NEPA Scene Podcast Episode 49 - Keeping Irish music alive in Scranton with folk singer Mickey Spain
In Episode 49, we sit down with Mickey Spain, an Irish folk singer/songwriter of Makem & Spain fame currently living and performing in Scranton, and his wife, Erin. He opens and closes the podcast with a few songs (and even throws a children’s song in the middle) before his upcoming shows at the Tomato Bar & Bistro in Pittston on March 3, Kilcoyne's Bar in Scranton on the first Saturday of every month, The Keys in Scranton on March 16, McCarthy's Red Stag Pub and Whiskey Bar in Bethlehem on March 17, and the first-ever Steamtown String Fling at the Scranton Cultural Center with The Dishonest Fiddlers, Brother Roy, MiZ, and Christopher Kearney on March 23. Before and during the interview, we drink Beer Boys crowlers of Harvest Ale, Rubaeus Raspberry Ale, and Mosaic Promise Ale by Founders Brewing Company, a favorite of ours that always delivers solid brews. We talk about Mickey growing up in Manchester, New Hampshire; how his father, being surrounded by folk music, and an injury got him to pick up a guitar; performing with his brother and forming Makem & Spain; how he met his wife and why he moved to Pennsylvania; recording with folk heroes like Tom Paxton, Roger McGuinn from The Byrds, Jonathan Edwards, Gordon Bok, David Mallett, and Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary; whether or not you should meet your heroes; his relationship with his younger brother Liam; his inspiration and songwriting process; creating songs for kids and an interactive program for elementary schools; memorable people and places from touring the world; his initial reaction to the madness of Parade Day in Scranton and if the focus on drinking plays into Irish stereotypes and takes away from the celebration of the culture and heritage of Ireland; Erin’s work with the Parade Day committee and their attempt to clean it up over the years; Kilcoyne’s bringing Irish music back to the area after the closure of The Banshee with monthly shows; house shows and the general accessibility of his music; joining the stellar Steamtown String Fling lineup; his first open mic experience at NEPA Scene Rising Talent and how much he enjoyed meeting comedians and fellow musicians; and more. We also answer some questions and react to comments from live viewers, discussing Mickey’s musical influences, his beard, and forthcoming gigs. The award-winning NEPA Scene Podcast covers arts, entertainment, and the issues that matter to Northeastern Pennsylvania. It airs as a live video stream every Wednesday at 7 p.m. on NEPA Scene’s Facebook page and is available afterward on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, YouTube, and nepascene.com. This episode and all previous episodes are available now on NEPA Scene, the award-winning independent arts and entertainment website that combines the accuracy and professionalism of a print magazine with the immediacy and convenience of a blog, offering a wide variety of content to readers in NEPA, Philadelphia, New York, and beyond. The show is made possible by local sponsors Beer Boys, The V-Spot, Coal Creative, and viewers who tune in every week.