We were very pleased to have another strong line up on Sunday

Sorcha & Hannah

Sorcha and Hannah appeared for the first time at the Sessions. They had been scheduled to appear the week before but had to withdraw because of illness. Fortunately the illness was shortlived and we were treated to a selection of self penned songs and a couple of covers all of which benefited from their beautiful harmonies. They have been together for only a short length of time but the performance showed great maturity and a lot of talent

Jim McClean

Next up was Jim McClean, playing for the fourth time at the sessions. Jim presented the (very enthusiastic) audience with a selection of his earlier work including the well known “Lagan Lullaby”, songs from his recently released Cosmic Nomad CD, which was launched at the Sessions before Christmas  and even newer work. We were very happy to welcome him back.

Rory Nellis

Rory was also a returning artist to the Sessions having last played in October and presented a number of songs from his forthcoming EP (which should be available on Bandcamp now) as well as a couple of covers from local musicians. It was a great pleasure to have him back giving us the opportunity to enjoy his songs.  Rory’s performance diplayed considerable talents in a number of areas; immaculate songwriting, impressive guitar playing and a vocal delivery that was heartfelt and powerful.

Nathan Reid

And finally Nathan Reid, also returning to the Sessions for the fourth time.  Since last playing for us it’s good to report that Nathan has been making great progress with his unique percussive style of guitar playing. He has spent time in Europe studying with Pierre Bensusan and collaborating with other guitarists and in April will embark on a European Tour.  Nathan’s playing style is captivating and everyone in the audience was in awe of the range of sounds and effects he was able to produce from a simple acoustic guitar. A great writer and performer, with even greater potential.

3rd February 2013 at the Lagan Sessions

3rd February 2013 at the Lagan Sessions

Sunday saw the Lagan Sessions enjoying one of its best evenings to date (and with the acts we’ve previously had, that’s really saying something).

First up was the irreverent Steve Amos.  Steve had the audience’s attention right from the start and held it (between guffaws) right the way through his set.  There wasn’t a dry ear in the house as Steve spun his sweet and sour stories of truck-stop love, tender prison relationships and winter horticulture.  The audience, largely new to Steve’s style, were pleasantly shocked at every turn and gave him a rousing ovation at the end of his set.  Watch out for Steve playing a not-to-be-missed comedy gig with Ursula Burns and Stephen Hall at the Belfast Nashville Festival on Wednesday 20th March in the Holiday Inn, Ormeau Avenue.

The second performer of the evening was Sara Crockett.  As a young Belfast Based singer songwriter Sara writes songs that have a maturity and depth which belie her years. The pre-event publicity stated that she takes influences from artists like Miranda Lambert, and Dixie Chicks, and Steve Amos swore he could also hear a bit of Taylor Swift (but that might just be a strange fantasy of his).  Whatever influences you may or may not hear she is a very impressive young singer songwriter who thoroughly justifies her appearance at the Belfast Nashville Festival supporting the legendary Nanci Griffith. Her first album is due to be released this spring and is not one to be missed. You can also find her single “Hide and Seek” on Youtube.

The third act saw the very welcome return of Matt McGinn, one of the finest writers and performers in the country.  Matt’s self-deprecating humour and his wry story-telling only enhanced the fragile beauty of his songs on Sunday night.  He treated us to a batch of new songs from his forthcoming album, many of them collaborations with other up-and-coming songwriters he has met on his travels, including the talented Canadian Madeleine Slate.  He played “World of Time” and “You Have Your Dreams”, the “A” and “B” side of his new single.  Check them out on bandcamp, and tide yourself over until the release of his new album in March.  “You have your Dreams” is a poignant air in 3/4 time with a haunting arrangement that really caught my attention.  Matt’s set went down an absolute storm with a rapt and fortunate audience.  Catch Matt on Saturday the 23rd February at the Belfast Nashville Festival.

Last up was Suzanne Savage.  Those of you who aren’t familiar with Suzanne’s music, all I can say is, do yourself an enormous favour and start now.  Her performance at the Lagan Sessions was completely electrifying and you could feel the excitement in the room grow from song to song, with elements of jazz, rock and Irish traditional all mixed together in her own songs and sung with one of the finest voices I’ve ever heard.  Highlight of the night for me was her rendition of her own composition “The Violin Song” where she jumped off the stage and sang and played to us without amplification.  Pin drop time.  Even the glass-washing machine at the bar paused to catch its breath.  Suzanne leaves these shore to tour America and Germany shortly, but, when she comes back in March look out for her at a venue near you.  We were a very lucky bunch on Sunday and it was a gig we won’t forget in a hurry.

Having these four performers all playing on one evening was a real and rare treat.  More of this kind of thing please!

Thanks to Joanne Ham for the great photographs.

27th January 2013 at the Lagan Sessions

Lagan Sessions 27th  JANUARY 2012

The second of the sessions in 2013 proved to be a very entertaining evening with an excellent line up and great audience support.

Clair McCusker, the first of three newcomers to the sessions, started off the evening with a beautifully balanced selection of songs conveying messages of strength and hope. She was supported by the excellent guitar playing of Brian Hassan who did his own set later in the evening.

Next up was the duo Chasing Perpetua, (formerly Less than3NI). This husband and wife team (Mark and Lindsay) played a set mostly comprising their own material with a couple of covers. This was their first time playing as a duo and Lindsay admitted to being a bit nervous but this was soon forgotten (or at any rate unnoticed ) as they produced a great set of music with thoughtfully written songs and gentle harmonies.

Amanda St John played the next set accompanied by Paul Tierney on guitar and more pedals than Lance Armstrong. Originally from Glenariffe  Amanda is no stranger to the Belfast music scene and has worked with a number of NI’s best known musicians. It is easy to see why as she performed a great selection of her own songs delivered with a powerful voice.


And finally Brian Hassan returned for the second time in the evening and the second time at the sessions. Brian is from Strabane, plays guitar in a manner of different styles ranging from Irish folk melodies through jazz and rock based influences and once even straying into country. Oh and he also has a wonderful way with lyrics and a great voice.


As usual I am unable to really do justice to the evening. The quality of the performers continues to be very high and the best way anyone can really savour this is to come along.

Posted on behalf of Steve Amos.

Photographs – Sunday 20th January

The great lost photo set of 2013!

With Sunday 20th being an in the round session and with it being the first gig of the year, the usual smooth schedule for the Lagan Session photographs (read me listening to some great music and messing around with my camera) was slightly disrupted.

Anyway, turns out a week has passed and not a photograph from the night was published…

So, better late than never, here’s some shots from Sunday 20th January.


2012 – A Round Up Of The Year


 2012 was an excellent year for the Lagan Sessions. After a break for Christmas we started back in mid January had a couple of weeks off at Easter and a three month break in the summer. But it wasn’t all holidays.

During the year there were 34 scheduled sessions.

Steve Amos

There were also five “specials” one at Belfast Nashville Festival and four “travelling” ones: at The Fiddler’s Green Festival, the Melting Pot in Rostrevor, Hollywood Culture Night, and at Down Arts Centre.

At the regular sessions we had around 105 different acts performing music which varied from acoustic rock, bluegrass, contemporary with a traditional style, humour, Americana, blues and many others. The great thing about it was almost all of it was original home grown music which once again showed the depth and breadth of talent. Many artists were local but we also had performers from Dublin, Strabane, Armagh and Texas (well Texas via Scotland). It would be inappropriate to single any acts out as they were all outstanding.

Edelle McMahon

Average audience numbers grew as the venue became known as one of the few places in Belfast where listening takes precedence over drinking and talking. It was encouraging to note the respect that audiences paid to the performers although we always mention the listening rule at the beginning of each night.

The other real proof of the sessions was the fact that so many artists have asked to come back. Playing to an appreciative audience where they do not need to crank up the pa volume is a real joy, albeit nervewracking at times.

The White Mansions

Throughout the year Matt McIvor has done an excellent job with the sound and has also started to take live recordings which have then been mastered and posted on Soundcloud. So a big thank you to Matt and of course to Joanne Ham who has also made great videos.

Bruce Joseph

Our resident volunteer photographer Paul Kavanagh has taken pictures from every conceivable angle (except perhaps overheads) and these have been a great addition to the sessions giving them real life and history. He has also taken the live recordings and produced several excellent videos which can be accessed through the website.

And yes we have a website – obviously as that is what you are reading. Thanks to the good work of Stephen Arthur and the aforesaid Paul we have a great platform to advertise the sessions in addition to the usual social media sites.

This could go on for a lot longer but then it would become boring and tedious like a song by Coldplay – in fact like all songs by Coldplay.

Lazy Flies

So it just remains to say thank you to all the people who have supported, to the Pavilion Bar for the venue and to say that we start again on 20 January 2013 so watch this space.

David & Steve

December 10 at the Lagan Sessions

Another great night

Two newcomers to the Sessions and two returning acts

First up was Mojo Blanco (probably not his real name) His first time at the sessions
and not his last we would guess. A very distinctive style and some interesting views
on life.

We then welcomed back Indigo Fury for their second time with us. An excellent set of
acoustic rock with some great harmonies.

Gareth Irons was the second newcomer. Born in NI but raised in South Africa Gareth
has now returned to his birthplace and played a set of quirky rocky songs with some
great lyrics.

And finally The Down and Out Bluegrass Band. Also their second visit to the
Sessions. They have added one more to the band since the last time so the line up is
now bass, guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin. A great selection of songs, some covers
and some originals true to bluegrass traditions.


Steve Amos.

Photographs – 2nd December 2012

It’s already all been said over at the Facebook page, but for those that missed it:

Well, that’s what the Lagan Sessions is all about – from the wit and brio of Lo-Fi Fun Factory and the heartfelt intensity of Kris Marsden to the glorious polyphony of Lazy Flies and the joyous explosion of sound that is The White Mansions.
Acoustic Music.
At its Best.
Oh yeah!

Well, since they said it there, we might as well show the photographs here.

If you’re in one of these and would like to grab a copy, feel free to give me a shout here or Facebook.


Edelle McMahon – Dear Ruby

We were privileged to have Edelle McMahon play at The Lagan Sessions on the 4th November.

Using the fantastic recording made by Matt, we decided to share a montage of her singing “Dear Ruby”

Photographs – 25th November

Last nights Lagan Sessions once again produced artists with passion about their music. This is a small selection of the photographs taken on the night.

Artists include trebornoremac, Brendan Monaghan, Emily-Rose Conlon and Davy “Ludwig” O’Neill.

Lagan Sessions – 25th November

The Lagan Sessions on 25 November once again showed the range and depth of talent of the singer songwriters who come to play and the variety of styles. We had two newcomers and two old hands (in all senses of the words).

Trebor Noremac returned to public performance after a long break with a set of well crafted and performed songs and Emily Rose Conlon on her first appearance maintained the standard with a selection of her work, sweetly sung.
Brendan Monaghan and David “Ludwig” O’Neill each returned for the third time with a combination of older and yet to be released songs to finish another enjoyable evening

Thanks to Brendan Monaghan, Emily-Rose Conlon, Davy “Ludwig” O’Neill and Robert Cameron (aka ‘trebornoremac’) who showed off their talents last night. Wonderful stuff. And to the punters, regular and new, whose attendance helps to sustain a growing vitality in the local acoustic music scene.

See you all next week.

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