Just got back from the Suwannee Dulcimer Retreat in White Springs, Florida and had a sweet time hanging out, playing music, teaching under the clear blue sky and catching up with friends old and new. I missed last year due to a scheduling conflict, so it was nice to be back. Stephen Seifert and I once again paired up on a tune. This time it was my already pretty messed-with version of "Cluck Old Hen" that I've tended to title "Juke Joint Hen." With him on bass dulcimer, we took it around the block a few times.
This was also the second time that I've taught a workshop on performing with your mountain dulcimer and it's been incredible, not only to see people stepping up and wanting to take their music in front of audiences but also, to have the environment to pause and reflect on my own journey from fledgling musician to professional performer. One of the key themes that is brought up has to do with The Gift. No matter what your spiritual beliefs might be, the living entity that is Music comes from some place deep within the soul which, in turn, takes its cue from the Divine. Music is a pretty magical thing, in playing, in listening, in communicating and sharing; it's probably the best thing that we engage in as humans. So, in taking this Gift that we've all been given and bringing it forth to share with others, you should be bold in your efforts. Banish away all fear, all butterflies and doubts, all hesitance and anxiety. For the gift of the Divine has been entrusted to you for the purpose of sharing with others. Whenever you sing or pick up an instrument and begin to communicate in that wonderful language, you are doing exactly what you need to be doing at that time. You belong there doing it, where ever you might be, and it doesn't matter whether that music is accepted or rejected - that's not for you to worry about. Just put it out into the world. You plant the seeds and someone else will water the garden.
11th Annual Patrick Smith Day
This Saturday, November 20th, I'll be participating in the 11th Annual Patrick Smith Day at Forever Florida in St. Cloud, Florida. It'll be a fun day of "storytelling, arts and crafts vendors, musical performances and special cracker cattle and horse demonstrations. It's the perfect day to enjoy the special "A Land Remembered" Coach Safari through Florida's wilderness, the setting for so many of Patrick Smith's great literary works."
Starting at 1pm and running into the evening, the mini music festival will include some of the best local folk and bluegrass musicians performing in a beautiful outdoor venue. This will be the third year in a row that I've participated in the fall festival at Forever Florida and it's really a beautiful time all around. I'll be taking the stage at 3 p.m.
The Pub Thang
"The Pub Thang", that odd mixture of traditional and modern music that I take to pubs, clubs, bars and grills now has its own Facebook page! Be sure to give it a "Like" if you've ever enjoyed the show (or want to) and help get it filtered out into the Facebook universe! Tomorrow night's show (November 17th at 7 pm) will feature special guest Big Ron Betts as well as the usual treat of The Simon Time Trivia Show beginning at 8 pm. 50 cent wings, drink specials and a good-timing crowd make for a fun weekly happening in Orlando! Hope to see you there!