Kerrville Ramblings

1999 Reports from Kerrville

Little Folk '99
Day 1
Day 2
Day 2 - Susan Moss
Day 3
Day 4
Day 4 - Susan Moss
Day 5
Day 6
The Tower Report - Through Day 8
Day 9
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12
Day 13
Days 14-15
Day 16
Day 17 - Morning
Day 18 - Late Edition
The Tower Report - Through Day 18
From Caroline Aiken
From Amy Carol Webb
From Annie Wenz
Also Chiming In
KerrVirgin Summary


The Tower Report - Through Day 18

Hello again. Well, I tried to create another Kerrville report during the
festival, but I found that the documentation effort was detracting from the
festival experience. I decided to just scribble a few notes in the dark and
put it all together later. I hope I haven't got too many facts wrong and
that this lengthy message will be a case of better late than never. So here
it is, a collection of memorable moments from the 1999 Kerrville Folk

Tom Prasada-Rao on stage. Beautiful. Spirituality that crosses religious
boundaries. Om and amen.

Still on the Hill, on the stage, on the street. A fun, high energy group.
The female fiddle player, Donna, had a huge smile as she danced around
during their main stage performance and at one point said "This might be
the most fun we ever had." It was good for me, too.

David Wilcox on stage. I only caught the last few songs of his set but
they made me wish that I had heard it all. Heartfelt songs. He said that he
had a lot of songs to choose from for inclusion in his CD and that he felt
the ones chosen really had something to say to us. I accepted this strong
recommendation, but when I went to buy the CD the next day he had already
checked out. I know this also happened to other people with other artists.
These artists need to learn that sometimes it takes a person a while to
accept what they want to give.

Louise Taylor on stage. She introduced one song by describing how the first
thing she noticed about her husband, who makes guitars, were his
craftsman's' hands. The song was filled with strong imagery: "slow twist of
supple wrists", "the pillar of his legs"... I enjoyed her "Blue Norther" as
I was getting a massage.

Testoster Tones on stage. A fun set filled with "gratuitous swine moments."
"I did it, I did it, I did it. Now could you move, you're blocking the TV."
"ESPN, the reason I'm single again. Life is for losers, sports is your

Barbara Kessler on stage sung about "grown up love and other oxymorons."
She gave a "big Kerrville hug" to the audience and then Phil Antionades
came up behind her and reached his arms around her to play percussion on
her guitar while she was strumming it. Very cool. Then Phil, who is also
her husband, went to his drum kit, which he made out of various garbage
items, including old 12 pack boxes and aluminum cans.

Limpopo on stage. Russian folk, polka, circus act. Great music and fun with
spins, hand walking, whips hitting cymbals, and the Macarana (sp?) arm
gestures combined with that Russian dance where they kick their feet out in
front of them with their butts almost touching the ground.

Kinky Friedman outrageous on stage. "Watrix, o watrix, come sit on my face.
It aint cheatin if you're just eatin."

New Folk winner Jeff Berkley. He had a real nice set on stage with his
guitar, but this big, happy, longhaired, very cool looking guy really
shines as a percussionist. He sat in with numerous other artists on stage
and off. His subtle use of the cymbal creates some really beautiful

Kevin So again and again. Joining others on main stage to sing, play the
piano, the harmonica or the shaky egg. With his guitar at the campfires.
But mostly on the street, pounding out one after another with Eric and
Stephanie and anybody else who cared to join in.

Learning about stage work backstage with stage managers Brian Urban and
Kirten Dix and stagehands Ed Rosenburg and Allen Gampel. I mostly tried to
stay out of the way, although I did help move some heavy stuff and cover up
the speakers as the rain started on the last Saturday. I made a small
mistake before the Limpopo performance when I started to wipe up some water
that one of the members had spilled. It turned out that he had spilled it
on purpose so that he could adjust the traction on his dancing boots.

Austin. You may see me someday in my orange "Juice Spot" T-shirt with a
flying carrot. A small boat party on Lake Travis watching the bats leave
the bridge for their nighttime feeding. Zoning to the Lorin Rowan Trio
"Live!" disc; despite road noise and a flat sound system, I'm almost back
at the main stage. Awesome cd.

Helping myself to an after hours snack at The Lovin' Spoonful restaurant. I
choose the chocolate lovin' spoonful cake; the same cake presented by
Brandy, Spoon owner, to Peter Yarrow on stage for his birthday. A rich cake
for valuable moments.

Listening to Rod Kennedy describe Irish female artist, Juliet Turner (?).
It sounded like he was describing a fine wine and it made me want to
accelerate the education of my musical palate.

Jack Hardy. He writes songs with beautiful melodies, interesting lyrics and
really engaging choruses. His song "Sheila"(?) has a Gaelic chorus so "you
don't know the song has a happy ending unless you speak Gaelic", or you
have the opportunity to ask Jack. Fellow Coho resident, Gary Martin, told
me that it is mostly a true story based on an incident that occurred when
he and Jack were traveling in Ireland. In the chorus, Sheila wears the
dress that Jack found on the side of road and washed himself. Jack says
that he has about 150 songs in his head at any given time. He doesn't read
music and only uses "missionary tuning". (Are these related?) Jack left
early Thursday morning. Late Thursday, I suddenly realized that I missed
him; his music, his laughter, his smile.

Heard around the campfire circle: "Want one?" (an instrumental solo)

Jack Williams performing the beautiful "Heartland" at a small circle while Jack Hardy is writing a new song by torchlight 20 feet away.

Jack Williams playing a song with Gina Forsyth joining him with her violin. At one point Jack says "quick" and Gina shifts to short quick strokes and matches Jack guitar for a very cool instrumental section. And later, when Jack's song mentions laughter, Gina adds that easily recognizable three-note laugh sound. Jack is another one of those artists who plays with a special kind of exuberance and joy that I find really appealing.

After seeing Michael McNevin around for many days, but never being in the right place or the right state, I finally got to appreciate him one night as I heard him play "From nowhere to somewhere" and "Willie".

Songs of the Never Wrong on stage. The wonderfully energetic percussionist, Sue Demel (?), bounces around the stage. She stops to tell us she's a Type A personality. No kidding.

The Righteous Mothers on stage. They played some hilarious songs including a birthing song and one about a Hawaiian Lesbian Honeymoon. They also played some depressingly serious songs, including one about wife abuse. I've been thinking about a fantasy concert where we alternate between The Four Bitchin Babes, The Testoster Tones, The Righteous Mothers and Kinky Friedman. We'll put all of the strong, insensitive males on the right side of the stage and all of the empathic, overly emotional females on the wrong side. :-)

Star gazing via the Teleport telescope, designed and built by Coho resident Tom Noe. With this very cool portable 10" altizimuth scope, I was able to see a globular cluster, a single point of naked light as the binary star system that it really was, and a cool donut shape that was the result of major explosive event.

Kat Eggleston playing her dulcimer during dinner and breakfast. Beautiful music to dine by. She resisted suggestions that she take a break and eat because she was having as much fun playing as we were listening.

Sara Hickman on stage. My spirit wasn't dampened by the rainstorm. In fact, I looked pretty snazzy in my silver colored garbage-bag poncho, which was an appropriate outfit for Sara's wonderfully silly "Radiation Man", which she did for her encore. She started off with the beautiful lullaby "It's all right, It's OK". The String Quartet backed her well on that song, not so well on some others. It seemed like a short set to me, but I asked some other people and they didn't agree. I guess I'm just insatiable when it comes to Sara. She's the reason I went on the cruise that started my involvement in the whole folk scene.

Anne Hills on stage. A joyous smile. A demonstration of throat singing where a sustained note eventually creates harmonic notes(?). The beautiful "Follow that road".

Asylum Street Spankers on stage. A wonderful and fun 8 person band that create a very full, but not cluttered or noisy sound, with a variety of instruments and amusing lyrics. The only female, Christina Mars, is one of 3 primary vocalists and sings with a variety of styles that include a cute, high pitched, girlie voice and a rich bluesy voice.

I ended up buying a total of 45 CDs. Maybe, I'll get a chance to listen to them all before the next KFF. Here are the ones that I didn't list in my last message:

  • Tom Prasada-Rao - Hear You Laughing
  • Still on the Hill - Still on the Hill
  • Stephanie Corby - Live at the Prodigal Son
  • Michael McNevin - Sketch
  • Gina Forsyth - S t r e t c h Demo
  • Kat Eggleston - Second Nature
  • Vince Gilbert - Shaking off Gravity
  • Loran Rowan - My Father's Son
  • Kevin So - Along the Way
  • Waterbug Sampler - Bug Soup
  • Waterbug Sampler - On the Roam
  • Megan Peters - About_Time
  • Kathryn Warner - True North
  • barbara kessler - notion
  • Beth Cahill - Hitching to La Paz
  • Jack Hardy - The Collected Works
  • Jack Hardy - The Passing
  • Sons of the Never Wrong - Consequence of Speech
  • The Righteous Mothers - Pesky Angels
  • Jack Williams - Winterline
  • Anne Hills - Don't Panic
  • Anne Hills - Bittersweet Street
  • James Keelaghan - A Recent Future
  • Asylum Street Spankers - hot lunch

And so my first Kerrville experience has come to an end. I heard a lot of good music that spawned thoughts and emotions that I'm still processing. I made some new friends and built on some existing friendships. I missed a few good-byes, and that hurts a little. But mostly, my good-byes were sweet, without the bitter, because they felt more like a beginning than an end. Peace and joy to us all.

Bob Tower