Author: Bartlett, Regina

Harmony Road Christmas

It is 15 days, 19 hours, 41 minutes, 12 seconds until 2012

I have been traveling out on Harmony Road and am now enjoying the light and warmth and peace of my home with my family and friends. I wish the same peaceful light and warmth to you and your friends and family. Time for A Winter’s Grace.

I sure enjoyed the recent Boulder Creek Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival presented by that ‘Bluegrass Impresario‘, Eric Burman and the Northern California Bluegrass Association. The festival was recorded live by Santa Cruz Community Television and the shows are broadcasted weekly on the ‘Spile Chile’s Bowl of Rocks’ program. The weather was cold and stormy with fierce winds blowing; Power was intermittent, but we Bluegrassers have coping and camping skills.

The festival was kicked off by Golden State Revue
Dan Wiegardt -- Mandolin, Guitar, Banjo, Bass, Vocals
Leola Porter -- Fiddle; Laura Benge - Guitar, Vocals, Mandolin; Jack Benge - Bass
Golden State Revue is a brand new up-and-coming bluegrass band. The band has a very large selection of traditional bluegrass and gospel tunes. The vocal harmonies and pounding rhythm of this group is a must for any bluegrass venue. It made me so happy to see my friends playing in such a good band.

Banjo Jim and Jerry Logan played some great music together. Both guys have made and sold jewelry at festivals and also make some great Bluegrass Music.
These guys are Real Bluegrass Gems!

The Abbott Brothers:
From Santa Cruz, CA, comes a new band featuring bluegrass veterans Luke and Kyle Abbott (guitar and mandolin, and fiddle)playing and singing old-time brother duets from the mountains, honky-tonk Hank Williams country songs, and everything in-between. Mason Hutchinson plays the doghouse bass, and other musicians join in on occasion. This time Ella (Diamond) Naiman sat in on the fiddle. On one song, Kyle played Ella’s fiddle while she played the bow and actually they played very well in the process. You just had to see it. Luke has amazing guitar chops and sang beautifully. The Abbott Bothers are up and coming and I swear I heard Lloyd & Doris Butler laughing and clapping along with the audience applause. Their next gig happens in San Francisco is Sunday, December 18 at 9:00pm at Hotel Utah Saloon.

The String Slingers:
Andy Roberts, David Barrow, Ella Naiman, Meghan Herring
play Bluegrass and Old Time. They lost power on the second song and played the rest of their set acoustically by the light of cell phones and flash lights. The audience moved their seats up close to the stage and heard about a half hour of Happy Bluegrass Music delivered fresh, warm and intimately. When the lights came back on the audience immediately noticed the difference and asked that the lights be turned off and they finished the set with dim lights, no smoke and wild child music. Ella and Meghan sang real nice harmony and have a very lively fun band. They are the real deal.

Faux Renwah:
Cactus Bob Cole and Prairie Flower Chris Stevenson came from LaGrange to play their special Bluegrass and Old Time Music as nobody can. They had Ella and Dave Gaurente and Curtis Leslie join them on stage. Ella told them how she grew up watching them play music together at Strawberry wishing that she could play music someday…and now she is playing music and touring….we all went…Aaaaah! It was a very sweet moment.

For the third year, I assisted with Cor Aingli, A Gaelic Christmas Concert by Irish Singer and Musician, Mary McLaughlin at Holy Cross Church. My friend, Kathleen Loveless is the director of the Choir. The musicians were Steve Coulter: harp, Owen Meehan, Irish flute & whistle, David Chadwick: guitar, Julie Honer: Hammer Dulcimer, Laura Reeve: bodhran, Kate & John Hopkins: hand bells. The music was heavenly and the acoustics of Holy Cross Church was so very wonderful to experience.

From the heavenly music to the even more sublime music, I then went to the Annual Santa Cruz Guitar Christmas Party and found myself in a bluegrass jam with Luke and Kyle Abbot and then with singing and playing with Steve Palazzo playing guitar on ‘Blue Railroad Train’ and I ran into so many Santa Cruz Musicians. It was great fun with jams happening everywhere. Nice eye candy with Tony Rice Guitars hanging on the walls and production counters. It was evident that a lot of care goes into a Santa Cruz Guitar. Richard Hoover always makes sure that there is plenty of food, drink, and good cheer and great music and fun.

Last Saturday, Dec. 10th, we lost one of our sweetest friends, Shirley Tudor, guitar and clawhammer banjo player for California Pearly Blue that played at Verns at Grass Valley’s Father’s Day Festival.

Shirley and I met at a Bluegrass jam in Marina. I lent her a capo and ever since then we were friends and always happy to see and play with each other. Shirley sang the sweetest hamony and I will miss her great guitar flatpicking and banjo playing. We all loved Shirley.

This is from Shirley’s brother, Michael:
Dear Friends of Shirley,
It is with a heavy heart that I must report that Shirley passed away on Saturday morning December 10. She was quiet, serene and graceful until the end: very much in keeping with her personality. In lieu of flowers, Shirley requested donations be made to The Nature Conservancy; an institution that is engaged in activities, campaigns and advocacies that were, and are, very close to Shirley's heart.
I would like to thank each and every one of you for your support during Shirley's journey. This voyage was made on much calmer seas than would otherwise have been possible.
Services have not been determined.

As you rush off to Christmas Parties and family celebrations, remember to share your gifts of time and music as much as possible: churches, convalescent homes, schools, with friends and family, where ever you can. Share your light.
Hold your dear ones close to your heart and sing another song:

Winter’s Grace
By Jean Ritchie

It is the time so well we love,
The time of all the year;
When winter calls with chilling breath,
For fireside and good cheer.

A time for man and beast to stand
And feel the season turn;
To watch the stars for secret signs,
And God's true lessons learn.

And man and beast and bird in tree,
Each one in his own place;
We bow our hearts and thank our God
For winter rest and grace.

It is 15 days, 19 hours, 41 minutes, 12 seconds until 2012
Until Next year, I’ll see you out there on Harmony Road!

Posted:  12/16/2011

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