Author: Sargent, Geoff

Sonic Picnics, Potlucks, and Smorgasbords

Have you ever been on a picnic? You know what I mean, where someone (the picnicker) takes the trouble to spend time making sandwiches or maybe frying chicken, baking cookies, tossing up some good potato salad, chilling a thermos of freshly brewed sweet tea or a bottle of wine, and packaging it all up in a basket, or these days a day-pack, so the bounty could be transported to scenic, hopefully private, destination with a friend, lover, or wife (also known as the picnicknee!). There’s usually some planning involved, organization, preparation, travel, and mood setting. There were certain expectations (when I was younger those expectations typically involved some “making out” with my girlfriend or potential girlfriend……something the Brits like to call snogging) and there was a small amount of risk that usually involved things like weather, mosquitos, and making sure my brothers didn’t follow to observe and disrupt…..and yes my brothers loved to surprise me in the middle of snogging.

I used to do the picnic thing a lot in college….and would even pack up a decent layout to take up to the mountains or lake when in between girlfriends to sit back and fish or chill, or pick……Lately though the picnic experience has taken on a different, possibly sinister turn. I don’t pack up a spread anymore to impress my lady (but I do pack my dobro and a flask), I don’t drive to an idyllic, scenic spot (more like a dusty parking lot), I don’t have the snogging presumption (too busy picking), and it still involves some risk (mosquitos, rain, and broken strings), but thankfully not from my brothers. I am a bluegrass musician and it seems my lover is….well jeez this is a strange outing…my lover is the audience. I spend my time trying to improve my playing to impress her and court her, whether she is a dusty circle of pickers or sitting primly in a field. Now it seems like with “normal” picnics there are certain levels of participation….there’s your sonic picnic…a few friends getting together to pick, there’s your sonic potluck…something like a largish jam with several satellite jams of different skill and confidence, and there’s your sonic smorgasbord, spread out over a fairground with everything you could imagine….all the bluegrass dishes sitting out waiting to be tasted….some hot and some cold. Me….I’m usually a glutten and try to taste them all. Unfortunately I have some sonic restaurant-dates I have committed to…..where we have to play for our food. But ya’ll fellow gluttons wallowing in the sonic feast up there in Plymouth……enjoy…..just don’t come back complaining to me about your upset sonic stomachs.

Posted:  9/16/2012

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