Author: Varner, Mark

Dear friends,

Up here in Boulder Creek, the loveliest town in the Santa Cruz Mountains, if I do say so myself, there are blackberry bushes everywhere. My daily walks or runs along the country lanes that radiate out from our little burg take me by long stretches of the vines that have grown there for generations. In July and August they offer up their delicious harvest to any passer by who doesnít mind having little seeds stuck in their teeth.

This year was crazy. For some reason we had few mosquitoes and mountains of blackberries. I guess that would be related to the weather. But what is surprising to me is how much fruit wound up not being picked. The bushes are now covered with desiccated berries no one had the appetite to pluck. Is that a waste? I guess not, since everyone had their chance to grab as many blackberries as they could eat or bake into a pie. There were just too many.

Thatís kind of how Iím feeling this Monday. There was so much going on last week musically that I imagine that the notes are still hanging ripe in the air, untasted. Perhaps on some stage somewhere there is a Ď32 bone or a Ď23 Loar, still leaning in its instrument stand because the crop was so big they could not all be harvested.

The lucky ones went to Nashville for the IBMA bluegrass party. Having gone last year for my first and only time I can say itís a little like the way folks explain what having a child is like to expectant parents: you canít imagine how much it will change your life. The IBMA event is beyond oneís comprehension as far as the scope of fun and excitement. No doubt we will be regaled with tales of the CBAís contribution to the party and who saw who do what and what hot bands will be booked for FDF in the future. We do in fact await the booking of the 2009 Fatherís Day Festival ďEmerging ArtistĒ, plucked like a ripe blackberry from the endless vines of talent one encounters in the center of the bluegrass and old-time world.

But I donít get to brag on any of that cause I was here, at home, working. Sigh.

Likewise I will not brag on the acts I saw at Hardly Strictly because I didnít make it there either. My wife and son went and had a blast. Sounds like the Infamous Stringdusters where their fave. Weíll hear much more about that event and we will have many of Mike Melnykís photos in the November Bluegrass Breakdown.

So here I am, having missed some pretty large events in the music world, crawling into another week. Oh! What could possibly brighten my life in the wake of these failures of scheduling? I know! The CBA Campout at the Stockton-Delta KOA, thatís what! The friends I see there may not be up on some big stage, thrilling throngs, but they are famous among the moonlit campsites in the land we call home, our beautiful Northern California. Canít wait to see yíall there!

Your pal,
Mark Varner
Posted:  10/6/2008

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