Tuesday, May 03, 2011

On The Road (2011)

MAY 14 2011
Okay, this is one of my all time favorite festivals. If you've ever been, you know why. Where can you hear The Flaming Lips, George Jones, Michael Hurley, Julian Lennon, Southeast Engine, Bruce Dalzell and gobs of others in one spot?

I played in the "no-fi" cabin early saturday. The crowd was packed, in my face, intense and just wonderful! Billy Matheny stopped by in a three pc corduroy suit and played banjo on one tune, then disappeared into the misty dew with his Nixon mask in tow.

The kids (Will 7 and Soph 4) both got up with me and sang "The Bugs Are Coming".
Will's tune. Crowd pleasers those two.

Larry Groce, John Lilly & Todd Burge

I was honored to be asked by Kelly Elkins @ Tamarack to perform this Songwriter In the Round concert with Groce and Lilly.
Both are really great songwriters. Over the years I've gotten to know them both really well. Larry as you probably know, is host of NPR's Mountain Stage and had a top ten Billboard hit with Junk Food Junkie back in the 70s. What most probably don't know is, he still performs and writes on occasion. I love his acid wit and his performance style. Highlight for me would have to be "Wilderness" and his new tune. "See Alice" ? Title?
John Lilly writes tunes that sound like they've been with your family forever. I dig his new songs and he has a bunch of them nowadays it seems. His "A Little Yodel Goes A Long Way" is one of my favorites.

The Purple Fiddle - Thursday April 28

One of my favorite places on the planet to perform would have to be the Purple Fiddle in Thomas WV. Near Davis WV (Canaan Valley)in what I like to call the "weather vortex" or our state. The food and drink is great and being in those WV mountains somehow touches me every time I make the climb on 219 from Parsons to Thomas.

The topic of conversation when I arrived on this sunny Thursday evening was the hissing sound my VW TDI was making as I was making my way up the mountain. Purple Fiddle owner John Bright jumped in the VW for a listen as did sound man Ben.
Ben diagnosed it as a turbo leak and sent referred me to one Brian Jones in Parsons.

I felt I had a great show as the fiddle and met some new friends. I love the sound of that room. Makes me want to play.
The next morning bright and early I was off to see Brian Jones.

Brian was busy, but stopped what he was doing, jumped in the VW, listened, lifted the car, fixed a loose clamp and charged me $15! Unbelievable. Thanks Brian/Ben and John.


Stage view of the capacity crowd. Carla Ulbrich performs

I was off to Fredericksburg VA to play Bob Gramann's songwriter series.
The Fredericksburg Songwriter Showcase.
Bob and Lou Gramann have been putting this on for years (I played it once before back in the 90s) in a fine venue behind a great music store called "Picker's Supply". Fredericksburg is full of history. Deep South history don't cha know...

I walked into a Chinese restaurant after sound check and this was my fortune.

Bob and Lou could teach a crash course on how to put on a successful concert series.
I met and performed with three great writers Rupert Wates, Carla Ulbrich and Joe Giacoio. Each one a master on guitar. Carla and Joe are married and both very funny. Rupert had a tribute song to the late George Carlin that just knocked me out!
We had a sold out crowd and sold a ton of CDs. A wonderful evening of music!

After the show we went back to Bob and Lou's house for an after show party. Bob gave us the tour of the house and we guitarists were especially interested in his workshop.
Gramann is truly a master luthier. The Gramanns were kind enough to lend me their guest room. That night I dreamed about the Gramann guitar I had played earlier. Possibly because I was surrounded by them? This was the view from my bed that night.

I'm also thinking I may have found my guitar "soul mate". I believe that'll haunt me until I, well, buy it.

Bob Gramann with some of his work behind him.

This is an unsolicited advertisement. Check out this man's work. I've never played a finer instrument!


I ended the week at the Blue Moose in Morgantown WV

I've been playing the moose for years and love returning to the town of my Alma Mater and seeing old and new friends. Thanks to Aaron Hawley for "saving folk music"!
We had a problem with the PA and Aaron came through.
Good to see some old friends drive in from Clarksburg and Fairmont. Jim Rebrook and Eric Lewis and all.
Musical highlight: Someone requested Pickin a Lock.. and I felt a little rusty and insecure about playing it. Of course I attempted it anyway. I very possibly could have been my favorite performance of that tune.
Don't have a recording of it, but here's a version from about a decade ago

Hey Blue Moosers... What fun! Will see you again soon with a new song.

Thanks for helping me do what I do.

Oh, This week, Tamarack with Larry Groce and John Lilly!

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