SlipJig

SlipJig

BandWorld

SJ’s spans a range of styles from high-energy jigs/reels to airs/ballads and combines tight melodies and rhythms with strong harmonies. Using (mostly) traditional instruments in a (mostly) traditional style, SJ makes an effort not to break tradition, but admits they really bend it on occasion.

Biography

Born of our mutual need to find creative expression in our love for the music, our Huntsville, Alabama-based group was formed in 2003. Each of the five of us plays several traditional instruments and combine tight melodies and rhythms with rich vocal harmonies to make the music of Ireland, Scotland and Cape Breton come alive. Whether its high-energy jigs and reels to set your feet tapping, pub song sing-alongs as you heft a pint of your favorite refreshment, or ancient airs and ballads that carry you away to a misty shore, SlipJig can bring it all to you.

Each of us has been playing music for a long time (about 200 years collectively!). SlipJig is really just our excuse to play the music we love for ourselves and others. Whether we're on stage, in the back corner of the local pub or just gathered around a kitchen table, there’s magic in the music. You’re invited to share it with us.

a. General info about the band
SlipJig is a 5-piece Celtic band, consisting of local musicians who met while part of a large local Session group. Sharing the same passion for the music, the five multi-instrumentalists began getting together at Finnegan's Pub for a weekly open Session...open referring to "come one, come all". Even in the midst of other musicians at the Sessions, the five realized they had a certain chemistry that clicked, both musically and personally, and decided to schedule some rehearsals to see what transpired. The rest is history. Now, they’re showing audiences around the Tennessee Valley region that you don’t need to wait until March to have a Saint Patrick’s Day party. Their music comes from the places settled by the Celts and their descendants; it spans a range of styles from high-energy jigs and reels to ancient airs and ballads and combines tight melodies and rhythms with solid vocal harmonies. The songs tell stories of the joys and sorrows of a simple life and a turbulent history. SlipJig plays with (mostly) traditional instruments in a (mostly) traditional style and while they make an effort not to break tradition, they admit to really bending it on occasion.

b. Who's on what instrument
Jennifer Allen: Guitar, vocals
Mike Clem: mandolin, tenor banjo, guitar
Stephenie Holtkamp: fiddle, mandolin
Mike Lyon: whistle, highland & uilleann pipes, vocals
Phil Williamson: fiddle

c. What other bands have (or do) influence SlipJig?
This is a tough question to answer. There are some great Celtic artists out there….the Chieftains, Cherish the Ladies, The Corrs, just to name three. And the music of the pioneer groups like the Clancy Brothers, the Tannahill Weavers, and the Bothy Band has been an inspiration. The whole genre of Celtic music is in a continuous state of evolution, anchored at one end by the traditional forms of the instrumental and vocal music as currently played by Altan, Barleyjuice, John Whelan, but free to roam and experiment as the Afro-Celt Sound System and Wicked Tinkers are doing.

d. Inside the band: what we've done musically before SJ, our day jobs, etc.
When you ask Jennifer Allen's family what instrument she plays, they're quick to inform you that it's easier to list the ones she doesn't . While her formal musical education centered primarily on violin and guitar, Jennifer's love of all things stringed has led her to study mandolin with Butch Baldassari and fiddle with the legendary Buddy MacMaster in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. She picked up bodhran, low whistle, and a plethora of other instruments on her own.
After years of involvement in the Huntsville and Nashville Celtic music scenes, Jennifer settled down with SlipJig during the first few months of 2006. On most tunes she handles the guitar work, but she also likes to take a turn on fiddle, whistle, bodhran, djembe, and vocals.

Mike Clem – a Cullman, Alabama native – began guitar lessons at age nine and has had some sort of stringed instrument in his hands ever since. A veteran of various Rock ‘n Roll bands, combos, jazz groups, musical theater orchestras and a brief skirmish with Bluegrass, Mike packs a mandolin, guitar, tenor banjo, bodhran and a bag of whistles to SlipJig performances. Mike generally does not sing, as several southeastern states have enacted laws prohibiting this. In real life, Mike - like most in the Tennessee Valley - is an engineer.

After many years of school-teaching and social work, Stephenie Holtkamp is grateful to have the leisure time to enjoy the Celtic scene and play fiddle and mandolin for SlipJig. In addition to fiddle and mando, Stephenie plays whistle, provides selected vocals and is currently pursuing the Celtic lever-harp. Having violin lessons forced upon her at age five, Stephenie is a veteran of orchestra work, Old Time, Bluegrass and Celtic fiddle, and Mandolin Orchestra and she provides a rich harmonic background to SlipJig’s sound. Like Goldilocks, who found “ some porridge too hot and some too cold”, Stephenie finds the Celtic tunes “

Discography

"So Far ..." released March 2007
all tracks have been heard on Highlander Radio
Cuts may be heard at www.slipjigband.com

Track Listing
1. The Carraroe Jig / Out on the Ocean / Joy of Life (Jigs) 3:15
2. I'll Tell Me Ma / Far from Home (Song/Reel) 3:15
3. Far Away / Binkie Brae (Air / Jig) 3:07
4. Sonny's Mazurka / Fermanagh Highlands / Gavin’s Reel 5:29
5. Katie O’Neil (Original Song by Craig Pitman) 3:34
6. Minstrel Boy / Miss Monaghan 3:54
7. Mary Do it Again / Atholl Highlanders (Scottish Jigs) 3:32
8. Down by the Glenside (Song) 4:02
9. Hardiman the Fiddler / The Whinney Hills of Lietrim / Barney Brallaghan (Slipjigs) 3:52
10. South Australia (Sea Shanty) 3:07
11. Down by the Sally Gardens / The Sally Gardens Reel (Air / Reel) 3:28
12. Star Above the Garter / Dennis Murphy's / Merrily Kissed the Quaker’s Wife (Slides) 4:34
13. The Old Dun Cow (recorded Live at Finnegan’s Pub, Huntsville, AL.) 4:59
14. Inisheer (Air) 4:09

Set List

Sets are typically 45-60 minutes long and contain a broad range of styles from airs to reels. A typical set list would be:
Mary Do it Again / Atholl Highlanders
I'll Tell Me Ma / Plough and the Stars
Hut on Staffin Island / Molly Rankin’s
Timmy Clifford’s / Willie Coleman’s / Padraig O’Keefe’s
Inisheer
Faeries’ Hornpipe / Stack of Wheat
Rocky Road to Dublin
Em Jig / Father O'Flynn / Irishman's Heart
Bag of Spuds / Scholar / Miss McLeod’s
Far Away / Binkie Brae
Old Dun Cow
Minstrel Boy / Miss Monaghan
Ger the Rigger / Bill Sullivan’s

A typical peformance consists of 2-3 sets (all different tunes). We are quite flexible in matching the energy/flavor of the tunes to the audience or event and usually modify the sets real-time to react to the audience response.