I’ve usually got a camera with me. Maybe it’s my little point’n'shoot, my Iphone one of my honkin’ big Canons. Sometimes I even shoot on film. (What’s that you ask? I’ll tell you in the morning, now go to sleep.) My point is, I shoot pictures all the time — every day, in fact. So here’s a few I’ve got kicking around.
Dave and I travelled to the North East Regional Folk Alliance one-day, mini conference in Franklin, MA a couple of weeks ago. It was a held in a church and they were understandably concerned for the welfare of their sanctuary’s rug. The last thing they wanted was a bunch of rowdy folkies spilling their all-natural, sparkling cider on the floor while clapping along to “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore” and grinding it into the carpet with whole wheat rice cracker crumbs under the heels of their Birkenstocks. But, I find tersely worded and hastily printed signs taped to doors kind of funny. They always omit just enough pronouns and verbs as to be almost unintelligible. Their custodian must be Yoda’s brother.
That being said, in good humor mind you, they had some fabulous doughnuts out to greet us. It didn’t take long for the official Squid Jigger Pastry Inspection and Precision Drill Team to swing into action. The jelly filled dainties were fresh an locally made. The sandwiches at lunch were as big as my head. But, we took our jobs very seriously and snarfed down a couple. The free coffee flowed all day and the line at the mens room was rarely less than four deep.
This past Saturday night found us at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston, ME once again. This time, we were gathered with some musical friends for the 7th Annual Remembering Tom Rowe Concert, benefiting the Jack McPhillips Memorial Fund. Dave’s dad, Tom, was a founding member of Schooner Fare. He died in January, 2004 as a result of complications from throat cancer, but his music and influence live on through this yearly event. Schooner Fare was there as well as Tom’s old friend Denny Breau. The Wicked Good Band made everyone’s side hurt from laughing, and Dave’s Trio knocked everyone out with their amazing sound. Those boys can really play their instruments.
It was the second year I’ve been asked to play as a Squid Jigger. It’s was just as big an honor the second time around as it was the first. I’m a musician today because of Tom Rowe and Schooner Fare. I saw them perform at my school in 1984. I’d never head music so big and thick and inclusive before. When they lifted their voices, as one and in harmony, it was like a big pair of sonic arms reaching out, pulling us all inside the circle. Nobody was left out. We were all invited. They had a way of not just performing FOR you, but also performing WITH you. I tried to think of that night as I sang a couple of songs at the show this year. And there was Dave, next to me, playing his Dad’s bass and his Dad’s tin whistle.
My part of the show was short. That meant I had plenty of time to inspect the pizza and liquid refreshments backstage. I also go to hang out and talk to three more of my heroes: the Wicked Good Band. Steve, Jere and Bill are a Maine institution. I can truly attest, they are just as funny off stage as they are on stage.
I have a vivid memory of being in high school and going to a party at someone’s house. The parents were gone and things were kinda wild. While riffling through the family record collection I came upon the Wicked Good Band’s “Dare to Be Wicked Good” album. The cover art featured pink flamingos. I was intrigued. While the music blared in the other room, I donned a pair of headphones and gave the record a twirl. I laughed so much people thought I was high.
So, while the rest of my friends partied, I drove to the drug store to buy blank cassette tapes. (What are cassette tapes? I’ll tell you in the morning, now go to sleep.) I taped both sides of the record and went looking for more. Sadly, that was the only record the parents had. It took me some time to locate a copy of “State ‘O’Maine,” their first album. Since then, I bought their hilarious book, and later albums “Maine Cookin’” and “Clam Jam.” I’ve seen ‘em perform a bunch of times. I even managed to get Steve to perform on a record I made with the Half Moon Jug Band in 2005. We covered the Wicked Good song “Buried in Bingham.” Steve sang and played the piano.
So there you have it: some thoughts, some pictures, some pizza, some doughnuts.