Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer 2011

Summer has arrived and I will try and recap the last 6 months both musicially and non musically for us. There were a few jaunts at the Floyd Country Store playing for avid flat footers who carry on the tradition of moving to old-time music not just watching and listening. Mac gathers a few daring souls willing to play for such flatfoot dancers, slow dancers as well as listeners for 90 minutes. So a blend of fast tunes and slower country classic numbers are played for such purpose. Most recently Mac had his Blue Ridge Thunderbirds play at Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway for tourist and dancers who happened by on a Sunday afternoon. We'll be back again in October.

As for the Winter of 2011, in February we performed for a small crowd at the Front Porch Gallery owned by artist extroardinaire Willard Gayheart. It was a nice venue sponsored by Willard and son-in law Scott Freeman.
Appalachian Awareness Day at Radford University on a weekday involved us with Shay Garriock playing and explaining to students and others about our music and it sources as it related to the the Appalachian Region. I hope we helped with the understanding of why we sound the way we do.

Over the past months we have been participating in an all volunteer recording project for Floyd's local country singer, Janet Turner. Several musicians from Floyd's acoustic, bluegrass and old-time worlds laid down tracks to be mixed into a collection of songs sung by Janet. A virtual band of local pickers and singers will be heard backing up her youthful sounding voice in a big way. Release should be later this summer. Check the Floyd Country Store's website in coming weeks as owners Woody and Jackie Crenshaw are backing the project recorded and mixed by Dave Fason of Floyd County.

In March, we were part of a special show at the Floyd Store featuring the music of two young women who have been making names for themselves. Elizabeth LaPrelle and Anna Roberts-Gevault are professional performers who appeal to all ages in their
use of a visual aid that they made themselves called a 'Cranky'. It is a backlit box in which a scroll is mounted through which sillouets are moved as traditional tunes and songs are performed. We opened the show for them and participated in a final rousing version of 'Keep on the Sunnyside."

A Friday trip to Danville to perform for the Dan River Region Bluegrass association was long but worth the trip as the audience seems to love old songs and the way we do them. The last time we played for the DRR folks we had Shay Garriock with us but since he's become such a busy music store owner and fiddle repairman we have gone back to our duo sound lately.

Our April appearance involved singing with Janet Turner at a Maundy Thursday service at the Methodist Church in Blacksburg where Reverend Reggie Tuck had us be a part of the service just before Easter. Reggie loves and supports old-time and gospel music and is a true fan.

Mac had a big gig in early June in Michigan as a clawhammer banjo instructor at the Midwest Banjo Camp near Lansing Michigan. Its was an intense weekend of workshops for banjo enthusiast of all levels and styles. The staff consisted of mostly full-time professionals and part-timers who were considered good pickers by their peers.

The following weekend we both were part of a long running festival in Whitesburg, Kentucky called Seedtime on the Cumberland. We got to hear some great music there.

Other wise we have been working on improving our farm to get set up for raising cattle and more flowers and vegetables.
Mac has made a couple of banjos and has more almost done as well cabinetry jobs to do. Another big part of Mac's time has been building a pickin shelter in the Warren G Lineberry Park in the Town of Floyd. Too busy for our own good it seems.

More later so check back.