Monday, February 25, 2008

Big Fun in Northfield and the Twin Cities

Here's a nice video (thanks to Griff Wigley) from last Friday's dance at the Armory in Northfield. You can see that Robin Nelson is doing an amazing job of directing a lot (a blizzard? an avalanche?) of energy and the dancers are having a great time. There are even a couple of seconds of rare video of Contratopia at play at the very start. The first half of the video has us playing the classic "Ross' Reel" and the second half finds us playing one of my newer tunes called "Ain't Broke". Griff also has made available an excellent album of photos from the Winter Stomp! Thanks, Griff!

The next day was full of big city fun. Pat made sure that Erik and I were up and out of the house in time to get a good seat at the old-time jam at what I think is the Artist Blend coffee house on University near Raymond. I won't drop names but, once there, we got to play great tunes and hang out with some of the finest old-time musicians anywhere. Great music, great people. Stop by some Saturday morning and see for yourself. Thanks to everyone at the jam for making us feel at home!

A delicious lunch (well, breakfast for Erik) followed at the original Keys restaurant just around the corner. Then we rushed to Patrice's place for an afternoon of rehearsal and learning new tunes. This followed by a light but excellent supper at El Norteno on Lake St.

Saturday night was another fun dance at Tapestry. Bob provided especially fine sound for us and Steve joined us on harmonica for a couple of sets near the end. Robin was our caller for the second night in a row and she did her usual stellar job of keeping things interesting and fun. Best of all we get to return in less than three weeks for both a waltz afternoon and a contra evening.

For the record here is a list of the tune sets that I can remember us playing at one or the other dance. These aren't in order and I don't think we repeated any sets but the first group I think were Friday sets and the second group Saturday ones.

Flowers of Edinburgh (for a teaching dance on Friday, our first ever use of one of my favorite James Oswald tunes)
Mason's Apron/Maggie in the Snow/Julia Delaney
Angeline the Baker/Milk Run/Liberation
The Phoenix/Sheehan's/Shenandoah Falls
Ain't Broke/Two Days to Maine
Ross' Reel/Cornutopia/Happy Ears
Road to Bangor/Eager to Please/La Maison de Glace
Sandy River Belles/Liza Jane/Rockabye Baby
Waitin' for Nancy/Over the Waterfall
Calliope House/Booth Shot Lincoln/It Ain't the Heat, It's the Humidity

Dunn Meadow/Canny Crow
Nail that Catfish to a Tree/Queen's Polka/Reel St. Antoine
Reel St. Joseph/Star of Munster/2-Legged Stool
Palisades/Christmas Past/Fairbanks
Aly on the Plains/Hay to Market/Just 4 Guys
Soft Shoulder/Cowboy Jig/All the Rage
Hogwart's Express/Aristocracy/Steady On
Sweetbriar/What You Got There/Scandy Twist

Alice's Garden (new for us)
The National Road
Dacie's House/Judy and Jim's Wedding
South of France
Aubrey and Andrew's Wedding
Last Call at Hawley-Cooke (world premiere)

Friday, February 15, 2008

One Week To Go

About this time next Friday we'll be packing up our gear after playing at the 2nd Annual Northfield Winter Stomp! That dance will be the first leg of our February Winter Dance Weekend Tour that will conclude the next night at Tapestry in Minneapolis. Hopefully this year the weather will cooperate.

Tonight, Decorah's own Scandinavian-American dance band Foot-Notes was in Northfield with their wonderful blend of fiddle, mandolin, guitar & bass and old-time schottisches, waltzes, two-steps and polkas. Tomorrow night, here in Decorah, Erik and I will play with our local Western Home String Band for a regular contra dance with Bill Deutsch doing the calling.

Hope to see you at one or more of these events!