Great Bay Sailor is an eclectic local folk band based in Portsmouth, NH. Casting a wide net, the band performs out of an extensive repertoire of maritime, Irish/Scottish, British and Oldtimey music. In the maritime tradition, they play and sing traditional and contemporary songs and tunes inspired by ships, sailors, oceans and tall tales. Mike Blair and Steve Carrigan sing the songs. Bruce MacIntyre also sings and plays guitar, whistle, bones and Irish drum as well. Rounding out the band with guitar, mandolin and banjo is Jim Prendergast - a thirty year veteran of the Nashville music scene.
Bruce MacIntyre, currently a Lee, NH taxpayer, spent a good portion of his singing life as both church and oratorio soloist, but in the Late 1990s he wandered into the traditional music session at the Press Room in Portsmouth NH, experienced a mighty conversion to folk music, and hasn’t looked back since. With guitar, whistle, drum, bones and voice he performs tunes and songs from the Irish, British, American, African American, maritime, Oldtimey traditions.
Bruce has performed extensively with traditional singer Jeff Warner, and has appeared with him at the Mystic Maritime Folk Festival, the New Bedford Summer Fest and the Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival, as well as a special concert/fundraising event at the Ozawa Concert Hall at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, MA. Through Jeff’s auspices, Bruce has had the privilege of sharing the performance stage with some of the great traditional singers of our time, including Lou Killen, John Roberts, Tony Barrand and Michael Cooney.
Over the years Bruce has also been instrumental in the formation of various bands including ‘Hallowell and MacIntyre’, ‘The High Pukka Flying Squad’, ‘Toad in the Road’, and two iterations of ‘Great Bay Sailor’. Bruce has risen to the rank of Lt. Colonel as a recognized leader of the legendary Friday night Press Room traditional Celtic/folk session in Portsmouth, NH. He is also a board member and Treasurer of the Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival and a member of the performance committee of the Portsmouth Athenaeum.
Michael Blair of Lee, New Hampshire grew up in a family rich in the traditions of both Irish and French Canadian music. Whether sitting with family around the kitchen table listening to the old folks playing French tunes on the harmonica, or singing to the Irish Rovers on the record player, there was always music in his parent’s home. In college, Mike sang in the United States Air Force Academy’s Cadet Choir and had his first opportunity to travel and see the positive effect of music on an audience. After an interlude of more than 20 years where singing was limited to his children at bedtime, Mike stumbled upon the folk music scene in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and was quickly drawn into its fold. In his second year singing with Great Bay Sailor, Mike brings to each performance a unique range of heartfelt and soulful music rich in maritime tradition and spiced with Celtic flavor.
Steve Carrigan has been performing music in and around the New Hampshire seacoast for over 12 years. His musical projects included the folk rock band “Blind Harpers”, the acapella group “High Pukka Flying Squad”, and the elegant sounding traditional band “Toad in the Road”. He is currently a singer for the traditional music group “Great Bay Sailor” which specializes in Irish, Maritime, and other music of the world. Steve is also a voice-over artist, a mobile DJ, and the host and creator of the WSCA 106.1 Portsmouth Community Radio’s new program “Local Folk”.
A veteran of 30 years in the Nashville recording scene, guitarist James Prendergast now resides on the New Hampshire seacoast and is an active participant in the New England Folk/Celtic world, playing concerts and sessions with banjoist Ken Perlman, fiddlers Randy Miller and Roger Burridge, Irish flute player Peter Maguire, box player Chris ‘Junior’ Stevens, piper Paddy Keenan, etc.
James’ deep and varied experience in music has found him backing up many of the Grand Ole Opry stars, working as a studio musician with many of the legendary ‘Nashville Cats’ and producing thousands of recording sessions. A 7-year tenure running the band at Findley’s Irish Pub in the Gaylord Opryland Hotel led to a deep immersion in Irish music, a specialization in ‘DADGAD’ guitar, and a role as producer of CMH Records’ Celtic Tribute series. More information may be found on James’ Portsmouth recording studio website, www.millpondmusic.com.
Paul Semprini plays English concertina and piano accordion. He was converted to traditional Celtic music some fifteen years ago after having played electric organ in various rock and roll bands. He studied music theory at Northeastern University, and more recently he has developed his sea legs and holds forth now as a member in good standing with Great Bay Sailor.