Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dog (and Toad) Days of Summer

It's been hot. I mean, really hot. I know, anyone reading this who lives in the south may think we're big babies for thinking a mere 100 degrees is hot, but I think after about 98 degrees the differences are minor, because you're simply miserably hot.

Saturday we played for Streetmosphere and it was one of those record matching hot days. Four hours. Kids. Hot. It wasn't too bad the first 3 hours. We had shade, partially frozen lemonade packets, frozen Gogurts, and water. Even better, we had the great people that stroll by and sometimes stop to listen for a bit. However, by the last hour nothing was going to save us. It's like trying to pick and play happy bluegrass instruments while an invisible warm sludge of air and heat is surrounding you. We survived, however, and it was all worth it when the afternoon breeze set in, we had our after-gig ice cream, and the younger two got wet in some fountains, while the adults and teens enjoyed another great band before heading home for pizza!

This week we had the opportunity to jam with Uncle Dennis too. He sometimes brings his guitar by and we find ourselves playing some interesting tunes in a bluegrass style. Everything from "California Dreaming" to whatever he's learning on his ukulele. (Can you mix banjos and ukuleles? Is that legal?)

The most amazing, and completely non-musically related thing this week has been cherries! Normally, any plant of the non-weed variety in our yard is doomed, but somehow a dwarf cherry tree, planted years before the extent of the collective brown-thumb was realized, survived the doom. It not only survived, but this year it went nuts with cherries!

The first pie was delicious, if you like tart cherries. There are preserved jars of them awaiting future pies as well.

Rain swept in and rescued us from the heat yesterday, bringing out a temporary pet toad. An old kid pool became the temporary habitat for two young nature explorers and their toad. The toad is happily free now.
This week we can relax with the rain, amphibians, and cherry pie. Next week we are back to being a band. We look forward to playing at the Cheyenne Frontier Days, then on to the Happy Jack Festival! Wyoming is kind enough to generally avoid 100 degrees, so we're all the more looking forward to the music and fun!

Happy Pickin'!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Where did June go?

I swear we must have had a June this year. After all, I had a lot of things written on my calendar where it said "June". It zipped right by! I'm going to try not to blink for July or I fear I'll loose that one too.

We were privileged to be invited by the Christian Home Educators of Colorado to play for their kick-off dinner and sing for the opening general session this month.

So far we've completed two sets for Fort Collins' Streetmosphere. This picture was taken at the very end of a very long four hour set. Everyone was looking just a little weary, but still managed to give everyone smiles. The second to the last song we had a few raindrops. We ended the song early, zipped instruments into their cases, then hopped into the van right before a massive downpour!
We're having a blast with all of this performing, and gaining valuable experience playing in so many different types of settings. Every one has different needs for balance, audience interest, etc. Sean tends to be the crowd pleaser at Streetmosphere. We lose our audience every time I give him a break, but at 10 years old, you must have your breaks! So, we kill time with some nice music, people walk off, then they crowd around again when we set him loose on wild fiddle tunes.

Gospel festivals favor the vocals, it would seem. Everyone comments about our vocal harmonies, despite some very worn voices. Below are some clips from the 2010 GospelGrass Festival. My mother captured a few. As I wrote below, the kids were real troopers. Sean sings with what little was left of is voice, and Katie's voice was so poor she had to skip her signature song all together, saving what little she had to force out in harmony. Mary had been sick, coughing, and sleeping! Yet she jumped up when it was time to sing. (Sorry, we didn't get any Mary solos from the festival.)

This little family band music experiment of ours is not only fun, but the places you get to go are sometimes very interesting.

Speaking of family bands, you do have the ultimate family band release of the decade, don't you? Don't you? If not, head over to our CD Baby Store and get one!

Happy Pickin'!