I spent a lot of time at the Song School and Folks Fest at Planet Bluegrass this past week. I took classes with Mary Gauthier, Kathy Moser, and Rebecca Folsom. All the classes were unique and interesting, and I was struck by the incredible positive vibes that permeated the Song School. From Mary I learned about personal truth and saw that really all people need to thrive is a supportive audience. From Rebecca I learned some really neat vocal warmups that were really like full-body tune ups. We did various vocal practices that really reverberated through my body, and I left feeling mildly high and quite wonderful. From Kathy, I learned about music theory. She taught me about chord progressions, about the notes on my mandolin and how to tell A sharp from B flat :) What an awesome teacher! I also got lucky and had a half hour mentoring session with her. I hope to have more lessons with her when she returns to Colorado.
I also got to do a number of video interviews, which will appear on the Planet Bluegrass website, my blog, and YouTube eventually (hopefully here in the next few weeks depending on how much free time I have to edit the interviews). I interviewed Mary Gauthier, who left quite an impact on me both with her teachings and her performance. I love her throaty voice and her sad lyrics. She sings like she's doing the Buddhist Lojong practice, drawing in the pain of the world and emitting love and peace to all those who feel that pain. I also interviewed the sweet, soft-talking Justin Roth (a newly local musician who lives in Loveland and who I hope will come play at Oskar Blues soon), the very funny and charming Vance Gilbert, Rebecca, and Ellis & Terri, two amazing women who teach the business of music classes throughout the week at Song School.
And, I watched various musicians, in between rainstorms and Craig Leubben's memorial, which Madaleine and I attended yesterday. It was such a strange weekend in that regard. Cold versus hot, happy versus sad, and all the feelings carried on a wave of incredible music.
My favorites musical performances included:
Ellis, because she sings clearly and beautifully and her messages are so uplifting. She played in the Wildflower Pavilion to a packed crowd. She is so sparkly and smily, and her eyes seem to capture the audience. When she says she's so happy her smile might leap off her face, it seems like it really might. She clearly loves her audience, singing, life. What a beautiful lady. She is one of my new favorite musicians.
I also loved Gillian Welch and David Rawlins, of course, for their old time songs, wonderful harmonies, awesome guitar playing, and incredible song writing. Wow. Not much else to say. They are two of my favorite musicians.
Brett Dennen was simply marvelous, fun, and so charming on stage. I love his lyrics as well. He is so positive, promoting love, fun, and playfulness. I danced with one of Lyons' own local politicians, Peter Baumgartner. It's fun living in a small town and discovering different layers of the people who live there. Cheers to you Peter for twirling me around!
Of course, Mary Gauthier left a huge impression on me, as I mentioned above. I was a bit star struck while interviewing her. I hope she doesn't think I'm a total dork. :)
Susan Tedeschi and JJ Grey and Mofro rocked the house. Madaleine and I had a kickass dance session to both those musicians.
Finally, on Wednesday evening I had dinner with my two brothers, my cousin, Madaleine, and a gal from New Zealand named Josephine Costain who was renting a room in my house while she attended Song School. Josephine ended up playing music for us, which was quite wonderful. She plays and sings beautiful, and is a really lovely woman to boot. She's considerate, kind, and has a very open heart. She is applying to play at next year's Folks Fest. I hope she gets the chance.
1 year ago