I just bought myself a new instrument. I have been wanting one since Ashoken Camp. Isn’t beautiful?
Now I have to find out if I can really play it. At the moment I need to build up calluses on my left fingers so that I can hold those steel strings down. I also need to build up strength in my left little finger so it can hold strings down.
I found a few websites for mandolin players. Folk in the Woods has lessons. They are on everything from how to hold a mandolin right to how to play more complicated melodies. I might just have to buy his DVD.
Mandolin Cafe seems to be the place for mandolin players but I haven’t had much time to explore it yet. I would rather be playing than reading the internet.
Having the mandolin has already achieved my first objective – more music making. As I cannot play for long without getting blisters, I found that I would sing once my fingers started complaining. The mandolin got me started and then my desire for music making took over.
Here is a picture of the whole thing:
It is a Rover and I purchased it from Elderly Instruments. I love it! Expect to hear more about this new music adventure of mine in the future.
On Friday Aug 29th Tom Russell was in concert at the World Cafe in Philadelphia. He is a singer-songwriter from Texas who writes topical songs that are quasi-political. Yesterday (Sunday Sept 7) he was on NPR’s Weekend Edition talking about the impetus behind the song “Whose gonna build your wall?” which was the first song of his that I heard over a year ago (?). I was impressed enough to purchase the EP which lead me to hear some of his other songs and and I finally attended his concert.
Naturally as I am very selective about who I go to see, the concert was excellent. One exciting moment was when feedback from the microphone somehow caused his guitar to bust a string or two. He did, thankfully, sing Whose Gonna Build Your Wall as I would not have forgiven him otherwise, but otherwise he said his show was mostly new songs, which were great. He has an anthology coming out in Oct so I intend to buy that to catch up with my Tom Russell history. Unsurprisingly, he seems to have performed or co-written songs with every one – that is the folk music world is small.
Michael Martin on mandolin with Tom Russell
Michael Martin accompanied Tom Russell on lead guitar, mandolin and high harmonies. He was an amazing performer increasing my mandolin desires exponentially. I want a mandolin NOW! I am surprised that I did not phone up a music store and buy a mandolin the next day. Probably doing my accounts before I made the call was a good move.
Sellersville is a lovely venue, pity it is so far away, it was like being part of a small community; especially as behind me were people I knew from Clearwater Festival.
I am still psyched about the show; hearing great folk music and joining the singing along, as you are obliged to do at a Pete Seeger concert, means that I am really excited about going to Ashokan at the weekend.
I’m too tired to think of words, so this picture will have to do until I get my thoughts together. This was taken Friday night when only the volunteers and site crew were present. It was a good omen for the festival, which paid off for Saturday.
Unfortunately on Sunday severe thunderstorms, both current and threatening, caused the festival to be canceled. At around 2 pm they started sending home the festival attendees. Of course, two hours later it was gorgeous and sunny and the threatened storms missed us completely.
I’ll try and write more about my experiences when I am firing on more than one brain cell. If you cannot wait that long, my pictures are here, and yes, there are lots of Mike and Ruthy.
Last month when Lisa and I went to Longwood Gardens we mostly went to see OSFT, one of my favorite folk bands. I had seen them the month before at the Baby Grand, but the concert at Longwood Gardens was much better; not only because I could take photos.