Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Folk Alliance 2010

Well folks, at this point we may be saying goodbye to the dream of successfully completing NaBloPoMo. I may have to pick a different month and try again. I will say, though, that it has been really fun writing more, and I more than likely will be blogging a bit more regularly as a result of my efforts.

So, the International Folk Alliance Conference was this last weekend. It kind of makes my brain hurt to think about explaining what Folk Alliance is to all of you, but I'm going to give it a shot.

Folk Alliance (click on title above to go to their official website) is an international organization devoted to the preservation and continued development of all folk and roots musics. This very much includes Americana, or contemporary singer-songwriter music (the two categories in which I would place K.C.), as well as pretty much any other rootsy genre you can think of. They have a number of conferences every year, the large, international one (AKA the one I just attended), and five smaller, regional conferences in the fall. The conferences consist of panel discussions/workshops during the daytime hours, and showcase performances at night. The first part of the evening is filled with "official" showcases (artists selected by a jury to showcase at the conference), and the later hours (starting post-10pm and going until as late as 3am) consisting of "guerrilla" showcases that happen in hotel rooms. K.C. and I have been known to play as many as 8-9 guerrilla showcases at one conference, in addition to the official showcase (we've been lucky enough to have one of those at the last 5 conferences we've been to, regional or international). It's a very tiring thing.

This year was inspiring on a number of levels, which is all the more wonderful given that I didn't expect it to be at all. The folk world can be as sanctimonious and full of itself as any other sect of the music world, and many days I feel like I've pretty much met my threshold with that; many days leading up to the conference especially. I was convinced I would not have a good time.

I was proved wrong however. The morning of the first day of the conference K.C. and I went to breakfast with our friend Michelle, who has a great management company called Market Monkeys, and as we were getting ready to leave, a couple of guys walked into the restaurant who I recognized almost immediately. They were none other than Robby & Char Rothschild, two fabulous musical gentlemen that I had the privilege of going to college with. They now tour as a duo called Round Mountain, and they were in town for Folk Alliance as well. Robby and Char are quality individuals as well as quality musicians, so it was really great to see them again. I got to hear them play a couple of showcases in the days following, as well as have another fabulous breakfast in their company. Please check them out if you get a second.

Then, on Saturday night, we had a really amazing night of music. We had three showcases that were all great, two of which were in-the-round with other artists. One of these in-the-round sessions was with our friends Jim Patton & Sherry Brokus (as well as our friend Jeff Talmadge). Jim always insists that I play lead guitar on his stuff when we're in the same room together, and it's something that I need to do a lot more, just to get whipped into shape as a guitarist. I really, really enjoyed myself, and K.C. and I were sounding great together as well. It was the first of three great showcases we got to play that night, and I had a blast.

This is all a bit gushy and cheesy, but I can't really portray it any other way and still feel I'm being honest. I am really enjoying what we do right now, especially the performing part. That's a good thing...I ultimately enjoy writing and recording a lot more than I do performing, and the writing and recording parts I only really get to do with Dr. Pants or one of my other projects. So it's a really refreshing thing to be enjoying performing more, to feel like I'm coming into my own more as K.C.'s guitar player, to feel like I'm making more of a contribution. It's a good, good thing.

It helps make the ginormous amount of work we're doing now worth it, as well. In case you haven't heard, K.C.'s new record, ORCHID, came out today. We are working REALLY, REALLY hard to make sure it gets the attention it deserves, and if you go read the reviews it's getting on iTunes, you'll see that there are a lot of other folks out there who think it deserves attention as well. If you listen to it, hopefully you'll agree.

Okay, that's all I've got right now. More info about JiveWired.com and my new radio show coming soon.

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