It's tuesday and I still haven't recovered from the weekend at The Highway 61 Folks Festival
Talk about fun.
My friend Isaac and I headed out from Ames around 11 or noon, about 2 hours after we had originally planned. But seeing as how I know that Isaac only does mornings from the other side I knew that we wouldn't be on the road till at least when we got going.
So we drove ... and stopped ... and drove ... and stopped.
One or the other of us kept thinking about stuff we needed for the trip that we hadn't gotten around to getting yet.
Isaac had a pretty hefty store of food but we needed to get him an air mattress, me a chair, toothpaste and other stuff like that.
So the 5 hour drive took us around 7.
One of the highlights was our now yearly pilgrimage to Pine City to visit the shrine that is the motel that is referenced in the header of this entry. We also stopped and got a picture of the brand spanking new convenience store down by the highway. Yup, we had to have a photo of the wonderfully named Pump N' Munch.
We took a couple of photos of the motel where all the fun stuff mentioned in Pine City Motel Blues took place and headed off again.
I think we got to Mahtowa around 6 or so. We dropped over to talk to the folks setting things up (Jim and Craig, the main folks behind this, mostly) and then went back to get the tents up.
I have a new tent ... it's really cool. Cold even ... but that is a matter more of the weather in Mahtowa this weekend.
I retreated to my tent fairly early, it was getting too cold out for me and I had neglected to bring a sweatshirt and the merch table wasn't setup for me to buy one of the festival's yet.
It was mid to high 80s during the day and I think that it dipped down into the 40s friday night ... low 50s at the very least.
I could hear the band playing from where I was and I could hear the folks camped across the field like they were just outside my tent.
They never went to bed, just talked all night. ALL night.
I had gone to bed around 10 and laid there listening to the music till midnight or so. Then I listened to them talk ... and talk ... and talk. If I hadn't been so tired I would have wandered over and joined them. Instead I slept fitfully till around 6:30. I took off to get some breakfast and came back for some more sleep.
Woke up again around 11. Isaac was up by this time and we headed over for the songwriters contest.
I think this was the best year by far, and every year has been great.
Some of the highlights.
John Metz, who just gets better every year.
Diane Nettifee's songs, and her wonderous reaction to winning some free studio time.
MaryRose Varo's quiet elegance. A lovely voice, lovely songs and a lovely human being.
Bill Gausman for proving that the bar can be lowered even further than I am capable of ... His song "I Don't Know How I Got Naked" was hysterical. He and I have to play some shows together. It was not as good as his song last year however ... Minnesotans For Global Warming.
Jennifer Holt ... just generally. I love her voice.
So ... appleboy was there with some guy who I think he may have mentioned in his LJ. His name starts with an "M" ... I can't remember. It was great to see him and great to meet Micheal. For more on that go look at his LJ. It'll make ya happy.
My performance was typically frenetic. I did In Crosby Park (and got applause for the instrumental break) and How Can I Miss You? I even got folks to sing along with the latter. The audience laughed a lot and I got a lot of applause. They're so easy up there.
Isaac turned in a great performance. He did 20 More and Captain My Captain (which he had written on the way home from the festival last year).
Neither of us won anything, but I never expect to. I go up there to hear the music, and it's a good excuse to perform.
I honestly can't remember who won what, so go look at their webpage in a week or so for that info if you must know, that's what I intend to do.
Colleen Myhre filled in the time between when the songwriters stopped and the judges announced the winners. I really wanted her to do more. She gets better and better every year.
Charlie Parr was the first act after the songwriting contest. I had never seen him, but had been hearing about him for some time. He plays wonderful high energy acoustic blues. Then he was joined by Trampled By Turtles for a couple of songs, including a totally berserk version of Highway 61 Revisited. They were all astounding.
I have had this sound in my head for some time for the song How Can I Miss You?. TBT were that sound. I am going to try to talk them into doing a backing track for that song for the CD.
I'm also going to go see Charlie play in Des Moines in a couple of weeks. MAN he was good.
So I wiped out around 10 and went off to my tent. Once again I laid there and listened to the music till way into the night. I heard Isaac and some other folks playing around the campfire but once again couldn't quite get myself out of bed to go join them. It was fun listening.
Once again I woke up too early ... 8 or so ...and headed over to the site to chatter with folks getting things ready for the day. I tried to rouse Isaac to see if he wanted breakfast, but knew that I would not be able to. I got a bite to eat, came back and ran Isaac down to Jim and Colleen's for a shower for each of us and some food for him.
The original idea for sunday afternoon was to have some sort of open mike for whoever wanted to play. There are a lot of folks up there who are really really good, but who are not comfortable getting up on a stage. So my idea was a song circle for the afternoon. Jim was uncertain for much of the weekend, but it was a rousing success. We had somewhere between 8-12 folks playing and a half dozen or so listening.
The highlights for me
Kurt Peterson, one of the folks who played the first year. I love his songs. I have a demo he made a decade or so ago and listened to it a lot for awhile. I need to get it out again, and I need to bother him about recording again.
Colleen did some more songs, but not enough.
Jim played some. I had never heard him play before. He needs to play more for people.
A very pretty, very young woman who had this cool guitar and a cool voice to go with it. She's 17 or thereabouts and is already really good. I can't think of her name at the moment though.
These two older guys who were brilliant. One is this kinda rangy sort of hillbilly fellow and the other a small, compact intense sort. They were both amazing.
The other Kurt, who was a little shy about playing but was very very good.
It was an amazing day. We played till a little after 4 and then headed over to pack up the tents and get on the road.
I ended up home close to midnight. Isaac crashed out much of the way home. He partied a lot harder than I did (not hard to do). The drive was nice and much shorter this time. Few stops, and a lot of new music to take home with us.
It was a great weekend, and I know I have forgotten a bunch of people and events and whatever. If you read this and I didn't mention you ... remember I'm old.
So how was your weekend?