Monday, March 29, 2010

Suwannee Springfest 2010 Report

We are back home from a 798 mile round trip to a scaled-back and down-sized Suwannee Springfest.
Black Betty and I arrived Thursday afternoon and were soon set-up in Gnometown and reunited with fellow friends and Festivarians. A rain blew through the area for a few hours on Thursday evening but otherwise the weather was perfect for a weekend of camping and live music.

Thursday night we walked down to watch the Tornado Rider spectacle at the Ampitheater stage and then discovered that the Dirty Dozen Brass Band was moved to the Music Hall stage. We decided that we really didn't want to fight the indoor crowd in the little Music Hall, so unfortunately, we missed the DDBB.

Friday morning, storytelling blues singer Roy Book Binder started us out with his great tunes and insightful tales of the classic blues masters. Crowd favorites newgrass band Dread Clampitt and the fabulous Mosier Brothers, with fiddle-monger David Blackmon, got the crowd rocking.  Next, the jazzy Belleville Outfit, featuring the talented Phoebe Hunt on violin, introduced themselves to the Springfest Friday afternoon crowd and gained lots of new fans with their unique style of Americana roots music.

Friday evening we caught Texas song writer Robert Earl Keen (first time live for me) and then danced the night away with a turbo-charged Donna the Buffalo. I must say, at this point, that keyboardist Dave McCracken has totally fired this band up. They are playing HOT HOT HOT right now inspired by McCracken's jammy-fueled organ engine!

The show I was excited about on Saturday morning featured songwriters Jim Lauderdale, Shawn Camp, Peter Rowan, and Verlon Thompson. Jim and Verlon had us laughing, Shawn had us crying, and Peter had us all flying high in the Free Mexican Airforce. These four guys are all master song craftsmen, and it was, a pleasure and an honor to hear them share their music.

Saturday night we were introduced to the bluesy and soulful Ruthie Foster during a disappointingly short one- hour set. It was a shame to have such a talented heavy-hitter on stage for such a short time. We were just getting to know her.......

Slam grass, boogy band Leftover Salmon performed the big show on Saturday night. They didn't disappoint either. Vince Herman, Drew Emmitt, and the band were totally fired up and burned down the house. It was a great finish for the day, and we returned to Gnometown exhausted and ready to sleep.

Somewhere in there we manged to see the wonderful Turtle Duhks and Jonathan Edwards (I seem to know every word to all of his songs).  Disappointingly, we missed 18 South who received rave reviews by everyone to whom I spoke. Also, we were bummed that Jessee Havey was unable to attend due to the current border skirmish with our neighbor to the north, Canada. Somehow we also managed to miss Scythian this time but did get a great photo of Black Betty with Josef. We'll catch them next time.

We couldn't stay for the Sunday show. We had to head back to Cackalacky. Bummer!

Sweets: kids and families, Boogie Cat, friendly, good vibe, small crowd, one damn hot Donna the Buffalo,
the apple crisp at Sweet Revenge, great primitive camping.

Sours: The Meadow stage is bye-bye; the tiny Porch stage with its laughable 30 minute tweener sets is not even a close substitute.  A $20.00 extra charge for a Saturday night midnight jam (did anyone even attend)?

Overall : A great little festival!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hometown Hiker's Hometown is new AT Community

Franklin receives AT Community designation

From the Macon County News

The Town of Franklin has received designation as an Appalachian Trail Community. A proclamation will be signed declaring Franklin the first Southern Region Appalachian Trail Community on Tuesday, Mar. 23.

Hikers are already beginning to trickle into Franklin as they make their way along the Appalachian Trail. Now, with the town’s designation as an Appalachian Tail Community, more people will realize Franklin’s close proximity to the trail and the town’s willingness to accommodate hikers.

The Town of Franklin applied for status as an Appalachian Trail Community last year through the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Macon County is unique in having 47 miles of the Appalachian Trail within county limits. It is estimated that 4 million people visit the trail each year, and Franklin is the second town that AT thru-hikers come to starting out in Georgia on the long walk to Maine.

The Appalachian Trail Community program is designed to act as a catalyst for enhancing economic development as well as engaging community residents as Appalachian Trail users and stewards. Bill Van Horn, president of the county’s Nantahala Hiking Club, said the idea is to foster the resource of the trail and the benefits of the visiting hikers.

“I would like some local businesses to see the advantage of having Franklin designated a Gateway Community,” said Van Horn last spring.

Following the designation ceremony, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy will begin publishing articles about Franklin and the other selected towns in a guide book for trail hikers. Participation in the program will also increase opportunities for teachers to use the trail as a learning lab for students.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy, which has a southern regional office in Asheville, is a volunteer-based organization dedicated to the preservation and management of the natural, scenic, historic, and cultural resources associated with the Appalachian National Scenic Trail in order to provide primitive outdoor-recreation and educational opportunities for Trail visitors.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Vintage Cycling at the Library of Congress

I stumbled on the Library of Congress Prints and Photgraphs Online Catalog and searched for "bicycle".
I could look at these old pics all day long!

Been there, done that.

A pretty messenger girl.

Native American boys.

The original Quadzilla.

Western Union messenger boy.

Yellowstone National Park

Friday, March 12, 2010

Two Weeks to Suwannee Springfest

The Vernal Equinox on March 20th this year may mark the start of Spring, but Suwannee Springfest has been our official start of Spring for several years. In two short weeks we will be back down south, looking for The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and all the great music and sweet vibes of our Festivarian friends.

The lineup this year includes the legendary Texas singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen, a reunited Leftover Salmon (celebrating 20 years of slamgrass), and the world famous music machine from the Crescent City, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
Springfest favorites; Donna the Buffalo, Jim Lauderdale,The Mosier Borthers, Peter Rowan, Joe Craven, Sythian, Tornado Riders, Dread Clampitt, and many other 'mighty fine' pickers will of course be there.
We hope to see you too.

                                                                    Peter Rowan

Monday, March 8, 2010

Greensky Bluegrass / All Access Vol. 1

This $9.95 download may very well end up being the best ten dollars I spend all year.  Greensky Bluegrass has released an absolute gem of a double CD which was recorded live 11/27/2009 in Three Rivers Michigan.  "All Access" is 26 songs of  pure jamgrass bliss. Give it a spin, you will not be disappointed!

Greensky Bluegrass
All Access, Vol. 1

Click below to preview tracks from this show


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Dutch Oven Leg of Lamb

We bought two spring lambs from our friends Dan and Kathy out in Cartoogechaye. So now I've got a freezer full of delicious, local lamb, and I've also got a new Dutch oven that I've been wanting to break in.  So, what do you think I came up with?  I decided to invite the fam over for some Dutch oven roasted leg o' lamb.

Searching the net for Dutch oven roasted leg of lamb didn't really yield me too many results (most were for braised 7-hour lamb), but I did find a site about Dutch oven meat which gave me some good pointers. I followed its advice pretty closely, with a few changes.

This is what I did.  I studded the lamb with a generous number of garlic spikes and rubbed it with olive oil, black pepper, rosemary, salt, and more garlic and then let it sit in the fridge over night.  I placed it on a rack in my 12" oven, surrounded by potatos and onions which themselves were oiled and seasoned.  I placed 12 briquettes below the oven and 24 on the lid.  I cooked it for 2 hrs, took it out, and let it sit for another 20 minutes before carving it.  It was done perfectly, rare to medium rare; it couldn't have been any better!  The fam loved it; it melted in my mouth, just like prime rib. I would say that this recipe is a keeper!

This is what I saw when I pulled the lid off the pot:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Suwannee SpringFest 2010

In three short weeks, the 2010 festival season will start for Black Betty and I with the Suwannee Springfest near Live Oak, Florida.

I can hardly wait. We are really looking forward to reuniting with our Festivarian friends, many of whom we haven't seen since October. Our little popup camper has been waiting patiently in the garage for the cold weather and snow to leave, knowing that we'll soon take her south. I've also got a new dutch oven that I want to break in with some new camp food recipes. And then of course, there's all the great music!

The lineup looks great again this year, and includes: Robert Earl Keen, Leftover Salmon, Johnathon Edwards, Donna the Buffalo, The Mosier Brothers with David Blackmon, The Dirty Dozen Dirt Band, Peter Rowan, Jim Lauderdale,18 South, Dread Clampitt, Belleville Outfit, Sythian, The Steeldrivers, Roy Bookbinder, Verlon Thompson and Shawn Camp, Tornado Rider (I'm a Falcon!) and the Turtle Duhks. We will be rockin' the weekend away, for sure!

From MagFest 2009

Black Betty and I with our favorite music minister,the Reverend Jeff Mosier.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Woody Wood Live at The Grey Eagle

More video of Woody Wood and the boys rockin' the night away at the Grey Eagle. As Larry Keel would say, "This is some hot shit"!