John C. Falstaff's Bio
John C. Falstaff is one of the great connoisseurs of Celtic music today, with a
following that over the years has expanded to include listeners all over the
world for his radio program, "The Celtic Show" broadcast every Sunday from
Atlanta, Georgia. With a lively ear for cutting edge work, John also has a keen
appreciation for the sources of traditional music in deeply rooted communities.
He not only knows the music but the musicians who keep that music alive. Because
of their respect for him, John is the first port of call for traditional
musicians who wish to reach discriminating audiences with their new releases.
W. Flannery, Irish tenor and Founder/Director of the WB Yeats
Foundation, Emory University
John grew up in Dublin, and saw plenty of live music around Ireland in the 1970s,
including fiddler Paddy Glackin (at Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann HQ in,
Monkstown, a couple of hundred yards from where JcF had gone to kindergarten),
legendary Scottish revivalist Ewan MacColl (with wife Peggy Seeger, at the
Universal Folk Club), and the Bothy Band (in the Phoenix, Cork), as well as
Celtic Rock pioneers Horslips and Breton harper Alan Stivell (at the National
In 1972-1975, he was the first (and only) DJ on RTE Colour Radio, a
pioneering radio station of his own imagining, which mainly manifested itself in
the form of homemade cassettes of "programmes" traded with like-minded pals (Tim
Thompson, Cisco Pike, Big Jack, Ron Smith, etc.) in the school yard.
He made his real radio debut on Sunday, 13 Dec 1981, in upstate New York,
co-hosting on WICB FM (Ithaca College) with the mysterious CDM The All
Ireland Vinyl Show. For fun, the two budding DJs (from counties Dublin and
Down respectively) used the aliases
Garret Paisley and Ian Fitzgerald. (Check the 17 Dec 20006 playlist.)
In the late 1980s, John C. Falstaff became a volunteer at WRFG Atlanta, and was
soon co-hosting on Eric Price's The Good Earth, an alternative rock show
which went out late on Monday nights. During his tenure on this show, he always
insisted on having a set of live music, from acts including Swimming Pool Qs,
Tombstones, Flap, Homemade Sister (later to find fame as Magnapop), Kevin Dunn,
and the late lamented Vic Chesnutt (who performed a hilarious Mike Stipe
For fifteen years, also starting in the late 1980s, John
about music, most notably for Dirty Linen and Atlanta's Creative
Loafing. His first published piece was an obit of Ewan MacColl for the
former, at the end of 1989.
To celebrate St. Patrick's Day 1995, WRFG devoted an entire day to Irish music.
Since the then hosts of The Celtic Show (John Maschinot of the Buddy O'Reilly
Band, and John Adcox) had the trad angle covered, JcF's contribution
was three hours of "Irish classic music," from the piano nocturnes of John Field
and some neo-classical work by Sean O Riada, to Shaun Davey's "The Brendan Voyage"
(essentially a concerto for uilleann pipes and orchestra) from 1977, and Bill
Whelan's Irish/Spanish hybrid "The Seville Sweet" from 1992 (in hindsight, a kind
of dry run for the multicultural music at the core of "Riverdance" a few years
Within a year John found himself hosting The Celtic Show, and apart from some
time off in 2001-2005 (during which he lived in Spain for a while), he's been
at it ever since.
In 1996, John lead a team of three from WRFG to Ireland–thanks to Guinnessfor throwing in the plane tickets–where they hooked up with Dublin's
Anna Livia radio station, then located at the bottom of Grafton Street.
There were simultanous live broadcasts to both Dublin and Atlanta from the city's
St. Patrick's Day parade. John interviewed the government minister for tourism,
one Enda Kenny, who eventually recovered sufficiently from the experience to
become taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland in March 2011. Read all
John has served as both World Beat Music Manager and Webmaster for WRFG. Like
his airshifter (DJ) position, it's always on a 100% volunteer basis.
Over the years, many of the biggest wigs in Celtic music have been interviewed
live on The Celtic Show on WRFG, from piper Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains,
Altan, singer Susan McKeown, fiddler Kevin Burke and Riverdance composer Bill
Whelan, to Scottish singer Andy M. Stewart, Battlefield Band, Welsh bard Dafydd
Iwan and Cape Breton live wire Ashley MacIsaac.
In May 2011, while on a trip home to Dublin, John had the good fortune to see
Paddy Glackin once more, this time with Donal Lunny, as part of an amazing
charity show at the Button Factory in Dublin's Temple Bar. Also on the bill
were Kila, T With the Maggies, Liam O Maonlai, Dervish, MacDara and Altan.
Video footage of this may be found at
the Livetrad site.