Sunday, April 22, 2012

Loons on Parade

About this time last Sunday we were playing for the "mostly waltz" hour at Tapestry's second annual Call of the Loon dance weekend and, thanks to "craigwildgoose" and youtube, you can see a nice clip of some of our favorite people dancing as we play a very relaxed version of my tune "Favors Her Father."

While there was plenty of room on the dance floor at that moment you can find another video that will show you the rest of the Loon crowd chowing down on the delicious Sunday brunch that was being served in the next room.

We had a super, awesome, most excellent, great time all weekend long. The band was tight, the dancers were giving off powerful good energy and Doug Lohman from Armadillo Sound gave us one of the best monitor mixes we've every had. Hearing each other clearly makes a big difference in how we play and we were really enjoying listening to each other play new and interesting things.

Call of the Loon 2 was a big success and you should consider a trip to Minneapolis next spring (April 12-14) for version 3. Word on the street is that next year's band will be the fabulous quartet incarnation of Notorious, an event not to be missed.

Thanks to everyone who made the weekend possible and especially to all the dancers!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Cherry Blossoms, Shaun, Linda and More

(Video courtesy of Kevin Mabon)

Right about now, one week ago, we were just about finishing up a tremendously fun dance in Frederick, Maryland. It wasn't the biggest crowd of our short four-day tour but the band had a great time playing there. Plus the dance was in a gym and someone found a basketball after we had packed up our stuff. They had to run us out finally after a pretty inept display of hoop prowess.

This was our first extended time away from home without Erik Sessions playing fiddle but Linda Breitag did a wonderful job of fitting in and playing some great tunes. Linda also was introduced to our late night Shaun the Sheep viewing ritual and got to participate in one of our fun-filled drives from Glenside, PA to Takoma Park.

As usual, there were many, many highlights of the trip but time is short so here are just a few:

  • The temperature: We've never had such warm weather in March and the halls were all very comfortable. It was especially great not to be cold in the Spanish Ballroom. 
  • The generosity of everyone we met: Too many names to mention tonight, but you know who you are. Thanks for the meals, the tunes, the friendly conversations, and, most of all, the dancing.
  • The mighty hospitality of Ted and Lynn: You can't imagine how thoughtful, patient and kind they are; and funny to boot! Thank you, thank you.
  • A special thanks to Rick Mohr for loaning me his guitar on Thursday at Glenside and to Orrin Star for his guitar loan Friday through Sunday. Orrin did a great job providing the sound for us at Glen Echo on both Friday and Sunday and even sat in with us on a few sets. In addition I had the pleasure of attending an excellent workshop on the guitar style of Norman Blake that Orrin taught at the House of Musical Traditions on Saturday afternoon.
  • Smithsonian Folkways visit: I did not know that Linda Breitag had been the third employee at Smithsonian Folkways back in the late 1980s but she offered to take us to meet her old boss, Jeff Place, who is still the Archivist there. I was just amazed at the opportunity to visit the collection and have Jeff show us around. I still can't believe that I was in the same room with the boxes of master tapes of recordings by folks like Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Doc Watson, Pete Seeger and Ella Jenkins. What a treasure!
The band already has plans to return to DC next March and, hopefully, see many of our old friends again. I should be caught up on my sleep by then.

Next up for us is the Call of the Loon Weekend at Tapestry, just two weeks from now. Hope to see you there.