Going out with a bang
This has been a crazy festival season, though I'm not complaining. Keeping busy is a good thing and it's simply delicious that I've been working pretty steadily in the dulcimer festival circuit since I began teaching in 2006. Along the way, I've made many friends, some of whom happen to be the best players in the world, which has kept my A-game steadily in use. The picture above is from the final moments of the 20th Anniversary NGFDA Fall Festival at Unicoi State Park Lodge in Helen, Georgia. There I am on the left, jamming "John Stinson's #2" with (from l-r) Jeff Hames, Butch Ross, Aaron O'Rourke, Aaron Thornton and Stephen Seifert. Holy string-snap, that was fun.
The entire festival was a rollicking good time; workshops were big and full of people who really wanted to infuse their musical experience with more knowledge, something that seems to be happening more and more. The reason for that, I think, is that folks are finding more of an outlet for their music - whether it be playing for friends and family, or the church or in hospice or through YouTube. When people are looking at you and listening to you, there is definitely a desire to be good enough to the point where the experience is enjoyable. I think that's why people are looking to plus their game.
Hell, I'm looking to plus my game during this short winter break before getting back on the road (next stop: Shelby, NC for Joe Collins' Mid Winter Dulcimer Festival in February.) Nothing like jamming with the folks pictured above to make you examine your own chops and think: "yeah, I need to be woodshedding this holiday season."
Funny thing is, talk to any of those cats and they'll say the same thing. The artistic road is an enjoyable, yet bumpy one. You take your victories where you can, and know that it is an ever-winding road. When you reach the end, you're either settling or you're dead, right?
Key West Dulcimer Fest
It's official; the 1st Annual Key West Dulcimer Fest will be held in Key West, Florida (natch!) January 28th - 31st, 2010 (you've got a year to plan.) I've created a new blog (Key West Dulcimer Fest) which will be continually updated with information on the festival including performers/instructors, accommodations, behind-the-scenes prep, vendors, programs and a whole bunch more.
So, this week - I'm finishing up work on the Manitou CD packaging and planning to peruse some of the dulcimer books I bought at Unicoi. There's a Christmas show coming up on the 19th of December with Roger Zimish at the St. Cloud Hotel and Spa, so I'll be getting ready for that. I'm also beginning the recording process for "Dulcimerica: Volume Two", which I endeavor to have ready in-time for spring.
The holiday season is upon us - everyone dig in and enjoy - have a great Thanksgiving and stay tuned for more merriment from the House of Miracles!