Sunday, March 8, 2009
Day Seven - House party
This is the concert/dinner/event that celebrates the 100th anniversary of Wallace Stegner's birth. When I negotiated coming out here in the near-dead of winter, it was only because that was when this event was taking place. Artists residency and performing the show made perfect sense. It gave me a special motivation, and was the prime catalyst for planning the journey.
I also thought that it would be a small group of people gathered in the house, and I would play in the living room.
Not in front of 300+ people!
The PA was supplied by a local band "The Ranchmen" (who practice in an adjoining rehearsal space). We hung out the afternoon before, and got to know each other - Darrell, Duane, James, & Boyd - and we jammed on some rock and some country flavored stuff. I got to play a Fender Stratocaster with them, and promptly ripped it up... Clapton style!
The name "Ranchmen" is aptly applicable - all of them work on farms except one (who works in an auto garage). Some bands might pose as rugged country types, but these guys walk the walk with their way of life!
Among the early crowd were Ethel and Ken, and I did a sound check about 4 hours before I was to go on. Afterwards, I went home and got changed. Later on, I came back and watched as the people started filing in.
I started to get a little nervous... I had a bunch of original songs scrawled on a paper, but I was not sure what order I was going to play anything. After a few Cokanie's (Glacier Lager) some salad, and lots of meat and potatoes, I got a coffee and some cheesecake. I met tons of people and I made them all sign a copy of one of Stegner's paperbacks ("Living and Writing In the West") Everybody was very nice, and I was the ONLY American in the house. Some people were familiar with where I was from, had been to Massachusetts. Some were even familiar with Northampton! Just as I was starting to relax... I heard a thick Norway/French Canadian accent on the
PA system announcing the event.
"Pleese Wilcomb Scowet Loweson Powemiroy!"
I brought my half finished coffee with me to the stage, and got down to business.
Little Live Thing
Elsa (Westbound Running Train)
Room To Roam
Closer To The Fire
Ring Of Fire (Johnny Cash)
I Still Miss Someone (Johnny Cash)
Nothing Left To Talk ABout But The Weather
Black Sheep Son
And like a flash... it was over!
We got a few pictures, some video that is still being processed, and I taped the whole show direct off of the board (it came out a little too hot) and probably can salvage a few tunes for some streaming audio. It was well-received by the mixed-age (but mostly older) crowd. I had no idea what to expect.
Afterwards: When many had gone home and the tables and chair at the Eastend Memorial Hall were put away... music was still echoing thru the empty hall.
The remaining gang were buying me drinks of Rye, which I graciously accepted, but I was pretty wiped out by 11:30PM. I had to shut it down.
However, I have made so many new friends, and was reveling in being the "toast of the town", I am already contemplating making it back someday with my wife (when the weather is warmer).
They won't let me say no!