Author: Schwartz, Robert

From the Kid

I am sure that I wouldn’t be alone in my opinion that there isn’t anything much better in this world than sitting back in a lawn chair on a beautiful day with a nice, cool beverage in my hand, and a band made up of great friends performing great music on a stage in front of me. I just got home from the Northern California Bluegrass Society’s annual Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival, and with every band that I saw, I was able to just sit back and feel like life was perfect. My troubles and worries were gone from my mind as my ears were filled with the wonderful sounds of bands like Snap Jackson & the Knock on Wood Players, Sidesaddle & Co., and the Alhambra Valley Band.

The festival was as awesome for me as it’s ever been. OMGG played on Saturday night at 7, and the band agreed that it was probably the best performance they had ever given. Lisa Burns of SIdesaddle & Co. made an excellent point when she said that every time she comes to a gig and sees Paul Knight at the soundboard, she breathes a deep sigh of relief. Paul worked hard all weekend and made everyone sound as good as they possibly could.

The day before I got there, I was playing a different type of music: jazz. I auditioned for the Berkeley Jazzschool Studio Band on guitar. I played three prepared tunes by John Coltrane: an arrangement my teacher and I came up with of his ballad “Naima,” the head and some improvised choruses of his bebop tune “Lazybird,” and the first four choruses of Coltrane’s saxophone solo on his famous “Giant Steps.” My prepared pieces went very well, but I knew that I was in trouble when the director of the band pulled out a steel drum part for me to read chords off of to test my sight-reading. Overall, though, I felt like I did the best I could. Now I have at least a week to wait before I find out if I made it into the one (maybe two) spot(s) over the other four guitar player who will audition...

That’s okay though, because life just got a ton easier for me. I bought my first car a few weeks ago: a blue ’99 Subaru Outback. It’s perfect for lugging all sorts of gear from place to place, and it’s already well on its way to being a PR vehicle for the CBA. It has a good collection of bluegrass stickers on it and I generally drive with the windows down and some good bluegrass music coming out of the windows. I’m pretty much a moving advertisement.

As I write this, I am waiting for my dad to give the “time to leave” signal. My brother and I will be flying out to Boston tonight to see some cousins for the week. We’ll look for opportunities to play some bluegrass there and spread the word of the CBA. I’m also looking forward to the Brown Barn festival, which OMGG will be playing at. School starts for my siblings and me in two weeks...

Oh well. At least it’s an opportunity to spread my love of bluegrass music and the good times it brings! See you next time...

Posted:  8/16/2011

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