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The Wind That Shakes The BowHand

Posted by bj on Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dee (aka FiddleCat) hosted an informal jam at her lovely home last night. Since she put the word out to the Hilltown Jam group, the folks who showed to play were 'grassers. We played under a big beautiful (maple?) tree, with the chairs grouped around a firepit they'd built in the middle of the backyard, surrounded by farmfields and serenaded by her brood of chickens. The beauteous Page, Dee's daughter, is a charmer, who was the first to greet me, even before I got out of my truck. Her feet are backwards though, poor child!

Early on, Dee and I sat together and I taught her the tune "Maggots in the Sheephide", which she was playing pretty well by the end of the night.

Four of us played, two fiddles, a twelve string guitar (and occasional harmonica) and a BG banjo, and we sang a few as well, which was a lot of fun. There were a dozen or so people sitting around the fire, enjoying our serenade.

It looked like rain was going to threaten early on, but as we played, mostly common fiddle tunes and some old BG chestnuts, a gentle breeze started blowing, and the stars started to peep out from the clouds being blown away. What a beautiful night! Then we got some stronger wind gusts, and Dee had to move her chair since her hair would have caught fire from the sparks blowing. Luckily the ground is still very wet from our week of rain!

We played more and as we played, the wind started to pick up even more. We still played. It gusted harder. We played some more, throwing our songs into the wind. At one point, when a car's headlights down the road showed my bowhand I could see the rosin blowing off the bow in tiny clouds. I also found out I could (barely) play through pollen blown sneezes.

By the time we finally came out of our jam induced playing coma after a couple or so hours, we'd come to realize the other dozen or so people weren't even sitting outside, they'd smartly gone inside out of the wind! And we stopped because it was tough controlling our bows, the gusts had gotten that strong! By this time the fire was a low bed of coals, and that beautiful tree was writhing in wind induced agony and looked like it was going to let loose a branch or two, which didn't bode well for anyone standing under it.

What a kickoff for outdoor jam season! Thanks Dee!

12 comments on “The Wind That Shakes The BowHand”

brya31 Says:
Sunday, May 10, 2009 @8:54:02 AM

Ha Ha Bj and Dee you two!!! I am picturing a hurricane coming in and you two refusing to stop playing. LOL!!

bj Says:
Sunday, May 10, 2009 @9:05:05 AM

Well, actually we didn't, for another hour, though we got smart about it. The others left and Dee and I went inside and played!

ChickenMan Says:
Sunday, May 10, 2009 @11:57:28 AM

I had and outdoor gig last Sunday, and commented to the other players how hard it was to control the bow in the wind! It really is tough.

bj Says:
Sunday, May 10, 2009 @1:02:08 PM

This wasn't just wind. It was wind and a half. After I wrote the above blogpost I went out back to mow my grass and found two HUGE treelimbs down in my yard.

Had it happened at Dee's one wonders what the local paper would have reported. At least I would have died with a smile on my face and my fiddle in my hands!

FiddleCat Says:
Monday, May 11, 2009 @2:51:45 AM

It was a pretty nice turn out considering the late notice and Wind Gap having there shindig too.

It is usually quite windy for us being surrounded by open farm fields. I'm kinda used to it after 7 years. But this wind was a bit much. And it was very hard trying to keep the bow from sliding the wrong way across the strings. Not to mention the temp. drop and I couldn't stop shivering. At least it didn't rain. And I woke up the next morning with an ear ache. Only good thing about wind like that was it dried out the rest of my yard so I could finish mowing it. :O)

Over all it was a lot of fun and I got lots of ear training time in. Plus I'm still working on that Maggot in the Sheephide song. What a

Humbled by this instrument Says:
Monday, May 11, 2009 @6:56:26 AM

Wimps. At our last outdoor jam, just a few nights ago, wind was blowing so hard that it blew a few embers from the Santa Barbara fire into our yard, a fire which was two hundred miles away. So we just used a few of these embers to start our fire in our pit, then proceeded to lean into the wind at about a 40degree acclivity, all the while playing fiddle classics like "Blow the Man down" and "Blowin' in the Wind" and such. I suggest you Easterners toughen up. And worryin' 'bout tree limbs! What are hard hats for?

bj Says:
Monday, May 11, 2009 @7:06:24 AM

I wanna see pics, Humbled!

bj Says:
Monday, May 11, 2009 @7:08:21 AM

Oh, and Dee? I dare you to trot out "Maggots in the Sheephide" at the next Hilltown Jam! I'd love to see Hotshot's face when you announce that one!

FiddleCat Says:
Monday, May 11, 2009 @9:34:00 AM

Actually from what I understand he likes OT quite a bit and plays it often. He may already know it? I have brought up a few OT songs I've worked on with the Jam group but most don't seem to know them.

bj Says:
Monday, May 11, 2009 @9:48:30 AM

That's funny. He stated very clearly that he hates fiddle tunes and Oldtime. That was the day he was pontificating to us about the need for classical instruction, when we were at the Hellertown jam. I remember him being VERY insulting about Oldtime, after I said that's what I wanted to play.

Re playing a tune the Hilltown group doesn't know, if you can tell them the chords, then they should be able to play it.

You can find both the recording and the chords here:

And you can find the dots for this one here:

Ozarkian DL Says:
Monday, May 11, 2009 @10:11:54 AM

Humbled has the rite idea.....wait till all have spoken.....THEN......1st
person aint got'a chance. ( LOL ).

Feodosia Says:
Friday, May 15, 2009 @8:42:06 AM

Thank goodness you don't use a music stand .... that would have whipped around like crazy in that wind and a took'en someone's eye out !

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