Marc Gunn - Celtic American Music, Celtic Podcaster, and Cat Lover

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A master list of journal articles, reviews, features, and news to various webpages around the net. These are my free gifts to you.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Listen to "A Tribute to Love"

Although I'm just now doing the CD Release for Irish Drinking Songs: The Cat Lover's Companion, I am already working on my next CD, A Tribute to Love. The album is nearly complete. There are a few tweaks I want to make, but right now, you can listen and enjoy the album for free, right here.

Let me know what your favorite songs are on the album.


posted by Marc Gunn @ Friday, August 10, 2007 0 comments links to this post


Marc Gunn's Podcasts

It was 2005 when I was listening to the DragonPage WingingIt and The Signal - Firefly Podcast and fell in love with podcasts. That's when the addiction began. I recorded a podcast in March, but scraped it. A couple months later, the bug hit me again, and I recorded the Cat Lover's Podcast. It was fun and easy to produce. So I started the Renaissance Festival Podcast. The next thing I knew I had a half a dozen podcasts and new ones pop up all the time.

Here's the latest list of my podcasts, in order of popularity, as of August 2007:

Irish & Celtic Music Podcast
This is by far my most-popular podcast with over 10,000 subscribers and 40,000 downloads each month. It features Irish and Celtic music from some of the hottest independent Celtic groups around the globe.

Renaissance Festival Podcast
Ever been to a Renaissance Festival? This show highlight artists performing at Renaissance festivals each week. It also hosts the annual Renaissance Festival Awards.

Marc Gunn's Pub Songs Podcast
I started this podcast with plans to feature pub songs, but it evolved into my personal podcast. It features live performances, thoughts, some favorite bands, and just all-around amusement.

A Brobdingnagian Minute
The podcast of the Brobdingnagian Bards. Once a month, we ramble on about whatever's on our minds and then we play a few songs in each show. It's the next best thing to a live show that you'll find.

Cat Lovers Podcast
Do you love cats? I started this podcast to promote my Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers, but it kinda grew beyond that featuring cat news, humour, stories, health tips and much more.

Marc Gunn's Irish Songs and More
I started this podcast with the intent to feature just Irish songs. But I got carried away and decided to open it up to all my music. Once a week, you can download a free 128kbps MP3. Course if you enjoy it, I just ask that you consider buying an album or buy the upgraded 192kbps MP3 file.

Your Weekly Irish Stout
I started this podcast for my friend Jack Murphy. It features Irish songs, pirate songs, and sea shanties from Captain Black Jack Murphy and Irish Stout. It has currently podfaded, but we still hope to bring it back one day.


posted by Marc Gunn @ Friday, August 10, 2007 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Two Monks Come Across a Naked Girl

From Seymoure:
Life is a gift, to waste it is the greatest sin. Do what you do, prepare as you can, and then move on. Worry never adds.

I used to tell the story of the two monks who are walking down a country road when they come upon a river. Suddenly a beautiful naked girl runs up to them. She says, "The river flooded everything I have away. My family is on the other side. Can you help me across to find them?" The younger monk is flustered, but the older one picks the girl up, throws her over his shoulder and walks across the river. When he reaches the shore he puts her down, and without a word, walks on. The younger monk follows, but his mind is not at rest.

After a couple of hours he stops his brother and says, "Brother, we are supposed to be above things of the flesh! And yet you picked that girl up and carried her across the river." The older monk says, "Yes, and when I got to the other side I put her down. You have been carrying her ever since." When it comes to using our time and energy every once in a while we have to put the girl down.


posted by Marc Gunn @ Wednesday, August 08, 2007 0 comments links to this post

Thursday, August 02, 2007

New Kilt Wearers' Tips

From the Celtic History Newsletter:

Last month I said I was going to continue my discussion of Celtic crosses, but with summer here and the Highland games / Renaissance fair / reenactment season here I thought it would be a good time write something lighter and to share a few tips for people who are trying to wear a kilt for the first time. Back to the crosses next month.

Andrew MacGregor?s Tips for New Kilt Wearers...

New to wearing a kilt? Start watching women in short skirts (-well more than you already do...) to study how they move while sitting down to avoid exposing themselves. You can learn some tips by following their example. That sweep of the hands underneath you as you sit can not only prevent embarassment, but protect you from surprises like cold/hot surfaces not to mention splinters.

Planning on buying/wearing a great kilt/belted plaid? Don't listen to the people who try to tell you that you need 9 yards of 60' wide material. All you need is 4-6 yards depending on your size and the pattern of the tartan. The idea of 9 yards comes from a misconception because the cloth for a belted plaid was only around 25' wide, depending on the size of the loom that was used to weave it. A 9 yard length of cloth was cut in half, and then the selvedge (long) edges were stitched together, resulting in a piece fabric only about four and a half yards long and 50 (or so) inches wide. See this article by Matthew A. C. Newsome (Member of the International Guild of Tartan Scholars, curator of the Scottish Tartans Museum) for more discussion of the matter. For the people that tell you that the phrase "The whole nine yards" refers to the belted plaid see this article for all the other supposed explanations of that phrase.

A site with step-by-step pictures of pleating a great kilt.

Chafing. Yes, there is a certain esprit de corps about being regimental, but on a hot, humid day even us skinny guys can suffer. So if you are out on a hot/humid day you are NOT any less manly a Scot if you save yourself some pain by wearing some bike shorts, or boxers. Briefs can help, but they don't prevent your inner thighs from rubbing. Another option is a little anti-perspirant where your thighs rub together to minimize irritation later in the day.

If your sporran is full/heavy and you need to run or move quickly, move it off-center so it doesn't bounce against delicate parts.

If you are going to wear a sword, especially with a great kilt/belted plaid, use a baldrick that goes over your shoulder rather than belting the scabbard at your waist. If you are spending the day at a Renaissance fair or historical reenactment, the combined weight of your plaid, sporran, sword and any other accoutrement all hanging from a belt at your waist can become very uncomfortable on your hips after a couple hours.

Moms, please don't put your young boys into a full-sized great kilt/belted plaid. It can take a while to get used to wearing a great kilt, even for an adult. So if you want your son to enjoy participating in your hobby, or celebrating your heritage, make sure he is as comfortable as possible -let him wear a cut-down plaid made from a generic tartan as a great kilt that fits his size. Once he grows out of it you can use your "son's first kilt" as an arasaid, or shawl. Or he can use it as a "fly plaid" pinned to his shoulder.

If you enjoy our newsletter, please support it by visiting out our online stores, or seek us out at the events listed on our web sites.

The Celtic Croft & MacGregor Historic Games

The Brobdingnagian Bards host a Great article "On the Dignity of How to Wear Kilts". And if you like Scottish music, check out the Brobdingnagian Bards new CD, Real Men Wear Kilts, as well as their free bumper stickers that read "Real Men Wear Kilts", Marc Gunn's solo CD Soul of a Harper, and find lots of great Celtic music with The Secret World of Celtic Rock.

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posted by Marc Gunn @ Thursday, August 02, 2007 0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

New Brobdingnagian Bards Gig Calendar on Eventful

I posted a new gig calendar on Eventful with the hope to use it as a better way to bring more fans to our shows. If would like to see the Brobdingnagian Bards or me perform live, then check it out and make a demand for us to come to your town.


posted by Marc Gunn @ Wednesday, August 01, 2007 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Nearly Drowning in the Great Outdoors with a Smile!

Today, I was in desperate need of getting out of the apartment. More than that I wanted to go for a walk. But I didn't want to go to Lady Bird Lake (That's the new name of Austin's Town Lake, which officially goes into effect on August 6th, and is named after the recently departed Lady Bird Johnson). So I went for a drive, out through Bee Caves, out to Hamilton Pool, which turned out to be closed. So I continued driving to Pedernales Falls.

Pedernales Falls is one of many state parks in Texas. I know from all the recent flooding I probably wouldn't be able to swim, but I brought a bathing suit just in case. It was humid, but fairly mild overall. The water at the falls was rushing faster than usual this time of year, but not so bad that you're gonna get swept away. So while you could swim, it was not encouraged.

Wearing good walking shows, I tromped and hopped among the rocks. I saw a couple sun bathing and thought lying out on the rocks in the surrounded by running water sounded nice. So I walked up stream past that couple and saw a nice place to go.

Now, let me explain. I was planning on mostly hiking. So I had my hiking shoes on, and I was listening to my iPod, Democracy Now. I had a "Real Men Wear Kilts" tote bag holding a towel, some goggles, and my cell phone. And when I got to this location, I took off my hiking shoes and put on my flip-flops for crossing water. I tied up the laces and threw them over my shoulder along with the tote bag.

I then started hoping a few slabs of stone. In some areas where there was a light cascade of water running between stones, I carefully maneuvered my way across to the next stone to bring myself closer to the center of the river. But I finally came to an area where I couldn't easily hop anywhere. It was about six feet across to the next stone with water running through it.

The water was murky brown from the sediment. So I couldn't see the bottom. But unless I wanted to run and jump... I could see myself trying, then slipping with my iPod slamming broken onto the rock and falling face first into the stone as well, blood gushing from my broken teeth and nose. Yeah, not so appealing.

That meant I had to wade. The water wasn't rushing too fast, so I felt safe I wouldn't get swept down stream. I put my first sandled foot into the water. It was about a foot deep. So I felt a little reassured and felt around for the next step, more rock and maybe six inches deeper. With that I was a third of the way through. Not too shabby.

I must've gotten too cocky, because I took another step and fwuump! I dropped two feet. The water was now at my chest. My iPod was held high and I was able to keep the tote from getting wet, but one show dangled in the water. I would've just thrown it all to the other side, being halfway through the divide. The problem was my left flip-flop.

Because of the awkward step, the flip-flip that had partially come off my foot. I didn't want to lose it. And I didn't want to ruin an iPod or a cellphone either. So I stood there a minute against the waters wondering what the hell I should do. And there up stream was a woman laughing at my comical predicament. No doubt more intrigued by this than the latest Soap Opera.

After trying to maneuver to get the zoree correctly back on my foot without success, I decided to save the rest of my stuff. I was able to easily toss my tote bag and my shoes onto land. That left just the iPod. With one ear bud now dangling in the water, I felt a little bit more confident about lifting my left leg to grab the precarious sandal. I got it!

Then I took another step forward, tossed the iPod on the soft tote and climbed up to the other side. A few more stones further and I found a place to lie down under the cloudy sky to attempt to dry my drenched body.

Thirty minutes later, it started raining. Thinking that'd really suck if the water picked up and I was stranded out on those rocks, I decided to head out of there.

I have to say. For as much as I daze I was in going out there. As much as I had no intent of getting drenched in sedimenty water while visiting the park, it was a wonderful experience. And no doubt a memorable one too. Not saying there's room on my CD, but that experience too seems like a perfect tribute, no matter how quirky, to love.

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posted by Marc Gunn @ Sunday, July 29, 2007 0 comments links to this post

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Live Show That Should Never Be Heard!

Do you ever do something that you kinda wish you hadn't done?

Worse. Have you ever had a recording of that thing you wish you hadn't done?

Worse still. Have you ever shared that recording of that thing you wish you hadn't done?

Personally, I somehow think that's the most foolish to do. I mean, why would anyone want to publicly humiliate themselves? Yet, for me... Okay, let me back track a moment and explain.

Last month, the Brobdingnagian Bards led a vacation tour of Ireland. It was awesome. Great sites. Great people on the tour. Our coach driver, Liam, said it best, "You're a like most tour groups. You're fun!"

Now me, I'm a podcaster and archivist. I like recording stuff shows I do and sharing them with others. It's what I do. But I also like to drink. And on occasion, I get kinda wild while drinking. So halfway through the tour while we were holed up in Lisdoonvarna, I and 20 friends went to a pub. I sang, drank, sang some more while everyone else sang, drank, and sang-a-long. It was great craic!

Past couple days, I went back and listened to those recordings. Youch! Sure there was some FUN stuff early on in the evening while I was still sober. But that NC-17 version of "Scarborough Faire"...? I don't think that should be heard. Nor should my foul mouth throughout the end of that show. And the "I Need to Pee" song was just, well, bad.

So it raises that interesting dilemna that I'm trying to figure out. Should I accidentally lose *ahem* delete, those files? Or hold on to them with the fear I'll be blackmailed in later years. Or should I go ahead and find the good material and just release that. I'm leaning more towards that. Why soil my mediocre name with material that was questionable at best... not to mention the performance of that last hour just, well, stunk.

I know, I know. Those on the tour are like "I WANT IT!" And those who weren't and read this are saying, "GIVE IT TO ME!" But I just don't know...

I mean, if someone else recorded it and wanted to listen to it at their leisure, that's one thing that doesn't really bother me. But when I have the power to protect my image, a sensible person would say, "Yes! Protect it!" But then when have I ever been sensible?

Anyway, when I finally decide, I'll post those live shows here with my others.

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posted by Marc Gunn @ Saturday, July 28, 2007 0 comments links to this post

Friday, July 27, 2007

New American Folk Podcast - Lord of the Dance

"I danced in the morning when the world was begun." I loved that song growing up. But it wasn't until I got on a few years back that I heard a great version by Muckle Flugga that renewed my interest of the song. However, it was Pam Owens, aka Mother Pockets who posted the song title, "Lord of the Pounce" that made me want to write a parody for Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers. That, ultimately, led to me actually learning the original Irish song. That's when I found out just how well-loved "Lord of the Dance" is as a song. It's amazing to find out that the lyrics were written in the '60s by Sydney Carter. I can only dream to hope that one day I might write a song as beloved.
"Lord of the Dance"
Listen: LoFi
Recorded by Marc Gunn
From: Irish Drinking Songs: A Cat Lover's Companion
Read Lyrics: "Lord of the Dance" Lyrics

Download MP3: 128 kbps
Buy MP3 for 99ยข: 192 kbps
Donation: Make a Donation
Visit MP3 Store: Buy Irish MP3s

Released under a Creative Commons Noncommercial ShareAlike License


posted by Marc Gunn @ Friday, July 27, 2007 0 comments links to this post


Cat Companion CD Release at Things Celtic in Austin, Texas

Wow! I was looking at my calendar, and it was this time last year that I did my last show at Things Celtic. Last time, I had a theme--summery visions. I don't remember what I played though.

This time, I am releasing my... um... third solo CD, Irish Drinking Songs: The Cat Lover's Companion. Okay, I'm a little slow since I officially released the album in June. But better late than never, eh?

Sat, August 11, 2007
Things Celtic @ 2PM
1806 W. 35th Street
Austin, TX 78703

Some come out and sing some Irish songs with me!

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posted by Marc Gunn @ Friday, July 27, 2007 0 comments links to this post


Help Bring More Love Into the World

Yesterday, I was listening to an audio book by Seth Godin. He talked about living the marketing message you want to share. I realized that's probably the reason Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers has done so well. I love cats!

Last night, I was watching a movie and Torre climbed up on little fold out table and stood there like an Egyptian God. He stared off quietly as cats do, looking off into a parallel universe or something.

When he saw me staring, he took a careful moment measuring the distance to the sofa with his eyes. His legs flexed, and he leapt onto the sofa and climbed on my lap. He looked at me to see if I would object. Of course, I didn't. And a couple minutes later, he circled and lay down quietly to nap.

I love when cats do that. I love the way they love. It's so different and yet similar to the way we humans love. My cats are extremely loving and faithful to me. They know their daddy and show it all the time. Sure, sometimes it's a bit stand-offish, but that's just the nature of the cat. If you try petting him when he doesn't want a petting, he shakes you off and walks away. Torre hates it when I kiss him on the forehead. Sometimes he bares it. Sometimes he struggles away. But he's always back with more love to give and share.

That's the amazing thing about love. I'm working on a CD called "A Tribute to Love". Admittedly, I'm far from an expert. I am single, after all. But I do know that love is two-way even if I can't always adequately balance it.

In order to receive love, you need to give it.

But too often our pride gets in the way. We let it hinder our ability to receive by not giving it to others. It works in many arenas too. That's one of the reasons I try to help indie bands so much. It's to receive that feeling of respect that I so greatly desire too. Love is the same way. You have to give it to receive it.

I was thinking about this as I was driving home listening to that Seth Godin audio book, thinking about it in terms of my Love CD. I don't just want to release another CD. This feels like it should be something different. The album is mixture of love songs. Some are traditional Celtic, but most are original songs that I've written over there years that express different aspects of love that I've experienced.

Yesterday, I was thinking about even raising the price on this CD while donating a significant portion to a loving charity. I've thought about limiting the release to only people of a certain loving disposition who want to love and be loved. But I'm not sure either of those things really get to the heart of what I want.

I want something that shares my love with others. I want something that you can share with people you love. I want to hear hearts beat rapidly throughout the world, all in the name of love.

Maybe it's a little hopeful since I still need finish recording and mix the album. Maybe it's too big a dream to expect from one little album, but love is important in life. And with any luck, I hope to bring a little bit more into the world.

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posted by Marc Gunn @ Friday, July 27, 2007 0 comments links to this post


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