Geoff's Notes

Sat, 26 Feb 2005

Quite the scene, this annual gathering of pumped up folkies from here (North America) and abroad. Of course there is a fabulous array of Canadian talent here, covering all the bases from traditional to contemporary singer-songwriter. Also the expected crowd of U. S. singer-songwriters from veterans like Si Kahn and Greg Greenway to the swarm of up-and-comers. Thursday night I checked our a few showcases, including my friend Pauil Kaplan from Amherst, and then found my way to the Local 1000 "Showcase Free" room for a political song circle hosted by Charlie King. Pat Humphries and Sandy O. were there, as was Deb Cowan and Joe Jencks (a new acquaintance from the mid-west who is a fine song writer and very good performer), along with a bunch of folks I didn't know. I heard some great songs, including a re-make from Charlie of "Martin Said To His Men" with a new chorus of "Why, man why?" dealing with a litany of actions by the current administration. My offering was Bill Burnett's "Guantanamo Bay" which was well appreciated by that crowd. I stayed on for a celtic/traditional song circle the next hour and then trundled off to bed around 1:30 (a real piker by conference standards!).

Yesterday during the day I spent a good deal of time in the exhibiton hall just seeking out people I knew, and making a few good connections. I also went to a couple of workshops, one on performance technique that was particularly interesting. The panel was Ronny Cox (film and theater actor [Total Recall] turned singer-songwriter), Reggie Harris and Greg Greenway, all of whom had valuable things to say about how they approach performance, and left me with some good things to think about.

I had dinner with Deborah Winograd and Clyde Tyndale from Wood's Hole/Falmouth, MA, long time friends I haven't had a chance to sit down with in years, then listened to some bit of showcases before getting ready for my own 11:30 Balladry session with Enoch Kent, Joe Hickerson, John Roberts and Finest Kind. I actually went to the showcase room an hour early to hear the Old-Time session with John Lilly, Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz, Paul Arnold and Margaret MacArthur. The room held about 60 - 70 people and was packed for both sessions. We had a great time with ours, how could we not with that line-up? I did "Constitution and the Java" as a military booster song in honor of President Bush's talks with Vladimir Putin, and the point was not lost on that audience. I also did "The Knockerbocker Line," having great fun getting the crowd to sing that chorus. A great time all around.

That ended at 12:30, and I listened to a bit more music before crashing. I have no other offical involvement here, so it's off to afternoon workshops, cruising the exhibit hall, and another night of dropping in on showcases.

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