Tonight was another special evening with my friends Anne Hills and Jay Ansill. They are working on a special folk music program about Robert Graves and his connection with English and Scottish ballads. It was a workshop for Jay and Anne as they prepare for a concert in Majorca at the Graves’ family home next month. They’ve already done a more classical concert of Grave’s poetry and a string ensemble but are preparing a different presentation for this trip.

It was good for Anne and Jay to play these songs in front of people and it was an opportunity for me to present the idea of folk ballads in this series. I did have to guide them occasionally into the DNO format, encourage questions and play a few of my songs in the process.

Thankfully, Anne and Jay are pros. They were able to present their material, talk about Graves and this special project. The audience was primarily Anne fans so that was fine. The chat was quite fun, spontaneous and informative. I asked some related questions (unaccompanied ballads, song derivations, etc.) and we tumbled on. Anne and Jay have done some heavy lifting in developing this Robert Graves show. It will be quite the event, and an international feather in their caps. I love the fact that my friends can travel the world and play in some incredible venues.

I got to play Tom Lehrer’s Irish Ballad for some levity and The Ballad of Ned Kelly, a more recent tune I’ve been working on, in order to maintain some presence in the process. It worked out fine.

I’m not sure that the DNO audiences realize how consistently amazing these nights are. Jay, Anne and I really enjoyed tonight’s gathering.