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Friday, December 3, 2010

PATHWAY AT THE FRONT PORCH

mark freeman (b), Scott Freeman (f), Justin Freeman (g)

mitchell freeman (bass), Jake Long (mandolin)

scott freeman, fiddle

mark freeman, banjo; Scott Freeman, fiddle


For anyone interested in going to a show at the Front Porch one Friday night, I measured the distance from the light at Galax Walmart on 58. From that light, it is 4.9 miles to Coulson Church Road, just after Harmon's on the left. It is 0.1 mi to parking space from the turn off the highway, making the distance from Walmart traffic light to parking space 5 miles exactly. From the light at the courthouse in Sparta, it is 32 miles, a 45 minute drive from that point. It's a beautiful drive all the way except it's weird this time of year when it is dark going there. First time I drove there in the dark I missed Harmons and ended up in Hillsville wondering how I got there.
A couple of Scott's brothers and a couple of his nephews make a band called PATHWAY. It's a bluegrass band that plays half traditional music and half gospel. They've been making music together all their lives. The band Pathway has been making music long enough to have 2 albums. Justin, the guitar picker who also sings, is son of Mark the banjo picker. The bass player Mitchell is brother to Mark and Scott. They have a good sound together. Scott plays fiddle with the band, the reason he's been playing a lot of fiddle over the last several years. A couple years ago he went around to the county fiddlers conventions and took home a lot of first place ribbons in bluegrass fiddle. Galax wasn't so kind to him, but I think he made 4th. All these guys can really pick and pick well together. It's a full strength bluegrass band that can deliver the music.
I made video of much of the concert. Will start uploading them to YouTube tomorrow where you'll be able to see them. It gives me good humor every week to remember I started making the videos for Scott and then the only way I could get them to him was YouTube. Now I'm putting up entire concerts, skipping a couple songs so I can make still shots. Tonight I gave out before the concert was up and had to sit out the last 3 tunes. I'd stand up periodically and get some shots.
Music was made in Woodlawn tonight.
Willard debuted his new song THE FIDDLE AND THE PLOW, which he has been writing over the last several weeks, working out the music. He played it tonight, his first public singing of it, the words on paper taped to the mic stand. Scott played fiddle with Willard's guitar. It was a rough version, understandably, as it is still working in his mind. It's a good worded song and he sang it well. There was hesitation in his voice all along, searching for the sounds that are right as he searched for the words that are right in the writing. Tentative is the word. He was playing it for us from where it is right now in the composition. I felt like that made it special, needing to be put on YouTube. A work in progress. One step along the way in the composition of a new Willard song. Willard writes a good song.
It's an enjoyment for me to witness a few steps along its way to completion as Willard sought feedback, something essential to every work of art. Feedback from friends and other artists is as important to the completion of a work of any kind of art as the physical act of putting it on paper or canvas or whatever. I feel privileged when Willard asks me for feedback. Something like, "How does this sound?" When he'd finished playing it, during the break he said the fiddle part Scott played wasn't it. Close, but not it. He and Scott will get together and work it out from start to finish. Next week it will be at another step along the process of its creation.
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