Orange Gearle

family, friends, politics, music and technology... that's what it's all about

Thursday, August 10, 2006

bless me bloggers...

...for I have's been 20 days since my last confession diary. Yes, I am going to blame it mostly on school. I also confess that nearly a week ago I tried to write a diary, but alas, after spending over two hours uploading all of the pics and writing the text, I lost it all, and then gave up. :-) Cut me some was 2 a.m.

Actually I have been neglecting the blogosphere as a whole lately. This whole "moving schools thing" has been a bit more intense than expected. There has also been ongoing computer hell in my life and we just hired a new first grade teacher (teammate for me). This is late to be hiring, and he's new to the profession and requires a mentor. I am his mentor (mentor=more work for me). So what was already going to be a tight timeline for me to get my room complete before beginning school NEXT WEEK, adding "mentor" to my title restricted my time even more. Fortunately, the new teacher will fit our team beautifully, and he and I especially click. We get along dangerously well, actually.

Two weeks ago I found myself in Madison, WI at the Sugar Maple Tradional Music Festival. I went alone (don't freak out Cari, it's ok)! I'll disclose that it was a bit lonely at times, but probably good for me. It was also relaxing, and really, it's all about the music for me anyway. I visited my nephew and his family on the way. I will have pics of that on Orange Gearle soon (or whenever I am able).

I arrived at Lake Farm County Park late in the afternoon on Friday, July 28. Set to begin at 4:30, I was there by 4:00 to get a seat in front. After paying the

two-day admission price, I entered the "big top" tent and made my way toward the stage. I was a bit surprised at the sparseness of the crowd. In hindsight, I suppose it could've been because it was a Friday, and some people have to do this thing called work, or because it was one of the hottest days of the summer. Regardless I set my orange chair in the closest spot I could find, directly beside the sound table, with only the dance floor between the stage and I. I immeditely began taking pictures.

There were several vendors: ice cream, food, and beer...the essentials. It was so hot I even drank some beer that day (I hate beer, but really wanted the cup). :-) I enjoyed the fact that there were several vegetarian choices....why can't they do that more in Cedar Rapids??? I went the Cajun route...very yummy.

Throughout the two day festival, there were many opportunities to take pictures like the following. Many "regular" people sitting around with their guitars, playing.

First to take the stage was the Wisconsin-based swing group, Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble. Mom, you would've liked these guys. There was a clarinetist. :-)

Anyone know what kind of guitar that is?

One of the things that I liked about this festival was the family feel. As more people began to arrive, I noticed that many were young families with babies in wombs, babies in arms, and children around 1-5 running around. If I were raising a young family, I would certainly do it this way -- raising my children around this music-rich, liberal, loving (hippie) environment. In the beginning, only the children would dance. I took several pictures of this little sweetie with her dad.

I was able to hear The Mike and Amy Finders Band again at this festival. This Iowa City based duo (plus a fiddler) play music with a folk/bluegrass (and maybe a bit of country) feel. I bought two of their CDs (and you should too). If you haven't seen them live, you should. It makes the CDs even better when you can picture them singing their original songs. Amy is quite "cute", actually she is beautiful...but when she sings she is adorable. It was when I first heard them that I decided I needed to learn how to play the mandolin. (I have not realized that goal yet, but I will) Afterwards I spoke with Amy a bit. It seems that with the girls growing older, and the fact that they are having a difficult time keeping a band, they will be playing very few gigs in the future. Most will be in the CR, IC area I would imagine. My mother informed me just today that they are playing this weekend in Cedar Rapids. I may try to attend. Hopefully, I'll see them at CSPS again.

The music festival atmosphere is something I crave. I do wish I was able to attend about one of these a month or so! The line between musician and audience is transient. The moment a musician steps off the stage, they become the audience.

Guy Davis was next on the lineup. He is billed as a "renaissance blues man" and lived up to his reputation. I was aware of Guy, but never heard him and was anxious to experience his music. I was not disappointed. He had two guitars, a harmonica and a banjo. He played a lot of slide guitar with his 12-string, and when he played harmonica he used his voice to add percussive sounds. That was enjoyable. I liked the Gibson best, but I'm a bit biased. :-)

Guy just hanging.

Guy's Gibson

As Guy finished his set, the sun was disappearing, and the bugs decided to join us. As the Lost Bayou Ramblers were doing their sound check, the mosquitoes and gnats were attacking the audience. The smell of bug spray was overwhelming, and a bit surprising....given the liberal, environmentally conscience hippies in the audience. I was surprised that so many would apply deet to their bodies and allow it to permeate the air around us. :-) All I can say is the bugs were feisty!

The Lost Bayou Ramblers were amazing. For this festival, they were certainly my favorite. Their Louisiana upbringing was obvious, and the Cajun Zydeco style was addictive. I am SO pissed at myself for not purchasing a CD. Fortunately there's this little thing called the internet (tubes and tubes) and I will be able to purchase one online.

All I can say....french is sexy.

Yes, he's STANDING on the bass.

This next picture will seem odd to all that know me. I hate feet. Always have. It's wicked weird, actually. I have the "anti-foot fetish" if you will. But for some reason, while the Lost Bayou Ramblers were playing, I couldn't take my eyes off the feet. I tried like hell to get a decent picture of them, but with my point and shoot type camera, I wasn't very successful. There were sandals, and bare feet. There were tennis shoes and BLACK socks with shoes (really not attractive) but very diverse. I just thought a good pic of their feet might be artistic and beautiful. Well, there was a photographer there. He doubled that first night as the emcee as well. I'd been watching him most of the day, we were taking many of the same pictures...and we seemed to be two of only a few picture takers. :-) Anyway, I asked him to take pictures of the feet for me and send me some. :-) He had a much better camera, of course. Well, he actually came through for me....more pictures of the festival can be seen at his website, including feet, and one of my ass. :-) YIKES! I need to jog more and eat less. More on Jeff later, but here's the link to his pics.

Saturday began with a group of women from Minnesota called the Ditchlilies. GREAT name. Love it. Two of the girls put down their instruments for some of the songs and clogged! I think they probably win for having the most instruments on stage at one time (per person). :-) This day I was smart and took in a cooler...water, Diet Dr. Pepper, and wine. Good call.

Next up was the everybody fields. This is the group that brought me to the festival. I heard about them through my friend, Kathy. They have amazing harmonies. It was fun to see them because they truly represent their music...eclectic. If you look closely you will see, a "retro" kinda guy, a girl that looks like a kindergarten teacher, and a girl that looks very punk. What a strange combination, but it works.

On this second day of the festival, there were two stages. The second stage was called the "learning stage." There were songs for children, and workshops there throughout the day. One of the workshops that I stopped to check out was called "the art of the slide" hosted by Joel Paterson (from Devil in a Woodpile) and Guy Davis. I love that the festival offered these opportunities, but I hate it that both stages were going on at the same time. I hate missing things! :-)

Check out Joel's National!

A second workshop that I attending was with two brothers from the Lost Bayou Ramblers. The began with a bit of history about their family and their music which was very interesting. And they played, which was amazing. Then they taught us the Cajun two-step (not me, of course).

Meet Jeff. Hmmm.....I wonder why I liked him? Anyone? The first day I resisted asking him if anyone had ever told him that he was beautiful and only asked him to take pictures of feet for me. Why? Well, that would be weird if I did that, (apparently not weird to ask him to take pictures of feet? WTF??) AND (mostly) I was fairly certain he was with someone. I'll confess, it was equally difficult to resist mentioning my appreciation for his beauty when he pulled out his guitar. Da-amn. Apparently I have a type. I didn't really think I did...but I do. Anyone ever heard of someone like Jeff?? Dark curly long-ish hair (in this pic he had just run through the sprinkler to cool off). Musician. Liberal hippie type. Ten bucks says he's an artist too. Da-amn. Anyway, during the Cajun two step workshop, he helped out and played a bit-o-guitar (I think he has a Martin?) to dance to. :-) BTW I did find out later that night that Jeff does have a partner, a lovely woman named Eva. I danced with her. :-)

(Above) Kevin Tubb and the Lonely Stars (way too country for me)

I enjoyed the Hunger Mountain Boys from Massachusetts. Funny, they didn't sound like they were from Massachusetts. Check out the guitars. Enjoyable.

Remember the kids? Here's some more. This beauty was a complete ham! She would twirl, but stop and pose for the camera. She's very smart, too...knows all her colors. I cannot remember her name, but I think it was something glorious like Dahlila. (I have no idea how to spell that, please forgive me)

(below) These two sisters were quite the dancers. (notice Jeff in the background of the second picture....heh...I just couldn't get away from him -- I swear he's a stalker -- must be my rare and exotic beauty??? Isn't the hat sexy? Again I say DA-AMN!)

The second night of the Lost Bayou Ramblers was equally amazing as the first. This time the fiddler stood on the bass! That can't be good for it!

Audie Blaylock & Redline: amazing bluegrass. The bango player was only 18 and I've NEVER heard a better fiddler.

Even this bird decided to dance to Audie Blaylock and Redline.

To end the evening, Devil in a Woodpile. These guys are from Illinois, and I would say they were more of a blues band. I enjoyed the tuba :-) The guitarist was absolutely fabulous. No doubt. He looked like he might be an engineer. :-) But he played from his soul.

Can you see it? The sticker says DEVIL.

The above pic is probably my favorite of the weekend. I'm not sure why...I think it's the "composition"...or whatever the artist types call it. :-) It's probably nothing special, but I like it either way.

And yes, a kazoo.

Sorry it took me so long to get this all posted. I have several other things I need to get posted on Orange Gearle...I hope you will see an eruption of activity soon!


Blogger Donnie McDaniel said...

So you finally returned to the land of Blogosphere huh? Sounda like you got a crash course in Cajun.

5:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY! »

2:35 AM  

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