I had been up a little too late the night before working on the new song with a friend. I do want to repeat that a lot of the reason why the song works as well as it does is due to her.
I took off, and after about an hour of driving was stopped abruptly by a CD store in Clear Lake. Ran right into it. There was a bit of slight pain, but that is made a little better by things that they sent me off with. I refuse to say any more on the grounds it may incriminate me.
I stopped for an hour or so in St Paul to chat with my friend C, the unlucky person who has been the victim of several of my songs, oh and has been the unfortunate soul to be one of my dearest friends for a couple of decades or more now. She showed me photos of her trip (she spent the last 6 weeks or so in Eastern Europe). We chatted for a bit and I headed off again. This time I was determined to keep going, and going, and going, and going.
Made it as far as Pine City, where I had to stop to get gas at the lovely Pump "N" Munch. Yes, you heard that (well, read it) right. It is a convenience store called Pump "N" Munch.
So, some 8 or so hours after I left home I arrived in Mahtowa (it's a 5 1/2 hour drive). Hung out a bit, set up my tent and spent the evening watching Paul Mayasich with Benderheads. A pretty good blues band with a couple of incredible songs. I bought a CD.
Here is the stage before the contest. At the end of the post is a photo of the stage after (with my friend Isaac)
The songwriting contest was great. I can't think of the name of the guy who took 2nd edit: (You can find Matt here), but he wrote a really touching song about the bridge collapse in Minneapolis. It is so easy to do something like that and just be cloying or rude. This was lovely. (I think it was Matt Latterell). Shannon Murray won for the second year in a row. She went on just before me and as she came off I said to her "the rest of us are going for 2nd place now". Shannon gets very embarrassed when you say things like that. Offstage she is kinda shy and self effacing. Onstage she is a brilliant and ferocious. She was amazing this weekend. (I bought her CDs)
My friend Isaac performed two new songs, both of which are amongst his best work. More on Isaac in a moment. As I said before I did two new songs ...
Women Like You
Attn: Complaints Department, Mahtowa MN
Neither are as blantantly funny as last years entry, but both will be going into the regular set.
There was a group picture, after which I tried to get the crowd to bunch together so I could get a photo of them. They did not cooperate. So I got these instead.
After the contest Colleen Myrhe and Tony Petersen played a great set. Colleen gets better and better and Tony ... well ... let's just say damn kids (who can really really play anything with strings, the theme for the weekend) and leave it at that.
After was a set by My Two Toms. Very witty and wonderful instrumental music from two guys from Bristol in the UK. I bought a CD. They had been on tour with ...
Charlie Parr. I think this was the best show I have ever seen him do. It was just him and his resonator (and occasionally banjo or 12-string and a guy with a washboard, a hammer and some pieces of metal. They had the crowd up dancing through most of the show. I bought a CD (I have the rest, but he had a new one out). Multiple encores and much clamoring for more after. He was amazing.
I got to chat with a couple of the other songwriters for a bit, the aforementioned fellow who's name I can't think of and Susan Twait, who had had an interesting encounter with one of the bits of local color (who is actually quite nice, and harmless, just a little odd). She was very silly, and fun, he (damn what is his name) was a very cool guy. I need to hang out with both of them again.
At one point as I was walking around shortly after the winners were announced, an older gentleman walked up to me and said "I don't care who won, you are my favorite". Makes me happy.
I went back to the tent for a nap, so I could play at the Myrhe's later but I could still hear most of Pert'Near Sandstone's show. Great high energy danceable bluegrass.
A quick aside about Isaac. There is one simple rule in Isaac's life. If you are female, he will attempt to flirt with you. We went to breakfast saturday morning and he attempted this with the (very cute) cashier. I have never seen a man brushed off and ignored in a more wonderful manner. He got made fun of this for the rest of the day as well as for everyone else that he flirted with the rest of the day.
Around midnight I got up and headed back to the festival grounds. It was decided that indeed we were going back to the Myrhe's house to play music, so I walked back to my car, escorting a quite drunken friend (yes I love you too dear, please don't throw up on me) who may or may not remember this. Her brother followed close behind, I think to perhaps make sure that I was as much of a gentleman as I appear to be (I am).
There was a song circle outside Jim and Colleen's house. I think I played a few more songs but this is what I remember.
Low Self Esteem
Bang My Bald Spot
One of the best moments for me for the weekend, music-wise, was during Hides when all the other musicians gathered around me in a half circle to see what I was doing. Talk about flattery.
I got to sleep sometime around ohmygod:30 in the morning and woke up, as I am inclined to do, right at 6:45. I did manage to get back to sleep till about 10, staggered up, tore down my tent and went to get some food and get ready for the song circle. My thought for my contribution to the circle (other than keeping it organized, which is my job) was to play only songs directly having to do with the Festival. I managed that with one exception, I always finish these sort of things with Hides.
Attn: Complaints Department, Mahtowa MN
Pine City Motel Blues
Masters Of War (Dylan)
I Got Them Old Mahtowa Folks Festival Highway 61 Blues Again Mama
The song circle was the best we have had (only marred by one drunken gerbil who kept trying to talk to people WHILE they were playing, I finally got him to be quiet, sort of).
The song circle made me happy. There were a couple of us old farts and several young farts. One kid was 14 years old and MAN could he play. One young woman (who several of us have been trying to get to perform in the songwriting contest for several years) continues to amaze. Tony (who I mentioned above) showed up about when I had to leave. Pity, I really like playing with him. He is off to Berkley School Of Music in the fall. I hope it doesn't ruin him. Some photos from the circle ...
I headed off about 3, got home around 9. It was a glorious weekend. I am tired, sunburned and a little sore (I drove a lot and walked a lot).
When are some of you folks going to come to this? So many of my friends would love this weekend. So few have showed up.