‘Twas such a beautiful Saturday afternoon, lots of the folks who packed The Distillery last week must have been outside collecting Vitamin D from the sun. Still, we had some folks, a new songwriter, Kevin McDaniel and some great tunes.
Instead of starting with a standard from the American Songbook, Donnie and I opened with “Ashokan Farewell,” Jay Unger’s tune which most of us remember as the theme to the Ken Burns miniseries, “The Civil War.” The low whistle resonated beautifully within The Distillery’s lovely acoustics. He accompanied me on my jazzy tune, “Deliver Me,” reading down the horn chart. On my album, “Sleep Naked,” Donnie played the same line with his baritone sax. It’s a whole new number with the low whistle.
Brewster Smith and his NYC bandmate, Jon King, played a couple of Brewster’s songs: “Sweet Dreams,” and the country flav, “Losing Your Love.” I did a little background singing. These guys are tight. They’ve been recording together for a spell and Brewster’s new cd is about to drop.
Lucas Rotman joined us again. Instead of his baritone guitar, he brought a banjo. Now it’s hard for me to stay away from banjo jokes. I’ll try. Really I will. A bunch of us joined in on Lucas’ songs, “Concrete Ship” and “Angelina.” His tunes are so rich. I’m hoping he’ll send in the lyrics to at least one of these gems, so I can share them with you. He’s a writer folks. And the banjo sounded great.
Kevin Mc Daniel heard us play last week at “Woodsongs” at The Sullivan County Museum. He hails from Hurleyville. Or does he hurl from Hayleyville? It’s one of these. Anyway, Kevin performed his song, “Caveat Emptor,” ragging on big oil. This, of course is Latin for “buyer beware.” Seems that a number of us have songs that are aimed at Haliburton et al. It must be the fresh air and water of Sullivan County. However, in the spirit of magnanimity, I would like to invite anyone who has a song praising Big Oil to please pop by and perform it for us. Please:)
Commercial break: We’ve been “blurbed” in The River Reporter. http://www.riverreporter.com/artsandleisure/4302/2013/03/13/sullivan-county-songwriters. Now back to our narrative.
As there was some time left, we started up the rotation again with Brewster and Jon playing more Brewster songs. The two songs were “What’s Due” and “Johnny Action.” Johnny Action is a pretty amazing tune. It starts in a gorgeous bossa nova and moves into a darker, three note riff, while telling the story of an old schoolmate who ends up dead. I love this tune.
I performed, “Enlightenment,” which leads off my “Sleep Naked” cd. Ever get annoyed by someone who’s in the process of recovering from addiction and keeps calling to tell you about all their latest “aha” moments? That’s what “Enlightenment” is about. I also did the New Orleans style, “Do You Want Me?” with Brewster on percussion for both tunes.
Lucas came be back with his rocker, “Pauline,” with a Chuck Berry feel. Just before 5pm, everybody then grabbed a chair and joined in on a final blues, “Sitting on Top of the World” with Lucas fronting the vocals. (It’s a blues sung by John Lee Hooker and written, we believe, by the Mississippi Sheiks.)
Many thanks to our small, but appreciative audience, especially Maureen Neville, who has been a major supporter of SC^2. Here she is, in front of the glorious new addition to The Distillery, a chainshaw carving of eagles by local artist, Paul Stark. According to Stacy Cohen, the co-owner of The Dancing Cat and Catskill Distillery, Paul is also a musician with a ton of original tunes. I won’t believe it till he comes in here and shares them with us. Up until then, it’s just hearsay.
Paul’s ubiquitous carvings at The Dancing Cat and The Catskill Distillery are outrageous. He’s is a master of this genre. Here’s what this brand new carving looks like up close:
OK. I made it through this whole post without one banjo joke.
Here’s Lucas tipping his hat to my restraint:
But I cannot restrain myself from quoting Mark Twain who said:
“A gentleman is someone who knows how to play the banjo and
Many thanks, Samuel:)