Sunday, August 8, 2010

Blues Fest 2010 Musicians Play the Pubs in Port Townsend WA

Jeffrey Scott at Undertown in Port Townsend
At breakfast yesterday morning Jeffrey Scott told Mark and me to always carry our guitar with us, "Just like your credit card, never leave home with out it."

On the last night of Blues Fest 2010, I rode the bus down the hill, downtown Port Townsend was where it was at, not out at Fort Worden, the beach or the lighthouse. Blues was in the clubs downtown Port Townsend and I strolled from one to the next with my guitar on my back. Found Steve James, Lightnin' Wells, Suzy Thompson, Terry Bean and Jeff Scott playing full houses.

Nobody seemed to be where I thought they were going to be according to the paper, and I wasn't the only one, even the musicians were running around finding there next venue. On my way to one or the other I ran into Terry Bean. Got a chance to thank him for his generosity, the ease with which he brings reluctant musicians to sit down and play.

Jeff Scott meanwhile had moved from the Undertown Coffeehouse and Wine Bar to The Boiler Room. I stood listening to him, with an eye on the bus stop, when I heard him say, "There's a student of mine here, who might want to play." So I did, doing my best to keep the rhythm while he let the audience hear his fancy fingerpickin'.
"I hear you, I hear you," he said now and then.

"Always carry your guitar with you," is the line that I keep on hearing, that's the line I take with me from the Blues Fest.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Fort Worden at Strait of Juan de Fuca

If you've been here, you know what I mean when I say, "This is where it's at."

David Bromberg Quartet and Chat at P.T. Blues Fest

Nate Grower, Mitch Corbin, Butch Amiot, David Bromberg
How in the world can those guys talk to each other when they're playing music the way they do?

According to the Blues Fest program booklet members of the Quartet would be teaching their own workshop, but that was a misunderstanding David Bromberg said. That was just as well, for instead they all came out to #204. After Bromberg gave a talk, they all played —and chatted!

Afterward I went up to ask them about their gig at TheTriple Door in Seattle where I sub now and then as light man. They liked the room and the food and really enjoyed having a whole day off between 3D and the workshop and show at the Blues Fest on the Peninsula.

The concert at the McCurdy Pavilion was good, but I enjoyed the workshop, being up close with the musicians and hearing personal stories the most.

Mark, who'd been in Jeffrey Scott's introductory Piedmont workshops all week invited him for breakfast this morning and asked me if I wanted to join them and Bev at Hudson Point Cafe (used to come there when it was the Otter Crossing). Great breakfast with good food and a lot of talking. Funny thing is that listening to Jeff made me start talkin' like a Texan again.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Restore Personal Performance at Blues Fest

It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the classes and jam sessions that are going on all the time. And I mean all the time. This time around I participate way more than two years ago. At the time I was new to Piedmont finger-picking, man my pinkie got a workout like never before.

For someone such as me who can't really commit to a regular class the DVDs put out by master musicians have been a tremendous help. And last fall I was able to take Centrum's Piedmont Blues Intensive with John Dee Holeman, Lightnin' Wells and Michael Roach here at Fort Worden. That was intensive and intense all right.

What amazed me my first time around, then at the Intensive and now again, is how generous the master musicians are. Take Terry Bean, he waved me down on the first day, to come play with him. After a while these highschool age kids kind of hang around listening and he waves them down, tells them to play as well. And after a while he gets them to play a song of their choice too. No egos here, just the love of music.

Now and then I need to let the fingers and my mind rest though. I call it reboot, just like the computer. Yesterday after the morning sessions, I took a break from the meals at the Commons to have lunch at our fave Thai restaurant downtown Port Townsend with my old buddy Everett Moran,  He and I go way back, Texas way, that is. Since I skipped the afternoon jam, my fingers were rested and I was happy to play for two and a half hours with Lightnin' and Jeff Scott and some other folks in the evening.

Everett had told me his pal George Rezendes was at the Blues Fest too, so after this morning's session with Terry "Harmonica" Bean I took George's Ragtime class. I'm not that familiar with playing that music and had to really pay attention. Three-quarters through the class I noticed I couldn't take anything in anymore. I may not be jammin' till two in the morning like some others do, but I feel like I've been going non stop from the get go.

So instead of going over all the stuff I've been soaking up like a sponge, I decided to go to town. There's a bus that takes you from Fort Worden to Port Townsend proper. Want to exchange a fleece jacket I bought at Swain's yesterday, have coffee somewhere or an ice cream cone, sit back, hang out. Sometimes you've got to reboot to regain optimum performance.
That's what I need, a reboot to restore.

Tonight there's going to be a dance party on campus. Peter McCracken has been telling us it's going to be great. I didn't bring my dancing boots, so perhaps I'll have a chance to play some more instead of doing a two-step (what is it going to be Pete?).
There's bound to be some jammin' goin' on at Fort Worden.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jammin' with Lightnin'

Jerron Paxton and Suzy Thompson Lead Jam at Fort Worden

Jerron Paxton and Suzy Thompson lead the jam session on Monday evening and to my great surprise I played another two hours and ten minutes!

The Seattle P.I. did a great interview with Jerron just before he came to Port Townsend two years ago, in 2008. I remember thinking, man, this kid (he was 19 at the time) must be channeling some real old blues artists a-ma-zing.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Phil Wiggins and Nat Reese at Centrum's Blues Fest

This is how it works at the Blues Fest, you pick the classes you want to take and then when you come outside, you find great guys like Nat Reese and Phil Wiggins sittin' on the porch, playin' like they do, and if you've got some licks left in your tired paws you join and otherwise you hang out and listen. Listen and watch. Wow.

Michael Kline did a great article on Nat Reese in 1998, I wanted to say interview, but Reese is a storyteller and he only needs a hint of a question to get started.

Jammin' on Porch of Lounge #204

Nice surprise last night when I  ran into old neighbors Mark and Bev. She's been to the Fiddle Tunes at Centrum before, but they're both firsttimers at the Blues Fest.

Today I took two classes, one with Terry Bean and one with Lightnin' Wells.
After that I played outside on the porch of the Commons with Terry for two hours straight. At some point someone came to get Terry to play for some Art in the Schools administrators I think and he asked me to go with him. So there I was first day at camp, playing along as if it was planned.

Sun broke through as usual after lunch. Realized I forgot my shorts. So did Mark.Will have to pick some up.