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Thunderstorm, small jam, manic mood

Posted by FiddlerFaddler on Monday, August 17, 2009

At yesterday's Costello's Jam ( we had a relatively small number of musicians (eight).  There were rainstorms with thunder and lightning throughout the day, and we were competing with a military air show (air show, thunderstorms - huh?)

Two banjoists attended, and one of the jam leaders expressed admiration for how much they had developed in their mastery of the banjo.  The rest of us agreed with an assortment of nods, for sures, amens, uh huhs and sundry affirming grunts.

Ours is a mixed jam, so we even take turns doing leads even on old time fiddle tunes and between the verses of songs.  No other fiddlers showed up, so I was morally obligated to drop the bass and play leads on the fiddle on numerous occassions.  For bonus points I also brought my foddle (violoncello), so a couple times (e.g., Colored Aristocracy) I started on the foddle, and when a picker took the lead, I switched to the fiddle.

On Saint Anne's Reel I volunteered to take a second lead playing an octave lower.  What was I thinking - I hadn't played that one in a while!   Must have been my manic mood provoked by my having earned a free sandwich (one stamp for each sandwich on a card, 10 stamps = free sandwich; I was so stoked I even hugged one of the jam leaders, and he's a guy!).  Anyway, recognizing my desperate situation, I quietly noodled the low octave whilst my cohorts took their respective leads.  I noticed that my picking buddy Stewart played fewer notes than me, so my low octave rendition mimicked his, and it worked quite well, with some notes left out from my notey version, and with a few extra that just snuck in there because the fingers decided by themselves that the ear demanded them.

And for bonus thrills, I pulled out my foeddle (bass) bow and took a lead on the foeddle on Will the Circle Be Unbroken in G, playing up there in the thumb positions.  I won the admiration of my colleagues for my willingness to lug all those instruments to the jam.

We didn't have any mandolinists present either, so maybe I should hurry up and learn to play the mandolin soon.  Maybe I can break a record for most leads taken on different instruments during a single tune at a mixed OT/bluegrass jam.

13 comments on “Thunderstorm, small jam, manic mood”

bj Says:
Monday, August 17, 2009 @10:15:53 AM

What? You don't play guitar OR Mando? What's wrong with you? Better catch up! ;-)

Me, I'm having enough trouble learning fiddle . . .

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Monday, August 17, 2009 @10:36:44 AM

Actually I do play the guitar, but I rarely do so because I try to make like a utility infielder and fill whatever position needs filling. I have played on borrowed mandolins, so it is more an issue of acquiring one.

Here is a picture of me with a guitar, and you can click on the Music link to hear me play a guitar and a few other instruments:

bj Says:
Monday, August 17, 2009 @10:46:19 AM

Showoff! LOL! Sounds good, Michael!

mudbug Says:
Monday, August 17, 2009 @1:31:33 PM

Dude, you shouldn't gloss over the important details. WHAT kind of sandwich did you get as your freebee?

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Monday, August 17, 2009 @1:52:09 PM

Mudbug - how thoughtless of me! I had a Grilled Chicken Monterrey Wrap with chipotle mayonnaise, lettuce, and pico de gallo. I gave it to my father (because he was quite hungry), and I ordered a half wrap of the same thing for myself (earning myself another stamp for my card!).

Cyndy Says:
Monday, August 17, 2009 @3:47:11 PM

Oh, man. Oh, man. That sandwich sounds great. I might have to check out the jam one of these days just for the food. (smile)

Cynthia (who, at the moment, is one very hungry fiddler)

Humbled by this instrument Says:
Monday, August 17, 2009 @7:05:57 PM

Sounds like a good, grand time; yet I'll leave you to fondle the faddle or fiddle the foddle, for I'm barely fiddling the fiddle! And the mandolin? Far too thin! The frets too small! (And I'm too tall.)

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Monday, August 17, 2009 @8:46:04 PM

Cynthia, you have an open invitation to come to the jam. If you are feeling shy about playing the fiddle just come for the fun. You can help sing some of the songs. Lately Stewart has been saying, And everyone play the last time through. That gives you practically the whole tune during which you can noodle out the melody or whatever else might strike your fancy, and then you can play while everybody else drowns out your mistakes, should there be any. That is really nice for newbies.

Of course the sandwiches and wraps are mighty fine. Oh, the musicians get free fountain drinks as a nice benefit. More information about the jam can be found at

FiddlerJones Says:
Tuesday, August 18, 2009 @2:39:45 AM

Costello's is just a stone's throw from the Old Town School, isn't it? I've been attending First Friday at the School for several months now. Do you go to First Friday? If so, we've probably jammed together.

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Tuesday, August 18, 2009 @8:44:55 PM

Kevin, I have not been able to go to any Old Town School of Folk Music events. I have two boys who are 9 and 11, and they are a handful. Coupled with my business-related travel, I can usually only venture forth on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. I have lots of friends and fellow jammers who are associated with the OTSFM as teachers, students, voluteers, or event attenders.

charlie.walden Says:
Monday, November 23, 2009 @6:37:01 AM

Will have to check out that jam session soon. Sounds like fun, but seems like we are always busy. Do they show the Bears game?

FiddlerFaddler Says:
Monday, November 23, 2009 @7:26:07 AM

Charlie, there is a television there, and I assume that the Bears games are shown, but I have to say that my attention is on the jam rather than the boob tube. At least the food and the music are a solace for how poorly the Bears are playing this season.

Humbled by this instrument Says:
Sunday, January 10, 2010 @10:55:07 AM

Hey FiddlerFaddler, last night about twenty-thirty musicians got together, six fiddlers, three banjos, four mandos, bass, guitars, etc. Awesome. "Angelina Baker" "Folsom Prison Blues" "Whiskey 'fore Breakfast" "Cripple Creek" and all sorts of songs I didn't know but which were so nice, folks taking leads here and there, some fiddlers whipping out fast stuff, some slow--it all sounded great to me. It's quite a nice group here, the California Bluegrass Assn.

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