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The Absolutely String Band

Posted by bj on Monday, June 15, 2009

On June 6th our jam group jammed at the Benefit for the Riverview Arts Center in Phillipsburg, NJ, which is our jam venue on the 2nd and 4th tuesday of the month. We did this as a quid pro quo for use of the space.

When we agreed to do this, my understanding was that we were more or less just going to do what we always do, but we might have an audience. We were in one of the downstairs rooms (which is MUCH better acoustically, and we're trying to arrange for that on a regular basis!) Both the downstairs and upstairs were open for art viewing, and there was a party going on upstairs, where other musicians were playing.

We had a good turnout, and luckily, as I discovered, a couple of our more experienced fiddlers showed up-- David Husic and Rick Carlson. Two more fiddles (I was one), three guitars, and a mando completed our ensemble.

We had been jamming together for a couple hours when Monica, the Center's director, comes into the room and tells us, "You're on next, upstairs." Huh? On NEXT?

So we discussed it and all ended up heading upstairs, where apparently the wine had been flowing rather freely, and the 30-40 people there were pretty . . . um . . . HAPPY. We milled around near the soundboard guy, who was also the MC, who asked us what we call ourselves, and Craig, one of the guitarists, said, as a total nonsequiter, which he's known for-- "Absolutely!". So we are now referred to as the Absolutely String Band.

They tried to get me up to the front mike since they keep insisting I'm the "Leader", whatever that means. I managed to stay away from the front mike (or any other mike for that matter.) The understanding was we were up there to do a couple tunes. It ended up to be a couple tunes and 7 or 8 encores. Including a waltz we had never played before as a jam group, with me exclaiming after each tune "You want us to play ANOTHER one?" Doing Banjo Tramp with no banjo on board ended up leading to a number of banjo jokes. Joe Cline decided to be our 'band" MC, whether we needed one or not, which led to us roasting him pretty thoroughly, with further comments from our rather boisterous audience. And in the back of the room, the coffee guy was grinning ear to ear. His question to me later was, "What? No Schottisches?"

We finally managed to get out from behind the mikes, mingled with the merrymakers for around 15 minutes, then went back down to our own jam room, where we played for another few hours.

A few days ago I got an email from our guitarist, Craig, who is apparently friends with the guy who MC'd and worked the sound board. Apparently there's a request for the Absolutely String Band to make another appearance.

When in HELL did we become a damn String Band?

11 comments on “The Absolutely String Band”

fiddlepogo Says:
Monday, June 15, 2009 @10:21:40 AM

That's TOO funny!

There's a local Irish band/jam that has a jam/practice session every Tuesday, plays at a local Irish bar every Friday, and puts together various agglomerations of musicians for gigs under various names.
Having a large jam to draw from takes some of the pressure and commitment off of having a band, since you can almost always come up with serious musicians to fill the slots.

Swing Says:
Monday, June 15, 2009 @10:46:39 AM

Oh come now, you mean that you didn't enjoy the bit of notiriety... I am envious.

Play Happy

bj Says:
Monday, June 15, 2009 @11:03:37 AM

Envious? Good, so Swing, you'll be down this way for the First Saturday of July to take my place?

TOO funny is right. I have nightmares about being the only fiddler who shows up next time. Now that'll be the way to bomb a fundraiser.

mudbug Says:
Monday, June 15, 2009 @11:50:49 AM

Congradulations on your Art Center gig. I imagine it was a different crowd than you would get at a barn dance. Not only were they drinking wine, but I'm sure it was a few steps above Mad Dog 20/20. Always good to play for people who are comfortably lubricated, who probably won't get into any knock-down, drag-outs.

mudbug Says:
Monday, June 15, 2009 @11:54:40 AM

Now that I look at my post, I don't want anyone to think that I meant that a barn dance crowd would be drinking Mad Dog and getting into fights. That only happens when I play for clam diggers and lobster fisherman! ( Where's that smiley face when you need it?)

bj Says:
Monday, June 15, 2009 @12:21:54 PM

Oh yes, definitely better than MD 20/20! It was Franzia in a box.

Swing Says:
Monday, June 15, 2009 @12:22:54 PM

You cannot pick on clamdiggers and Lobster fishermen, I know too many of them and they greatly appreciate fiddlers.. at least the ones I know. But they do know how to have a good time and will dance like no one is watching.

Play Happy

mudbug Says:
Monday, June 15, 2009 @2:12:20 PM

Swing, I didn't mean to pick on them, but sometimes, young men who work hard, will get a little bit rambuctious when they let their hair down, so to speak. And the ones I know, would not disagree, heck, they'd take some pride in it!

Blu Says:
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 @6:40:11 AM

I am not surprised that BJ has become the darling of fine arts and wine enthusiasts. I no longer wonder why she holds her bow with her pinky extended.

Our band played a winery two Fridays ago. Our inside joke was to ask the proprietor whether there was anything available to drink other than wine.

bj Says:
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 @6:56:55 AM

Wow, Blu, did their wine come in bottles with real corks??? Hoity Toity!

Ozarkian DL Says:
Tuesday, June 16, 2009 @6:31:58 PM

Yahoo fer u & yer if'n they'd been drikin moonshine out'a kerr
or mason jars, I'd jus bet'cha it'da
been even better.

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