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The Wind That Shakes The BowHand

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!


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Playing Since: 2007
Experience Level: Purty Good

[Jamming] [Socializing] [Helping]

Occupation: Web Developer

Gender: Female
Age: 67

My Instruments:
My main fiddle is a hard used but wonderfully sounding D. Salzard that's about 130 years old, with a one piece back to die for, and appears handmade. My second fiddle is a very early Suzuki Nippon that looks like it was repaired by a backyard body mechanic with Bondo and epoxy, but manages to sing quite nicely. And I have an early 20th c. German Strad which is plain-plain-plain until you put the bow to her, when she turns into Cinderella at the Ball, with Dark Rich Tone. And I've got a 4th fiddle that's a german trade fiddle, a project I am currently working on, and a 5th that's a german trade, probably a Mittenwald, that needs work that I picked up recently at the flea market. I've also got a couple basket cases that came in recently. One's repairable, an amateur made fiddle from New York, but it needs the whole pegbox/scroll grafted. The other is for parts.

Favorite Bands/Musicians:
First and Foremost, the Gypsy King himself, Stefane Grapelli,
Stuff Smith,
John Hartford,
April Verch,
Regina Carter,
Joe Venuti,
Buddy Thomas,
Chubby Wise,
Owen Chapman,
Dwight Lamb,
Liz Carroll,
Tommy Jarrell,
Lester McCumbers,
Elmer Rich.
Snake Chapman,
Ed Haley,
Jehile Kirkhuff

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Profile Info:
Visible to: Public
Created 4/13/2008
Last Visit 7/4/2013

Web Developer, Junque Collector / Mad Recycler, and songwriter. I've been playing fiddle since September 2007. I run the Oldtime Jam in Easton PA at the 1st Presbyterian Church on Spring Garden Street and Bank Street, on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 7PM.

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