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Saturday, June 17, 2006
BassFest2006, friends, animated gifs
Listening to:robin outside my window
Reading:GEB & Mermaid Chair
Weather:89! sunny
cat is a lucky cat, indeed. Last weekend I had the great pleasure of playing music with Tommy T, aka Titties, a totally awesome guitar & mando player and great singer who actually likes all the same kinds of tunes I like! And we got paid well for it. And we got to hang out with about 20 beautiful friends of ours in a beautiful spot in perfect weather. And there was abundant cold beer and kind all around. It was perfect.

Friday after I finally got my shit together (such a huge task) I headed south then west out 50 toward St. Marys. Arrived around 3pm or 3:30p, checked in to St Marys motel (a very typical little place, getting a bit rusty around the edges, run by friendly Indians or Pakistanis, I'm not sure which, the only little brown for miles, why is that? Fodder for another blog.), and then headed up the hill toward Donnie's place. The weather was perfect. After hugs all around, we sat in the living room, which is open all the way to the peak of the roof beams on the second floor, doors wide open, breeze flowing through, and did a bit of last-minute practicing. We hired a drummer, a dude Titties met years ago teaching in Ravenswood, and he and the singer from his band showed up after battling some traffic around Charleston. We packed up and headed back to the rooms to freshen up, and loaded up for the club.

We were to start at 9:30, so we got there in plenty of time to load in and set up and get a good sound check. Just as Titties and I were starting to get worried because the drummer hadn't appeared yet, he ran in, told of a family emergency, and ran back out, so no drummer for us. Fortunately, that's the way we've played it for 20 years anyway, so not to worry.

Got the gear ready, check 1 2 3, the mics sounded great right out of the chute! That's always a relief. Got the guitars checked, the mando, the bass, we're ready to rock and roll. We started with Wish You Were Here, and it was luscious, the guitars sounded phat and juicy. We cruised through a nice list of many of our old favorites, plus a bunch of new old favorites, such as Jackie Blue, China Grove, Changes, Listen to the Music, Moondance, Really Love to See You Tonight, Change the World, Chevy Van, No Matter What, and We Just Disagree. Several of our buds came up and sat in for their personal greatest hits, like Willie's Mary and Desperado, Fred's Already Gone, and Donnie's Beatles selections. Our sweet and wonderful friends stayed to the bitter end! And helped us load out, true pals. Like in the Jackson Browne song, the short part is the playing, then comes the heavy lifting. I had almost forgotten what it was like to load in, set up, stand up and play for 4 hours in a smoky bar, break down, load out, and get home around 3:00am. Not quitting my day job anytime soon, amigos.

Then the train that goes right through the middle of town woke me up around 9am, which is sleeping mighty late for me anyway. Got up, headed across the street to the Fireside for coffee and breakfast, and Titties and little Tbird joined me. Tbird is 2 1/2 now, and as cute and adorable as any kid could be. We chilled there for a bit, had eggs and a biscuit and a couple cups of java, and as we got ready to leave, the waitress says, "wait, why don't you just sit back down and have some more coffee." Ummmkaaay. I had no idea what that was about, but I had no reason to argue, so I turned around and headed back to the table, and a few moments later Titties' sister Karen came in with her daughter. Karen's in-laws live in St Marys, so had called T's room and Cherrie said we were at the Fireside, so she apparently called to see if we were still there and got the waitress to keep us around a few more minutes. All good.

After a lovely mellow afternoon back up at Donnie's we headed over to the Bass Fest by the river for soundcheck. The soundman was a dick, but since most soundmen are both frustrated musicians and utterly deaf, no surprises there. The surprise, however, was that he did a bang up job on the sound. The soundcheck was ugly, but come showtime, his shit was together and we sounded pretty good, at least from stage we did. Our friend Dan was light man, and though he had 16,000 watts of cans to aim at us, he mercifully kept it to a minimum, waiting to crank up the light action for the after dark part of the show. We played a tight hour, only our best stuff, and minimal dicking around between tunes, so we got a lot in. We ended with the obligatory County Roads, but other than that, no schlock, just tunes we actually dig.

I stayed to hear a little of the next band, then back up the hill for more festivities at Donnie's. Here's where it got particularly beautiful. Donnie and Pam set out a mighty spread of delicious food, built a big beautiful fire, and set up a great PA out on the deck so we could all take turns playing together. It got dark, the fire glowed, the music started with Donnie on his inimitable slow burn of Neil Young, Beatles, Dylan, sung with such commitment it made me weak at the knees. Willie, who's son made the scene, too, got up and did several beautiful tunes with ample opportunity for 3 part harmonies. Doug played some great stuff, heading to the country side of the repertoire, Fred blew some harp, a new friend to me (Nancy? perhaps she called herself Lil. . .) played keys and sang, Titties brought out the mando, it was a slow moving free for all that had real moments of sweetness throughout. Enhanced, of course, by plentiful quality kind.

I think I bailed around 1am, headed down the hill. Next morning, back to the Fireside for the big group breakfast. Fred let his laptop roll a slideshow of the weekend's photos. Connie and Stacy blew my mind -- not only did they put together this festival, a monumental collection of tasks, and paid us handsomely for our performance, set us up with rooms and a bar gig the night before, but they gave us beautiful gifts, too! They got me a truly awesome and unique peace sign made of bent vine wood! What could have possibly been a more perfect gift for me? So amazing and generous.

So I was still high from the joyful groove of the weekend when the week hit. Plenty busy at work this week, doing some community organizing, working on the next issue of our quarterly publication, scheduling various outreach trips, drive to Weston, etc. Then Friday afternoon came and I was ready for a cold beer. Bass Fest had me miss our monthly Beer Night, so I talked Dan and Linde into meeting me on the deck at La Casa for a frosty bev after work. No more umbrella tables, so we headed inside out of the scorching sun, and had ourselves a few cervesas and some appetizers. Yum. Got caught up on things and started the weekend right.

This morning I rolled out to answer the phone, and got calls from some of my favorite people, Ed, Gail, Lynn, among others. Took a break to hang out some laundry, and to write this blog. After a little surfing here I got a notion to do a little animating, so these are what the day brought.

Spring just called and said she's up for Fortneys or Blue Hole to get wet, it nearly 90. So in just a few minutes we'll head to a lovely swimming hole to splash around and cool off, then tonight we head to the drive-in to see Cars and the latest Xmen movie. Good living.

permalink posted by cat 3:49 PM

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BassFest2006, friends, animated gifs