My FULL report…
While listening to the recording of our live performance makes me cRiNgE, my bride assures me that it sounded much better in the audience. There’s always a rush to get things set up and never enough time to get the sound right before we start. The sound man’s comment was: “Your first song IS your sound check” (A disturbing schedule-driven answer).
But I must say, as much fun as I had last year, this year was even MORE fun. It really got exciting when Ellie May Schramm, the PR person for the Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association, chose us as an interview topic on KXCI radio. Rick and I went there on Thursday and met Kathy Rivers, the afternoon DJ and a number of other really nice folks. Songwriter-singer John Coinman and bassist Blair Forward showed up for their own interview and it was a pleasure to meet them both.
On Friday evening, Rick and I attended the kick-off party/fundraiser at “Old Town Artisans” and were honored to perform for our peers. We did fairly well and received a number of meaningful compliments from our respected fellow performers. While it’s always great to get praise from your fans, it means something special when praise comes from those “in the business”.
On Saturday I attended a songwriting workshop conducted by the legendary Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen. Chris Hillman was an original member of the Byrds and defined “country rock” in the late 1960’s. He was with the Flying Burrito Brothers, Stephen Stills and Manassass, Souther Hillman Fury Band, and the Desert Rose Band. Herb Pedersen has been part of The Desert Rose Band, and The Laurel Canyon Ramblers, The Dillards, and performed and recorded with Artists like Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Johnny Rivers, Dan Fogelberg, James Taylor, Gordon Lightfoot, Jennifer Warnes, John Prine and Jesse Winchester.
In the afternoon I served as “EmCee” for the Courtyard stage (one of four simultaneous stages running at the festival). It was the perfect assignment because the line-up was impressive and featured many friends. My friend Eb Eberlein performed with a new mix of “Eb’s Camp Cookin” his perennial band. He was joined this year by his regular bassist Phil Anderson, and by my good friend Steve Decker on guitar and vocals, as well as Robby Roberson a superb musician, on mandolin. My stage also presented the Mas o Menos String Band (who were excellent), Sid Hausman (Cowboy singer), The Wayback Machine (a great group of local musician friends with an extraordinary repertoire), Sapphire Bell (a Jazz performer), Round the House (Irish Folk Music) and The Last Call Girls
(the quintessential honky-tonk, have a good time, party hearty, Band). My friend Kevin Schramm plays accordion with the Last Call Girls (and several other groups). They did a benefit in the morning and a Festival performance in the afternoon. Kevin also played with at least two other groups at the festival.
On Sunday, we performed on the Museum Stage – not because we’re antiques. That’s just what they call the stage behind the Tucson Museum of Art. We played at 1:30 PM and it was a might breezy. By 3PM the dark clouds had gathered and right when Phil Borzillo was playing “Rainy Day Blues”, it started to rain (we therefore are blaming him). It was short lived, but we got several such squalls throughout the afternoon. I went over to the Old Town Artisans Stage – in an open-air courtyard to see Way Out West and The Determined Luddites perform – two other bands featuring my friend Kevin Schramm. The skies opened up again as Way Out West took the stage and everyone ran for cover. Then a great Festival moment happened. With about fifty or so people packed in around the band, standing under the entrance awning, the band did their entire set, un-plugged, up close and personal. It was FANTASTIC. (I wish I’d had a camera)
I listened to local guitar virtuoso Greg Morton play along with bass player Jim Stanley, and Tucson’s finest mandolin player Mark Robertson-Tessi. Mark is moving to Tampa soon and it has a number of us depressed!
Then it was down to the main Plaza Stage for the evening headliner John Coinman and his band. Another fantastic performance. John is a great songwriter and you can feel the desert southwest in his lyrics.
I got home Sunday night late, tired and hungry, but totally s a t i s f i e d.