These annual gigs at Musikfest are bench mark gigs, since I’ve played all 30 of ’em. The Leiderplatz one’s are special because of its sound and ambiance – its in a courtyard in downtown Bethlehem. I have folks come out to see me that I don’t get to see too often, curious but intelligent music listeners, and wonderful friends with me on stage and on sound. I could do this all the time.
Ansel Barnum on harp and Kris Kehr on bass. We don’t need no stinking band. The guys are pros and are able to go with my flow, step up for nice leads, and give me a fat acoustic sound.
I decided to do some mini sets, starting out with a family set – Cat Came Back, Giants, Jelly and Skip to my Lou. Nice way to ease into the night.
Kris and I go back to Pavlov’s Dawgs and has become a brother. He’s dealing with a young family and playing music for a living. He has all kind of bands and playing situations but he’ll do this bass thing for me as a friend and fellow musician. It’s really nice to have Kris at my back and on the bass.
I did a solo set next and decided this afternoon to take some chances with some stuff I’ve written or just worked up. Figure it out. Ballad of the Liberty Bell, Put the Frack Back, and my first attempt at Edge of Night.
We then did a Celtic set with Don’t Call Me Early, Whiskey Before Breakfast, Irish Spring and then Ireland. Nice set.
Ansel then proceeded to blow (literally) away the crowd with his solo de jure. He continues to grow, experiment and stop folks in their tracks with his virtuosity and feel. No mean thing.
Then we blues’d once and rocked it second with It’ll Me Me and Pay Bo Diddley.
I was proud of the 1.5 hour set, with dynamic ebbs and flows, all my apparently funny and personal asides, great musicianship and friendships, a nice cross section of styles, a band I trust and enjoy, and audience connections.
I would love to do this more often, and wish I had gotten on that second level on the folk circuit that I have bumped up against in the past. It counts that I’ve learned to play every gig like it’s the Philly Folk Fest or Musikfest.
Sunday I’ll return for the Godfrey’s day and play some tunes, share the stage with Dina Hall and be amongst GD folks.