In the Tap Room is an album of Irish traditional music from John McCormick (accordion), Mary Vanorny (fiddle), and Brian Miller (guitar & bouzouki). It features 19 tracks of driving reels, jigs, hornpipes and polkas, played with great energy and respect for the music.
McCormick and Vanorny have played in literally hundreds of sessions together, and have a solid history of tunes that they are excited to share. John says: “We often said we should make a CD together and now we have!” Adding to the mix is Miller’s intricate yet driving accompaniment that offers warm encouragement and lift.
John has been a steady figure in the Twin Cities Irish music scene since the late 70’s through his involvement with the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band, and Mary has been involved in the local music and dance communities for nearly two decades. The pair met at a local session and became ‘tune pals’, connecting over the music and the ease of playing together. A few tunes were picked up by John or Mary directly on their various trips to Ireland to play music, but most of the tunes are ones that have a history of being brought to the local scene, either live or through recordings, and picked up by John or Mary that way. Mary says that several of the sets have a familiar story: “I learned them from John. John has no idea where he learned them. We enjoy playing them anyway.”
The album pays special tribute to the long-time Irish Traditional Music Seisún hosted on Sunday evenings at Keegan’s Irish Pub in Minneapolis. John & Mary met at this session and their friendship includes many hours spent on the Keegan’s bench playing tunes (the album cover photo shows them on this very bench!). The album design features photographs of the “musician’s wall” put up by the original owners of the pub, Terry and Virginia Keegan. The wall photos include many of the musicians that have graced the session corner--both long-time session anchors and visitors too.
The album was recorded by Dakota Dave Hull at Arabica Studio in Minneapolis late last year, and mixed and mastered at Creation Audio in Minneapolis. Mary and John would like to thank all their session friends from the Twin Cities and beyond. “Playing tunes with all of you means the world to us, and we look forward to many more sessions ‘in the tap room’!”
“lovely playing, lovely variations — lots of beautiful thoughts!”
~Dáithí Sproule of Altan
Released in 2018, Mary's solo album of Irish music on fiddle is accompanied by Ryan Johnson on piano, and also features local musicians Chad McAnally (Irish harp) and Matt Wehling (mandolin), as well as Mary's daughter, Claire (fiddle).