15 Sep 2015
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Tommy and Foe’s friendship, but people who know them would swear the two have been friends for several lifetimes. They met briefly at DragonCon through their mutual friend, Wade Finch, but got to know each other much better by spending a few hours discussing costumes at Foe’s first PiratePalooza (Year 2, in 2006). Though they wouldn’t start singing together for another year or so, their friendship really began that night outside a pub named The Angel, listening to the sounds of the Palooza.
Foe and Tommy soon threw their lot in with a proper pirate crew and began to stalk the grounds of the Georgia Renaissance Festival (GARF) and (moreso) the Tybee Island Festival, where they began to learn to sing period songs.
They started with “A Rovin’” and “All For Me Grog”, but Tommy and Foe soon realized that not only did they like a lot of the same styles of historical music (shanties and sea songs/ballads), but they already knew a lot of the same songs. As their crew splintered and others’ interests took them to different seas, Tommy and Foe banded together and took to the life of “freelance” pirates – they stuck to what they knew: singing the songs and drinking their grog (Grog Mahone™).
In addition, Tommy and Foe are recognized throughout the pirate community as gifted costumers whose realistic take on historical detail marks a high point that many fellow pirate costumers aspire to meet.
Foe explains “One thing that Tommy and I have always been on the same page on, in terms of costuming, is a more historical approach – an approach that has bled over into the drinks we make (Grog Mahone™) and the songs we sing!”
While on one of their annual pilgrimages to the Kentucky Ren Faire, their good friend (and fellow historical costumer and music buff) Jack Salt jokingly referred to the lads as “The Crew of the HMS Pogue Mahone”, a moniker they brought home with them at a time when they were becoming increasingly recognized in the local pirate community as a performing group. By 2012 this pair of pirates would take the stage at PiratePalooza, back to where they first began their journey together into piracy.
Pogue Mahone’s Unofficial home would probably be The Tavern on the Hill at GARF, but they’ve been singing at Pirate festivals, Renaissance Festivals, parades, etc., organically becoming what they are today, so pinpointing an actual “first performance” is difficult… toss in a ration of grog and it’s impossible!!
While they love it when they can get others to join in with songs like “Don’t Forget Your Old Shipmate” and “Sally Brown”, they agree that “Pleasant & Delightful”, a heartfelt ballad of a sailor leaving his lover to go off to sea, is their favorite song to perform. It’s one of the first songs they realized they both knew every word of the same version (“These old sea songs have a lot of differing versions out there, you know!” explains Foe). It’s a beautiful song with great harmonies.
Between pirate costuming, (Civil War, Revolutionary War, and Pirate) reenactments, and renaissance festivals, historical music has become a big part of their lives and they still listen to a lot of Sea Shanties and songs/ballads, but they also listen to anything from Folk and Bluegrass to modern pop and EDM. Throw in some Showtunes, Classical, and Rock/Pop throughout the decades and that’s them. The Decemberists are Foe’s favorite band and Tommy loves The Beatles.
Pogue Mahone is their only musical endeavor, though Tommy does belong to a few different historical dance troupes and has brought that love of historical dance to PiratePalooza’s pubcrawl with an immensely popular Virginia Reel, with dozens of participants. Pogue Mahone has never recorded an album and have no current plans to do so; they prefer to be heard in person, just like you would have heard the songs way back when.
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