It's day 5 and all
is right in this world.. (I've been so kerrvilled, it's taken me until
day 7 to write that. not only that, but it was actually day 6 the thought
occurred to me. i've been having too wonderful a time to pull out the
computer and write. My apologies to all those who have had to eat their
misc ramblings over the first part of this festival:
These friends are the family we've chosen.
Friends coming, going, adding and withdrawing their energies to this wonderous
seeing spirits too long separated from one's presence.
excorsing old ghosts. (thank you for the smudging annie wenz)
It's pretty quiet in the area surrounding camp coho at 3:25 AM on thursday
morning. I can hear someone on a guitar (big surprise) coming from either
chapel hill or somewhere down the other side by cuisine. the sound is
being drowned out by someone putting in their claim to the guinness book
of records for loudest snorer at a folk festival.
Louise taylor just left the ranch, going back to her hotel, to get on
a plane tomorrow. She's been here for a few days. I sent her on her way
with a quarter of a loaf of bread to safeguard her against the airline
food demons she will encounter on her return trip to vermont. It has been
nice spending a little calm time with her.
One forgets, in spite of trying as hard as you can to keep it with you,
just how intense an effect the ranch can have on a person. We try and
hold on to this wonderful feeling for as long as possible after the festival
is gone, but, over time, one loses the ability to touch those places.
For the first year i can remember, i came to festival time on an healthy
emotional high. In a typical year, it becomes a question of whether festival
time will arrive before my sanity leaves. That was not the case this year.
That is, until 2 days before the festival, when out of the blue, pre-festival
planning stress hit me. I'm past that now. a week of being with your kerr-family
will tend to cure most of what ails ya.
Congratulations to all the new folk winners, although i still can't figure
out how richard berman and max cohen were not selected as one of the top
6. You'll be able to hear richard's new, as yet unreleased, song Holding
hands in walmart on the itcanbethiswayalways.com site as soon as he can
get a demo to us. When a song is as powerful and makes a statement or
takes a position such as this song does, it deserves as wide an audience
as can be.
Wednesday Day before:
Got onto the ranch early for me. about 1:30. Made the incoming stops at
HEB, liquor store, walgreens. So, we're fully stocked for at least the
evening. Met the RV at the site, no phones yet, we missed the phone guy,
and they tell us that we need to reschedule next tuesday!! ugh.. (thank
you rachel for giving the phone guy the special attention he needed on
thursday so we could get our phone lines in). Set up the tent at the foot
of the trail leading up to chapel hill from camp coho. we're the last
tent on the left, before the cut-through between canp coho and nashville.
tom kimmel has the spot i had last year, on the wooded terrace overlooking
the cut-through. Bob Tower is just on the other side of the tree line,
between us and Camp NashBill. SingKerrnicity is in full force, Coho is
here, but somewhat smaller this year with some of their main people mia..
(we miss you kendra)
As i'm setting up the tent which is tucked under a tree, i remember scraping
my back on the low branches of this tree about 5 years ago. I was bruised
for quite awhile after the festival ended. Luckily, i escaped this year
with no damage to the tree, or me..
Some mental notes taken over the first few days of the festival. (forgive
the dis-organization, after all, these are mental notes, so they are disorganized,
just like the rest of what's up there.. If i missed commenting on anhy
of the acts, it's probably because i wasn't at mainstage during their
Chris Rosser and lots of friends opened up the festival at mainstage.
TPR, Stephanie Corby, Kristin Dewitt (who never seems to LEAVE mainstage
for more than a few minutes... Maybe we should just get her an easy chair
up there, so she'll be on stage for the next act anyway)
The Austin Lounge Lizards and ray wylie hubbard put on their usual wonderful
shows. Unfortunately, the Dry Branch Firesquad had to cancel. I was looking
forward to seeing them for the first time.
Greg Greenway continued the trend started on day 1 of the 6PM slot being
the most enjoyable performance of the night. (for me anyway). take the
people who were on stage with chris rosser, and put them out there with
greg tonight. Ellen Bukstel and i (hereafter referred to as ellenB to
save typing) met with greg after his performance and talked about his
upcoming florida appearances.. We're coming back with copies of his new
album for those of you who want to join our kerr-pression party later
in june after we return.
All of Day 1 and 2 is filled with greeting from old friends too long not
seen. It's amazing watching the energy pour into the ranch over the first
wed/thurs/fri. and seeing people who bring a smile to your face, just
from their presence.
GREAT night of music.. Jennifer Kimball lead off, followed by Diane Ziegler.
unfortunatley, i missed shake russel and dana cooper, as well as the chenille
sisters. I caught the last half of a nice set from Dennis Kamakahi from
hawaii, and the night ended with two super performances. Susan werner
showed why she just stands out, even in as high level a crowd as kerrville.
Her set was superb. Tom Paxton was accomapnied for most of his set by
Geoff Bartlett of Camp Calm fame(fame?). After the show, there were some
preliminary discussions about bringing in susan and tomP for houseconcerts
While the loudest cheers of the night were given to Poco, the outstanding
performance of the evening has to go to sara hickman. As usual, this perpetual
motion machine (who winds her up anyway ??) was electric and very enjoyable.
She's also interested in coming to the south florida houseconcert scene.
The evening started off with some high energy from sisters morales, followed
by a nice sweet set from michael camp. He had mixed feelings about having
been granted his first senior discount at a restaurant the other day,
and asked rod how he should deal with it, since rod had a "lot of
experience" at that.. Sons of the never wrong had a successful return
to kerrville with 2 of the original members being joined by a new female
singer, and someone else i don't remember.. Jon Ims put on a great set,
even taking into account his strained voice from to much camp cuisine-ing.
His send up of stairway to heaven seemed to be a little short on the vocal
"tripping" (compared to previous incantations i've seen/heard)
seemingly due to his strained voice, but it was great nonetheless. If
any of you have the url for jon's performance, i'd appreciate it.
As an aside, does anyone know if the performances are going to be listenable
on OTHER than a 24 hour delay i.e. in 2 weeks when i get home, are the
performances still going to be accessible ??
The evening and the memorial day weekend was closed with Root1, a reggae
band from austin texas.
There were many walk-ons all during the weekend's mainstage performances.
Tom Kimmel, Chris Rosser, TPR, Stephanie Corby, Kristin DeWitt, Jennifer
Kimball, and many others join the listed performers on-stage in what can
only be described as kerr-groups. These "super" groups usually
take form in the campsites. At nashville, cuisine, and singkerrnicity,
you can usually find great headliners working together on the harmonies
you'd hear that night on main stage.
I haven't yet made it to camp cuisine yet this year, but bob tower told
me i missed a great night there last night (wed)
Camp nashville has had wonderful music almost every night with the regular
cast of suspicious characters in attendance.. Camp singkerrnicity has
had lots of energy early this festival. Camp Coho was been pretty quiet
for most of the weekend, but the good father flanagan in the form of Jack
Hardy pulled into town on tuesday, and things have picked up down in the
far corner of the ranch since then. It'll surprise most of you out there
that know him, but jack has added a new word to his vocabulary this year..
I heard him use it twice yesterday. the word is "email"!!!!..
I don't know exactly how much he uses this word, but the sentence i heard
was: "send me an email"!! blasphemy from the good father indeed!!
Kevin So, Carl Cacho, Stephanie Corby have all been spotted in the middle
of various roads, doing their thing, and one night, TPR rachel bissex
and a whole crew of people were in the middle of the road near the bathrooms
in the lower meadow. As i passed by, Rachel was in the middle of Oh Jackson..
This was about 3 or 4 in the morning..
BTW, the bathrooms down in the lower meadow have been complaining. They
miss the michael mcNevin bathroom gig. WOuld someone in SOuth Florida
please let michael know this saturday night that some of his biggest bathroom
fans are missing him here... So are lots of his human fans and friends..
End of Memorial Day weekend comments
For those of you who have been coming to the festival for many years,
here's an summary of the energy in the ether:
The memorial day crowd is usually the biggest one of the festival. It's
got the most people, most cars, most testosterone, most young kids (under
40 <g>) running around having a crazy weekend. It's so busy, so
crowded, that some people skip the first weekend, and come in on the first
tuesday, or the second thursday.
This year, while the campgrounds were still very crowded, the testosterone
seemed a little lower and the campgrounds a little more serene (only a
little) compared to previous years. There was still a lot of noise, and
a lot of tumult, but all in all, it seemed calmer than previous first
Threadgill mid-week concerts
Now that the first weekend is over, the festival finally arrives. The
familial setting that we all cherish seems to bloom on Day 6, when the
campgrounds clear out of the weekend only masses, and we can all get back
to knowing almost everyone we come across.
As i sat listening to dogwood moon, serenity started to come over me,
and when Tom Prasada-Rao came on, it had the thought that you saw at the
beginning of this rambling:
It's day 5, and all is right with this world.
(it was already day 6, but details really don't matter.. <gg>)
While i enjoyed Dogwood Moon and Joe Austin, the TPR and Small potatoes
concerts were really the highlights of the evenings. Both performances
were full of joy, love, and warm, warm, fill-me-up energy.
More disorganized ramblings:
It's even quieter at my camp, across the road from Camp Coho about 5:20AM,
& i'm sitting and talking with EllenB. It's still very dark, as the
slightly past half-moon has gone down. Footsteps are coming down the trail
from chapel hill, and as they pass, i can make out the profile of Dan
Boling. He just finished dinner (yes, i said 5:20AM), and is walking it
off. He jumps about 2 feet in the air when i call out "Dan"..
EllenB seems to be having a wonderful time.. You can never tell how this
place is going to affect someone. Some people have actually run from the
energy, but, thankfully, the rest of us embrace it. Ellen's working on
getting her calluses back (guitar pickin'), and renewing her love affair
with the guitar.. It's hell lugging that 7 foot Kwai (sp) ?? up chapel
hill.. Ellen played at the ballad tree a couple of times this weekend.
She has a much more limited repetoire on the guitar than the piano, so
this festival is very much a learning/renewal experience for her.
This is the first time i've been to the festival "with someone".
I've always been here alone, with the exception of some virginfriends
who have come in in previous years, and someone who came in for a couple
of weekends last year. Doing the festival "with someone" is
a very different experience than doing the festival alone. Your entire
schedule is changed, as time and energy tend to be directed towards the
person you're with, and some things you've done for years have to end-up
on the "couldn't get around to" pile. Striking a balance between
all the choices is an ongoing process that has it's own bumps and hiccups.
This is the first year that the ballad tree has gotten the short end of
the straw. I've only been able to get up to 1 of them this year so far.
I hope i'll be able to move it up the priority chart for the rest of this
I find myself staying up much later than i have on previous years, if
i stay up at all. I've seen the sun come up on 3 or 4 days so far. I've
also called it a night much earlier then i've ever done on some nights.
Advertising pays off: We've had some nice response to our ad in the kerrville
program and are probably going to pick up a few artists websites to add
to the cusfolks family of artists. It doesn't pay the bills, but it does
pay the festival expenses, and that's reason enough. If you've seen the
advertisment, i'd appreciate you're letting me know, even if you don't
need our services. thanks..
The weather this year has been wonderful. The first night on the ranch
was in the 50's, and it was actually under 80 degrees today at 1PM in
the afternoon!!.. We've had a couple of storms come through, but they've
mostly served to keep the dust and temperature down.
If you're reading this and are coming to any part of this year's festival,
please stop me and say hello if we cross paths. I enjoy putting names
together with email addresses.
Please feel free to pass this onto any folkie friends you may have, or
better yet, tell 'em to go to http://www.gotfolk.com
and sign up for the kerrchat email list.
Coming to you direct from the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas
Brian (Breadman) Wolfsohn