I signed up for two freebee gigs on this beautiful July Saturday, but that’s all right by me.

The first set was at Father Folk, a fairly secret acoustic festival in the middle of nowhere, PA, down a dirt road, past a corn field and into a wonderful glade next to a stream. It’s a festival for pickers and listeners, one that happens by invitation only passed along from one player to another. I’ve been fortunate to play it over the last eight years or so, with one year missing. I consider it a mini summer vacation.

A very fine stage in a natural amphitheater, great sound, and folks sitting in chairs, on blankets, with various musicians doing a half hour set of their music. I only know a few of them, but there are always surprises.

I had a set around 3 pm and launched into Don’t Call Me Early, followed by July. My Martin was roaring today and it felt great to be playing for these folks. They responded in turn. I felt the juice, was funny and engaging. Some kids came up and explored the bag of tricks, and as they played in front of the stage, all the cell phones came out and snapped pix. There was some good karma going on during my set.

I said,’ Hey, kids. You wanna jam on some Hendrix?’ That got a few chuckles. I did Voodoo Chile on mandolin and finished with Pay Bo Diddley. I got a great reaction with some shouts for more. I could not oblige with so many other folks in line to play, but it was nice.

Most of the folks are practicing amateurs for the most part (and that’s a big part of the charm of the gathering, giving folks a chance to play in front of their peers with a great stage and sound), but I enjoy setting the bar high, playing foot to the floor folk and entertaining the bejezus out of these hippies in the hills.

Sold a couple of Pearls CDs and headed off to St. Peter’s Bakery for a 7 pm gig.