Saturday, August 6, 2011

Folking in Red Rock

Hello, folks and folkettes!

Day two of the Live From the Rock, and we've been having a great time.  With a bit of a sunburn (that would be Alyssa), and the bugs driving us... well, buggy, we're back home at our billet, sitting around with our other laptop-armed friends, and have a chance to give a wee report.  The house is just a couple of blocks from the festival site, though, so the concert is coming easily through the living room windows.

After a lovely cottage visit with our friends Paul and Deb in Algoma Mills, we woke up bright and early (well, early anyhow... 6am, if you can believe it!) and drove the 9-1/2 hours to Red Rock, unloaded our bags and instruments into Liz's house, had an ever-so-needed shower (you're welcome, citizens), and then headed out to the welcome dinner hosted by hospitality co-ordinator Kathy and her husband Tim.  What a lovely party they gave us -- especially considering all the work they must have been having to do this week!  We got a chance to meet some of the volunteers and other artists, say hi to a few old friends, and enjoy some good home-cooked food.  Back at the house, our "co-billets" arrived from Winnipeg, Sam Baardman and Susan Israel.  Don already knew them both, but I was meeting them for the first time.  I think it's safe to say we've gotten along quite famously.  :-)  Despite vowing to go to bed early, we had a great jam and conversation, and got to bed... well, at least not TOO late!

Friday, we got a shuttle to the site with all our gear, had our first breakfast in the Fish and Game room (hmmm... stuffed animals watching the vegetarian eat...), set up the CDs at the merch tent, and all those other oh-so-glamorous things we travelling musicians do.

Then the fun stuff!

Our first workshop was "Double Trouble" -- three duos let loose on the stage.  We we the hosts, with my old "The Als" bandmate Allison Brown and her partner-in-crime "Uncle" Dan Henshaw, plus two musicians new to us from the Ottawa region, Amanda Rheaume and Marc Charron.  Amanda and Marc are touring out west and back right now -- check out and for tour dates, they're a great combo!  (Plus it was kind of fun to have TWO other people playing foot percussion with me.)

Second was "Old, New, Borrowed & Blue" with our house-mates Sam and Susan (, plus The Laws ( TONS of fun!!!  Much jamming ensued.  :-)  We've heard many great comments about that workshop, so it appears the audience might have had as much fun as we did!

A delicious dinner, courtesy of St. Mary's Anglican Church, and then we had to get ourselves in gear for our mainstage concert.  Maria Dunn ( was onstage before us, so we got a birds-eye-listen of her set.  (Our FridayFolk people will remember her from her recent concert with Jon Wort Hannam -- lovely person and a terrific songwriter)

I have to say, the folks working backstage are incredible -- very efficient, running a tight ship, incredibly friendly and helpful.  Thanks so much, ladies!!!  They got us set up so fast, we actually ended up getting a couple more songs in than expected.  Unfortunately, the sun had just dipped under the edge of the stage roof, and was blaring in at us -- at one point, I was sweating so much, all the sunscreen on my forehead had run into my eyes, oy!  It was a hot, hot day... But we soldiered on, and the audience was terrific -- we felt so welcomed.

Then we got to sit back for the rest of the evening and just listen.  The young band (geez, how old am I that I'm calling people young?  well, they all just turned 19, which means I could easily be their mother...) Harlan Pepper ( followed us on -- they're a hoot, and I just want to pinch their cheeks, do check them out!  Next up, the incredible artist and guitarist Kevin Breit (, and one of the most creative musicians around.  Oh yeah, and he might just be able to play guitar pretty darned good.  ;-)  We had a wee sip of beer for the Connie Kaldor set, then headed back to the house to listen to Jack de Keyzer and the Alaska Army Band from the living room -- Sam and Susan were already back, and Jen Ives joined us later for a tasty beverage or two before nap time.

Today (Saturday, for a few more minutes), we started the day as solo artists.  I was host of the "No Guitars, Please!" workshop (four strings good, six strings bad, baybeee!) -- and what a workshop!  Connie Kaldor on keyboards, moi on cello, Maria Dunn on accordion, Jaron Freeman-Fox and John Williams ( on electronically-processed violin and clarinet, and Shane Philip ( on didgeridu, ukulele and percussion -- talk about an eclectic line-up!  It was tons of fun, most notably because most of the people on stage were seasoned jammers -- everyone joined in on all the songs, with great sensitivity and musicality.  My highlight as a participant so far!

I rushed from that workshop to catch the rest of Don's "Wood and Wire: Guitars on Fire" workshop, which he hosted along with the aforementioned Kevin Breit and John Law.  Both Michelle (Law) and I joked that they were all just wanking (it's a wife's role, apparently), but they really did a kick-ass job.  And it's not just a proud Lyssy saying this -- Don had a guy bow down at his feet later, and while we were walking to get a snack with Kevin, they had a couple of people come up and say how much they loved it.

We had a bit of a break, then headed to the Fish & Game stage for an interview and concert with host Jen Metcalfe from LU Radio (  The young guy (there I go again!) doing sound was fabulous.

Some more tasty dinner from St. Mary's, and then we got to enjoy the night as audience members.  Starting off the night were Allison Brown, The Laws, and Amanda Rheaume, followed by Rob Lutes (, who's been on heavy rotation in our CD player -- an incredible songwriter with one of the sexiest voices in showbiz (OK, that's my take, don't tell Don...).  We walked back to the house listening to Shane Philip, and did the living-room listen to Shy-Anne Hovorka, Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite of Everything, and now the final act, Dr. Buck & the Bluesbangers.  I am the only one awake in the house, though -- think I might have to go have a wee nap, myself.  Plus the laptop battery is in the red and Don just took the charger upstairs...  Better sign off!

I will say, though, that we're having a great time with Sam and Susan, and are looking forward to seeing them again in a couple of weeks as we travel through Winnipeg!

Feeling the love... and the need for a snooze, so we can have another incredible day tomorrow.


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