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Saturday, May 26, 2012


harrol blevins, mike gayheart, willard gayheart

harrol blevins

willard gayheart

mike gayheart

harrol blevins, mike gayheart, willard gayheart

Harrol Blevins made music with Willard Gayheart in Scott Freeman's absence. Scott is on the road in SC tonight with Johnny and Jeanette Williams promoting their new cd, FREEMAN AND WILLIAMS. Blevins has been making music with Willard on the Parkway on Thursday afternoons in Scott's absence at the Blue Ridge Music Center. Willard and Harrol have not played a great deal together, but it didn't matter. The music was right and they flowed together well. It was the usual crowd of people tonight, most of the ones there every week and and a few who had not been there before. It's become almost a social gathering for the ones who go every week. The one thing we all have in common is the privilege of hearing the music Willard and Scott present every week from northwestern NC and southwestern Virginia. We have in common this music, which we all know is good as it gets. We all have a connection at the Front Porch. Willard announced tonight that the Crooked Road program of hwy 58 crossing southern Virginia had accepted the Fiddle and Plow show at the Front Porch Gallery in Woodlawn, Va. as a "Crooked Road venue." They had to wait for 2 years for that designation. He said a delegation from the Crooked Road will attend a show in the near future.

Two years it has been that I've been driving to Woodlawn almost every Friday night. Last week I missed it because I didn't feel like going out the door. I call that valid enough reason. For me, I don't want to is as valid a reason as a funeral or an illness. When I feel like I don't want to go, I stay home. Sometimes the hour drive each way and sitting there for 2 hours is something I don't feel like doing that particular day. So I don't. That's not very often, but I allow myself my feelings. I'm not under any obligation to go, nor am I being paid. It is entirely my own volition, so I go on my own terms, like everybody else. I do, however, feel obliged to myself to go there on Friday nights, because I love the music. Scott and Willard's music has become the music of my heart in this time of my life. Willard and Harrol started Take Me Back To Tulsa before I knew they were going to start. I wanted their version of it for youtube, but was too late. It's a beautiful song and Willard sings it just right every time. I like his version tonight, closer to a folk style than western swing. Every time has it's video missed or a good still missed. No problem. When I moved to the mountains, people I knew spoke of all I'd miss being outside a city. I'd answer I miss everything going on in NY, London, Berlin, Paris, Tokyo, everyplace in the world. And I don't miss any of it. I don't subscribe to the New Yorker because I don't want to know what's going on in NY.

It's too frustrating when I know Robert Wilson's Einstein On The Beach is playing somewhere and I can't be there. So I pay it no mind. It's just one of everything I miss. I came to the country because I don't miss everything I miss that's going on in cities. With netflix I have better than a city with an art house movie theater, infinitely better. By this time in my life I've learned what I like and I've learned the importance of going with what I like instead of what I oughta like. The ongoing thoughts in the head have settled down by now. I can listen to music without thoughts in my head putting the music in the background. I can hear subtle differences in Willard's delivery of MY HENDERSON GUITAR from time to time that he plays it. I spoke to him at intermission, told him tonight's version of the song was relaxed, a new way of playing it. He said yesterday he and Harrol were playing at the Blue Ridge Music Center and he played it slower than he'd done it before. He liked it. He said it doesn't have to have drive behind it. The song stands by itself. I agreed, saying it's now a song he can play either way, bluegrass or folk. It will be a few weeks before I'm able to get the video online at youtube.

Harrol played his Henderson guitar this evening. He makes guitars, too. I get the impression his guitars are a truly high quality. He made one for Lynn Worth a few years ago and she loves it. Harrell is a man with inner resources. Harrol is an intelligent man with a work history that has allowed him a retirement he can make music in all he wants and make all the guitars he can in what time he's allowed. He has entered the SW Virginia music scene through the jams in Independence, Fries and Sparta. He's good enough guitar player and singer to settle in among the better musicians of the area. Making music with Willard Gayheart is no small thing in my way of seeing. With more practice together, more performances together, they could polish easily the rough spots, the hesitations, which were few and not worth mentioning. They have the potential to become as good a duo as Scott and Willard, though in an altogether different way. As usual, at the end everybody was happy. 


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