Kerrville Ramblings - Day 17 & 18


Thought for the day:

A lousy day at kerrville is still better than 340 other days you'll have during the year..

Whew... Talk about energy being dispersed in all directions... Very unsettling, wonderful, strange, disorienting, heartening day and night... You watch, as the community you've seen being built over the past weeks is dismantled before your heart.. Reinforcement and support abound, but they're fighting a unwinnable battle here..

Ok, lets see if we can pop out a few sentences without allowing that stream of consciousness crap to jump in...

The day begins early around here... There's an 11am chapel session up on chapel hill, and at 1 the jazz pharaohs from austin texas are doing their 6th annual last day concert. GREAT soulful, (hold on.. gotta get my notes), laidback jazz... GREAT lead singer Sela. She looked to be of (asian) indian heritage, just beautiful stylish jazz vocals.. There's an entire new crowd in attendance.. Or, the people i know very well over the past 18 days have gotten out their beat garb and goatees, and have taken on an entire new existence for this afternoon..

All the morning's anxieties.. the couple of hours packing at the motel.. the unsuccessful searching for my windchime necklace, all those bad vibes disappear in the beautiful melodious tones of a clarinet, plugged up trumpet, (i don't know; wth do you call that thing they stick on the end of a trumpet ??) big bass (and also an electric one).. stayed around for most of the show, (they don't have anything recordings, so they aren't coming home with me).. but wanted to get up to the final ballad tree, which was being hosted by Bobby Bridger.

Bobby opened up the ballad tree by telling us some of the history of the festival as well as the ballad tree sessions. (this was the warmest, fuzziest (and funniest) ballad tree session of the festival... Today, it was needed) He was the winner of the first new folk 27 years ago.

hold on... be right back...

ok, i feel better.. the burns sisters are cranked all the way up, and their energy helps..

Now, back to our regularly scheduled rambling.

The winner of the new folk is a judge next year... After being a judge for the first and only time in his life, bobby told rod that the festival needed a non-competitive environment for players to enjoy each other. That's how the ballad tree came to be.. He also gave us some background on the energy that is in this hill.. He got married here 9 years ago.

Bobby began his song, one he's done hundreds of times in his career, and 1 verse in, FORGOT THE WORDS!!.. he tried again, and FORGOT THE WORDS AGAIN!!.. we told him to do a different song he didn't know... In any case, he moved over a few feet, and did a different song. For this session, bobby introduced each performer, and got them to tell everyone a little about themselves, and what was behind the song they were going to play. That's more information than is usually conveyed, but it allowed some of the festival icons who were at the ballad tree to relate some interesting stories.. Brian Qintano (sp?) told about how he was struck by lightning on the hill and thrown halfway down it. Years later, he was on the hill when the chapel tree oak was hit by lightning..

The next person up after bobby started their song, and promptly forgot the words.. They were standing in the same spot as bobby.. When they moved, they remembered the words!!! Out of the next 6 or 8 songwriters, about half of them stood in "that spot", and they also forgot portions of their songs... As soon as they moved off the spot, they had no difficulty..

Mary Martha's brother Joe Motley (yeah, that's really his name, at least i THINK it was joe) from Edna texas, who is a real down to earth texas character, did one of the first songs he wrote... He said that if you're not texan, you might not understand the song... The title was "draggin' things".. It's a story about draggin & ridin things behind horses, cars, etc... very funny, and heartwarming.. This was Joe's first kerrville, and he had about as good a time in losing his kerrvirginity as anyone i've come across..

One other performer has to be mentioned Vern from Chicago is one of the most ungainly, out of tune out of cadence performers i've ever encountered... Watching him perform is like watching 5 tv sets on the wall, each showing a close-up of a different body part in motion, and all of the tv's are out-of-sync. His songs are wonderful, albeit a little (lot) on the dark side..

I left the ballad tree about 4:30, because i wanted to stroll through as much of the ranch as i could on my way to the mainstage, so i could say goodbyes to those kerrverts who were leaving that afternoon, or those who i might not see later. Linda silas, one of the stalwarts of Camp Coho had left earlier that afternoon. For those of you who are in the dallas area, she is having a house concert later this month with jack williams and mickey newbury. My understanding is that mickey doesn't have much time left, so don't miss this opportunity..

Getting to mainstage, i set-up in my usual spot, and say hello to the other "regulars" in this seating area.. Why do some of them look like they're just waiting for me to whip out a canteloupe or two just kidding, & i break out a tub of canteloupe for all... One of the people who sit in front of me have 2 kids who were grumpy when they reached the ranch last friday.. There's no grumpiness today, and i told their little girl (about 10 or so) (and the mom).. the next time she is getting grumpy about going to the ranch, just think of me sitting near them, and passing out oatmeal cookies (that did the ungrumpy trick last friday), honey raisin bread, canteloupe, 3 musketeers (do you know that some totally peaceful folky types will actually kill for a single remaining 3 musketeer bat at 3:45 in the morning ??)

Mainstage is opened tonight with WIlly Porter, excellent guitar work. He's followed by emily kaitz, one of the most talented songwriters (especially with humor/sarcasm/etc) Emily is great around campfires, but her stage presence is not always there. That, accompanied by such awful sound, that i was astonished when emily said that they had done a sound check that afternoon, left a lot to be desired in this set. Her great songs came through, but not much else..

Bobby Bridger was up next, and while many of his songs are not a style i lean to, his peacefullness and joy are shared with the crowd.. I could have passed on having his pre-pubescent son lead-sing the last 3 songs... After bobby was the (close) second strongest performance of the night. The Wyrd sisters from Winnipeg canada were excellent, but i'd already blown my festival cd budget by the end of the first weekend. Then i blew it again by the end of the second... And today, i had already blown it before the end of the third.. So, we have about 40 cd's to go over July 4th..

The evening finished up with excellent performances by Lennie Gallant, and outstanding work and energy from David broza. I spent a good deal of the evening trying to feel the energy running rampant tonight. It was not directed energy, but was all over the place.. Greg cagno left with Jack hardy, everywhere you looked, people were saying their goodbyes, unabashed group hugging behavior was being exhibited and the music was playing..

I had spent most of the mainstage finales alone, but really didn't want to do that this night.. I found two friends (one of whom is a seating buddy), and listened to the end of david broza's performance. bobby bridger came on for the finale of Heal in the wisdom, and we all joined arms and did the "sway thing"

We're all gathering up our stuff, i'm handing out some xmas invitations.. and here's Marie Nofsiger.. She says hello to everyone in florida... She'll be back around 17/18th of this month.. Campfires will really be hit and miss tonight, as so much energy is leaving the ranch so rapidly.. Coho is inhabited, but quite when marie & i pull up... it's joke telling night i guess... Pretty soon, michael mcNevin, willy porter, joyce woodson, vern, gary (miedieval stories), John McVey and many others all trickle in.. FYI, John Mcvey is a crazed 3 musketeers kind of guy... I managed to disburse all my remaining 3 musketeers in the gathering crowd, but left 1 loaf of bread for Camp Coho, 1/3loaf for deborah (seat buddy), and 1 loaf (and an icebox) for steve taylor.. Marie get to play 1 song before it's too late...

It's time.. All the hugging, feels great, but it's still tough.. River tells me her daughter cheyenne loved all the carrots (and the burns sisters on the CD are feeding me enough energy to finish this).. lots of see-you-next-year's, and an invitation to think about coming to the labor day wine and music festival.. hmmm..

I pack-up, organize as much as i can, make sure all the bags have as much energy as i can get into them, and i'm off... it's 3:30, i hit the highway past town at 3:48.. I DON'T hit any of the dozens of the deer grazing by the road for the next 30 miles..

2 planes, 5 hours, and half-a-world later, i'm in the florida air.. Spoke to robbie this afternoon, and she started the conversation off with "Welcome Home"..


it just doesn't sound right sitting here...

Brian (Breadman) Wolfsohn
CUS Business Systems Ft.Lauderdale,FL
Software for Auctioneers (954) 565-5600