Author: Cornish, Rick

Man it’s cold

I’m writing my Tuesday Welcome column on Monday morning because I have the distinct feeling that tomorrow at this time Whiskey Creek may be incommunicado. We’re at only about 1,800 feet elevation here which means we don’t see a whole lot of snow here typically, but boy oh boy oh boy is it coming down this morning. Unlike folks at the higher elevations, say Twain Harte or even Soulsbyville, us down the hill people are not really set up for large amounts of the white stuff. Telephone lines tend to go first….and I’m looking out side at my beautiful, majestic live oaks tree with my fingers crossed. Snow has a way of changing things.

Like this afternoon, the Grass Menagerie is scheduled to rehearse for an upcoming concert at Stage Three Theater in Sonora and I’m beginning to wonder if the fellas from the higher climes are going to be able to shovel out. And is reporting that all schools in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties are closed today. And then there’s my wife, Lynn—her water aerobics class is scheduled for ‘rain or shine’. I wonder about ‘snow or shine’. (Ahh-oh… desk lamp just flickered.) And the dogs refuse to go outside. And the two new black llamas are white. Okay, the novelty of awakening to see a blanket of white has worn off. Now it’s time for the snow to stop. STOP, PLEASE.

On to items bluegrass. One month until the Great 48 Jam in Bakersfield. Room sign-ups are way, way up this year. This will be our third 48 Jam, and clearly it’ll be our biggest. You’ve probably read that the Thursday night pre-concert with Sawmill Road was cancelled by the Leukemia Society down in Bakersfield. Instead we’re having a reception and kick-off jam Thursday night, which will probably be preceded by a mass trek to Buck Owen’s Crystal Palace. Which is all to say that coming a day early will be loads of fun. Early or not, please try to make it to the third annual Great 48 Jam in Bakersfield…’s becoming a new and welcome winter tradition for the CBA. Click here for information on the event, rooms, etc.)

Okay, this is getting crazy. Lynn and I and the dogs were just outside in the snow and it’s not three inches, it’s four inches. And the puppy, Willy, took off across the property and we spent half an hour looking for him….small white puppy in white snow not so easy to spot. And the llamas are now eating their fill of oak leaves because the branches are lowering under the weight of the powder. (Another flicker.) Now the dogs have changed their minds—they’re demanding to go back out into the snow. Their feet, I’m guessing, are sufficiently numbed. In our nine years living up here in the Mother Lode we’ve never had snow like this.

We’re still doing registration for Winter Music Camp. Some classes have been filled, but many remain open. If you haven’t seen our instructor line-up for this new CBA enterprise you should have a look. Truly some of the best music teachers in the nation will be gathering in the North Coast this February. As I reported last week, Ingrid tells us about 50% of those registered for Winter Camp are new folks who’ve never attended CBA Music Camp before. Here’s a chance to meet some new folks and learn a whole lot about bluegrass and old time music. Personally, I’ve started a daily practice regime to try to prepare for my participation at camp. Daunting but exciting at the same time.

Oh no, now they’re reporting the severity of the snow storm on CNN. And we’re at about six inches now.

Two other big events coming up in winter time for the California Bluegrass Association: on March 13th we’ve got our annual Sonoma Bluegrass Festival (Dr. Elmo and Wild Blue, Ed Neff and Blue and Lonesome, the Kathy Kallick Band, 49 Special, Rita Hosking and Cousin Jack, Evo Bluestein, and the cowboy band Lone Prairie) and a week later, on March 20th Tim Edes is producing another of his Night at the Grange concerts in Morgan Hill, this one featuring the red hot act out of up state New York, the Gibson Brothers. This band has gotten red hot this past year. Tickets for both the Sonoma and Morgan Hill events will be available on line beginning January 1.

(Lynn is starting to pace. She’s checking our pantry to see what kind of emergency rations I’ve put aside. Tell me, are we over reacting?)

Got to mention Early Bird tickets for the 35th Annual Fathers Day Festival. Heck of an anniversary line up this year…..Rhonda Vincent and the Rage ~ ~ Dirk Powell and Riley Baugus ~~ Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper ~ ~ Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out ~ ~ Infamous String Dusters ~ ~ James King Band ~ ~ Kathy Kallick Band ~~ Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands ~~ G2 (from Sweden) ~~ Bluegrass Patiots ~~ High Country ~~ Anderson Family ~~ The CBA Emerging Artist: Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen ~~ Kids on Bluegrass. Head on over to the Online Tickets page and grab yours now….such a deal.

Well, Bill Schneiderman just called and cancelled rehearsal for this afternoon. His office in Sonora just closed down and he’s going to try to make it home to Sugar Pine, which us up the hill towards Twain Harte. Once he gets there, if he gets there, he sure won’t be heading back down.

One last item. I want to wish a happy fourteenth birthday to young Marty Varner. If ever there was a bluegrass kid, this kid is a bluegrass kid. (Did you know he’s named after Martin Guitars? It’s true.) I remember like yesterday meeting his dad Mark and his mom Alison at the Good Old Fashioned festival fourteen years ago. Marty was just a little bulge in his mom’s tummy at the time. Yes, the time’s passed by quickly, but, boy, has it been fun.

Postscript—Well, it’s Tuesday morning and we’ve survived. Lost one of our giant oaks and half of another but, thank God, there are hundreds still standing. Rudy, our middle dog, is dressed in a sweater, Lynn’s got four layers on and has told me at least twice this morning that “I didn’t move all the way from Long Island for this!” And me, I’m sitting in my study watching my exhales turn to steam. Ah, the wondrousness of a white Christmas.

Posted:  12/8/2009

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