July 18 2017
I just got home from teaching for my 4th year in McCall Idaho. McCall is basically the Estes Park of Boise. We had just over 30 kids this year so the camp is growing every year. We've pretty much outgrown our home yurt at the McCall Outdoor Science School which is on a lake surrounded by trees. It was a little hot but it seems the more challenging the teaching situation is, the more rewarding it is as well. I always get choked up watching the students perform. This year I got to teach with returning instructor Greg Blake as well as Craig Korth from BC, Donny Chavez and Isaac Callender. "Craiggy," "Greggy," Isaac and myself then played the Summer Music Festival in Roseberry and the Wasatch Mountain Music festival near Salt Lake City. Hopefully the four of us will play together again soon. It was too fun NOT to repeat.
I'm now home and back in the garden which, thanks to my friends Cindy Kalyan and Janice Young, looks so good. Usually touring means coming home to the wilted remnants of a lot of wasted effort.
I'm looking forward to the Charles Mountain Jam (a benefit for KGNU up in Gold Hill). This year we have Thunder and Rain, Mason Town and my long time mentor and inspiration, Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands from the Bay Area. This marks my 9th year as music director for the event. Mollie O'Brien did it for 10 years and before that, Charles Sawtelle did it for 10 years so I guess I have one more year to go before I can step down.
Of course the weekend after this one is ROCKYGRASS when it's like the circus comes to town but with lots of banjos and beer. My new friend I met at Miles of Music camp this year is little Nora from Brooklyn who is entering the banjo contest with NO PICKS. Yep, she is a clawhammer player and I'm sure it will throw the judges for a loop but she's fearless and I can't wait to pick with her again. Check out her YouTube Channel.
See you at ROCKYGRASS!!
June 18 2017
Well it looks like everyone had a grand time in Telluride. I can't say that I even missed it this year as I usually do when I can't go because I was at the Miles Of Music Camp on Lake Winnipesaukee. My long-time Uncle Earl band-mate Kristin Andreassen and Laura Cortese started the camp 7 years ago and I've been hearing some amazing things about it but you'll have to take my word and just get there yourself to see the merriment that happens there. There was so much creativity just pouring from every nook and cranny of this camp. It took all 5 days there to really figure it out. I mostly just walked around in amazement. Most of the magic happened at night so I have very few photos that captures the essence of what happens after dark there. I can try to give you a verbal photo of one night in particular.
It was somewhere between 11pm and midnight and that night's concert, I think it was the talent show, had just gotten out. The concert hall is right on the dock so everyone from the concert poured out onto the dock where the moon was just peaking out through some huge pine trees on the near-by Rocky Island. In the moonlight I saw the silhouettes of about 10 skinny-dippers diving into the freezing lake just as a small group of musicians started playing some old-time music. Another group not far from the first group was singing what I though was Shape Note Singing but it turned out they were playing some sort of vocal game that sounded a lot like Shape Note Singing (shows what I know about it!). There were some dark figures on the other end of the dock practicing some dance moves they probably learned earlier in the day and there may have been hula hoops. No, there were definitely hula-hoops. About 6 row boats took off from the dock around the same time and they all had their required night-time lanterns with them. All one could see as they left the dock were their little lights getting smaller and smaller and dispersing from one another as they sailed off to wherever young musicians go at midnight on a boat from an island- the equivalent of a modern day musical Brigadoon. I think someone was playing a banjo on one of the boats.
Thank you Miles of Music Camp for some wonderful and unforgettable(and un-photographable) memories.