Bluegrass in a conflict zone

Sean McKerr of The Tennessee Hennessies poses with his mandolin after their band vehicle was hijacked and set ablaze by Irish Republican sympathizersThe Bluegrass Ireland Blog posted a sobering piece last week about the continuing unrest in Northern Ireland, and its impact on a bluegrass group based in Lurgan.

Sean McKerr and Mel Corry, members of The Tennessee Hennessees, were accosted by brigands on their way to a pub session on Thursday (9/17). Violence was breaking out throughout the town of Lurgan (just south of Belfast) in response to the jailing of three dissidents for plotting to murder police officers. According to press reports, at least five vehicles were hijacked and set on fire in an attempt to lure police into an ambush.

Showing both the indomitable spirit of the Irish, and of the bluegrass musician, McKerr managed to get a passerby to snap this photo in front of their burning van. He also posted this comment on the BIB site:

“We hope this photo will not deter visiting musicians. Although they burned our van out, the hi-jackers were very courteous and let us keep our instruments.”

Glad to know that the guys made it through in good shape. You can read the full piece on The Bluegrass Ireland Blog.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.