Jae and I drove up to Melrose, Florida along with our doggie, Bella Dolce, to be part of a really groovy happening.
David Beede is a phenomenal songwriter, musician, luthier and spirit that I had the pleasure of meeting earlier this year through Aaron O'Rourke, whom I also had the pleasure of meeting for the first time earlier this year. Aaron is a mind-blowing performer of not only mountain dulcimer, but other instruments, such as bass guitar and mandolin as well. He had been helping David book talent for the Suwannee Dulcimer Retreat and suggested that I come on-board for the 2008 edition (which was actually the 2007 edition, postponed by Florida fires.) That weekend was a super blast, especially when David and I got to sit and jam for about four hours in the carillon tower at Stephen Foster State Park.
David, Aaron and I have gathered together since then, over in Dunellon, Florida for the Will McClean Festival in the spring. Over the summer, some dialogue began as we talked about doing some videotaping for David, and with a house concert featuring the two of those guys coming up, I elected to head north and capture some footage for promo purposes. Much to my delight, David asked if I'd also open the set for them.
The house concert was at David and Julie's house, a lovely, rambling home set back from the main road, perched on the edge of a lake. With some supplemental show lights brought in, the entire stage area was transformed at nightfall into a magical twilight space where the music wove together with the sounds of insects and a gentle wind.
About fifty people showed up for the concert, a boisterous group that also included a fair number of performers, so the post-show jams were A++ - lots of great music and company to be had along with the presence of seven darling doggies who added their own special warmth to the proceedings.
It all really ended too soon, but a marvelous time was had - and this was a nice run-up to the next big event, which will be the Suwannee Dulcimer Retreat, at its regularly scheduled time of year, in November.
What was really special about this time was being able to kick back and relax with David and Aaron well into the early morning, strumming dulcimers, playing and talking music; a rare treat in the busy day-to-day of festival life. I also sat down with both of them for interviews which will be featured during the next two weeks of Dulcimer Players News podcasts.
The afterglow from this particular event is amazing. Now, coursing through the week towards a flight out to Kentucky on Friday for the Great American Dulcimer Convention, I'm getting a bit of flashback from the summer - when the good times were so back-to-back, I barely had time to reflect before getting caught up in the moment again.
And then, perhaps that's actually a really good thing. For all we truly have is the moments of our lives, right?