheryl Hunter is a music writer who lives in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national magazines. You can contact her at

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