Saturday, August 6, 2011

My OO-15 Martin and Me

So it took me a few months to decide which guitar to take to the Blues Fest —I was going back and forth between the Webber, the OO-15 and even considered the Lowden (well no not really, but you've got to show love to all of your instruments, and yes, I did hold the Admira as well) but in the end it was the Martin who won me over. I'm glad she did.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Blues Fest Musicians Aren't Suffering the Blues

Wednesday morning John Miller focused on 1950's Texax Blues which called for a different kind of tuning that the Pre-War tunes.

After the break I asked Mark Puryear if I could join his class. He seemed surprised. "Of course, there no need to ask," he said. Google Mark, and you'll find he's played guitar behind quite a few well known artists, among whom Blues Fest's Phil Wiggins. For a listen, check out  Songs of Peace and Forgiveness. Mark's class was focused on Bluesy Jazz, diminished and augmented patterns of finger pickin'. Great stuff.

Jefferson Glassie and Julie Littell of Peace Evolutions, LLC write:
Cool Down (3:59) – Phil Wiggins and Mark Puryear. Phil wrote this song in 1995 to tell young people to chill out. In this newly recorded version, Phil plays an edgy harmonica with Mark Puryear’s steady guitar. Phil is internationally famous and one of the best harmonica players in the world. He has toured and cut numerous CD’s with John Cephas over the years. “People automatically think of sadness and depression when they think of blues. But the blues is uplifting music, music to rejuvenate you, to nourish the spirit,” says Wiggins. 

Later in the afternoon we gathered in the Wheeler for an hour to listen to Corey Harris interview Taj Mahal, who gave a great performance in the evening.

Today another John Miller class, all the good stuff just keeps adding up. Later  and prep for participants presentation. The line-up was so long people played until about 1 a.m. or so. Having learned from earlier years, I put my name on the list as soon as it was posted. As number 5 I had to wait only 30 minutes before it was my turn. Before me a Frenchman who had indeed come all the way from France for the Blues Fest performed with Jerron Paxton. So I had the audience on my hand saying my song "France" by Keb' Mo' seemed an appropriate follow-up. It went well. Laughter in all the right places and I really enjoyed myself.

Guy Davis said, "You really got away from behind that guitar."
That's what I'd told him and other participants in his class, that I needed to sing more and not hide behind the instrument (in the theater we call that projecting your voice at the back row).
John Miller said, "Great job," and Jeff Scott told me he wanted me to do some recording at the end of the year. Talk about feeling good after playing!

The Blues reflects life in its many aspects; happy, sad, tiresome, painful, or fun. ~ Glassie and Littell

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

World Music | Fingerpickin' | Patterns and more @ Blues Fest

beach hotel
After the first night at the dorm I thought I might have to sleep on the beach for some shut eye. Luckily I ran into Gordon, a musician I met at Centrum in 2008. He gave me his extra pair of ear plugs, so last night I was able to muffle the sound of the all-night jam session in the common area on my floor. I'm glad to say I slept well, like a log.

John Miller
First class on the first day was with John Miller: Drop-D tuning and Pre-World War II songs. Had been looking forward to another live class (after Blues Fest 2008). The DVDs John puts out our great, especially for freelancers like me whose working schedules are so unpredictable they never manage to take live classes from beginning to end, but there's nothing like a live session. Today I went to his class again, probably will continue taking them every morning.

Guy Davis had each of the participants in his class come to the front to play something. When he heard my last name he came up to me, and embraced me saying, "Oh, brother, brother".
My version of Keb' Mo's "France" went down pretty well.

I joined Phil Wiggins' porch jam from 3:45 - 5:25 PM and man, my fingers hurt, but it was fun. After dinner I just listened to Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton play piano and others jam with him.

Cheik Hamala Diabate
Cheick Hamala Diabate's class today was part storytelling. Each pattern he shows has a story attached to it.
World Music Live!

After the African beat I got my uke and joined Lightnin' Wells. This must be the first time that ukelele is taught at the Blues Fest. Lightnin' promised it would be easy to pick up the cords, and he was right too.

This afternoon Cheick and the Blues Fest's artistic director Corey Harris led an inspired porch jam in African music. Everyone was still going strong when I left for dinner, got to eat in time. Period.

There's a lot of good stuff going on, all day long, and you have to accept you can't do everything, and need to sit back and just listen at times too. But I've my mind set on taking an intermediate Piedmont class with Jeffrey Scott and check out Mark Puryear and then some...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Port Townsend Blues in the Clubs 2011

  Thinking about coming out to hear some Blues off campus?
$25 per-night club pass

The Undertown - 211 Taylor St.
8:00 PM - Son Jack, Jr. & Michael Wilde
9:00 PM - Lightnin' Wells
10:30 PM - John Miller

Key City Theatre - 419 Washington St.
8:30 PM - John Miller
9:45 PM - Phil Wiggins & Nat Reese
11:00 PM - Jeff Scott

The Boiler Room (all-ages) - 711 Water St.
Sunpie Barnes

8:30 PM - Cheick Hamala Diabate
9:45 PM - George Rezendes
11:00 PM - Sule Greg Wilson

The Public House - 1038 Water St.
9:00 PM - Lauren Sheehan & Mark Graham
10:15 PM - Jerron Paxton
11:30 PM - Washboard Chaz & Jay Summerour

The Cotton Building - 607 Water St.
8:30 PM - Mark Puryear
9:45 PM - Guy Davis (pictured)
11:00 PM - Son Jack, Jr. & Michael Wilde

Sirens - 823 Water St.
9:00 PM - Otis Taylor
10:15 PM - Otis Taylor
11:30 PM - The Ebony Hillbillies

The Upstage - 923 Washington St.
8:00 PM - Arthur Migliazza
9:15 PM - Pura Fé
10:30 PM - Erwin Helfer

The Undertown - 211 Taylor St.
8:00 PM - Mark Puryear
9:15 PM - Jeff Scott
10:30 PM - Lightnin' Wells

Key City Theatre - 419 Washington St.
Guy Davis
Guy Davis

8:30 PM - Lightnin' Wells & Mark Graham
9:45 PM - Cheick Hamala Diabate
11:00 PM - Sule Greg Wilson

The Boiler Room (all-ages) - 711 Water St.
8:30 PM - Washboard Chaz
9:45 PM - Lauren Sheehan
11:00 PM - Jerron Paxton

The Public House - 1038 Water St.
9:00 PM - The Jelly Rollers
10:15 PM - The Jelly Rollers
11:30 PM - Phil Wiggins & Blues Faculty All-Stars

The Cotton Building - 607 Water St.
8:30 PM-11:30 PM
Zydeco dance featuring Sunpie Barnes (pictured)

Sirens - 823 Water St.
9:00 PM - Corey Harris & Phil Wiggins
10:15 PM - Crow Quill Night Owls
11:30 PM - Crow Quill Night Owls

The Upstage - 923 Washington St.
8:00 PM - Son Jack, Jr. & Michael Wilde
9:15 PM - Sule Greg Wilson
10:30 PM - The Ebony Hillbillies