Author: Williams, Dave

Playing Around

If you didn't know, last Thursday July 25 was National Tequila Day and I want to begin this month by thanking all of you who sent me cards and messages celebrating this holiday. This is a big one for me. Heck if I werenít retired Iíd take the day off. One of my joys of life is to spend an hour in the Hallmark store going through their huge selection of Tequila Day cards picking out just the right one for each of my friends and family. Iím sure thatís the same many of you felt on June 14 National Bourbon Day and just last Saturday on National Scotch Whiskey Day. Is this what they mean by celebrating diversity? Salute to you allÖÖÖÖTalk about your Hallmark holidays

Completely opposite of my dark depression of winter, I really like summer and the long days very much. It just seems like there is so much more going on and so much more to do everywhere. There are more jams and for the bands Iím in, the summer brings many more opportunities to play.
Our bluegrass band is back on our Farmer's Market tour and having fun playing for people while making "ones" of dollars in tips. A couple of the markets we played recently had some extreme weather was dang hot, really hot. Rumor had it that it was over hundred on the street in front of us at one of them. I would have asked someone how hot it was if there was anyone to ask. Being the true semi - amateur musicians we are, though, we hung in there for the duration of the gig. The only casualty was the tip jar that was drier than the street.

One of the great things about farmer's markets is that we get to introduce bluegrass to new audiences. Many of these folks have never been exposed to our music and it is always nice to see the smiles and looks on their faces as they stop to listen for a while. This is particularly true of young kids and toddlers. Watching them having a good time dancing to the music is a treat for us.

Another cool thing about playing markets, over and above our dry tip jar, is the appreciation and generosity of the market vendeos and farmers that share their goods and food with us acknowledging our contribution to the market. All of these folks, regardless of what part of Kentucky theyíre from (you know Afghanistan, India, Mexico, Petaluma, Morgan Hill, etc), seem to enjoy our bluegrass.

We have some more bluegrass gigs coming up. We have a Mission Pizza gig in August and a few others that will let you know about down the road. Stay tuned.

This summer, I stumbled into an eclectic weekly jam on Wednesdays at lunchtime. It meets in a parking lot off 237 and First St in San Jose. (You have to know the secret code and handshake in order to get the info for the current parking lot). The leaders are two great fiddlers who have arranged a huge book of tunes that we go through alphabetically. The mix is old time, jazz, jigs, polkas, show tunes, waltzes, etc. We play them in no particular order other than following the alphabet. It is a lot of fun playing all the different styles but there are also lots of train wrecks.

Also as a result of my sun driven mania I have been lured into the world of old time music. I've been filling in on bass in a couple of old time jams on the peninsula. Please don't tell the bluegrass police about this serious transgression, I believe Iíll be safe if no turns me in as Iím sure that they won't read about it here.

While we're keeping secrets from the bluegrass police, I have another confession. This summer I'm moonlighting and playing with a jug band. Those of you who know me, know that this is something I do and have been doing off and on for about 40 years. Our group the Amazing Dr. Zarconís Breathing Machine (you might remember us from the April Fools Day column 4 or 5 years back on this site) is spending a lot of time rehearsing for a few shows this month including the 11th Annual International Jug Band Festival on August 17 in Sutter Creek. Come on out and enjoy a day of jug band music. It's free of charge. Just for presenting the pedigree for jug band music, David Grisman and Bluegrass Boys Bill Keith and Richard Greene were in jug bands. Bill Keith is on tour with one right now.

Anyway, enough for now. Keep enjoying the summer. Don't forget it is the Santa Clara Valley Fiddlers Association jam in the Rose Garden Park this Sunday. See you there.

Posted:  8/1/2013

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