Monday, August 30, 2010

Manitou music

We're en route to Denver after a crazy couple of days at the Mountain Music Festival. Manitou, the group, had a semi-reunion in the town where we were first brought together.

Dave Batti and Quintin Stephens weren't able to join us, but with the remaining collective (me, Robert Force, Roger Zimish, Bud Ford III and Judy Piazza.) on-stage, coupled with the magic of the area's energy, the spirit returned and the music flowed as it has always.

It's hard to blog in the vehicle, so until Denver....

Hello from Manitou Springs

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back On The Mountain

Jae and I rode into Black Mountain, North Carolina while the Sourwood Festival was in full swing. The tiny downtown was stacked with traffic as people sought parking spaces. We were headed to Cabin Creek Lodge, our digs for the weekend during which Steve and Kay Fernandez would renew their wedding vows high up on the mountain. Steve and Kay are good friends and have had me over at their Orlando home for a couple of house concerts - they also come out regularly to see me at Dicey Reilly's (now, once again, called O'Doherty's) and had asked me to participate in their ceremony, providing music.

Not only was it an honor to do so, but they also booked me into the Town Pump Tavern for a post-ceremony/reception party. The Town Pump Tavern has been around for 30 years and is a magical little place with a warm feel (partially due to the lay-lines that intersect at the stage.)

Just prior to our time in Black Mountain, Jae and I had stopped in Asheville and spent a couple of days there exploring the place. It was great to be back in the Swannanoa Valley and to be sharing it with her - even though the winding roads to get here nearly took her out. An avowed flatlander, Jae has a low tolerance for heights and curves.

All in all, it made for a magical weekend and the pictures from this North Carolina leg of the tour can be found here.

The Town Pump Tavern gig was a lot of fun (again, I played for three hours straight before a broken string forced me to take a four minute pause) and I'm looking forward to coming back some day. In the meantime, the next gigs on the horizon are this coming Friday at McWell's in Orlando; Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom on August 31st with Manitou and a return to The Logon Cafe in Beaumont, Texas on September 25th! Details on these shows can be found by checking out my gig calendar at!

Have a great week and thanks to everyone who made this weekend such a blast!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ending On A High Note

The Swannanoa Gathering rolls out over the course of five weeks in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with the final week devoted to the music of mountain and hammered dulcimer. It was my first time experiencing this mix of community, family, instruction and beauty, leaving me breathless from the journey. Besides wonderful students in intensive workshops throughout the week, the fantastic fellowship among everyone, the gorgeous campus of Warren Wilson College and incredible food in the cafeteria and during mid-morning breaks, there was plenty of jamming to be had and evening concerts that entertained as well as enlightened. I, once again, had the distinct pleasure of sharing the stage with Ken Bloom and Ken Kolodner at the Monday night instructor concert, as well as joining Kolodner and Rob Brereton during the informal lunchtime concert series.

Jae and I are actually heading back up to this area of North Carolina this weekend to spend time with friends who are having a vow rededication ceremony in the mountains. I'm looking forward to sharing this beautiful spot of the country with my wife and also getting a chance to explore it some more, as I never left the campus during the week, picking and visiting and hanging around near the beer tent with the other students and instructors (now, a dulcimer festival with a beer tent, that's a novel idea!)

Next up: I'll be starting early tomorrow night at McWell's (5 pm) and performing throughout the evening for Simon Time Trivia, which begins at 8 pm. Then, Manitou is having a partial reunion in Manitou Springs, Colorado on Saturday, August 28th where our album "In The Garden Of The Gods" was recorded, followed by a gig at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver on Tuesday, August 31st. After that, I'm actually home for awhile (imagine that.)

I'm working on getting back into the groove of things - including updating "Dulcimerica" - but for now, I'll settle for cleaning the studio, getting caught up with e-mail and, of course, picking.