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Friday, July 23, 2010


at the Front Porch

Skeeter & the Skidmarks played tonight at the Front Porch in Woodlawn. Edwin Lacy, banjo, is visiting from Indianapolis, Sandy Grover Mason, bass, came up the mountain from Pilot Mountain area for the get together of the band, Skeeter & the Skidmarks, with Scott Freeman, mandolin and fiddle, and Willard Gayheart, guitar. They made 2 cds called "projects" in the mid 90s. They were called a progressive old-time band. Hay Holler was the label, in Roanoke. After their 2nd album, Edwin Lacy had to move to Indianapolis and that was it. Scott and Willard got another band together called Alternate Roots after the name of Skeeter's first album.

They thought the band was dead and forgotten. But queries started popping up from time to time, fans wanting to know when they'll make the next album. They didn't even know they had fans. Scott told tonight of a Swedish band I think called Black Dog, that recently recorded his composition Jill's Waltz (Jill his wife and Willard's daughter) and sent Scott a copy of their cd. By now, they've had so many requests for a new cd, they're putting one together. Tomorrow they'll be playing I think at Blowing Rock for a music fest there. Last time Edwin Lacy was here they played at Blowing Rock too. They also recorded some titles in Boone for next Skeeter cd. Since they were all together for the show Sunday, they came together to play tonight, good practice. They haven't played together in quite awhile. Though they didn't have a difficult time finding their connection. These are people who not only enjoy making music together, but need to make music together.

This is like the return of rock bands when everybody is grown up with gray hair, like Velvet Underground, the Eagles, Traffic, and a long list of others. The return of Skeeter & the Skidmarks. I made a dozen videos tonight. Several of them will be on Youtube in a few days. Every one was good. My name on Youtube is hobblealong1. Search at Youtube for hobblealong1 and 4 videos will come up of Scott Freeman with Steve Lewis, Willard Gayheart, Edwin Lacy, his brother Mark Freeman. The first ones were jerky and wavered all over the place. I had just learned the camera had this feature. Since then I've been holding camera still. These guys can really make some music together. They started off with a bang and ended with a bang tonight.

It was good to have Edwin back playing his banjo where I could hear it. I'd never seen Sandy before. She's the bass player. Edwin will know August 1 if he'll be moving to Bristol, confident he will be. With Edwin back, they could be a band again, do shows from time to time, certainly play music together more often. These people are partial to each other to make music with. They have a similar enjoyment of the music, an artist's enjoyment. When I paint now I am aware of what good times they have making music, thinking I want that kind of enjoyment in my painting. I think I have it. With the one I'm working on now, I like the process of applying paint, mixing the colors. I'm not a good mixer of colors, but I manage to find some super beautiful colors to play with. I'm not ever interested in reproducing any colors exactly. Their art form is a social art, and my art form is solitary. Their practice is solitary, which is a great deal of time.

I'm liking my solitary time quite a lot. The time goes by fast. Not enough hours in the day for my projects. I'm on the verge of needing to schedule the days so I'll waste less time loafing about. The sorrow over losing Jr and TarBaby has subsided and I feel able to get going in my own direction. Dipping into solitude I like the people I know in town, like to see them, visit from time to time. Lunch. Drop by the office and talk a spell. I like these small gatherings to hear music at the Front Porch. Last week, it was the big crowd of people at the fiddler's convention that I didn't want to get in among. I like small parties, not big parties. I like a party of 3 to 6, where everybody can talk freely and conversationally over drinks. A big party where people are packed in too tight to move, or even if there's plenty of space between people, I tend to think about anything is better than that. In other words, I love visiting with friends, spending time in conversation with people I know and have known for a lot of years, talking back and forth conversationally. Where it's a whole mess of people interrupting, talking over each other, jabbering nonsense, making sitcom wise cracks for self amusement, where words just fill the gap of silence, are noise to keep silence in the background, I'd rather be at home in silence.

The situation at the Front Porch tonight was ideal. The seats were full. I sat up front because I wanted to get some videos of the band for Youtube and some stills for here and for Scott. Got some good videos. The whole band with Willard singing Yellow Rose of Texas. I have him now on video 3 different times singing Yellow Rose. One was just Willard and Scott, making it a kind of folk song, something like songs Doc Watson sings with just guitar. Then full band tonight, an entirely different way of singing it. This way with drive that keeps it moving along. Beautiful song when Willard sings it. Got video of him sing Robin D, too, the West Virginia river boat song he wrote. Scott playing fiddle and mandolin and Edwin the old-time banjo, Willard rhythm guitar and Sandy's bass made a good full-sounding band. I noticed it especially when they started off Yellow Rose of Texas. A very different singing of it from sitting with a guitar singing it. I never liked the song til I heard Willard sing it. Now it's one of my favorites. Seeing Skeeter & The Skidmarks in concert tonight was as extraordinary to me as paying $150 for the worst seats in the Charlotte mega autidorium to see the Rolling Stones in their 60s, and possibly at their best in musicianship. For me, $5 to see Skeeter & The Skidmarks in a frame shop in Woodlawn is the ideal. The music was fabulous. Four master musicians layin it to it for 2 hours.

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