Wednesday, May 6, 2015


 I am privileged to know a lot of  musicians. Many of those are professional performers who make their daily bread through music and don't have a day job or even time for a day job. They work hard, harder than I ever could to 'make it happen' and manage to pay the bills while still remaining positive and creative. The process still continues to amaze me. All the music is good, but still they all struggle in some manner or form, just as I do with my day job (which is the only job I have).
 Mike & Ruthy Merenda have been working on the this album for a while now, probably over a year and have put their souls into it, but they have included their musical family in the quest, and the Love surely shines through. This is not new for them, every album they have produced has been a keeper worthy of study and regular play, but this one, for me, was as sweet as it gets. It's a joy to catch one of their performances and hear the music they create and feel the emotion that comes along with that music, any fan of theirs will tell you that. I can't tell you how many times I have asked them why they haven't, or when they are going to, record a particular song. I wish I could say I ask that because of my desire to have them share it with the world, but in truth it comes from a very selfish need to be able to listen over and over, study the design of the music, and immerse myself in the feeling they are creating. It's as personal as it gets for me. As we said in the 60's "they send me" someplace. (I still look forward to the day when "Mike goes to Walmart/Bestbuy" makes it on a recording.)
 If I had to find one word to describe this album, it would be 'maturity'. I don't speak of the maturity that is associated with age or general musical maturity, rather I refer to that which comes from knowledge and experience.
 Although still quite young (relative to MY perspective as an old man), Mike and Ruthy carry more than a few generations of knowledge and craft into their music as a benefit of their upbringing, their early exposure to many icons in the art form, and their ability to assimilate others life learning into their own music. It shines through in this album in a big way, actually, I'd call it exceptional.
 This album contains 14 carefully crafted tracks, all of which were written by Mike & Ruthy except one: The Ghost of Richard Manuel (J.Davis & A.Allen).  The musicians on this production include of course, not only friends, but extremely talented folks: Jacob Silver, Konrad Meissner, & Charlie Rose, as well as support form Chris Millner, Joel Ricci, Dean Jones, Daniel Littleton, Professor Louie, Jay Ungar, and Marco Benevento. The backup singers (if you haven't been paying attention yet, you should now) are Amy Helm, Aoife O'Donovan, Kristian Andreassen, Burnell Pines, Heather Masse, and Daniel Littleton. If you know music and musicians, some of those folks should have grabbed your attention. If not, lets me just tell you it is a great album, buy it. Now you can go onto reading another blog. If you know why this is so intriguing, you may read on from here.
 I very much enjoy 'high energy' bands, music, and performances. On that score, the Mike & Ruthy Band will certainly not disappoint, as audiences from California to here in the Catskills will attest. But high energy is only part of the formula, and thoughtful well written music is the bigger part, high energy or somber, the message matters. This is where Mike & Ruthy excel and set the bar so very high. This is what I call "craft". Writing (the story), arrangement (the appearance or sound), and performance (the presentation) all come together to create that feeling and emotion one is driven to when consuming music. In fact it is everything and it amazes me how 'dialed in' Mike & Ruthy are to what works in selling a song. (I use the term selling to describe how to craft the delivery in a manner that the listener is easily receptive to, not to be confused with marketing in any way.)
 Several tunes on this CD are quite familiar to me (and probably many Mike + Ruthy live audience regulars) because I (we) have heard them performed more than a few times and am very glad they are now recorded, several are new to me (guess I missed a few gigs). Mike and Ruthy tend to take time to try their songs out for a bit and massage them into what works best for the audience perception of the intended message. Everything matters and when they finally record it, well this is the kind of product you wind up with, something that is mature, well thought, and presented as perfectly as it could be. This is one of the reasons I believe 'Bright as you can' will be a long running winner. It probably won't make them rich, but for music folks, this will be a player for a long time and a keeper by all standards. I bet my grandkids will be looking for copies of this album on eBay in 15 years.
 OK, so here are the great parts that stood out for me. First, the title track is just a super get you up and moving song. Ironically, I had heard them perform this enough that I almost knew all the words, but never realized it was the title track until I had the CD in my hands, duh! (You can find that tune here for free.) This song is why I Love these guys, they always make ME feel good! "Chasin' Gold" is a song I think I believe Mike wrote (they share credit for all tunes) about how he felt as a ,musician trying to get started on the road and represents his experiences of doing that while having a family at home. It speaks to all musicians today trying to make a living and stay true to their goals. I love this song for what is implied but not spoken.

 ... Well, I wanted to be a singer
 But I couldn't even sing
so I grabbed that guitar, made it say something
And I followed the bright lights to that big city sound
Found a place by the river and I nearly drowned
Well the winter's lonesome as the snow is white
I was seeing myself by just a cigarette light
Living ain't easy when you're working tips 
and the romance grew thin as the skin on my lips
 I was chasin' gold, chasin' gold, chasin gold, I was chasin' gold....

"The Farmer" is a simple song that just grows on you as you absorb the cycle of life it imparts. Ruthy, along with help from Willy and Opal actually did a clay-mation animated music video wrapped around this song that is just super. I surely hope she enters it in a movie festival. It is just incredible how well it played. The premiere for a live audience brought calls for a re-run (which, of course, they did). Great tune, great video.
 "Legends only Appear in Black and White" is a reference to the notion that we dream in black and white and of course our dreams are where we best meet the legends in our life with a twist, of course.
 There is some really sweet singing on this CD and "Rock On Little Jane" is a good example of this, but it is everywhere to be frank. Somebody said the album is flat out lousy with great songwriting" and I would have to agree (y'alll should know that at this very moment, Ruthy is rolling her eyes either at seeing the comment again, or for the fact that I quoted it here). The balance and mixing on this work are just super and present as well as a live house concert, which is where these guys excel.
A fine example of their representation skills can be found in "Goin' out" where they play a little with the presentation before launching into a fun little tune about a night on the town which Ruthy provides fun and masterful vocals for. I love the playful banjo-uke in here as well as the horn section with just a taste of Bourbon Street bluesy sound, even though this isn't a blues tune.
 Every song on this album is great, and perfectly presented. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be "Simple and Sober" and I base that on what my heart tells me. This is where Mike & Ruthy set their target, and usually hit the mark. I first heard this tune performed, I think, 3 years ago, and it was the one I had in my head during the drive home trying to remember the words after just one quick hearing. Frankly, on that night, after Ruthy sang that song, I didn't hear much else. Ever have that happen? Well I did. It resonates with me on a very personal level for private reasons. I know Ruthy wrote it in honor of a dear friend's victory in life's struggle, but there is a piece of this song that I feel I own for myself.  (Any of you who might know me shouldn't read anything dark into that. Demons come in all shapes and sizes, if you have none, you have been blessed.  I have some.The beauty of well written poetry is that the listener can interpret it into their own experience and assimilate that in a very personal way. That is what happened here, and it struck a resonant chord with me.)

Simple and Sober
 I've gotten over
 screaming and screeching wheels
I'm keeping my own
nose to the grindstone
I like the way it feels ....

Such is the value in the work this couple produces, over and over again. Their music carries warning, learning, joy, and a great deal of love. I spoke about maturity at the beginning of this and if you haven't figured it out by now I will tell you that this musical duo carries maturity well beyond their years. The fact that they selected "The Ghost Of Richard Manuel" as the only song they did not write, to include on this album speaks volumes. A gifted musician who was an original member of The Band, who made contributions many may have missed and whose name is not widely known today shows both respect and maturity to recognize those who had significant impact, if not recognition.
 The final dimension that plays into my 'maturity' assessment comes from the arrangements. It takes a lot of years and a lot of sessions to know when you can fit in an accordion and make it sound just right, to know just when a horn section will fill out the song, or when just a few accents form an 'odd' instrument will grab the listener. That maturity only comes from many years and probably a few mistakes along the way. It also comes from following your heart and having a heart that is true to the music. That is something very special, and that is also Mike + Ruthy with their band. If you pick this album up when it hits general release on 6/1/15, I can pretty much promise that you will have a great time listening to it. The are several tunes I have not even discussed here which are bound to catch your ear. (Wait until you hear "When the Sun comes around".) In fact, as local tradition around here has it, you should invite a bunch of friends over, have a campfire, and crank it up. Dancing is not optional.
 I came across some other opinions in case you need a second opinion:

“Fourteen finely crafted tunes that roam effortlessly through the whole span that is Americana, from alt-country to folk to bluegrass." - The Bluegrass Situation

"This is a record about what it is to be human. It's a record about what it is to have an inextricable allegiance to tradition, while feeling compelled to speak for onesself. It's a record that will grab you, that won't let you go.” - No Depression

"Easily a new favorite" - Daytrotter

“Pristine” - The New York Times

"Some of the best songwriting of their generation" - LA Weekly

"Infectious new folk rock" - Boston Globe

“Mike + Ruthy are a national treasure.” - Anais Mitchell 

“These two will shatter any stereotypical misconceptions of what it means to be a folk musician.” - The Coastal Journal 

I also understand that the Wall Street Journal will be preview this album in the near future, so keep you eyes open.

 Mike + Ruthy have a website at where I am sure purchase info will be available.This release, I am informed will also be carried in many retail outlets around the country in both CD and DOUBLE LP formats. This is certainly a keeper!
Keep the beat,

Saturday, October 25, 2014

THIS WEEKEND 10/24-26/14

Yeah I was going to get this out a couple of days ago but I was home sick, fighting off a cold with this lousy Hudson Valley Fall weather egging it on. I did manage to get out for a bit Friday night to catch a house concert with 2 bands, and now I am sorry I didn't get the word out to my friends, although I did try the 'word of mouth' thing. We saw The Whispering Tree, a duo from the Beacon area with lovely songwriting and vocal skills, and In The Kitchen, a relatively new local group that does a mix of their own stuff and re-arranged pieces with very high energy. It was a great evening even if I felt lousy. The concert was (is) a monthly event put on for the benefit of the Sudbury School and takes place at the old Glenford Church (now  private residence). They offer wonderful food prior to and during the performance that is hand prepared and in some cases, hand grown. Usually held on the 3rd Friday of the month (with changes to avoid holidays), you can check out the FB page here.
 As for the stuff you haven't missed yet: The BIG EVENT for the weekend is the Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase, which not only includes the trade show where you can see, and try, some of the most beautiful handmade instruments you have ever laid eyes on, but you can also catch workshops, instrument demonstrations by some of the finest players, AND get more than a few opportunities for some informal Meet and Greets. The show hours are 11am-6pm Saturday and Sunday, (10/25&26). Admission is $20/day or $35 for both . But that's not all. There are a number of events which surround this festival, beginning with the pre-show concert up at Club Helsinki that happened on Thursday Night with Happy Traum and John Sebastian (yeah, we both missed that).  There is also the String Sampler Concert on Saturday Night at the Woodstock Playhouse with David Bromberg, Larry Campbell, and a host of others. This is currently sold out, however, my spies tell me that if you show up at the boxoffice before the show, there MAY be some last minute seats available. If you are local, it's worth a shot. It starts at 8pm and seats are $45 & $55.  (Finally, and I am not sure this is public info, so if you go, just count it as a benefit of reading this here: there is a after party that begins around 9pm on Sunday night at the Colony Cafe on Rock City Rd.. This is where the performing musicians get to relax and let some of the best local talent entertain them with short sets. The musicians are hand picked and invited for maximum effect. Keep this under your hat, OK?)
 So that alone should be enough to fill your weekend, but just in case, I have one more thing for you to consider.  Gilles Malikine & Mik Horowitz will be doing their annual Benefit for the Woodstock Artists Association at the Gallery on Tinker St. Beginning at 7pm cost of entry is $12 for most of us and $8 for members. I don't plan on missing this as I am sure they will have some new material, as always. Brilliant musical cerebral humor at its best. If you have never seen these guys, you should go (you can thank me later), and if you have seen them, well, you are probably already making plans, aren't you?
 There is a ton of other stuff going on in the region this weekend such as the first offering of The Bluegrass Jam up in Lake Placid (which I have my spies reporting in from). We'll be interested to see how this goes and if it takes root. Always good to have another major Bluegrass event in New York to offset the high taxes we pay and the oppressive government we endure.
 Also, I should note that very few seem to have found my previous posts regarding the adventures of late September and early October. Probably this is because I only shared them, at a late hour on FB. Feel free to find them with the links below and share them as you like. I realize it is hard to follow a blog wherein the writer only shows up from time to time and then lays down long winded posts such as I do. But it would be nice to know that more than 3 people have gotten exposure to them. (Don't be afraid to leave comments if you are so inclined, it keeps my interest up.)

Keep the Beat,

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I NEED A BIGGER CUP (Part III, finally)

(If you are just getting started scroll down, the previous two posts are below in reverse order, you might want to start there.)
So we ended the last post at around Friday morning and we had one last thing on our list that we felt was important to be part of. Ryan Cavanaugh and Rex MeGee had been invited to put on a IBMA members only Showcase in one of the rooms at the convention center. After breakfast, Bill and I hit the trade show floor again for a little bit and did some visiting. Then we headed up to catch the showcase after stopping and taking care of some business at the registration table. I was concerned about being late, but then we saw Rex and Ryan hustling in the same direction having just come from shooting a music video on top of one of the skyscrapers in town. We made it in time and were disappointed to see a small number of folks in the room. No matter, those that were there knew it was going to be good, and indeed it was. Because of the small number and the intimate feeling in the room, it became more of a private party and Rex and Ryan invited requests. Bill didn't miss a beat and asked for Autumn Leaves, knowing pretty well what would follow. Fortunately, I got it recorded and yes, here you go, fuzzzy video and all, you are wlecome:
Super stuff and a most enjoyable Showcase for sure. These guys make some beautiful sounds and blow me away every time I get the opportunity to watch them play. I find the watching part as much fun as the listening part. Bill too, never tires of what they offer up.
 By Friday afternoon the Street Fair was warming up and people were really flowing into town. Although I still saw musicians on the streets, they were mostly hustling to and from gigs and appointments. The weather was getting a bit colder also. We bounced around from this to that, caught some music here and there and generally had a good time. Saturday I took a walkabout just to get the feel of the size of this mass of people and all the events going on. It was indeed huge. The crowds were shoulder to shoulder and when I tried to get a look at the Kruger Brothers on the City Center Stage, I just could not get close enough to see them. Frankly at this point, my brain was pretty fried. The week was winding down and Saturday evening we took it kind of easy, we were both pooped. We pre-packed up and hit the sack at a 'reasonable hour'.
 I am going to mention here that even though this series of posts is already very long, they is in no way comprehensive and I have left out dozens of little stories and events because there were just to many and quite a few only had significance to me, or for me to explain what happened would require a lot of detail and bore most of you. Just trust me, we had a lot of fun, and the things going on in my head could fill a small book.
 I will however share one small story to close out the week. If I had any regrets about the week it was that I could not hook Bill up with his old friend Sam Bush. I had invited Sam to the reception but he was not to arrive until after it took place. whenever we were in a place that Sam might be, he was tied up with rehearsals or performing at another venue. We did see Sam's wife Lynn at the Awards Show, but he was involved elsewhere and she sent his apologies. At any rate, I realized you set you goals for a thing like this and hope to hit most of them. I figured missing just one was not really anything to worry about, so I let it go. We headed out to the airport mid-morning on Sunday and arrived and got through the gauntlet (security) in good time and were sitting at the gate around noon, giving us about an hour to kill. I told Bill I was going to look for a beer I could bring back and drink at the gate and off I went. They informed me at the bar that this was not allowed in that airport and I had to consume it at the bar, I took a pass. As I was leaving, I saw Sam, Lynn, and his bandmates at the bar having lunch. I waited politely as Sam did an autograph and photo for a budding young mando player. I introduced myself and apologized for further interrupting his lunch. I expalined that I had been looking for him all week and that I was traveling with Bill, hoping to get them hooked up for a few minutes. He looked at the floor and said "Yeah, Bill... I am so bummed I did not get to see him this week.... WAIT, What? Did you say you are traveling with BILL?" "Yeah." "well, is ... is he here? Now?" "Yeah", I said " He's just 2 gates down tha...." Too late, he was in gear, he told Lynn he had to go see Bill, she got a little agitated and reminded him that they had to board in just 2 minutes. I think she was looking at both of us when she said "If you are not back here in time ...." She didn't have to finish, I knew that look, my wife uses it on occasion. Besides, no time to waste, Sam was on the move and slipped right past me as I began to turn, then he looped back and swept up his mando off the bar stool, before looping arond me again and dashing, yes, dashing through the crowd. I couldn't keep up. He's a spry son of a gun, and I shouted directions ahead to him. When he found Bill, Mary Doub was already seated next to him, so it made for quite the little reunion. 5 minutes or so of high quality catching up and then Sam had to go. What a wonderful way to end the week. The rest of the trip home was easy and I smiled like an idiot the whole way.
 One would think this would have been a good place to end a happy tale, but wait there's more.
 We barely had time to recover (actually Bill did, but it took me longer) when we began to get ready for the next phase of this party. You see back in July of '13 we started to talk about getting Ron and Wendy and their band to come down from Yarmoth, ME to do a house concert in our area. We never could set a date that year, but then we picked one in May and had to change that too. The date we settled on was 10/11/14, just a week after IBMA. Now it should be noted, we set this date back in April, long before we knew of Bill's award(s) and what would be happening at IBMA. None the less, we decided to continue the party from Raleigh to Clinton Corners, NY. To inhance the group of friends, we invited Ryan Cavanaugh to come up from NC and he arranged some other gigs to help pay the way and allow him to play that mnight. Then, as luck would have it, Rushad Eggleston was doing his fall northeast tour and looking for a gig in our area also that weekend. It made for quite the night and the music was incredible! The Gather Rounders headlined and everybody took a turn with some super collaboration at the end. Bill and Claire were the Eric Weisberg came along, some of Bill's band mates too. All in all just a super night and a great cap on the previous weeks of events. Video to follow, when it is edited and published. (Thanks again Fred!)
 Now here is the name dropping bomb. I want to thank each and every person that helped make this adventure something special. Everyone here helped in some way, either through conversation, friendship, a first time meeting, support, advice, guidance, a shared moment, or whatever. I was going to try to be democratic and list them alphabetically, but there is no way. So here is a stream of consciousness list:
 My wife Pat, Bill Keith, Claire Keith, Martin Keith, Lisa Husted, Mary Doub, Mary Burdette, Rousby, Joe, Caroline, Fooch, Matt Bowe, Brain Hollander, Abby Hollander, Ron Cody, Wendy Cody, Jonny Cody, Marc Horowitz, Fred Robbins, Bela Fleck, Juno Fleck, Alan Munde, James Reams, Rex McGee, Ryan Cavanaugh, Leah Latella, Ned Lubrecki, Darol Anger, Joe Walsh, Darwin Davidson, Happy Traum, Jane Traum, Sam Bush, Lynn Bush, Jenni Lyn Gardner, McRoy Gardner, Ira Gitlin, Tony Trischka, Sammy Shelor, Daniel Greeson, Matthew Goins, Tom Nechville, Eric Schlade, Mike Munford, Jim Mills, Nick Barr, Bill Knowlton, Bill Evans, Steve Martin, Jim Lauderdale, Dominic Leslie, Russ Bonk and his lovely family, Dean Seabrook, Baker, Noam Pikelny, Jim Rooney, Renik Jansen, and I am sure there are many more, but this is what my brain can come up with. No doubt, as soon as I hit "publish", a flood of names will come and I apologize for those I misplaced in my head. I'd also like to thank the dozen or so people who came up and said 'HI' because they knew me, but I could not place them. Just know I was a bit overloaded at the time (still am, a bit).
 It was quite the adventure for sure, and my telling here is most inept, but I am hoping you get the gist. The following week there was a bit more involving Sarah Jarosz, Sam Grisman, Alex Hargraves, and the Milk Carton Kids, but I think that's enough for now. I need to post this so that I have a day or two bfore I put up a post about SOME of the stuff you can catch this weekend coming up. Here's a hint, can you say "Luthier's Showcase"? Oh boy, here we go again!
Keep the Beat,

Sunday, October 19, 2014


 So Part I left off on Wednesday afternoon and at this point I have to do something pretty poor for a story teller and backup a bit. I don't want to go back and edit the first part because it's been up for 2 days and many won't want to re-read it, so lets just call this a little flashback, shall we?
 Bill and I flew to Raleigh on Tuesday, but the Saturday before (9/27/14) we went down to Park Slope in Brooklyn for the Park Slope Bluegrass and Old-Time Jamboree. This year they were presenting Bill with the Brown Jug Award and I was more than pleased to go down with Bill to watch him receive it. I had no idea what to expect from a small weekend festival held in the middle of Brooklyn and was very impressed with the quantity and quality of fine music and musicians. It was great fun meeting Steve Arkin for the first time as well as James Reams, Jeff Scroggins, and a wonderful young mandolinist, Tristan Scroggins who made quite an impression on Bill and myself.  The Award presentation was warm, homegrown, and heartfelt. For my part, I picked up some new and interesting trivia. I had no idea we would see a lot of James, Jeff, and Tristan down at IBMA in just a few days.
 I also forgot to mention that our first night in Raleigh we had a lovely late dinner with good friends Ron and Wendy Cody and several others. It was just like a family dinner with good conversation all around and more than a little 'banjo talk'.
 OK, end of of flashback.
 After Bill's reception we headed on over to the convention center for the Momentum Awards Luncheon and had a wonderful time. The highlight of the event for me was seeing Dominic Leslie receive a Momentum Award for his mandolin skills. Well deserved indeed. Everyone should watch this fine young man with monster chops as he makes his way up the ladder very quickly. 
  Wednesday night Bill hooked up with Happy and Jane for a nice dinner, while I connected with good friends Ryan Cavanaugh, Rex McGee, and Leah Latella to get out and about. We went on down to one of the clubs involved in the Bluegrass Ramble, Tir Na Nog Irish Pub and caught the Lonely Heartstring Band (out of Boston) and enjoyed their usual first class performance followed by Newtown, before we headed back to catch a bit of jamming here and there in the Marriott. 
 The suite we headed to was packed with no room for us, so Ryan and Rex moved down to the end of the hallway with their friend Thomas and began to play. Within a minute a guitar player joined in, then another, then a bass and the hallway was rocking! I finally crashed sometime after 2am.
 Here is a bit of that jam in the very early stages......

 Thursday was 'The Big Day' and the reason I had come to Raleigh. We headed over to the Convention Center Ballroom and met up with Bill's wife Claire who had flown down for the day so she could be at this event with Bill. I was thrilled to walk in and learn the the luncheon where Bill was to receive his award was sponsored by Homespun Tapes,  (Happy and Jane) Bill's longtime friends.  As with many of the emotion filled events I have been through in my life, this event went by in the blink of an eye and I can't remember a lot of the details. However, I did record the wonderful presentation that Alan Munde crafted for Bill. Be warned, the video is terrible on this, but the audio is acceptable. I had hoped that there would be a better, possibly 'official' version of this available. I had only shared this with Bill's 'family' up to now. However, I have received many positive comments and notes of appreciation and as no other recording has surfaced, I feel the need to share it with you all here.

Likewise, Bill's acceptance was also well crafted and well spoken.......

Again I am sorry for the poor quality of the videos, but they are all that I have, and I am glad for that. Perhaps this will prompt someone to share something of better quality.
 After all that, we still had a lot more in store for the day.  We were going on a 'field trip' to Jim Mill's place to oogle over his collection of pre-war Gibson Banjos. Bill and I headed over to the front of the Marriott to wait for Ron with his car, we were soon joined by Rex and while we waited a few minutes, Tony Trischka came by and chatted for a bit. This attracted the attention of a radio host who took out her recorder and did an on the spot interview with the 3 greats.
 The visit to Jim's was just great (although I was afraid to touch hardly anything in this exclusive collection of banjos and very rare memorabilia, each and every one with it's own story). Those who could, picked and played their way through history on these fine instruments and I listened to many stories and added to my knowledge of bluegrass trivia. It was an exceptional afternoon. Jim is a wonderful host and musician and I suggest if you ever get the opportunity......
 But wait, there's more, and yes, we are still talking about Thursday here. Bill and I stopped at our room to freshen up and have a short break before heading out for the big awards show that evening. Bill, as an Honoree had been invited to the pre and post awards show receptions. We took a bicycle rickshaw ride down to the theater which brought us right up to the gate, bypassing the red carpet and the very long line of celebrities waiting to be interviewed on their way in.
 By this point I was beginning to be sure I had firmly stepped into a word that was foreign to me in many ways. Scanning the crowd of beautiful women of all ages in their finest evening wear and handsome refined gentlemen dressed to the nines I felt clearly out of place in a simple suit jacket. (Yeah, these folks clean up pretty well,) In addition, the faces I saw were the elite of our musical world. Now that I saw Bill would have no issues getting to, or into the event, I told him I felt like I was in way over my head and perhaps it would be best if I just hung around outside until the show started. Bill grabbed the sleeve of my jacket and gave it a tug, "C'mon" he said, "this is why you're here, you know a lot more of these folks than you think. You're not going to hang around outside, c'mon in." and with that he dragged me along. As always, he was right and I ran into a lot of folks I knew, many who came up to me to say hello. Yeah, I guess I had a pretty good time. OK, I floated around while I secretly pinched myself every once in a while.
 Right about then some feller come around ringing' this here brass bell and I heard somebody say that was the signal for the big show to commence. (Sorry, that voice just popped into my head, but it's gone now.)
 We had great seats for the show, I was 1 seat down from Eddie Adcock, this years winner of the Steve Martin prize for banjo, and directly behind Special Consensus who picked up two of those pretty Awards that night. The show was super and went past my eyes way too fast. I enjoyed the presentations and acceptances just as much as the entertainment segments. Funny what sticks in my head, but Bela brought out little Juno for some of the presentations (Juno is about18 months old) and he was a big hit. Such a cute kid as he applauded for, and with, the crowd. It was a great show that was well produced and highly polished all the way around. It was interesting and great fun to see all these performers working in front of, and for their peers. Quite the party for sure.
 After the show, Bill and I hailed another bike rickshaw and enjoyed a short, if not harrowing ride back to the hotel, but not before a half dozen folks posed for a photo with Bill. I bet I took almost a hundred photos with other folks cameras of them with Bill during the week. Very gratifying.
 It had been a long day and in hindsight I realize that we never even had dinner that night except to the snacks at the cocktail reception. I don't think either of us were hungry, just pooped. Besides, by the time we got out of the show pretty much all the restaurants were closed (they shut all the kitchens at 11pm, I still don't understand that.)
 Now is probably a good time to explain that this IBMA convention is really broken into at least 3 major parts. This is just my perspective, but it's pretty close. First there is the Convention part and trade show, which is the business side of things involving musicians, bands, promoters, talent buyers, major venues, Festivals, manufacturers, etc that make a living in whole or part from this music.  Then there is the World of Bluegrass which is comprised of the major ticketed events that take part during the week, the Bluegrass Ramble and the various venues like the Red Hat Amphitheater and other large places. The thrid part would be the Street Fair which is free to the public and comprises at least 5 stages set up on various streets and in reality there were much more including the courthouse steps and nearly any street corner or park bench that had room to support a jam. There were also many hundreds of street vendors that filled at least 7 city blocks and adjacent side streets. They expected 120,000 people during the week, and I bet they hit that just on Friday and Saturday. Now the business part of the week runs from Tuesday to Friday around mid-day at which time a transition takes place into concert venues popping up everywhere and the town filling with huge numbers off people looking for a good party.

Friday Evening with the street Fair just getting started, This is the City Center stage (Sierra Hull performing), by the next day in this same spot, there was barely room for 10 more people and walking through the area was nearly impossible.
The Trade Show Floor. I didn't notice when I took this, but just about right smack in the center of this photo, you can see Ryan Cavanaugh cramming down his lunch between demos for EMO.

 From my very limited perspective, this transition was palatable. Between Tuesday and Friday it was not unusual to see well known artists everywhere on the streets, restaurants, bars, etc. As an example, I stopped at the hotel bar on Thursday afternoon to get a beer and sit quietly for a few minutes while my little brain tried to catch up on processing all the information that was being crammed into it. I sat next to a nice young fella and as things happen we struck up a conversation as he tried to get down his lunch before heading off to a rehearsal. As it turned out 'that nice young fella' was Andy Hall, up for Dobro player of the year at the Awards show that night. I would not have known him from Adam and it only came out in the conversation by accident. Not only that, but he thanked me for the pleasant conversation and paid for my beer as he rushed out. This was common among my experiences in Raleigh. Also common was anytime Bill and I were walking around town, heads would turn. One night after dinner we cut through the bar area to get into the hotel lobby. As we walked past the length of the bar, every head in turn, rotated around and smiled. I saw a few folks poke the person next to them, whisper something and point at Bill and smile. Pretty cool when it happens the first time, amazing when it happens every time you walk down the street. where ever we went, we had to allow time for photographs, autographs and 'catching up' conversations that would happen along the way. I never got tired of it. Bill will tell you that I am exaggerating, but I think he has become used to it and doesn't notice it much, just part of a normal day for him.
 The week was a little more than half over and we had nearly completed all the 'must do' items on the list, save one. In part 3, I will finish out the IBMA week and write a bit about the next adventure we were preparing for. Yeah, it gets better.......
Keep the Beat,

Friday, October 17, 2014


Yeah, I know, this is no way to run a blog. I should post more often, and hopefully I will when the weather gets colder. I have been out and about collecting a lot of material for this blog and consequently winding up with little time to do the actual posting. I suppose this is not the worst thing and most who will read this have been at one or two of these events with me anyway.
 My last post was about Grey Fox and I mentioned a bunch of folks I enjoy spending time with, in this post I have the opportunity to do some first class name-dropping but prefer not to. I will put a list at the end because there are a few people I would like to thank personally and sincerely, but I don't want the post to get derailed by a lot of names that, even for me, is a bit hard to fathom. (No, I am not being surly, I am actually a bit numb as to how I could be so lucky.)
 After my last post I had a couple of weeks before heading off the The Summer Hoot, which was even better this year than last, and last summer was a Hoot. Great Music, great people, great musicians, good art, nice connections made and an all around wonderful time. I can't wait for The Winter Hoot coming up too fast.
 The week before The Hoot, the (International Bluegrass Music Association IBMA) had their annual press conference to announce the nominees for their annual awards and the recipients of the special awards. This was the little secret I could not share in the last post. Bill Keith was announced as one of this years recipients of the Distinguished Achievement Award. An award thought long overdue by many industry insiders, Bill finally got some well earned recognition from his peers.
 In the weeks before and after the Hoot it was decided that for several reasons I would be privileged to travel with Bill down to Raleigh, NC for the IBMA convention and get to see him receive the Award, as well as enjoy the other festivities.
 Bill and I flew out on Tuesday and were picked up at the airport by Darwin Davidson, noted photographer and co-host of the Bronzewound Radio program on WERU. Darwin was wonderful and it was SO nice not to hassle with cabs or shuttles. He delivered us to our Hotel in fine shape and humor, and I appreciate the sacrifice he made in missing Bela Fleck's keynote address which was delivered while he was driving to pick us up. It was a great speech, still is.
 IBMA is a veritable candyland for somebody like me. My head felt like it was on a pivot all week, constantly looking around for familiar faces because I quickly learned that there were a LOT of people there that I either knew, knew of, or just enjoyed their music and I didn't want to miss a single opportunity to say 'Hi' and "Thanks". Scarcely an hour went by all week where I did not see somebody I knew or meet somebody I had known through their music. The printed out single line schedule for all the events at IBMA that week was 17 pages. I found it impossible to choose and eventually just went with the flow of whatever happened. Also Bill had places he had to be and I didn't want to miss any of that either. Bill is like a magnet at these things and everybody wants to say 'Hi' so I got to meet a lot more folks that way.
 The music at IBMA is amazing and it is everywhere. During the street fair (Friday and Saturday) there are at least 7 stages running all day and many many thousands of people. Just before we left I learned that Joe Walsh would be at IBMA and he is one of the most impressive mandolinists I have ever heard. I had hoped to see him there. When Bill and I arrived on Tuesday, we settled in, then headed over to the convention center to get the registration stuff out of the way. Wouldn't you know that when we walked in, the very first music I heard at IBMA was Mr. Sun playing on the showcase stage with Joe Walsh, Darol Anger, Grant Gordy, and Ethan Jodziewicz! We hung out for their set and got in some 'howdy's' after. We ran into them several times in the coming days and they gave me a sampler of their upcoming CD which I have been listening to for 2 weeks now.
 In addition to the scheduled music, the jams going on all over the streets, hotel lobby's and hallways, not to mention the rooms and suites was just hard to believe. Pro's with amateurs, kids with old-timers, there were no boundaries and it went on all day and night. I was in overload because all of it was great music, I mean great!
 I had the forethought (it was an accident really) to realize that all these folks would be in a very small area and it would be a great time to bring together some of Bill's old friends for a private get together because I knew they would want to get a few minutes to wish him well and congratulate him. I originally started out thinking we would do this in our room but quickly realized that would not work, so I talked to our saviors at Grey Fox, these folks know the 'ins & 'outs' of throwing a party at IBMA and they not only offered the use of their suite, but they arranged and provided refreshments for the morning get together. I worked on getting out invitations to all I could contact, twisted some arms of friends to pass the word on to those I didn't have access to, sent out reminders, and the morning came when we were to meet. Walking down the hall to the Grey Fox Suite I recall being concerned that we would have enough people to make it proper, then I was concerned that we would have too many. When we walked in the door, the first face I saw was Happy Traum and my heart sank. I had no idea Happy and Jane would be at IBMA (yeah, I'm an idiot) and I had not invited them. Fortunately, somebody had my back and made sure they were there. I was so glad but still felt like a fool to not invite two people that had been Bill's friends for over 40 years. I wondered who else I forgot. The room was filled to a comfortable level and conversations abounded, stories flowed and everybody was relaxed and enjoying themselves. I stood in the corner and pretty much drooled a lot. In the room was a 'who's who' of our music world and I was so pleased that Bill enjoyed it the way I had hoped. A lot of those folks came up and thanked me for putting it together, but I felt, and still do, that I didn't do much, it was the Grey Fox folks, Mary, Mary, Lisa, Rousby, Caroline, and Joe that made it happen for us all.  I don't want to single anybody out but I have to say that Bela made a point of being there the whole time. When I sent out the first round of invites, his invitation went through a friend we have in common because I didn't have a direct contact for him ( and I understand, and respect why that is). Bela was one of the first to answer me (directly) and he made it a priority. We stayed in contact while things were in flux and firmed things up as time went along. Bela had even planned on joining us for a field trip the next day, but rehearsal schedules made that impossible.
 It was only noon on Wednesday and the week was already a huge success. We still had the rest of the day, then Awards day (Thursday) and beyond ahead of us.
The one (fuzzy) photo I took at Bill's reception, from left to right Bill Keith, Bela Fleck, Jonny Cody, Rex McGee, Ryan Cavanaugh. In the background on the left is Jame Reams and Happy Traum on the right. Direcxtly behind Bela is Alan Munde. You could not swing a stick in this room without hitting at least 5 world class musicians. (if it was a short stick.)
 More coming up in Part II

Monday, August 4, 2014


Dear Diary,
 It's been a long time and you know I have been really busy with life events, etc. However, I did want to check in and get in my yearly thoughts about The Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival. Usually it is pretty blurry after the fest and this year isn't much different, but I thought I would take a shot at a chronological recollection of the week.
 Tuesday 7/15/14:
 Got up at a reasonable hour and finished packing the truck and cooler with the last minute stuff. Left the house around 8am and stopped at the convenience store for beer and half and half for the coffee. While I was there I got a text message from my Crew Chief asking if I was on the way. I drove up to the farm past the Winston Farm in Saugerties where they had a huge concert weekend with disastrous results just in the few days prior. On Monday after that event they still had over 1,000 cars stuck in the mud. I saw the wallow marks from tractors and 'dozers sent in to pull those cars out. Sheesh, what a mess. I thought to myself 'boy am I glad we don't have issues like that!'
 I arrived on the farm at about 9:30am with heavy overcast skies and a forecast of heavy rain until midnight (not good, but workable). I checked in at my Crew Chief's trailer and he was not there. So I checked out the medical tent and was surprised to see everything was already delivered to the tent. This is what I expected to be doing, so my day just got a lot easier! All I have to do is get my camp set up before the rain starts and I can get to work here, knowing that when Steve and Jerry arrive from Kentucky, they will have a dry spot to sleep.
 So I set up camp and took some extra precautions to make it bullet proof for the heavy rain. Not a bad job, if I say so myself. I sent a photo off to Steve and Jerry and no sooner had I done that, than the skies opened up, BIGTIME. I waited the rain out for a bit, but when it showed no sign of abating, I jumped in the truck and drove back to the med tent. Big mistake. I should have walked, I slid sideways for most of the distance on the slick grass.
2 minutes before the rain started. Note there are no other tents around.

Here's the same basic angle, one day later:
Things have 'filled in' just a bit.

We tried getting some setup done in the tent, but with the heavy rain and the water working its way in along the ground, it was pretty tough. At 2 pm there was a ban placed to prevent anyone from driving on the field and making ruts. Not even golf carts could move. My truck was stuck where I had parked it. We piddled around here and there with what we could do, interspersed with greeting new arrivals and catching up since we'd last met. We had some dinner but I don't remember what. Steve and Jerry arrived around 7:30pm, I think. We had to park them by the med tent and carry in the stuff they needed for the night. It rained lightly, but picked up again around 2am and rained heavy until 5am. The tent remained dry inside, a huge relief to me.
 Wednesday 7/16/14:
 The day dawned grey, but the rain had stopped. I made breakfast for us and prepared to watch the rodeo (the gates are opened to the public at 7:30am and the field fills quickly in about 3-4 hours). We enjoyed our coffee and talked for a bit. Soon I realized that 7:30 had come and gone and nobody was coming in. Hmmmm. About that time I learned that the festival had decided to hold off opening the gates until 10:30 to let the field drain. This turned out to be a brilliant decision that saved us from the same fate as the Winston Farm Concert. Still when they did open the gates, they had to use large farm tractors to pull in the largest mobile homes and rigs. Through the day they pulled out a bunch of cars, but not nearly what they would have done if the gates opened as planned. The 'roads' on the grass remained fairly good with only a few bad spots.
 Steve and I tried to give Jerry, who was here for the first time, a run down on what to expect and where things were. Steve is a DJ for and Jerry was his engineer for the weekend. Jerry is a whiz with sound, sound files, and audio editing among many other skills. Their goal for the weekend was to maintain music transmissions for 48 hours from Thursday night to Saturday night, and they darn near pulled it off too.
We went and checked out the main stage progress, and at that point I went down and tried to help get the med tent going. We spread hay to walk on and suck up some of the water. In fact, they were spreading hay on a lot of the roads and walking areas for the same reason. Things started to come together slowly. I grabbed a golf cart and did a few loops around the check on the crowd and ran into a few friends here and there, making mental notes of where they were camped. Our med staff started to drift in over the day. The stages were getting set up, vendor row was coming together and folks were getting settled in.  Around 3:30pm Bill Keith arrived and soon after that, the Cody's came in too (or maybe I have that backwards). Putting up Bill's Tee Pee is always an adventure requiring careful planning, skill and coordination. I enjoyed watching Ron, Steve, Jerry, and Bill make it happen while Wendy documented the process with photos.
View from the back of our campsite looking out toward the 'road' with Bill's Tee Pee in the center. Many would call it the epicenter.
 I checked in again with the med group and had a beer or two with them, then returned to our site to find some of the folks from the Maine Youth Bluegrass Ensemble picking away. WOW, what a sweet sound, and such talent. They then headed off to the 'open mic night' that was taking place in the dance tent. I hear they were very popular there and no wonder. Great musicians. We amused ourselves with talk and catching up and a bit of music. Visitors dropped by regularly. Grey Fox is a big family and folks are anxious to see how everyone got through the past year. They were showing a brand new documentary about Bill Monroe tonight called 'Powerful: Bill Monroe Remembered' and as it happened, Bill Keith was interviewed for this film, so they asked Bill to speak before they ran the film. I arranged for Lisa to pick Bill up and give him a ride over. Right about that time we got some super news, but I am sorry Diary, I cannot share it. I am sworn to secrecy until the press release comes out. None the less, both Lisa and I were all choked up with tears and I still get a lump in my throat thinking about it. Every year at Grey Fox, I say it can't possibly get better than last year, and then, it does. Here we were just starting the weekend, and I had already had a moment that I will remember in my nursing home days. Before the movie, Bill talked about playing with Monroe then sat back with the rest of us to watch the show, which he had never seen. It was really good and we didn't want to leave, but after about an hour and a half, we were so cold that we couldn't sit anymore and it was nearly 1:00am. Lisa gave us a lift back through the cold and damp morning. I slept well that night. It was quite a day and the weekend was just beginning.
 Thursday, 7/17/14:
 The weather was now perfect. Warm and sunny, but not too hot. This is also the day I work the overnight shift, so it is important that I lay low, take it easy, grab a nap if I can (HAH!) and be ready for a long night in case it gets busy. Thursday is when the planned music starts, and this year they had a very heavy lineup for the first night which included Steep Canyon Rangers and Nickel Creek We were also expecting Ryan Cavanaugh and Leah to arrive on this day later in the afternoon. I caught some stuff here and there between meals, Ryan and Leah arrived and came by to say 'hi', then went to set up camp. I got a text from Ryan about an hour later that he would be sitting in with Town Mountain on the Catskill stage at 7pm and then up on the main stage with the Steep Canyon Rangers at 9pm. Wow, he is on the farm to 2 hours and he scores sit-ins with 2 major groups. I missed his set on the Catskill stage, but was working up around the main stage when he was called up to play with the Steep Canyon Rangers along with the mandolinist from Red Wine. They each had killer breaks and Ryan especially drove it home. What a joy to watch the crowd go nuts over a friend's playing. We had a huge crowd at the main stage that night because Aiofe O'Donnovan, SCR and Nickel Creek were on the bill. After the main stage closed for the night and I headed back to the Med tent I ran into my buddy Rushad Eggleston and his Mouse Princess. He was jonesing for a good jam, so I pointed him in the direction of our camp where I knew those great kids from Maine would be playing. Rushad went over to his car and changed out of his stage clothes into something more subtle (That's humor, right there, in case you missed it) and he started playing as he walked out of the artists parking area. By the time he had traveled 100 feet, he had a crowd, at 1:00 in the morning. Mostly youth with a few musicians among them, a jam started up and the next thing you knew there were 40 people, including Medical staff and Security, who were mostly smiling and taking pictures. The played a nice round and all the youngsters got to play a break with Rushad and were quite good. It was a super moment. Then the jam broke up and Rushad went down to our camp, where, I am told, he jammed for a couple of hours, and I missed it. I was on duty for the night.
 I only managed an hour sleep, as we were kept busy tending to folks who needed us. The temp dropped to 48 degrees F and it was hard to keep from shivering as we worked on some of our patients in the dark. Flying across the field with the pedal to the floor made we a lot colder than I expected and I never thought about the wind chill factor in July, until that night. Thursday night always seems to be a busy night for the med crew at GF, I don't know why. I am just glad I have one of the best working partners a guy could ask for in Terry, she is top notch!
 Friday, 7/18/14:
 We got off shift around 9:00am and I borrowed some wheels and ran over to the camp and gave Bill a lift up to breakfast. One of my biggest joys at GF is being able to hang out with, and around Bill. I confess that I make excuses to be in that situation, I give him rides here and there through the weekend, walk with him to his workshops, because I would not miss them anyway, and generally find any excuse to be around him. He thinks I am 'doing him favors', but the truth, as you might guess, is that I am having the time of my life just hanging around him.
 So we went up to breakfast and as usual, folks would take turns coming by and having a meal, and a chat with Bill. Many are old friends and some are new friends. Some just want to meet him, get a 'howdy and a shake' and say 'thanks' for what he taught them through his music. Some days it could take 2 hours for Bill to get through a meal, because as soon as one person would wish him well and move on to let him finish his meal, another one would sit down and start a conversation. Now this may sound like an annoyance, but I am quite sure that Bill really enjoys this social atmosphere and the conversations are always enjoyable and animated, with many good stories crossing the table. Some days it seemed that we had barley gotten back from breakfast when it was time to head up for lunch.
 Friday was another 'lay low' day for me. My cognitive abilities from being up all night meant that I could not go on duty and treat patients. There was no way I could go into a tent at around 110 degrees and try to sleep. So the only option was to stay up and take it easy. Bill had a workshop with Mike Munford, Mike Kropp, and (surprise!) Ryan Cavanaugh. . It was a killer session. I spent the day relaxing, grabbed a much needed shower and visited several times with Matthew Goins at the Blue Chip Picks booth. Matthew is a great guy and we share so much in common having both been raised as shop rats in the machining trades. We could, and often do, talk for hours. Matthew treats me way better than I deserve and I very much enjoy his company as well as that of his young assistant Daniel who is a scarey good musician.
 Della Mae was on the main stage at 9pm Friday night, but there was no way I could stay awake for that. My head hit the pillow at 9pm (after 40+ hours awake) as I heard them take the stage and I listened to their first 3 tunes, and I could tell this was a great performance, but after that, I remember nothing. My bladder woke me up at 2:45 and I found my sandals in the dark while listening to a killer jam going on in our camp. When I stepped out of the tent, I had to wade through a crowd of about 30-40 people who were listening to the jam. Good music attracts good musicians, and this was one of those special times. Still, I was exhausted, so I went to the head and went back to bed. In 2 minutes I was back to sleep and didn't stir until 7:30am. I learned later that the jam started around 2am and went to about 5am. At one point, there were 2 saxophones in the jam. I never heard any of it except when I made that short trip.
 Saturday, 7/19/14:
 At this point my recollections are starting to get blurred because I am getting my days confused and for the most part was still behind on my sleep. The day was generally filled with socializing, jams, visiting, catching various performances, and of course, meals. I was feeling a bit guilty for taking all of Friday off and I noticed that my crew Chief was looking tired. I also noticed that we had the biggest crowd up at the main stage that I had ever seen. So after dinner I grabbed my 'uniform' and went back to work up around the main stage, both back stage and 'front of house' where the crowd was. I had concerns because there were so many people, you could no longer see where the walking paths were. If something odd were to happen, I thought we should have folks in the crowd. I needn't have worried. The Saturday night lineup was killer and that's what drew the crowd, of course. We had Tim O'Brien & Darrel Scott, Del McCoury (always a huge draw) and the Carolina Chocolate Drops closing, another huge favorite. I wandered the crowd looking for issues or warning signs and saw none. As the Carolina Chocolate Drops were nearing the close, the crowd started to thin, just a little at a time. and by the time they finished their final encore, the crowd was back to normal. They exited the main stage seating without any issues and we did our normal sweep finding the usual 2 or 3 people sound asleep and sent them on their (safe) way. That's why I love GF, I always expect something challenging to happen, and it almost never does. When it does happen, we have such great people, that it is always handled well and without undue stress for anyone. It is, by far, the best large event I have ever worked at, bar none. Anyway, I turned in my radio and headed back to camp at around 1:30am where I found Ryan Cavanaugh, Steve Martin, Jerry Schrepfer, Bill Keith and a friend/student of Ryan's by the name of Doug Goldstein all sitting around and talking.
 I didn't know it when it happened, but Steve's computer crashed around 10pm this evening and he lost all his software someplace and could not recover. They decided the best thing to do was bag it, as they were so close to the end and they could try to salvage it when they got home. I knew if Jerry couldn't get it going in 10 minutes, they probably made the best decision.
Ryan was noodling away and talking about diminished 7ths and 12ths and other stuff that makes my head hurt, Bill was listening and enjoying Ryan's noodling as were the rest of us. Ryan invited Doug to play some of the stuff he was working on, and what followed was an incredible example of how far you can take a 5 string banjo as they swapped leads back and forth and played some incredible light touch, jazz inspired music that is impossible (for me) to describe. All I could say was WOW.  I looked at Bill's face during this, and near as I could tell with the available light, he was smiling broadly. When they had finished, Jerry looked at Bill and said 'Now if I understand this correctly, we have you to blame for what we just heard?" Everybody smiled...except Bill and he was quick to deflect the compliment to the players involved, however, those players would have none of it and reminded him of specific things Bill had done to influence the paths they chose to follow. It was sweet and I felt as if we were watching a circle come back around on itself and close the loop. I could not invent a better ending to the week. The conversations went on for a while and eventually the younger folks headed off to a jam and the rest of us turned in, even though it was only about 2am. Steve and Jerry had a very long drive back to Kentucky the next morning (12-14 hours as I recall) and wanted some sleep.
 Sunday, 7/20/14;
 This is always the worst day for me, because we all have to say goodbye and hope we run into each other at some point during the upcoming year. It's also a busy day, because all this stuff has to be taken down, rolled up, and packed into vehicles. Everybody leaves around noon or 1pm and then I head over to the med tent and help pack up there. We have sweeps to do to make sure all the patrons got out safely and nobody is left behind in a hot tent to sleep it off. It's a big farm to cover, but once we are satisfied that all is well we, the staff take some time to wish each other well, have a parting drink, or cigar, or hug, or all three, and slowly and reluctantly drive off the farm.
 This year it wasn't too bad, because I already had plans to meet with a bunch of folks in the coming months at various other events.
 Diary, you know Grey Fox holds a special place in my heart and serves as my yearly re-charge station. This year was no different and I am already looking forward to next year. Check out this handsome crew:
GF Staff Phtogrpher photo with Wendy Cody's camera.Top to bottom, left to right: Leah Latella, Me, Ron Cody, Ryan Cavanaugh, Wendy Cody, Bill Keith, Jonny Cody. Not pictured are Steve Martin and Jerry Schrepfer who were 200 miles down the road by this time.
Keep The Beat,