St. Paul, Minn. — How many songs do you have memorized? Ten? Fifty? More? Many professional musicians carry with them a “fake book” of commonly requested songs they are asked to perform from time to time.
Button accordion player Paddy O’Brien has been called “a walking encyclopedia of Irish music” and has over a thousand traditional Irish jigs, reels, polkas and hornpipes in his head. He doesn’t read music either.
His latest album is “The Sailor’s Cravat: Irish Traditional Music and Song”. It’s a collection of 17 melodies recorded along with Tom Schaefer on fiddle, Paul Wehling on bouzouki and O’Brien’s wife Erin Hart on vocals.
Paddy O’Brien and Erin Hart were in the Radio Heartland studios to chat about the album and the upcoming release concert.