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Got the blues, can't be satisfied - Mississippi John Hurt, 1928, who believed the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation

Author Topic: Port Townsend Slide and Steel Workshop  (Read 2287 times)

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Offline Peter McCracken

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Port Townsend Slide and Steel Workshop
« on: January 27, 2006, 04:21:44 PM »
Hi all,

I wanted to let you know about a new little gathering we're trying out in Port Townsend this summer, for sliders and steelers. It'll be from July 9 - 16. Of note to blues players - Mike Dowling will be teaching bottleneck all week, and Freddie Roulette will be teaching lap steel. Others on staff:

Dobro - Sally Van Meter and Orville Johnson
Pedal Steel and Lap Slide - Bobby Black, Chuck Campbell, and Dan Tyack
Lap Slide - Darick Campbell

This one has really been fun to put together. I am wicked excited about it, and not only for the music. The personalities of the staff have some common qualities - generosity, enthusiasm, humbleness - that are sure to make a really fine week. More info at the Centrum web site: www.centrum.org.

See you all soon -

Peter

Offline Slack

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Re: Port Townsend Slide and Steel Workshop
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2006, 05:55:53 PM »
Wow, what a great line up Peter.  So glad you are bringing the Campbell brothers back to Port Townsend... those guys are unbelievable.

If you do one more summer workshop... I may have to move to Port Townsend... and live in your spare bedroom.

Congratulations on putting this together!

Offline Rivers

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Re: Port Townsend Slide and Steel Workshop
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2006, 07:09:33 PM »
Cool, better start working on my lap style again so I'm not a complete rusty klutz in that area.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Port Townsend Slide and Steel Workshop
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2006, 10:47:33 AM »
Hi Peter,
Wow, what a great line-up!  Congratulations on putting this together, it must be the strongest event of this type there has ever been (have there even been others?).  So many great players and great people.  I would love to hear Darick Campbell and Freddie Roulette play together.  That's scary in a good way  It's great the breadth of styles covered, too.  This really looks stellar.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Peter McCracken

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Re: Port Townsend Slide and Steel Workshop
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2006, 04:09:03 PM »
John, I don't know that there's been a gathering with more than 2 or 3 kinds of sliding - there's the pedal thing in St Louis; the Hawaiian Steel Guitar gang meets in Hawaii and in Illinois, I think. I have learned so much about sliding and it's players, and once again I find myself unbelievably grateful to be doing what I'm doing. I have met so many fascinating people and fabulous players.

Slack, move on up here, we'll fix you up - house, guitar, girlfriend, let me know.

More soon,

Peter

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Port Townsend Slide and Steel Workshop
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2006, 05:12:29 PM »
Slack, move on up here, we'll fix you up - house, guitar, girlfriend, let me know.

Don't tell his wife.

Congrats, Peter. Looks like a great workshop - a smart idea.

Offline Slack

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Re: Port Townsend Slide and Steel Workshop
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2006, 09:12:44 PM »
Quote
Slack, move on up here, we'll fix you up - house, guitar, girlfriend, let me know.

OK! 

Let me see if I can clear it with the wife and I'll get back to you...

Offline Johnm

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Re: Port Townsend Slide and Steel Workshop
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2006, 11:03:34 AM »
Hi all,
I just got back from attending the week-closing concert of the Port Townsend Slide and Steel Workshop.  Ginny and I went over, starting the day at Lummi Island in the North sound near Bellingham where we had played a house concert on Friday.  Logistics were a bit iffy with two ferry rides and a lot of driving in between, but we arrived on the dot at concert start time of 1:30 and boy was it worth it!
The show opened with Dan Tyack, a Seattle player whom some of you may remember from PT the year the Campbell Brothers were there.  For his set, Dan was joined by Orville Johnson on rhythm dobro and a pianist whose name I cannot recall, unfortunately.  Dan played a couple of different lap steels and dobro during the course of his set, very tasty and great tone, especially on the lap steel.  He was followed by the dobro player, Sally Van Meter, who played a beautiful, mostly solo set.  Sally is a very lyrical player with an unbelievably quiet right hand--how does she do that, playing with picks?  Mike Dowling joined her for her last number, doing masterful accompaniment as per usual for him, and played the next set.  As those of you who heard him at PT last summer or have heard him elsewhere know, Mike is an ace musician, and his comfort with what he's doing and relaxed singing style really drew the audience in.  The first half of the concert closed with Freddie Roulette, who some of you may know from his recordings with Charlie Musselwhite in years gone by.  Pete McCracken pointed out in his intro to Freddie that one way in which you can measure a musician's distinctiveness is in how long it takes you to identify him simply by hearing the sound of his instrument--with Freddie, it generally takes about one measure, as Pete said.  Freddie was joined by an all-star band featuring Orville Johnson on electric guitar, Keith Lowe on electric bass and Les Merryhew on drums, all of whom had smiles plastered on their faces for the entire set, as Freddie screamed on the lap steel, carried on conversations with it, and created seemingly impossible close chordal voicings the likes of which I have never heard on a lap steel before.
The second set opened with the legendary Bobby Black, known for his work with Commander Cody, Barbara Mandrell, and a host of others.  Though known primarily as a pedal steel player, Bobby has particularly been enjoying playing Hawaiian music on the lap steel recently, and focused mostly on that for his set, which also featured the pianist, Carlton Campbell on drums, Keith Lowe on bass, and Orville Johnson and Mike Dowling on guitars.  Bobby perfectly exemplified something that I have often noticed--when you watch people who really know what they are doing, they almost always look like they are faking it, because it doesn't seem possible that what you are hearing could be the result of the "almost nothing" that they appear to be doing.  Bobby's beautiful liquid tone and perfect intonation were a joy to hear, and his band wasn't bad, either.  Orville followed with a solo set.  I'm spoiled, because I get to hear him a lot, but I always get a kick out of people seeing Orville for the first time, and being exposed to the force of nature that he is.
The concert closed with a set by the Campbell Brothers, who were joined by an excellent young singer named Tiffany, a superb young bass player named ?, and a Nashville pedal steel player named Joe Wright.  Their line-up was otherwise the same as when they were at the Blues Workshop, with Darrick Campbell on lap steel, Chuck Campbell on pedal steel, Phil Campbell on electric guitar and Carlton Campbell on drums.  They opened with a version of Sam Cooke's "Someday A Change Is Gonna Come", featuring my favorite of the group, Darrick.  He has taken vocal inflections on the lap steel to new heights, and at one phrase ending, hit seven or eight discrete notes off of one right-hand attack, all perfectly in tune and in time.  Whew!  The Campbells, unsurprisingly, got everybody up, singing dancing and clapping.  They concluded the show by inviting up all the staff at the week for a closing number.  The people who seemed to particularly shine in the concluding free-for-all were Freddie Roulette and Bobby Black, who just screamed out, and had Darrick and Chuck Cambell and Sally Van Meter give up ther seats and walk over to see what he was doing.  I think everybody went home feeling drained but happy.
I hope Centrum will be able to do the event again, and I wish I had been able to attend, if only to back up the players.  I'd be interested to hear from anyone who was there for the whole week.  It must have been great.  Kudos to Peter McCracken for coming up with the idea for this event, selling it to Centrum, and putting in all the work to make it happen!
All best,
Johnm         
« Last Edit: July 16, 2006, 11:03:50 PM by Johnm »

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