Posted by bj on Friday, November 14, 2008
Wow. What an incredible show! I'm surprised those strings didn't catch fire, she was so hot!
April Verch played a great and crowdpleasing mix of Oldtime, New Tunes and songs from the new album, Bluegrass and a couple more folk flavored songs. And her stepdancing, sometimes while fiddling, was incredible. The whole show was high energy from start to finish and well worth the cover.
For those of you not familiar with GD, it's a small storefront cafe, run by a non-profit organization and heavily sponsored by local corporations and other groups. It's been there since the early 70's. The wonderful thing about it is that it's a very small venue, an intimate and acoustically well balanced place to hear music, and that corporate sponsorship allows groups to play there that would normally play only much bigger national venues. The result? I was smack in front of the stage and less than 6 feet from April's bowhand. The people with the "worst" seats were about 20 feet away. In other words, there isn't a bad seat in the house. Even better, the band and the audience get to interact a fair bit more than in a large venue.
Speaking of that interaction, a fiddler they hold in high esteem, and who April goes to in order to learn new tunes is a guy named Jerry Corel (sp?) in North Carolina. Anyone ever hear of him? They kept talking about Jerry, and when I asked "Jerry Who?" the guitar player obliged and answered the question. Gotta love a small venue!
It's amazing the length of bow April was using (a WHOLE LOT for oldtime!) and she was, for the most part, using flathair, and only going on tilt for low volume fades, like at the end of a song, and occasionally for the opposite of an accent during a measure on some of the bluegrass and folk stuff. I have a feeling after the recent discussion on the forum I'll be a whole lot more aware of bow tilt. This tells me that it's okay to flathair oldtime from beginning to end, but yeah, bowtilt can be used effectively. She also snuck in a few bits of Texas Longbow, with 12 and sometimes more notes on one bow.
She seemed to be somewhat directional most of the time, though not slavish to it.
Her wrist is ALMOST as fluidly loose as Rayna Gellert, but April also uses a wrist jerk to purposely add percussive in. And April is the QUEEN OF THE BOWROCK. Damn. I enjoyed watching that!
Geez, I loved the tone of her fiddle, somewhat but not real dark. Beautiful!
The oldtime tunes she played were more crooked than not! There were a couple Appalachian tunes,but most were from the Quebecois and Ottawa area tradition, and were great fun. But the best of the oldtime tunes was one she did in a medley with a song she wrote. I've got an awful memory for song titles and I may have gotten them slightly wrong, but this medley of two tunes was put together as a tribute to John Hartford. The song she wrote was, I believe, called "Tribute to a River Boat Captain" and the other was a song that John had taught her to play, and which sounded like its name, which I believe was "Bumblebee in a jar".
Apart from the show, there were a couple other notable things about my night out. I got to meet Denise for the first time. It was great having another FiddleHead to enjoy this Fiddling Extravaganza. And we seem to be kindred souls in other areas too. I, for one, am looking forward to meeting up with her again soon for some jamming.
Some of the OT jam regulars were there. Nice to see so many like minded people in the same room.
And I got to meet Paul Riffon, who is from up Hazleton way. He's an oldtime fiddler who has been playing for over 20 years and knows a lot of the oldtimers Jane and I have been looking for. I have invited him to join us on the Hangout. I hope he does. I also have his email and phone number and look forward to getting together with him and learning some things. I just wish he wasn't an hour away. *sigh* Denise is the only one who is closer by at least a bit. She's 40-45 minutes away. Anyway, Paul is also a student of PA oldtime, and knew about Jehile Kirkhuff. I'm really looking forward to getting to know Paul better.
What a GREAT evening!
Friday, November 14, 2008 @10:10:19 AM
The JH tune title is 'Bumblee In a Jug' and it's a dandy. Sounds exactly like what the title suggests.
Sounds like a fine ol' time
Friday, November 14, 2008 @10:46:28 AM
BJ - I saw Jerry Correll in concert with The Wolfe Brothers String Band over the summer. Great fiddler! Here's a link to their band:
Friday, November 14, 2008 @1:04:04 PM
You guys are great!
Okay, according to the website Jerry is from Virginia. I must have misunderstood, I betcha he's meeting up with April when she plays NC.
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'Nursing home' 10 hrs
'How to start?' 17 hrs
'fiddle music sharing' 1 day
'Bread Machine Baking' 2 days