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