For years I’ve been criss-crossing the country in search of those special one of a kind places that regularly showcase the very best in live music. This pilgrimage of sorts has been a lifelong journey with high hopes. Along the way I’ve discovered a few real standouts – venues with that “extra something” These select groups of venues have kept feeding my love for the road with its ultimate goal.
Callaghan’s Irish Social Club
916 Charleston St, Mobile, AL
Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, GA; Thirsty Hippo in Hattiesburg, MS; Blue Canoe in Tupelo, MS; The Shed at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson in Maryville TN; The Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm in Silverhill, AL; Sam’s Town from just south of Austin, TX; Birdie’s Roadhouse (may it R.I.P. or please reopen) north Bogalusa, LA in the community of Angie; Iron City Grill in Birmingham, AL; the always enjoyable Irish Coast Pub in Gulfport, MS; and of course, the much loved Jack’s by the Tracks in Pascagoula, MS – some of the venues or great places from across the southern part of the U.S. that I’ve spent an abundant part of my travels. These places feature (or featured) qualities and attributes that put them high on my list of recommendations for seeing pure unadulterated original live music. Each has something special with the ability of drawing you back for more.
Those of you who follow my stories of the road and my live music experiences, know full well about the places I love and frequent. One of the places I mention often with an unbridled appreciation for is Callaghan’s Irish Social Club.
Crowd favorite, Grayson Capps & The Lost Cause Minstrels perform regularly at Callaghan’s. Capps tours throughout the U.S. and Europe. He is also a member of Willie Sugarcapps. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)
Oddly, I’ve only started regularly visiting Callaghan’s during the last couple years. The first performer I had the privilege of seeing at Callaghan’s was Mobile, AL favorite, Ben Jernigan. Following him was the highly energetic and successful St. Paul and The Broken Bones.
Callaghan’s (opened in 1946) is located in the beautiful historic Oakleigh Garden District of Mobile, AL. The old historic building has all the appeal one would expect from a neighborhood pub. The old Southern charm and Irish heritage is on full display. One of the favorite things about the Callaghan’s, along with the friendly service, great drinks, regularly scheduled music, is the food…..The best burgers around!
The CD Release Party for Willie Sugarcapps debut in 2013 at Callaghan’s (Photo by Stephen Anderson)
It doesn’t take long, after only a few visits, to know one of the key reasons for the success of Callaghan’s is “J.T.”, called affectionately by patrons and musicians alike. Owner, John Thompson or “J.T.”, is one of those people (like Mark Garrison from Jack’s by the Tracks or Ben Kaufman from Irish Coast Pub) that has a true love for music. His accommodating qualities continue to bring both local and nationally touring musicians back to Callaghan’s.
Banditos’ Mary Richardson and Jeffery Salter. Bloodshot Records’ Banditos performed at Callaghan’s prior to their 2015 trip to South By Southwest in Austin, TX (Photo by Stephen Anderson)
The Music of Callaghan’s
Alabama Shakes, Willie Sugarcapps, Jason Isbell, Justin Townes Earle, Luke Winslow-King, Grayson Capps & The Lost Cause Minstrels, The Band of Heathens, Lilly Hiatt, John Moreland, Humming House, The Mulligan Brothers, Jessica Lea Mayfield, The Heard, Great Peacock, The Mastersons, The Deslondes, Dylan LeBlanc, Will Kimbrough, Ragbirds, Cardinal Sons, Sugarcane Jane, Molly Thomas & The Rare Birds, The Deluxe Trio, Delta Reign, Bel Adair, Alanna Royale, Della Memoria, Banditos, Pokey LaFarge, Tristen, The Smart Brothers, John “Jabo” Starks, Andrew Duhon, Robert Ellis, Randall Bramblett, Andrew Combs, Cowboy: Scott Boyer & Tommy Talton with NC Thurman, El Cantador, Larkin Poe, Eric Erdman, Corey Chisel, Blue Mother Tupelo, Willie the Giant, Jesse Payne, Steelism, Nick & the Overols, Oh Jeremiah, Shannon McNally, Cerius Bright, Chris Husting, Lisa Mills, Grandfather Child, Caitlin Rose, Cary Hudson, Heather Luttrell, Phil Proctor, Eliot Morris, The Hussy Hicks, Dirty Bourbon River Show, Bonnie Whitmore, Chris Clifton, Maggie Koerner, Mr. Sipp “The Mississippi Blues Child”, the already mentioned Ben Jernigan and St. Paul & The Broken Bones, AND that’s a sample of who has performed at Callaghan’s.
Justin Wade Tam of Humming House at Callaghan’s. The very popular Humming House entertained a packed house of fans. (Photo by *Shane Rice)
Sure, the room doesn’t fit a giant crowd, but what it has is enthusiasm and loyally devoted fans of great music. Callaghan’s also has the distinct addition of being in a neighborhood that supports its local pub and music venue. The neighbors seem to happily accommodate Callaghan’s frequent visitors by allowing parking along the street. The huge front windows open up to the streets filling them with music and song.
It truly is a wonderful thing and a real joy for those musicians and fans who keep coming back.
Della Memoria performing at Callaghan’s in January 2015 (Photo by Stephen Anderson)
In conclusion, the best thing I can think of saying at this time is “Thank You to “J.T”., the warm friendly staff at Callaghan’s, the neighborhood of Oakleigh, and yes, The musicians!”
If you haven’t been to Callaghan’s, I encourage you to check it out; and musicians, if you’ve never performed at Callaghan’s, do not hesitate on a decision to do so. You’ll join a long list of performers who have entertained a loyal group of fans.
Maggie Koerner at Callaghan’s in 2015 (Photos by *Shane Rice)
A brief wish list of musicians I hope would perform at Callaghan’s:
Escondido, The Hello Strangers, Del Barber, Ronnie Fauss, Dale Watson & His All Stars, Pheobe Hunt, Daniel Romano, Kevin Gordon, Midnight River Choir, The Bros. Landreth, Sarah & The Meanies, Uncle Lucius, Betti, Roo & The Howl, Kelcy Hyde, The Wooden Wings, Bronwynne Brent, Underhill Rose, and I could go on.
Check out Manci’s Antique Club on The Eastern Shore in Daphne, AL. Another great place from those who have made Callaghan’s such a success!
Manci’s Anique Club | 1715 Main St, Daphne, AL
Some nights, Callaghan’s is quite the listening room, whereas, other nights it’s quite lively. One thing is for certain, the fans and musicians enjoy it. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)
James Brown’ drummer, John “Jabo” Starks with Ben Jernigan and Chris Clifton during John “Jabo” Starks Day at Callaghan’s (Photo by Stephen Anderson)
Johnny Sansone at Callaghan’s in Mobile, AL (Photo by Stephen Anderson)
The newly signed to New West Records – The Deslondes were a hit at Callaghan’s. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)
Leslie Rodriguez of Humming House beautifully performed the Willie Nelson penned “Crazy” at Callaghan’s in 2015. (Photo by *Shane Rice)
Robby Amonett (artist and contributor to The Line) paints the live performances at Callaghan’s a few times each month. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)
- The Southland Music Line’s Busy 2015 (so far)
- Delta Reign: A Fan Favorite Delivers A New Album of Pleasing Diversity
- Why We Love Sugarcane Jane as Told by the Friends & Fans of Sugarcane Jane
- Two Nights with Southern Rock Greatness: Cowboy’s Scott Boyer & Tommy Talton with Muscle Shoals NC Thurman
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