Thursday, June 28, 2007

CT Bluegrass

The weekend before I started the new gig, we gave the new trailer, an Outback, that Bruce bought at the Camper Expo last March a first run by taking it out for a spin to the Strawberry Park Bluegrass Festival in Spencer, CT.

We arrived on Wednesday night and the Festival itself didn't begin until Friday morning. There is definitely less to setup then the old crankup, but there is still some stuff to do. Nonetheless, we were getting hungry and headed to the nearest town, Norwalk, for a bite to eat as it was starting to get dark. Plenty of pizza joints, but Bruce wanted steak for his evening meal.

The town of Norwalk didn't impress me at all, since it is one of those old Mew England manufacturing towns that had obviously seen better days. After trusting on the GPS, (a big mistake) we settled on an 'Asian' restaurant, whose name was something like The Red Dragon. Bruce has recently had a 'bad experience' with 'Chinese' food, (I think it was MSG) as a resilt, never wants to do 'Chinese' anymore. I convinced him that there was probably some beef on the menu he could try.

It turned out to be an 'Asian' restaurant (read Vietnamese) and I suggested that Bruce try a beef dish. I got shrimp, vegetables and noodles, thinking that it would be like my hometown Chinese food. It wasn't but it was delicious and we all were ranting about the subtle differences in flavors.

We went back to camp where we enjoyed spending the night in the new Outback. I have a pretty good sized bed that isn't claustrophobic. Since the festival didn't negin until Fridaym and it was only Wednesday, we spent Thirsday esploring the shops.

We didn't even light a campfire that weekend, since there was plenty of music, although Bruce's criticisms were valid - none of the bands did more than one set throughout the weekend. If you missed a band on Friday evening, that's it - no encore on Saturday afternoon.

Some Winfield bands that U had seen or had missed were represented - Cadillac Sky, and Nothing Fancy was chief among them. But I really enjoyed a band from Nashville - The Incredible String Dusters. I had an opportunity to chat with the lead singer, Andy Hill, a graduate of Boston's Berklee School of Performing Arts and I emjoyed the conversation.

There was also a variety of vendors, as the vendor area was a large one and I struck up a conversations with one of the 'nature' vendors who was peddling minerals, which I picked up a few Ocean Amber (I think that's what it is called) shaped and looking like a mini planet Jupiter that I'll use for a plant pot decoration. Although no Winfield, Strawberry Hill was a step up from Pemi. Wether or not we'll return, well, I guess we'll have to wait till next year.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hey, welcome back...

Been busy of late, which is good I guess, since idle hands and minds are the devil's workshopm I suppose.

I just started a new temp job which is going so far so good. I've already gotten my pay direct deposited into my bank account, which is great, get paid once a week, which is also great, and as far as I am concerned, Tuesday is payday.

The job isn't much on intellectual stimulation, but that's okay, since they actually encourage the use of Ipods.

A few Thursdays ago Bruce, Bryan, Bruce's cousin Bob and Bob's father Bill, went to see Tommy Emmanuel at the Raggatabar at the Charles Hotel. I like Tommy, but Bruce is a real groupie. In fact, Bruce went to see him again with his cousin in Phoenixville, PA, the following weekend.

I first heard Tommy in Winfield, a story of the trip I have yet to finish. Tommy's work os sort of ahrd to categorize, he can be mellow and I have bought his tapes to pass around as Christmas gifts. He is best described as a guitar virtuoso, having been born in Australia, and is considered as a national treasure as was Steve Irwin, despite the fact he now makes his home in Nashville. If you think he is all bluegrass, think again. All I can suggest is check out his website. He had just returned from a road trip that took him to Spain, Hungary, Bulgaria, Finland and I think he said Slovakia. The Raggatabar is a nice intiamte venue for a performer like Tommy and it was standing room only. The last time I was at the Ragattabar was several years ago to see the late great Mambo King, Tito Puente.

What I like about Tommy is he is very approachable. He has no problem with mingling with his fans and is always will to pose for a picture or sign an autograph. Bruce has a picture of him and Tommy and every time Bruce stalks him, he has his picture taken with Tommy holding the 'picture within a picture'.

I broke down and bought a Tommy cap and he signed it for me, as well as the opening performer, another young, fresh Aussie talent by the name of Murphy (sorry can't remember the first name), who plans on attending Berklee School of Music. I was going to get to mmet Tommy in Winfield, but it was way to hot to stand in line that day.

It was a great time, as we got ready for the upcoming weekend's next event- The Strawberry Hill Bluegrass festival in Connecticut - can you say camping trip?