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Spring Ramblers 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012 @11:59:28 AM

Howdy friends,

Well, it’s March and despite some cold in the mountains one can still really feel that spring is just around the corner. It was nice having time for those winter activities - made three batches of homemade soap last week, knitted some hats, cooked a lot, and learned some new songs. Now we’ve got cabin fever and we’re ready to hit the road and experience adventure. I even scored a used flight case for my 1927 Martin 0-18 so get to bring my favorite guitar along! I’m so happy about that. As before, I am writing this rambles mid-air in a plane headed west.

Carl Jones and I will be traveling quite a bit over the coming months. On this tour we will visit friends/family & perform shows on the westcoast: Seattle, Bellingham, Canada – Victoria, Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast (details available under the “concerts” section of this website. A highlight of our journey will be going to “Duttons” in BC for the special “Leap Year Lunacy” jam where every person must perform a tune song or anything they made up themselves. It’s a lot of pressure but it only happens once every four years so we are rise to the occasion! Everyone surprised themselves with how good many of the new songs and tunes were last time. I better write mine soon! It might be between flights or on the ferry!

We leave the west March 8 and head south to Louisiana for the wedding of Carl’s daughter, Kelli Jones and Joel Savoy. It will be quite a merry event since both families are well known for music. After the wedding, Joel’s brother, Wilson Savoy, is going to film Carl for an upcoming instructional mandolin DVD he is making. It will be a challenge to distill years of teaching into a 90 minute video but I bet he’ll do a fine job. Then I’m off to Florida to teach the fiddle-track course at Suwanee banjo camp which takes place near Gainesville. We have two weeks home in Galax, VA before we’re off to England in April (Carl and I are teaching fiddle and banjo at Sore Fingers Week in Chipping-Norton, Oxfordshire). They call it Sore Fingers for a reason! Still - the music students and teachers have a really good time wearing themselves out. We return to perform for the WUNC “Back Porch Music” concert series in Durham, North Carolina where we are playing April 27th with Kenny Jackson and Bobb Head of Big Medicine. That should be a hoot. Then back to Galax (phew!) for the start of the Concert Season at the Blue Ridge Music Center (where I work). The Music Center opens in May so come enjoy the live music every day, new museum and great shows on the weekends, (check out who’s coming at www.blueridgemusiccenter.org). It’s going to be another stellar season of old-time, bluegrass, gospel music and more.

 In the summer there’s festivals every weekend in our part of the world. You can’t shake a stick without hitting a fiddler. It’s a great time to visit the Blue Ridge. We will be at the Surry County Fiddlers Convention, Mt. Airy, Elk Creek, Clifftop, Galax Old Fiddlers Convention and others. Hope to see you there. In June, Carl and I teaching fiddle and mandolin in North Carolina at “Mars Hill” (Blue Ridge Old-time Week) and I’ll be teaching at Cowan Creek ----- in Kentucky later that month,! It will be a little tiring but we look forward to all the travel, tunes and good times ahead in 2012.

Other news you might be interested in… Carl has recorded a great new old-time CD, “Cricket’s Lullaby,” with Alabama fiddler, James Bryan (who just won an Alabama Folk Heritage Award!). It’s been sixteen years since they recorded their first CD “Two Pictures” which received national attention and they did a fine job again! The music is beautiful but don’t take my word for it. You can hear their songs and tunes yourself on www.dittyville.com or www.CDBaby.com .

Another sweet surprise: A community fiddle orchestra in Perth, Ontario contacted me a couple weeks ago and asked if they could perform one of my tunes in an upcoming concert of music composed by fiddlers from across Canada. I’m tickled about that and look forward to hearing them play my waltz, “Life’s Fortune.”  What a treat!

If you are a fiddler you might enjoy the new Tune Trunk section on this website. I will be adding music and sound files of some of my favorite original and traditional tunes that are not available elsewhere.  Right now I have two tunes up there that I wrote: “Life’s Fortune” and “Springfield.” I hope you enjoy them.

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