Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June 13th Mars Hill Concert will be hard to top

On June 13th 2009,  Jenny and I along with Shay Garriock met and had our 2nd music adventure as a trio.  We were scheduled months ago  to perform for a concert for the students who annually attend the music camp know as Blue Ridge Old-time Music week held on the campus of Mars Hill College just north of Asheville, NC.  Having the opportunity to debut  our new sound with Shay at the Workshop Porch stage at the 2008 Floydfest,  we  started  our 2nd gig  adventure of 2009 once again in North Carolina. 

  Adventure  means you spend sometime on the road getting to a new place and look forward to meeting up and performing for a good audience with a sponsor that takes good care of all your needs.   This was indeed the case on June 13th when we met Shay in Statesville, NC the morning of the 13th.  We had previously contacted Harry West of Fine Vintage Instruments, a music store located in Statesville  known for its proprietors  (Harry and Jeanie West)  who had once been an active husband and wife duo in their younger years and recognized as contributors to the genre of old-time country music by historians and fans of early country and Bluegrass.

Harry was interested in our new CD's and bought some to re-sell in the store after we played  and sang the old Wade Mainer song  Take Me in Your Lifeboat.   We left after a NC Barbeque lunch and headed west for Mars Hill getting there in time for a sound check in the campus chapel around 4 with the concert to be at 8.  We got our room and board situated, saw and visited several of our friends, many of  whom were staff/ instructors in various instruments such as old-time fiddle, guitar, clawhammer banjo, and vocal harmony. 

Hillary Dirlam,  long-time director of the  camp  gave us a nice welcome and introduced us as if we were something special.   We were flattered and knew we had our work cut out for us to not let her down.  Jenny and I began our first set with several of our favorite duets like heard on our early recordings that some were already familiar with.   Shay came on with his fiddle and launched our sound in a new direction.  The acoustics of that sacred space as well as the skill of a competent sound man with a decent system helped get us fired up to play well and enjoy ourselves like all musicians would hope for.  Kind of like a house concert but with a big crowd.
There were probably 150 people who really got into what we were doing and responded 
positively to our music which include many numbers from  'Turkey in the Mountain'.  As students of banjo and fiddle,  Shay and I felt that we could demonstrate some of our tunes that
show techniques and stylistic elements that many had come to appreciate on a different level than the general public.  

With Jenny on guitar for the last number, we were surprised by the enthusiasm of the crowd and were asked to do an encore for which we not prepared.   Shay broke into the old standard dance tune called  'Hen Cackle' which got some dancers in the crowd to  come up and cut loose near the stage.   We do love dancers like that.   With a great number of CD's sold, decent pay for our performance, and a fine wind down party afterwards, we couldn't have asked for more. 

 On Friday coming home, we felt inspired to do something like that again and again.  Keep checking back as we hopefully will  have some other similar trips that I'll report on after they occur if notable as Mars Hill was.