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West! Home to Tucson!

Posted by fiddledan on Wednesday, September 23, 2015

So, I got back to Tucson on Labor Day after quite a long trip out and I am finally getting settled in. Bookkeeping up to date, stuff put away (well mostly), October’s Old Time Way at the printer and even some gardening done to get ready to plant some fall veggies.

It was a great trip back from Ohio. Hillsdale’s Fiddler’s convention was wonderful and I got to see and play with a lot of folks I hadn’t seen in years. Judy Raber (fiddler Les Raber’s daughter) has become quite a fiddler in those years! And Bob Hubbuch – a great hammer dulcimer player I always enjoy seeing and playing with. We all are a bit older but nonetheless for wear and the music was great! Had several large hot jams there as well and got to meet some of my Hangout friends in person as well.

Kansas at the Fretshop didn’t come together in time (but we are going to try for next spring or summer) – so I ended up going down to Mountain View, Arkansas a week early and good thing I did! The Arkansas State Fiddle Contest was being held and folks convinced me I needed to enter. Well, I don’t much care for playing in contests but figured, what the heck, I get to be in the senior division so I gave it a go. Traditional on Friday and Contemporary on Saturday. Well, surprises never cease! I took third place in traditional and 2nd in contemporary making my first time out a success in my book! I also got to play in the Folk Center village, which was a great experience and had a full feature set Saturday evening the weekend of the 28 and 29th. So many of you attended! What a treat to see you all and get to play for you. I enjoyed it immensely!

From there it was three long days drives to California and the Strawberry Music Festival as a vendor with Music Caravan. A night at David B’s house in Modesto to rest up (thank you for the hospitality and friendship David) made it a fun time – even with the flat tire! – this was the first year at the new site in Tuolumne so while we had a great time there are some bugs to work out for next year. Even so, great fun, great friends and great food made it worth the trip.

I did have to head out Sunday morning though, in order to drop my Airstream at Toscano RV in Los Banos, CA where is now sits for sale. Yes, that’s right, time to try living without an Airstream for a while. And yes, I know I’ve tried it before. Made it almost a year last time. We’ll see. But the road has changed over the years and it now seems to not make as much sense as it once did for me. How about you?

SO, I dropped the trailer and made it to Tehachapi that night and next day made it home to Lovely Monsoon ridden Tucson which is where I’ll be based till spring travels take me on the road again next year. I am starting to work on the route and dates for that so I’ll let you know where I plan to be playing as that starts to fill in. I have a tentative offer to return to judge and perform at the Ozark Folk Center for next year’s fiddle contest in August. I’ve posted the date even though it is what a call a “hard tentative” at the moment and start making other plans around that. There is talk of a house concert in the region and perhaps even a Clawcamp Arkansas!

My trio – currently working under the name Squirrelly Dan and the Cat Mountain Rounders will be playing a square dance here in Tucson on October 10. I’ll be looking for other local opportunities for me and The Rounders so let me know if you are in need of some old time music for your event!

No new books at the moment. Fred Cockerham and Tommy Jarrell – Clawhammer Banjo Masters (MB 30107) was released this past summer so all of my existing contracts have been filled. What would you folks like to see next?

Clawcamp was a great success this year in Ohio and I’m looking at the weekend of February 12-14, 2016 to do Clawcamp West in Tucson, AZ. It is a great time to be in the Southwest and that timing allows folks a chance to also attend the “official” 2016 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show® would be: “Shades of Blue: Minerals of the World” (February 11–14, 2016). Details here!

Finally, I am now taking new students both in person and by Skype or other video conference tool. Now's the time to get going to be ready for next year's festival season or just to learn a few new tunes and chops!

I’ll leave it there for now, but keep an eye for updates at my webpage – Till next time…

Play Nice
Dan “Clawdan” “Fiddledan” Levenson
Author of Clawhammer Banjo From Scratch – a Guide for the Clawless and it’s companion Fiddle From Scratch – an Un-Shuffled Guide for the BowlessI – Both Mel Bay Publications

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