Dan Possumato
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Dan Possumato

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE
Band Folk Celtic




"Tipperary Mid West Community Radio, Ireland"

“Mighty melodeon player he is, indeed”
-- Noel Fahey, The Crooked Road
- Tipperary, Ireland

"Irish Music Magazine, Dublin, Ireland"

The first impression one gets from handling this new CD production of box player Dan Possumato’s is that there’s no expense spared, nothing left to chance, and it was all prepared with loving attention to detail. While it’s a celebration of music and associated friendships, there’s a note of sadness there, as well. One of the musicians featured is Dan’s good friend, mountain climber Gerard McDonnell, the 37-year-old from Kilcornan, Co Limerick, the first Irish person to reach the summit of K2 the second-highest mountain on earth. Sadly, Ger and ten other climbers didn’t make it back and died in the descent.
Listening to Dan’s new CD, Pulling Out the Stops, is like a return visit with an old friend because I had the pleasure of doing a write-up of his 2007 CD Land of Sunshine, and now once again the sentiments I experienced then are evoked once more in this new album. This production has the honesty and genuineness of an old-time session of friends and neighbours gathered in for an evening’s entertainment. Among the musicians are his good friend, fiddler Kevin Burke, the London-born son of Sligo parents, now resident in Portland, Oregon, where Dan lives, and Mick Mulcrone (vocals, flute, bouzouki) from Ohio, who like Dan, is the son of immigrants. Other friends are, Quentin Cooper (banjo, mandolin, bouzouki), Andrew Dall (bodhrán), Brongaene Griffin (fiddle), Elizabeth Nicholson (Irish harp), Bob Soper (guitar), and Teresa Baker (piano). Incidentally, Dan plays the one-row melodeon and the two-row button accordion.
Gerard McDonnell is heard on two tracks: he sings Molly Brannigan unaccompanied, a song he often sang at festivals and concerts. Ger’s sense of humour is revealed in his treatment of this song of unrequited love which, he once told Dan, is about someone who feels a bit too sorry for himself. In the recurring line at the end of each verse are the words, ‘…she left me all alone here for to die’ followed immediately by Ger lilting “didlle-dee-eye-dee-die-dee-die…” and so on, with emphasis on the word die. The other track in which Ger plays a bodhrán solo was recorded ‘live’ in April 2002 at the Alaska Folk Festival when he and Dan were members of the group Last Night’s Fun.
Mick Mulcrone is a dab hand at the singing and gives us three songs: The Boys of Mullaghbawn, Stephen Foster’s Hard Times, and Welcome Paddy Home which he got from the singing of Cathal McConnell. The tunes range through jigs, reels, hornpipes, and Planxty Dermot Grogan, composed for the man named in the title by Mayo harpist and concertina player Holly Geraghty. A final note: Dan has arranged for a donation from the sale of each CD to go to Ger McDonnell’s memorial fund to provide assistance to the children of the Sherpa and Pakistani porters who died that day. That would be reason enough to buy this CD, but it stands on its own as a fine example of what Dan’s friend Mikey Beglan said of the musicians featured and what they represent: ‘…regardless of their individual talents they were servants of the collective tradition’ they all loved and respected.

Aidan O’Hara , Irish Music Magazine, July 2010
- Dublin, Ireland

"Grace Notes, Radio Telefís Éireann, Dublin, Ireland"

"He's a great accordion player" -- Ellen Cranitch - (RTÉ), Dublin, Ireland

"Sing Out! Bethlehem, PA"

The second tune on Dan Possumato’s latest CD is Billy McComiskey’s “The
Controversial Reel.” That’s apt in that melodeon/button accordion artist Possumato, likeMcComiskey, favors bold playing in which the notes roll across the room in waves. There are recent compositions sprinkled amid the traditional tunes, but this is mostly old-style Irish music – the kind that doesn’t pretend that jigs and reels are stage spectacle. As a result, it is timeless music rather than flavor of the month. This is not to say that the album is sparse – Possumato’s pulled and pushed notes are the album’s centerpiece, but he has enlisted a top-drawer guest list that includes Kevin Burke (fiddle), Teresa Baker (piano), Mick Mulcrone (flute, bouzouki,vocals), Quentin Cooper (banjo) and Elizabeth Nicholson (harp). What is billed as a squeezebox album is really an ensemble piece that has the intimacy of a late-night session in which the musicians are perfectly in synch. Possumato honors the sessions spirit by mixing the pace and mood. For example, a flute/melodeon jig set (“Dermot Grogan’s”) segues to a song (Mulcrone on “Boys of Mullaghbawn”), slides easily into some Irish reels (“Miss Langford’s”), and gives way to a Breton an dro. Later Possumato devotes one of the album’s 16 tracks to a bodhran solo from Andrew Dall. Like all great sessions,though, the big reel sets are there to stir your blood right after you’ve been pacified by whatever came before it. Check out the
“Tommy Peoples” set and you’ll know what I mean.
— Rob Weir - Bethlehem, PA

"Irish American News, Chicago"

“Kevin Burke leads a host of guest stars whose very presence tells you this is good stuff, and indeed it is! Lots of tunes and songs --- all trad and all solid!!”
-- Bill Margeson,
- Chicago

"WGMU, Fairfax, Virginia"

"some fine playing there" - George Mason University


Zusammen mit neun weiteren Musikerinnen und Musikern, darunter Kevin Burke, spielt der Melodeonist und Akkordeonist aus Portland, Oregon, traditionelle irische Tanz- und Sessionmusik mit bretonischen und amerikanischen Sprengseln. Sie swingt einfach wunderbar fröhlich vor sich hin. Das Booklet enthält viele Infos zu den einzelnen
Tunes und Songs. - Bonn, Germany (in German)

"Victory Review Magazine"

July 2010 Issue

Traditional Irish music in the early 21st century is far removed from its rowdy dancehall roots. Most Irish musicians today play in the fast and flashy “session style” that actively avoids and disguises the beat. But there is a small community of old-school Irish musicians still playing for dancing and looking to bring the music’s beat back. Surprisingly, a fair number of these musicians are located right here in the Pacific Northwest and especially in Portland, Oregon. On his new album, Pulling Out The Stops, melodeon player Dan Possumato involves some of Portland’s best Irish musicians, from legendary Irish fiddler Kevin Burke, to Irish harp and guitar duo Elizabeth Nicholson and Bob Soper (of the Portland band Stringed Migration); he even has an introductory note of appreciation from Mikey Beglan, the famously cantankerous owner of Portland’s Alberta Street Pub (the heart of Portland’s Irish scene).

Throughout, Dan’s melodeon playing leads the pace of the album. The melodeon, a one-row accordion (or style of playing a button accordion on one row of buttons) has a funky and choppy sound. Since each button sounds a different note on the push or the pull, I’ve often likened playing the one-row melodeon to the feeling of wrestling a wild animal.

The feel of Dan’s CD is that of an Irish hooley, or house party; a gathering of friends to play music, sing songs and tell stories. I give Dan props for involving so many different musicians in the album and for allowing them to have the space to show their talents as well. There are some nice gems on the album: like a gorgeous spot of lilting (mouth music) on “Molly Branigan”, and a lovely group of jigs, “Boys of Tandragee/Jackson’s Morning Breeze/John McKenna’s”, that really features Dan’s melodeon playing. The tunes chosen for the recording are lesser-known gems and fit nicely together. All in all, this is a great introduction to Portland’s lively Irish music scene and a fun listen. [Devon Leger]
- Seattle/Tacoma


Der aus Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, stammende Akkordeon Spieler Dan Possumato hat mit einer Reihe erstklassigerMusiker aus der Folkszene ein neues Album mit 12 traditionellen und zeitgenössischen Instrumentalsets und vier Folksongs aus Irland aufgenommen. Er widmet das Album seinem tragisch verunglückten Freund und Musikerkollegen Gerard McDonnell, der auch auf einigen Titeln als Sängerund Bodhràn Spieler zu hören ist.So singt Gerard den melancholischen Song "Hard Times come again no more" von Stephen Foster (1854) begleitet von Akkordeon, Banjo, Piano und Gitarre oder das traditionelle"Molly Brannigan" a Capella inklusive Lilting. Hörenswert ist auch sein3 Minuten langes Bodhràn Solo, Live in Alaska 2002 aufgenommen. Von den Instrumentalstücken gefällt mir am bestendie wunderschöne Melodie "Planxty Dermot Grogan" mit dem tollen Zusammenspiel von Possumato und Elizabeth Nicholson an der irischen Harfe. Kevin Burke treibtmitseiner Fiddle beim mitreißenden Reel Set "Tommy Peoples/Boogie Reel/Donegal Traveller" Possumato zu großartigem Spiel an. Ein bretonischerAn Dro wird mit dem"Jack Ryan's" Jig zu einem außergewöhnlichen Set zusammengespannt und das Hornpipe Set "The Little Stack of Oats/The Cat in the Fiddle Case" ergänzen das abwechslungsreiche Programm. Das neue Album von Dan Possumato ist eine schöne Sammlung IrischerMusik, vorgetragen ohne technischen Schnickschnack. Freunde authentischer Folk Musik werden damit ihre Freudehaben. www.danpossumato.com
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup
#43 November 2010
- Germany (in German)

"The Irish Times"

"Three Stars"
-- Siobhán Long, - Dublin

"The West Wind"

“Great sound there, indeed”
-- Joan Hanrahan - Clare FM, Ennis, Ireland

"fRoots Magazine"

Dan is an American accordionist who favours the Jackie Daly and Paddy O’Brien approach to box playing over flashing arpeggios. This album is solid, beefy and devoid of showmanship. Some old favourites and choice new tunes with guest slots from Kevin Burke and a bodhran solo from the late Gerard McDonnell. Delightful meat and two veg traditional music of the old stock.
- Bristol, England

"Boston Irish Reporter"

“Summons up the dance hall feel of days of yore””
-- Susan Lindsey

- Boston

"Dirty Linen"

“Happy dance music…a good antidote for a dark winter night”
- Baltimore (magazine defunct)

"Irish Edition"

Dan is one of the finest old style button accordion players currently around and this, his second album, “Pulling Out The Stops,” captures the magic of his playing to perfection. - Philadelphia

"BBC Radio Ulster"

“Some great tunes and songs”
-- Colm Sands, Folk Club
- BBC Northern Ireland, Belfast

"The Living Tradition"

“An appealingly enjoyable record which majors on the heartwarming, life-affirming power of good craic and reliable musicianship”
-- David Kidman
- Scotland

"Galway Advertiser"

IRISH TRAD albums from Alaska are not what you'd describe as 'in abundance' so Land of Sunshine from Pittsburgh born, Anchoraged based Possumato comes as a surprise.

Possumato's melodeon playing has a lively, sprightly touch, that draws from the more traditional side of the fence, but displays enough ad-libs and flourishes to provide plenty of welcome colour, variety, and freshness throughout the tunes on the album.

Possumato is also happy to let his collaborators shine, as on 'I Buried My Wife And Danced On Top of Her' which comes across like a musical duet between Possumato and the nimble banjo picking of Jerry Mulvihill. Laura Mulcahy also contributes a marvelous rendition of 'Blackwater's Side,' the old Irish song that Jimmy Page would later transform into Led Zepplein I's 'Blackmountain Side.' A delight from start to finish.

-- Kernan Andrews, Arts Editor, Galway Advertiser - Galway, Ireland

"Review of Land of Sunshine"

I played this CD for the first time in my living room, and within minutes my housemate's boyfriend was trying to figure out how to dance to it.

That may sum up the appeal of "Land of Sunshine" - and, really, of much good Celtic music. However little we may know about Celtic song and dance, a whole lot of us want to get up and move, or at least attempt to, the minute a reel hits our ears.

"Land of Sunshine," a collection of mainly traditional Irish tunes by Anchorage's Dan Possumato, transports us to a better time and place. The tracks, many of them as old as the green hills they bring to mind, are varied and colorful and full of life.

Possumato plays the two-row button accordion and the one-row melodeon; he recorded each track in conjunction with another musician or two, usually Quentin Cooper. Despite the instrumental minimalism - no drums or winds - Possumato and the rest either weave a full sound or simply revel in their spareness. Guest Laura Mulcahy fills out two songs with her delicate voice. Her sound is patently lovely, although it seems too fragile for its own good.

"The Mount Phoebus Hunt" is a standout on an album that boasts a lineup of mostly wonderful compositions. This set dance has an absolutely grand rhythm and melody. It consists of nothing but accordion but is rich and imbued with spirit just the same. Liner notes say Possumato heard it for the first time in a pub in County Clare - and that's no surprise, as this is precisely the type of tune one would hear in a bar and immediately desire to know enough about to play oneself.

- Lillie Dremeaux, Anchorage Daily News - Anchorage Daily News

"Clare FM, Ennis, Ireland"

“very nice sound…lovely production…fine music it is” -- Paula Carroll - The Wednesday Session

"Clare FM, Ennis, Ireland"

“very nice tunes, indeed” -- Claire Keville - Music in the Glen

"WTJU, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA"

“Lots of punch and energy” -- Kevin Donleavy - Atlantic Weekly

"KAOS Radio, Olympia, Washington"

"wonderful CD" -- Burt Meyer - Wheels of the World

"Connemara Community Radio, Ireland"

"A lovely CD" - "Lift the Latch" traditional music programme


Irish Music Magazine CD Sampler 2012 (one track)
CD Pulling Out the Stops, 2010
CD Land of Sunshine, 2006



"Dan lived for 15 years in Europe, and he has spent lots of time in the west of Ireland, which is the source for many of the tunes he plays in the old "push and draw" style. While the melodeon has all but been replaced by the two-row accordion in Irish music, Dan shows us that ten buttons can still produce a mighty sound. His playing has a great feel of being back in time, listening to the locals playing in the pub or around the kitchen table." -- from the Claddagh Records catalog

Tracks from Dan’s albums have been played in Ireland on radio stations such as RTÉ, ClareFM, Raidió na Gaeltachta; in Northern Ireland on the BBC; and on many programs in the USA such as Thistle & Shamrock and Celtic Connections. Performances have included The New England Folk Festival, Alaska Folk Festival, Anchorage Folk Festival, North Texas Irish Festival, Pittsburgh Irish Festival, Nürnberg Open Air Folk Festival and many others. He performs together with any number of his accomplished musician friends, and he is an engaging performer who immediately connects with the audience at hand.