This is always a nice set, especially being part of the Godfrey’s Day at Musikfest, with Dina and Kris and Andy Killcoyne sitting in. We didn’t have a chance to practise for this one but Dina is comfortable with Andy, since they play together often, Kris and I are tight and all of us had passed around the tunes electronically (the new way to prepare) so we felt confident in tossing things up in the air on stage.
Don’t Call Me Early was the first song and it’s a good opener, but Andy is a little unfamiliar with the ‘celtic genre’ but began with fills early on. I asked him to stay away from the ending, but never had the chance to lay it out in a practice. I found myself telling him, “Don’t play, don’t play…’ while I was landing the tricky ending. I think he felt the burn. It was a rocky beginning, but things smoothed out nicely quickly. I planned a set where Dina and I swap fronting the band and it works well, giving the both of us to retreat into backup mode. Very comfortable.
Andy is used to running a premier local jam, and often finds himself leading the band behind less professional folks on stage. I am quite comfortable in leading my songs, and confident in establishing the tune’s structure and endings as well. Andy and I don’t get to work together that often in a formal situation like this, and his natural instincts turned on, to fill the spaces. I understand this, but I’ve been doing this for a long time, both with a band and as a solo. But that’s why we needed some face time for this gig, and develop the trust in each other.
Dina and I swapped tunes, I got to play mandolin in support of her tunes, Kris was solid on bass, and Andy settled in with some fine Strat leads. The mix of tunes, instruments and patter was good and we played well. It was only an hour set so the time flew by and I had to cut some songs out, but I got in Legends and Lessons from Pete and ended with Rosie is a Friend of Mine. Dina stepped up as well with her good stuff plus a new One Big Love that she dedicated to the turmoil in Charlottesville this weekend. Quite appropriate and a tip of the hat to her for connecting the song and the situation. A nice FB video showed up, with a scan of the song, kids playing up front, panning to an audience listening to good music and back to us on stage. It captured the beauty of the moment in these fractious times.
It was a good set and appreciated by those in the audience. I thought it wasn’t as tight as it could have been, and not as good as the Trio stuff we did last Saturday. Still, it was a good representation of the local folk playing on the big stage in support of our home town venue. Claudia Schmidt did a knock-out solo set, the Best of Open Mikers did strong sets, April Mae and the Junebugs did a killer opener, and Chaise Lounge finished the evening off in style. I was in charge of booking the day so I was glad that it fell together nicely. Godfrey’s did well, promoting our spot in the now crowded LV arts calendar. My friends Terry and Dave did a great job on sound. Mike Duck did a wonderful job handling the emcee work, as well. Ramona worked her tail off, as always. Good friends all around making for a nice day celebrating Godfrey’s at the major festival in our town. All hands on deck!
I’ve been maintaining a low profile these days, so I had a good time roaming the courtyard and running into familiar faces, both old and new. It reminded me why I enjoy this festival. It is as much about running into friends and acquaintances on the fly, sharing our connections across the years and situations. One young dad came up and said he remembered me from a 1st grade assembly in the early 90’s. Several other young families came up with their kids who are now Dave Fry fans. Older folks that used to come out to Godfrey’s in the past reconnected. I had a good time being surprised by each and every situation. I’m learning to enjoy some gratification from these encounters. Some folks even said I look better these days. Hmmm. This is good news.
I even took the opportunity to mention that I’ve played all of the Musikfests, along with polka king Walt Groller. 34 years. I challenged him to dueling polkas next year. It was a good day on the planet. I love my town.