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.

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