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My songs, they have just the one chord, there's none of that fancy stuff you hear now, with lots of chords in one song. If I find another chord, I leave it for another song. - Junior Kimbrough

Author Topic: Port Townsend Blues week 2017  (Read 1165 times)

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Offline Suzy T

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Port Townsend Blues week 2017
« on: August 03, 2017, 09:47:34 AM »
I've been thinking a lot about the Weenie Campbells and missing the Weenie House this week at Blues in Port Townsend, the first time in 7 years that I've been here. This week has been heavenly so far, except for the smoky air (we are getting smoke from fires in both Canada and eastern Washington -- the first few days, though, were beautifully clear and we could see all kinds of snow-capped mountains and glittering waters).
Jerron has brought a new generation of acoustic blues players here -- including a bunch who love the same kind of string band blues that I've been obsessed with my whole adult life (and in some ways, even before).  Plus Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons have brought four (I think that's right) young  students of theirs from Seattle, so there are actually young black people here, more than just one or 2. Last night there was a dance - second set was a wonderful zydeco set with Sunpie Barnes and Alvin Youngblood Hart (playing electric guitar) that just shredded.  The first set was a 10-piece acoustic band which I had the honor of playing with, Jerron, Phil Wiggins, Meredith Axelrod, Ernie Vega, Kit Stymee Stovepipe, Aaron Gunn and I did not get the names of the young men playing piano, guitar and bass, all of whom were great. Everyone sang and played their asses off, a rocking dance set of blues, rags and old pop songs.  It was just wonderful, everyone was in heaven.
Phil Wiggins has just been playing so wonderfully, even more so than usual it seems.
Then there's folks like Henry Butler (OMG) and I finally got to meet Happy Traum (and his wife Jane) who I have admired forever and he is just playing great these days. Lightning Wells is always awesome in his laid-back fashion, he knows every single song there is.  Even Meredith couldn't stump him.
Finally got to play a bit with Eleanor Ellis who I've admired for a long time, and Lauren Sheehan is being a fabulous den mother.
I am sharing a house with my dear friend Steve James (guitarist, singer, mandolin player and chef extraordinaire) and my other dear friend Meredith Axelrod and that is a perfect household.
Maria Muldaur is also here and I am part of a jug band that will be backing her up at her concert set, it is a great pleasure to hear her sing with an acoustic band.
I'm sure I'm forgetting someone really important
I know I'm forgetting someone really important here but anyway long story short is, I'm having a fantastic week and feel really blessed to be here.  I know the Weenie House has become too expensive but perhaps someday more of you Weenies will return! It's so great to see Shelley again but I miss the rest of youse.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Port Townsend Blues week 2017
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2017, 11:38:33 AM »
Hi Suzy: Thanks for the detailed report/love letter from PT. It sounds like a great time with a great group of people. I've only met Steve and Meredith briefly at their concerts, but it sounds like they make for a couple of fine housemates, in addition to being top shelf musical artists.

Enjoy the rest of the week at PT and try to keep cool!

Offline Rivers

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Re: Port Townsend Blues week 2017
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2017, 05:27:06 PM »
Phil Wiggins is a force of nature, totally blew my mind to have him join me on Depot Blues one time. He just eased into what I was doing and lifted it to a level I'd never achieved before, or since. I was literally stunned and breathless afterwards. Phil is a great, giving musician who tries to make everyone he plays with sound the best they can be. I will never forget it.

Please tell Steve James "A Big Hi from Mark!". I really miss bumping into him since we moved from Austin to Upstate NY.

Offline Suzy T

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Re: Port Townsend Blues week 2017
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2017, 12:14:59 PM »
Well I am still high from an amazing week. Jerron has really created something excellent and unique -- there's plenty of acoustic blues, to be sure, but also lots of associated music --- string band blues, ragtime, pre-blues material, and the like. I loved the strong young people presence and also the presence of Eleanor Ellis, Henry Butler, Sunpie Barnes, and of course Phil Wiggins who is is playing better and better and deeper and deeper.

I definitely did miss Del Rey, John Miller, etc.  But even without these inspiring musicians, it was....quite good to put it mildly.  I guess I won't be on staff there next year since I am supposedly on faculty for Fiddle Tunes (and can't do both for some reason only known to Centrum) but I do hope to be back at Blues for 2019. 

I have also heard rave reviews of Augusta Blues Week under Phil Wiggins' leadership this year!!

Offline joem

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Re: Port Townsend Blues week 2017
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2017, 08:08:09 AM »
I have to agree, PT was really great this year.  Too many good classes to choose between, great instructors, talented participants, music everywhere.  Very fun.

And dammn...did you hear Ethan Leinwand on piano?  He totally blew me away.

This was my second year at PT, and my second year playing guitar.  There were fewer "deer in the headlights" moments for me this year, but but it's still pretty overwhelming.  Hoping that next year I might be confident enough to sit in on a porch jam.

Offline Suzy T

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Re: Port Townsend Blues week 2017
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2017, 11:19:55 AM »
Joe, nobody will bite you if you sit in on a porch jam. You don't have to play a solo.  It can be really fun to just sit in and "ride the wave" and support the rhythm.

Offline joem

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Re: Port Townsend Blues week 2017
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2017, 09:31:16 AM »
Hi Suzy,

Intellectually I agree with you, but I'm just not confident enough to jump in.  Also, my playing so far is really exclusively learning specific songs, and I'm not in the mode of thinking about playing chord progressions in a particular key, so I need to work on that aspect from a skill perspective.

But first I need to get unstuck on singing while playing.

 


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