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Saturday, April 6, 2013


dori freeman and david long
willard gayheart's new Henderson guitar
scott freeman, Willard gayheart, mike gayheart
dori freeman and willard gayheart
The Fiddle and Plow show at Woodlawn Friday night featured Dori Freeman and David Long making music and singing together. Dori's singing is new every time I hear her. It's Dori singing in her own style, which expands into some vocal improvements that tell her stage experience is broadening her voice to where she sings out a step beyond last time I heard her perform. It was Dori's singing that held my attention focused on what she was doing with her voice throughout the concert that included lead singing by Willard, Scott and David. They invited Harrol Blevins to sing a couple songs. The music at Woodlawn rewards the drive there and back such that on Friday nights there is no other place I want to be. I spoke with a few people when the show was over, and everyone I spoke with remarked how beautifully Dori's singing is progressing. I'm noticing that her singing style is drifting away from what I call her Peggy Lee sound to what sounds to my ear like Emmy Lou Harris, without Dori imitating her. Not at all imitating her. Not even trying to sound like her. It's just that Dori's voice and Emmy Lou's are naturally similar. Dori's voice from the beginning has brought Emmy Lou Harris to my mind. Dori is also an excellent song writer, as is Emmy Lou.  
David plays mandolin and guitar, sings too. He also writes an excellent song. The songs he sang of his own composition were as good worded as any of the other songs they sang. If Dori and David stick together, which it looks like they will do just from the vibe between them, I see them developing into a fairly dynamic duo. They are comfortable together musically. Dori is now playing an autoharp as well as her Henderson guitar. She and David sang songs by the Blue Sky Boys, the Delmore Brothers, Townes van Zandt, EC Ball and the Carter Family as well as their own. It was a happy audience, Dori's original fan base, everyone pulling for Dori, delighted to hear what she is doing now. From my own observation, I see her moving forward step by step. Like seeing baby Vada once a week, just a few months from 2, every time I see her she is new. She has learned a week's worth of wide open paying close attention to everything around her. I see similar advancement in Dori's singing. Every time, it's new. Dori is opening up so much with her voice I'm thinking it won't be long before she doesn't need amplification. Scott, Dori's dad, has the sound through the amplifier into speakers set so it does not sound amplified. It's a subtle sound operation that works perfectly.
Though it was Dori and David's show, it was a multi-talent night. Dori sang one of Willard's songs, The Workin. Willard is Dori's grandpa, her mother's dad. Scott's mother and dad, Dori's other grandparents, were in the audience. I think it was their first time. I'd never seen them before. When they walked in the door, I heard Scott say, "Hi mom." I took it as an aside, never imagined she was his mother. Later, he said, "That's my mother." I said, "That's why you called her mom." He laughed, "Yeah." He told me once that when he was a kid his dad played Western Swing records more than anything else. Scott is familiar with Western Swing. He sang a song in the Western Swing style and his dad, who was sitting two rows in front of me, started moving his feet, his shoulders moved to the rhythm, and his head was bobbing. He was into it. I was thinking it must have made him feel something special to hear his boy picking and singing so well. Scott is as fine a singer as he is a mandolin picker and a fiddler. And he does a Western Swing song right. The talent there making music was actually awesome. It was music to my total satisfaction start to finish.
Upon walking in the door Willard told me right off that Minnie the cat had died, just faded away. She is Willard's cat that lives in the frame shop / gallery. I've known Minnie almost four years. She was at every show. She'd curl up on a chair for awhile, get up, walk around, look at the people, hop onto another chair and curl up for awhile. In the first months she didn't seem very happy to see a crowd of people invading her home by surprise at night after the store was closed and the place all hers. She'd walk around with a scowl on her brow. She'd walk up to the front to look at the musicians, the people she's known all her life, then walk back down the aisle looking at the feet of the people she was walking by, sometimes weave among the feet to an empty chair to curl up on. It frustrated her on nights when all the seats were occupied. I spoke to her every time I saw her. She didn't want to be touched at first. I'd rub a finger on top of her head between the ears and she'd allow it for a short time, then let me know in the Maine Coon way, a movement toward withdrawal. If you don't stop, look out. She only warns once. Caterpillar has Maine Coon temperament too, so I had an understanding of Minnie's ways. I'd put my hand down for her to smell it before touching her, because that was what she wanted at first. After maybe a dozen or so times of giving her my hand to smell, I put my hand down for her one evening and she dismissed it like she was saying, "I know who you are." And she never wanted to sniff my hand after that. She came to liking me to pet her, It was about a year before she started liking having people in her place. Over the last year she's acted like she's happy to see everybody come into her space when her papaw is making music. Everyone who goes there regularly misses Minnie. She was 16. It was her home she shared with us every Friday night.  
scott freeman, dori freeman, david long,
willard gayheart, mike gayheart
dori freeman and david long
dori freeman


Minnie the cat

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