Nelson 8-13-16

2016-07-11_nelson_jam_by_lisaRunning a week late with this post!

Once again, music in the Nelson Town Hall for the Monday Pre-Dance Jam.

Some folks played by ear, others used music on stands.

The books we used were The New England Fiddlers Repertoire, The Portland Collection Vol 1, and The Waltz Book.

Here are the tunes we played:

Kesh Jig
Roddy McCorley
Shove That Pig’s Foot
L’Oiseau Bleu
The Frost Is All Over
Off She Goes
Farewell to Whiskey
Muckin’ O Geordie’s Byre
Jefferson & Liberty

Normally, we get more tunes in, but this week there was a delay unlocking the hall so we started a little later than usual, and as always, the dance has to get started at 8pm, so we had to wrap up on time regardless.

Nelson Jam, 8-8-16

2016-08-08_nelson_jam_by_lisa_sievertsAnother Nelson Monday jam! We had three flutes, two fiddles, cello, banjo and ukulele, concertina, accordion, guitar and harmonica.

Most of the tunes we played were from NEFR, Portland, and The Waltz Book, but based on a song request last week, Dan brought some photocopied tunes that weren’t in the books and we played two of them. Thanks, Dan!

This week I brought a tiny device and recorded some rough audio. Had a little trouble with the start / stop record function, so I only ended up capturing one song. Without further ado…

Far From Home:

And here’s the complete tune list:

The Ash Grove
Planxty Fanny Power
L’Oiseau Bleu
Far From Home
Farewell to Whiskey
Maison de Glace
Coleman’s March
Road To Boston
Red Haired Boy
Lady of the Lake (D)
Star of the County Down

Thanks to Lisa Sieverts for this week’s photo.

Peterborough Jam 8-6-16

2016-08-06_pboro_jam_EDITFabulous time at the pre-dance jam in Peterborough this past Saturday. Some familiar faces, some new jammers. By the end we had three fiddles, two accordions, flute and whistle, guitar and harmonica. Some of the tunes came from our three books (NEFR, Portland, Waltz Book) and some were from collective memory, picked up by ear to greater or lesson degree by different players. Here are the tunes:

Jamie Allen
Far From Home
O’Donnell Abu
Mid-Winter Waltz
The Butterfly
Road to Lisdoonvarna
Golden Boy
Morning Star
Kitty McGee
Boda Waltz
Golden Slippers

Later on, during the break mid-dance, four or five of us set up in the middle of the dance floor and played waltzes for couples who circled around us. Here are the waltzes. I might be forgetting one.

The Ash Grove
Star of the County Down

Nelson Monday Jam 8-1-16

2016-08-01 Nelson PianoAnother Monday, another pre-dance jam! Wish I could get pictures of our jam musicians, but once the jam starts, I feel like we gotta keep moving, to play as much music as possible in the 45-50 minutes we have before the dance.

Had another decent turnout, as best I can remember, writing this a few days later – I think we had cello, two flutes, guest banjo, two fiddles, concertina, piano, guitar and harmonica.

Here are the tunes:

L’Oiseau Bleu
Roddy McCorley
Shove That Pig’s Foot
Mairi’s Wedding
Ashokan Farewell
Red-Haired Boy
Jamie Allen
Moon and Seven Stars
Road to Boston
Boda Waltz

And coming up this Saturday, we’ll have a pre-dance jam at the Peterborough Town House at 6:30pm. Be there!

Nelson Monday Jam 7-25-16

Starting at 7pm, we went around the (giant, sprawling) circle, and everybody chose a tune:

Father Kelly’s Reel (Portland)
Old Grey Cat (Portland)
Ashokan Farewell (Waltz Book)
Amelia (Waltz Book)
Coleraine (NEFR)
Jefferson & Liberty (NEFR)
Froggie on the Carport (Portland)
Jamie Allen (NEFR / Portland)
Moon & Seven Stars (Portland)
Connaughtman’s Rambles (NEFR)
Farewell to Whiskey (NEFR)
Pays de Haut (NEFR)

Instruments played: cello, four or five fiddles, three flutes, acoustic guitar, concertina, electric guitar, harmonica.

Books used: New England Fiddlers Repertoire, Portland Collection, The Waltz Book

Later that night, on stage…
And if I remember, the late-night contra dance sets played were:

Kesh Jig / Dan Something (?) in A / Irishman’s Heart
The Banshee / St Anne’s Reel / Flowers of Edinburgh
Waltz: Far Away

For those dances, it was Samuel on accordion, Garrett on banjo ukulele, Max on bass, Gordon on piano, and me on harmonica.

Peterborough First Saturday Jam: Correction
At the end of the early jam, I invited folks to come play at the Peterborough First Saturday Jam on August 6 before the contra dance in the Pboro Town House. I misspoke, thinking the first Saturday of August was THIS weekend, when actually it’s NEXT weekend. Peterborough jam starts at 6:30pm. If you stick around through the first half of the dance, we’ll also play some bonus waltzes during the break – in the middle of the dance floor, with couples waltzing around us.

Nelson Jam – July 18, 2016

IMG_20160718_200220The Monday night jam was once again orchestral! By the end, we had at least three fiddles, two flutes, cello, concertina, accordion, piano, guitar and harmonica.

The tune list tonight was punctuated by challenging new tunes which most of us sight-read, concluding with Mid Winter Waltz, which had a page turn that I missed, starting over from the beginning, puzzled why I was the only one confidently playing the first bars again.

There were calls to try it a second time, but we had to clear out for the dance, so a few of us regrouped behind the hall to give Mid Winter Waltz another run through.

This time, we all got the page turn and heard for the first time the shift from G minor to G major which those in the know had been waiting for. I was not in the know before, but I was now approaching the know. For good measure, we tried a second minor/major waltz outside, Tosavalsen.

Here are some of the tunes from tonight’s pre-dance jam:

L’Oiseau Bleu
Wind That Shakes the Barley
Lady of the Lake (D)
Little Burnt Potato
Mairi’s Wedding
Jefferson and Liberty
Rakes of Clonmel
Boda Waltz
Farewell to Whiskey
Mid Winter Waltz (outside)
Tosavalsen (outside)

IMG_20160718_203307Tonight was an Apple Hill night, and the hall was filled with visiting strings students attending the chamber music camp. We had four lines at one point. There were some unintentional shoulder checks. Gotta keep your swing minimalist when the hall’s that full! Usually the hall clears out around 10:00, but a good sized crowd stayed for the last two sets and the waltz. Tonight’s end of the night band was Samuel Foucher on accordion, Garrett Cameron on banjo uke, Jack Perron on fiddle, Gordon Peery on piano, and me on harmonica. Here’s what we played:

Jig Set: Rose in the Heather / Out on the Ocean / Morrison’s

Reel Set: The Banshee / Shenandoah Falls / McLenon’s

Waltz: The Rose By the Door

Del Rossi’s Jam – July 13, 2016

2016-07-13_del_rossis_01I went to the Del Rossi’s Wednesday jam every week for the first few years I lived in New Hampshire, then got busy on Wednesday nights and haven’t been in awhile. Lately, it seems like if I go, I rush and rush and STILL only catch the last couple songs. So when lessons wrapped up early today, I made a point to get to Del Rossi’s right at start time, 6pm. I even had a beer, but don’t worry, two hours of fiddle tunes is enough to metabolize one beer and send me down the road cleareyed and fully responsive.

2016-07-13_del_rossis_02Tonight the jam featured one fiddle, two guitars, a viola, a mandolin, and a harmonica. I used my low-rent smartphone to note down which tunes were played. It felt a little OCD and I worried that it looked like I was constantly texting between songs. Apologies to tonight’s jammers if I appeared to be an incorrigible millennial. I try to be corrigible, and I’m a good generation too old to be millennial. Plus my haircut’s too symmetrical. Here are the songs:

June Apple
Staten Island Hornpipe
Cooley’s Reel
Swinging on a Gate
Scollay’s Reel
Temperance Reel
The Star Above the Garter
Kitchen Girl
Angelina Baker
Ashokan Farewell
Swallowtail Jig
Mairi’s Wedding
Bundle and Go
McLenon’s Reel
Red Haired Boy
Midnight on the Water
Fair Jennie’s Jig
Hunting the Buffalo
Lovers Waltz

Nelson Jam – Monday July 11, 2016

2016-07-11_nelson_danceIf you’re interested, we have a beginner music jam before the contra dance in Nelson, NH every Monday night from 7:00-8:00pm. All instruments are welcome, and we use three books: the New England Fiddler’s Repertoire, The Portland Collection, and The Waltz Book. If you play by ear, you can travel lighter, but the books are helpful for practice at home and for trying out new stuff at the jam.

Tonight, we looked like a mini-orchestra! Four fiddles, three flutes, concertina, cello, accordion, piano, harmonica and guitar. It’d be nice to get pictures of the various groups who gather, since it does vary a lot. The picture at the beginning of this post is not from tonight’s jam, but from the dance later in the evening. During the actual jam, I was busy playing and didn’t take any pictures! Here are most of the tunes we played:

Brisk Young Lads
Boda Waltz
Jimmy Allen
Jennie’s Gone to Linton
Come Up the Back Stairs
Ashokan Farewell
Jefferson and Liberty
Far From Home
La Grondeuse
Mairi’s Wedding

Peterborough Beginners Jam 7-2-16

2016-06-02_pboro_jamWe had a great beginners jam before the Peterborough First Saturday Contra Dance this weekend! Four musicians came out, and we played tunes from the New England Fiddlers Repertoire, The Portland Collection and The Waltz Book. Instruments included guitar, harmonica, two fiddles, accordion, flute, whistle. Tunes played: Jimmy Allen, Mairi’s Wedding, L’oiseau Bleu, Spootiskerry, Southwind, Boda, Amelia, Kesh Jig, Staten Island Hornpipe, Doon the Brae, plus a few more I can’t remember. It’s a free community event, if you’d like to come play or listen. We’re there every first Saturday before the dance, in the Peterborough Town Hall, starting at 6:30. Next jam and dance are on Saturday August 6.

Winter Music News

guitars_uke_harmonicasThe picture here shows my main instruments – a Taylor acoustic guitar, a Stratocaster electric, a tenor ukulele, my diatonic harmonica case, and my new compact chord harmonica.

As winter arrives, I plan to hunker down in my studio and play a lot of music. Surprise! I do that in the spring and summer, too, if you’re keeping track.

Rack Harmonica
Lately I’ve been getting better at playing rack harmonica on jazz tunes while playing guitar simultaneously. Likewise with fiddle tunes. Never thought that’d be possible, since there’s so many notes, but apparently with practice, anything is possible!

Farmers Market
My most recent full-length solo gig was the Milford Farmers Market, where I did some looping on English country dance tunes, jazz, and contra dance tunes. Also did some singing, since I have multiple boxes of my four original CDs burning a hole in my closet. The singing I tend to forget about and accidentally downplay when I describe my musical life, but strumming and singing has kinda been my main thing for um, decades now?

I do a lot of singing with students. I’m super casual about it. “Oh yeah, hey, let’s sing.” As if it’s no big thing. But I know almost everyone’s self-conscious about it, so I hope my workmanlike attitude provides a model for folks to emulate; singing loudly in tune, singing through the nerves.

Contra Dance
This month I played my first real contra dance gig – it’s been a few years that I’ve sat in with the Monday Night band in Nelson, and the regulars, led by Perin Ellsworth-Heller, got hired for the Peterborough First Saturday Contra Dance. We had a three-piece rhythm section, myself on guitar, Matt Garland on piano, and Max Nunnemaker on bass, plus Perin on fiddle and Samuel Foucher on accordion. Worked up some modern-ish contra sets, plus a ragtime-gypsy jazz set, and we received reports later that it was mighty on the dancefloor. The soundman Peter recorded most of it, and I look forward to hearing the highlights.

Winter Walks
Went for a long walk today, with a hat and gloves, playing my harmonica. It was sunny. It felt good to be out. Dark as the photo above is, that’s just the inside of my little beaver dam. Outside, it’s crisp and lovely. I enjoy bright winter days, and plan to embrace the season in my New England home of four years.