Today's post will be a bit brief as I just got back from the Indiana Fiddler's Gathering (www.indianafiddlersgathering.org) and though I had big plans to record another tune for my "album" of original fiddle tunes (here) I'm just too exhausted at the moment. I figured I'd spend this post reliving the weekend's activities instead...you know as if this were a for-real "blog" blog : )
I was told about the Indiana fiddler's gathering (aka "Battle Ground") by a local MI banjo player who described it as "The Clifftop of the Midwest;" following such a ringing endorsement, I made a rather last minute decision to go. Well I'm certainly glad I did - it turned out to be a pretty amazing weekend! On Saturday I found a great group of musicians to pal around with including members of the MI-based Old Time (and more!) duet Red Tail Ring (redtailring.com). Man...those two can play!! I had to bow out at 1 am but my guess is that the jam may have kept going for a few hours (with the tunes trending weirder and weirder!). On Sunday, I went to the festival-organized Old Time Jam run by Brad and Ken Kolodner. Interestingly. while I know Brad and Ken as banjo and dulcimer players, respectively, Brad played bass and Ken played fiddle, both sounding great! When the jam was over I managed to play some banjo duets with Brad including "Five Miles from Town," "Sally in the Garden" and "Home with the Girls in the Morning." I mostly stuck to pretty standard melodies for all the tunes (out of nerves!) while Brad roamed all over the neck around me - it was a heck of a thing! One guy recorded us on his phone but I forgot to ask for his info - maybe I can find that stuff on youtube at some point!
Though the description "Clifftop of the Midwest" certainly bore out in the caliber of jamming, Battle Ground is a bit more stage-focused than Clifftop and the concerts certainly do not disappoint - I only got to see the Saturday afternoon and evening sets, but there were some pretty great acts in there! Brad Kolodner's band Charm City Junction (www.charmcityjunction.com) played a mix of Irish, Bluegrass, and Old time Tunes (...ever heard "Last Chance" on an accordion??). The Canada-based string quartet, The Fretless (www.thefretless.com) took some traditional tunes to some super weird (in a good way) places; they also brought my new buddies Red Tail Ring on stage during their set to play their song "Fall Away Blues" together, which was just a stunning performance! However, I was perhaps most impressed by Roger Netherton, a young fiddler who just tore up the stage and had the crowd on their feet; I didn't find a website for Roger but check out the recordings on his soundcloud page: soundcloud.com/roger-netherton. The guy can't be more than 20 years old...look for a lot of great music to come from him! (Hunter Robinson killed it as the banjo player in Roger's band too : )
Anyways, fiddlers conventions are always a bit draining for me - lots in the way of playing, less in the way of sleep - but its totally worth it to escape the real world every once in a while. Going to sign off and go catch up - hopefully next week I can actually get back to recording!
About this blog
I have lots of ideas about banjo playing and music in general - this blog allows me to get them all out of my head and see what you think.