|Mo Prior Updates|
As some regular visitors to this site may have noticed, this fall has been notably slow gig- and workshop-wise; I needed intestinal surgery in early September (to remove a stricture whose pain that had been plaguing me for much of the spring)and between my painful spring and the operation and recovery I needed a break from my usualy routine.
Am glad to note that my recovery is almost complete and that I have begun booking things again (cf November entries above). I look forward to getting back to work on my recording project and to resuming as active a schedule as I can muster in 2007.
Let me note the passing of Richard Lieberson, a wonderful NYC-based acoustic jazz guitarist who I took a few lessons with when I lived there. (There's a nice commemorative page on him at banjoben.com, which I added a brief entry to.)
So it's been an eventful and challenging fall.
After a slowish winter season, 2006 got off to a nice start for me with a crowd of 100 at the season's opening show at NJ's Minstrel Coffeehouse, followed by a very fun house concert in Clinton, NJ.
In mid-February I did my first show with John Seebach, a former student of mine and great rhythm guitarist/fine harmony singer who I have been rehearsing with for an upcoming recording (more on this later) and starting to perform with regionally. Then it was off to California for a 12-day solo tour (which included my first visit to Southern CA inseveral years - as well as my third visit to the Bay area in the last year and a quarter; I dig the Bay area, and plan on returning there at least annually.)
Last month I returned after a long hiatus to Harford's renowned
Sounding Board Coffeehouse, and also did a packed house concert in Falls Church, VA, with my sometimes duo partner Jimmy Gaudreau.
(Gaudreau of late has been busier than a banshee with a Country Gentlemen Reunion recording project, touring with Robin and Linda Williams and getting ready to back up Emmylou Harris at this year's MerleFest with John Starling's new band. But most notably, a Jimmy Gaudreau retrospective CD called "In Good Company" was released by CMH Records on March 14th. It features tracks from an amazing range of bluegrass talents who he has picked with over the the past three decades, and I am honored to appear on two of its cuts ('Follow the Leader' and 'Ashes of Love').
These have evolved into an important part of my performing life. They are a great alternative to the usual way people get to hear music, and I am thankful to the many folks who have opened their homes (or music stores or even law offices) to me and made these happen over the past few years. (If you'd like to know more about them, there's a House Concert page on my website.)
I am preparing to record a new CD. The idea for this one is an intimate solo and duo guitar-oriented project (a la Norman Blake's "Whiskey Before Breakfast" and Tony Rice's "Church Street Blues") and will include some of favorite fingerpicking tunes as well as the usualy eclectic flatpicking stuff (and some singing).
SUMMER MUSIC CAMPS
Like house concerts, week-long summer music camps for adults have been growing in popularity over the past decade, and they are a great excuse to get away from our computers and busy modern lives and focus on music (at whatever level you're at) and the camaraderie of people with a shared interest. This summer I am teaching at two such camps that come highly recommended
COMMON GROUND ON THE HILL in Westminster, MD.
Traditions Week 1, July 3-7 (plus music festival on the 8th).
Classes: Intermediate/Advanced Flatpicking and Mandolin
AUGUSTA HERITAGE CENTER in Elkins, WV.
'Bluegrass Week', July 30 - August 4th
Class: Intermediate Flatpicking
Come study with me - and a host of other great teachers - for a week in a relaxed and congenial environment.
|With John Seebach, June 2006
|San Diego, Feb 2006
Am enjoying a slower-than-usual August. July was nicely busy and included a very good 9-day trip to CA (my second time teaching at the CA Coast Music Camp up in the redwoods north of Frisco, plus a couple of fine house concerts on either end).
Two important musicians have passed away in the past few weeks: John Herald and Vassar Clements.
John was a seminal figure in the northeast bluegrass scene, a long-time Woodstock resident, and someone who I'd accompanied on sundry gigs over the past decade and a half. He was folkier than most bluegrass players of his generation, wrote many of his own tunes, was at times very intense and neurotic, but always had a glint in his eye and a memorable tenor voice; he could really connect with an audience. But he ended up taking his own life.
Like John Vassar was a smoker (though a pipe was his chosen implement), and I'm guessing that contibuted to his physical demise as well. But unlike John, his greatness was more fully acknowledged during his lifetime; he was
A famous Vassar stoy which I just heard:
After a way-long winter, the nice springlike weather has finally appeared.
I turned 50 in March, and had some nice tours to California (in January) and
North Carolina (in March) with Jimmy Gaudreau. Also, got my solo gigging
mojo back on track with a really fun set at Acoutifest 2005 (a day-long
acousitc guitar festival at melodee Music in Sterling,VA in late March), at a show for the Savannah Folk Music Society (in GA in April) and yesterday at
the Washington Folk Folk Festival at Glen Echo Park in MD (where I go contra and cajun dancing at least weekly).
During the slowish month of May I've been working on the ol website here; if you haven't scanned it in a while, check out the completely updated Live
Two recent cultural recommendations: the book Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt and the DVD The Yes Men (a hilarious and pointed documentary
about a group of cultural activists/Swiftian parodists who successfully
impersonate the World Trade Organization in the media and at a number of conferences).
From the Further Reasons for Optimism File
I'm settling into Maryland and enjoying my new home. The move down here feels like it was absolutely the right thing. One reason: I've embarked on a musical partnership with JIMMY GAUDREAU, a fellow Yankee (he's originally from Rhode Island) who's a household name in bluegrass and shares my eclectic musical tastes. Our debut duo performance was on October 8th, in Herndon,VA (cf the photo on the right) and we've now got a bunch of things in the works, including a 10-day Caliifornia tour in January. We also have a new duo website: www.jimmyandorrin.com.
(The duo is a work in progress; I still do quite a bit of solo touring and Jimmy performs extensively with Robin & Linda Williams. But it's been fun working with a talent of his caliber, and we hope to perform together whenever our schedules allow.)
My area of Maryland is rich with thrift shops. There's a supermarket-sized onenot far from me where I went browsing several weeks ago an emerged with three hardcover books - one of which was Knee Deep In Paradise, a memoir/autobiography by Brett Butler. I think she's a good comedienne, and the book was OK. But what really made it for me was a blurb on the back cover by J.P. Donleavy which said
And through her desriptions of her growing-up life, the real America
What a great description of my musical calling! The real America - unchanged by its towering mass of communications.