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Saturday, June 18, 2011


jerry bowman, daryl bryant, billy c smith, mark freeman

billy c smith

jerry bowman

jerry bowman, daryl bryant

billy c smith, daryl bryant, mark freeman, willard gayheart

Billy C Smith's band played at the Front Porch Gallery Friday night to an audience of Billy C's wife, Daryl Bryant's wife, Willard Gayheart, me and the white cat. The regular audience was side-tracked by a free concert at the Blue Ridge Music Center of Doc Watson, Wayne Henderson and some other regional musicians, Dori Freeman one of them. The entire Front Porch audience went there, all the regulars but me. I didn't go because Wayne Henderson doesn't trip my trigger and Doc Watson I appreciate a great deal, but not enough to skip a night at the Front Porch. Sometimes I do miss a show, but seldom. Mark Freeman started out as audience, but soon was called to join the band. It was a casual show, making it all the better. Willard joined them on guitar the last few songs of the night.

Billy C Smith, Daryl Bryant and Jerry Bowman play in JD Higgins' band Country Express. They play older country music from before the last 25 years of Nashville doing Motown corporate cookie-cutter music. All of them are really good musicians. They put on a show like the house was full, Billy C saying a couple times they've played for smaller audiences. Every song they played, they did very well. It was extra good classic country played by musicians who love it. I'll have the videos I made up on YouTube before the end of next week. I've got a couple of shows behind and need to dive into it for a few days and get caught up. Next week's show will be Dori Freeman singing the songs on her cd. 

Delivered Willard's painting to him this evening. I've been living with it for several months and it leaves a gap in the house on the easel where it was visible all the time. I've found I like to live with my paintings, so I paint them in the living room of the house. I keep 2 easels in the living room, one on either side of the home entertainment complex, one being finished, the other being started. On the way to Woodlawn I stopped at Selmas for a moca. An art lover friend was in there. She paints too. Doesn't want me to use her name. I went to the car to bring it in for her to see. I sat it upright on a wooden chair with a high back. We sat in front of it and talked about painting for perhaps twenty minutes, something like that. It was a treat for both of us to have someone to talk with about our painting. 

I was happy to hand the painting over to Willard. He is planning to make a pencil drawing of me painting the picture. I wanted Willard to have it, but didn't want to ask money for it. Didn't need anything for it. Just wanted Willard to have it. I painted it for Willard, like I painted the Ralph Stanley painting for the Stanley museum, wanted them to have it. Last week Willard asked about what I'd want for it. It told him I don't want money. I trade the picture for money, then I use the money to pay bills and the next day I'm out, I don't have the picture or the money. He suggested he make the drawing in exchange, and I'm happy with that. Happier than money involved. Money is on the lower end of the scale of what I value.

Willard is a musician and a man I have a great deal of respect for. I wanted to paint the picture to honor Willard for his achievements as pencil artist of musicians of SW Virginia, and other mountain people, as well as his guitar playing, singing and song writing. Plus, as a human being Willard is every bit as respectable as when he's making music. For me, the painting is my own personal form of awarding the Nobel Prize in mountain music. We were talking before the show and I told I'd been applying the principles of mountain musicians for my own art form. First, it has to come from the heart, all application of paint. Second, a degree of humility in the artist. Third, mountain musicians make music for the fun of making music. I now paint for the fun of painting. I don't make it a gotta-do thing or climbing a ladder to higher and higher prices and more sales. The ladder of success takes the fun out of it for me. Heart doesn't translate to money very well. Nor does fun. 


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