It has been a truly amazing February for us, starting with Hawaii, bouncing to the the "snowmageddon" of New England, then up to slightly rainy Washington for Wintergrass. The Joe Val festival was really great, with everyone pretty-much trapped at the Sheraton in Framingham for three days. Better there than in Boston! At least there was a place to park and space for the piles of snow. I confess, I love being a tourist in situations like this. I mean, it was really beautiful, I didn't have to work in the weather, and I had the proper footwear for when I did need to go outside. My heart goes out to the folks whose lives were upended by the weather. The festival had a special feel, with everyone basically trapped together. Del McCoury was unable to make it for his Sunday closer set, so we cobbled together a kaleidoscopic review with various artists, spearheaded by the Seldom Scene. Dudley Connell and I got a chance to reprise our "hits" from our tour with the Masters of the Banjo some 20 years ago. Very fun!
Tom Rozum, Patrick Sauber and I were trapped by the snow and cancelled performances in Northampton, MA, for a few days. Tromping downtown in the snow was a perfect touristic adventure. And I loved hanging out at the Haymarket Cafe, where I overheard a passionate young man at a neighboring table exclaiming, "James Joyce didn't give a damn about the Irish Republic!" as if it were recent front page news. We were sorry to have to cancel our appearances in Boston and in New Hampshire, and hope to make it back there sometime soon.
After a week's rest, we flew up to Wintergrass in Bellevue, WA. There were too many highlights to recount here, but if you are a Facebook user, there are many, many fine photos up, from the camera of Maria Camillo that will give you some idea. The hallways were jammed with jammers, and there was music emanating from every nook, cranny and stairwell. All the stage venues were filled and the dances were suitably sweaty. The hotel staff really seem to enjoy having their fancy hotel overrun with banjos!
WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH
This month, in celebration of Women's History Month, I jump right into it with both feet, playing once again with Linda Tillery and Barbara Higbie in Hills to Hollers, and at Ashkenaz with a whole passle of great women singers and instrumentalists (see the lineup to the right), and then hitting the road with Kathy Kallick to wallow in the songs of Vern Williams and Ray Park. It's a full month!
Patrick and Laurie kickin' back in Northampton
photo by Tom Rozum
Music camps start up next month, withMandolin Camp North. Tom Rozum and I will be joining a really spectacular roster of instructors including Mike Compton,Roland White, Frank Solivan and Sharon Gilchrist in Charleton, MA, for three days of teaching, jamming and concerts, April 17-19. If you are a mandolin player, this is the place to be. So what am I doing there? I'll be giving workshops on harmony singing, songwriting, fiddling, and who knows what else, and filling my plate full of mando sounds.
ON THE RIVER
There is still space available for Tom Rozum's and my musical rafting trip down the beautiful Rogue River in southern Oregon. It's a 5-day trip, launching on August 13. You are all invited to join us for swimming, eating, hiking, singing, playing, yoga, splashing and wildlife viewing.
Read all about it and contact Northwest Rafting Company here.
Tom Rozum and I are off tomorrow to San Diego for the Bird Festival. I'm looking forward to a birding horseback ride on the beach and sunny weather in the mid-70's (sorry about that, all you who are still trapped in winter!), among other things. I'll bring my camera so I can share with you.
Don't forget to sing, play, dance, and spread a little love wherever you are.
Yours in music,
I hiked the John Muir Trail this last August, and you can follow the journey here: