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Lyons Fiddle Festival

Posted by bj on Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jane did it again, she took 3rd place in the fiddle contest!

Meanwhile I spent most of the day with the oldtime jam which was headed up by Tom and Betty Druckenmiller under the trees. And I managed to get at least 1 out of 4 notes on most songs! I'm posting some photos in my photo album.

I loved meeting these folks and playing with them, it was a great group. It is really too bad that the event organizers found it necessary to drown out the jam circles with that awful PA, especially since this has always been an event where the jamming gets just as much attention and encouragement as the stuff on stage.

My funniest experience was when I wandered around a bit. There were some guys off to the side, 3 or 4. I think the youngest was 85. The oldest was the fiddle player, and he's in his 90's. I went over to listen, and they of course made me sing one with them. After we were done with the song, I found myself pushed into a chair, my fiddle out of its case and put into my hands, my bow rosined, and then I was held captive there until I did a few songs with them, none of which I knew, none of which was oldtime (old standards) and most of which they sang in "dutchy". I doubt it was my playing, it must have been the cleavage . . . and of course they made me promise to come jam with them once a month at the Senior Center in Allentown.

And I met a banjo player who wants to play with me. Again, I know it isn't my playing . . .   :-)

Many of these folks I played with today get over to Godfrey Daniels for the oldtime jam, so it was a great intro to the local scene. Unfortunately, again, most of them live at least 45 minutes drive from me, since most of them are west of Allentown. Someday I'll meet some folks in the Easton area. There's gotta be SOMEONE here who likes oldtime!


11 comments on “Lyons Fiddle Festival”

janepaints Says:
Sunday, September 21, 2008 @9:30:42 PM

I wish I'd spent some time with the old-timers. I listened but didn't jam with em--but you looked liked you were having fun, BJ. The 'old timers' are often my fave people at such events, like the older non-BG 'pocono' fiddlers who I used to show up at the monthly shindigs in Wind Gap.
But I couldn't get very comfortable all day. Part of the problem was that LOUD and BAD-SOUNDING PA. I've just finished closely listening to recordings of 4 tunes by Jesse McReynolds' band and the two tunes I played in the contest.
All kinds of weird boominess in the low end & near-shreiky nastiness in the upper midrange & high frequency. It sounds like expanders, aural exciters, compressors and EQ were applied all over the mix. Might've been some kind of delay in the mix as well. All the cliche noise-goo & sonic ear-candy from Rock Band World applied to acoustic music. YUCK.

Nuance, detail and naturalness get lost. I bet the sound crew mainly deals with electric bands.

The best outdoor live sound I've ever heard was through one of those Bose 'tube' PA's. Incredibly natural, no 'hot spots'. A nice even 'ball of sound' extending for about 150 feet from the stage. So it CAN be done, and without major gear.

The PA problems aside, there were fewer OT players than at previous Lyon's Fests I attended. And WAY more audience.

If I wasn't a contestant I'd probably have had a better time. At both Howell & Fireback there were places were people could jam, warm-up and 'get calm' before the contest, away from the noise & PA blare. I couldn't find such a spot at Lyons.

Still, when the PA could be mentally 'tuned out,' there were lots of those 'magic moments' we all dig, when a knot of players develops a nice groove on fave tunes.

BJ hadda surprise: she's working-up 'Robert E. Lee,' learned from the Bill Huber MP3 I posted. Bill is surely grinning somewhere right now.

Heard many good players, off in the 'jamming areas'. I'm SO BAD at remembering names, until I see someone all the time--but all the folks in the D'miller's OT circle made lovely music.

janepaints Says:
Sunday, September 21, 2008 @9:34:30 PM

Yikes. Please forgive the many typos in the previous comment. I shouldn't type when I'm this tired.

Feodosia Says:
Monday, September 22, 2008 @7:04:24 AM

Thanks for the report ... I had a family outing scheduled for that day ...
The sound system there sounds like a scarey thing ...
Jane, we should enter the contest at Howell next year ...let me back you up with some Uncle Dave Macon banjo playing - LOL

bj Says:
Monday, September 22, 2008 @7:14:32 AM

That sound system was indeed a scary thing-- especially when a bagpiper got up and played. In a way it was funny, since EVERY jam circle in our area got totally confubulated and tangled up and all the jam songs just stumbled to a mind numbed halt.

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Monday, September 22, 2008 @10:10:26 AM

By all means post a full frontal photograph of yourself. As Peachy commented on your bow-holding picture, we want to see whom it is with which we are blogging. Not that we are necessarily interested in assessing for ourselves what interest those old gentlemen may have had in you, mind you (well... maybe a little, now that you've piqued our curiosity).

bj Says:
Monday, September 22, 2008 @10:19:25 AM

Sorry FiddlerFaddler, no full frontals! Jane did snag a photo of me though, it's in her photo album.

barefootfdlr Says:
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @5:39:21 AM


...more to come later!!

Rene Says:
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @3:04:51 PM

Send me a shirt like you wore, size small please.

bj Says:
Tuesday, September 23, 2008 @3:46:00 PM

ROFL! Just a plain navy v neck tank top! I'm sure you've got something similar that'll work!

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Wednesday, September 24, 2008 @8:23:03 PM

Hey, no fair! You posted a nice face shot of Jane, so I reckon it's only fair that she requite you in like manner. If your mug looks half as good as hers then you have nothing to be ashamed of. Even if you are funny looking we'll still like you. Just look at my goofy picture: in an over-zealous attempt at keeping my hair in place I evidently used too much hair stuff (I've learned to use less and it looks, um, less bad).

bj Says:
Thursday, September 25, 2008 @6:27:43 AM

Geez, FiddlerFaddler! I'm flattered, but really, I'm pretty ordinary and really don't understand what the big deal is . . .

And I'm wondering what I should start the bidding at . . . *wicked grin!*

And I dunno, I kinda like your slicked down look . . .

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