Isaac showed up all bright and surly (he is not a morning person, or much of an afternoon person for that matter) right on time, or at least right on time for when I wanted to take off. We got on the road and headed north. Jabbered about music, etc the entire way up there.
I've ranted about the trip up there in past years, so if you really want the full picture (since I am feeling lazy) follow the tags and read the previous years posts.
As planned we got up there just about 5. I pulled out the bag containing my tent and found ... that it contained a part of the larger tent ... the rain flap and the ground cloth ... not a complete tent at all. Fortunately Isaac had a spare so I had a place to sleep. Now I wonder where my smaller tent is? I need to find that before SACC as nainian dislikes sharing a tent with myself and the rest of the WSPA.
So, things got set up (mostly by Isaac) and then we wandered over to the festival site to say howdy, and then headed down the road for dinner. We usually go to a place right on I-35, the name of which escapes me. Dinner was nice, BUT, the Butterscotch Pie was ... well ... wildly obscene and wonderful. I'm still recovering.
The music started not too long after we got back with a sort of jammy band called Milkbone. They were fun, even if they aren't really my sort of music. Then came the ever amazing Charlie Parr. Something about Mahtowa brings out the best in Charlie, since every year I see him there seems to be the best show I have seen him do. This time around he was with his brother (or so he introduced him, it bothers me that there may be that much talent in one family) on harmonica. They tore the place up and forced people to dance like wild folks for about 2 hours. If you get a chance to see Charlie play, do not pass it up.
I hung out for awhile after, then went off to get some sleep.
My song for the festival last year was about trying to get sleep at the festival the year before. Maybe next year I need to write a song about the song I wrote about trying to get to sleep at the festival ... ahhhh geeze this sentence is frying my brain. There was the usual jamming going on and really the only problem I had was the person with the drum. The guitars I could deal with (even if one person seemed to have only one strumming pattern, I mean come on, even I have 3 or 4).
Oh, and did I mention that it was FREAKIN COLD !!!??? I am never much one for being warm, but man did I enjoy the sun beating down on my tent the next morning.
So I woke Isaac up and we headed down the road for some breakfast and got back in time to see the first contender in the songwriting contest. This year was the usual blur with a few standouts. But let's let one of the judges talk about the winners.
"Three of the acts placed in the festival, but in my opinion there were at least four participants worthy of recognition: youngster Shane Nelson, who placed first in the competition, blew the crowd away with his blues guitar technique and emotionally sincere lyrics; Cloquet-based banjo and guitar duo St Anyway were charming and polished, taking second place; Minneapolis native Nigel Egg drew hoots and hollers from the crowd with his hilarious tale of love and carpentry, "Home Depot," earning him third place; and country-tinged balladeer Isaac Norman stayed true to the folk tradition by using his songs to tale bone-chilling tales of war and loss."
In last year's report I talked about the 14 year old kid who blew us away and about Tony, who I have known for several years and who, at 17 or so, was a better guitar player than I could ever imagine being. Shane was the 14 year old (now 15 and even better) and Tony is half of St Anyway. Nigel is someone who I HAVE to play a show with. One of the highlights later that night was Nigel doing his song "You Can't Sing The Blues With A British Accent", which can be found on his Myspace page (linked above, as are the rest of the winners).
And it is very nice that she gave Isaac some notice. He certainly deserves it.
I reprised Pine City Motel Blues (since I butchered it so badly three years ago) and a new song I Want To Live In My Country Again. I want to thank the folks who helped me with ideas for it. I'll get a recording of it up online sometime soon.
Paul Mayasich and the Benderheads were fun, tight, jammy blues rock, made even more fun by the guy who tried to convince me that Paul is one of the best guitar players in the world. He's a good guitar player, but dude, maybe sobriety might be a better idea for you.
I crashed out pretty early, mostly because I had slept so badly the night before. I had made a run to get one of those heat reflecting emergency blankets to put between me and the air mattress and some sweat pants, since I hadn't brought any (I looked for them dammit).
It was a warmer night, made better by the better gear.
I hauled Isaac out of his tent as it became obvious we were in for a storm. We got things packed up just ahead of it.
Spectacular storms seem to be the theme for my summer. The lightning was glorious. Oh, and I did forget to mention, Friday night I saw the space station.
I was thinking about heading home early and skipping out on the song circle, but that didn't happen. We all played a few songs and Isaac and I ended up with Hides (a request from Jim, the guy who started the festival) and we drove on home.
I had house guests Sunday night, almeda and two other folks who are not on LJ.
I'm still recovering, but it was well worth it.
So, another wonderful year in Mahtowa. Isaac and I are talking about getting a show in the area in a month or so, with another in either the Twin Cities or Duluth (we're arguing over where). So I may break my rest period after all.