This was the second year I made it to my friend Cliff’s backyard party, now in its 14th year. He sets up a tent and a sound system, runs a folk jam from noon til 3 pm and then let various folks do short sets with the mikes. It truly is a community event, and I can tell how meaningful it is for so many of these folks. A rare opportunity to perform or just sit around and play amongst friends.
It was nice to sit on the outside of the jam and noodle on mando and guitar as the folks played an array of fiddle tunes and a few songs. I chimed in with Skip to my Lou and Titanic and guided the players to sing along – a leap for a lot of the tune players who often hide behind their instruments.
My friend Rolly Brown did a great three song set. He was perhaps the only other professional in the crowd. There were quite a few other semi-pro groups as well as some amateur groups and I found it hard to listen to them. But, that’s wasn’t the purpose of the afternoon, so I enjoyed watching these folks take their spotlight sets.
I noticed a lot of the jammers left before the open mike session, and that’s part of the dichotomy of folkdom. The ‘tuners’ come for the tunes, and the ‘songers’ come for the songs. The cross over is sometimes stark.
I did a four song set for a diminishing group of listeners: July, Don’t Call Me Early, Lessons from Pete and Vegetable Song. The Pete song elicited some very nice responses during the song itself, which was interesting and gratifying.
I did get to reconnect with some friends in the Buck Co. area again, and it was nice to play for friendly and listening folk folks.