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Some screaming, some cursing... some have lost their minds - Sam Montgomery, Blue Devil Blues

Author Topic: Port T 2014 Blues Week  (Read 3310 times)

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Offline Johnm

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Re: Port T 2014 Blues Week
« Reply #45 on: July 20, 2014, 02:10:14 PM »
Hi all,
I know that a number of you who will be attending Port Townsend this year have been wondering about how Paul Geremia has been doing since his recent stroke, and whether he would still be able to attend or teach at Port Townsend.  Paul will not be coming to Port Townsend, but fellow Rhode Islander Martin Grosswendt has been hired to replace him on staff.  Martin is a great singer and player and very versatile.  He is comfortable doing Mississippi-type material as well as East coat raggy stuff, and is one of the very best slide players I have heard, as well as a strong singer.  He is a good guy and good teacher, who also excels at fiddle, mandolin, banjo and other styles.  I think we're very fortunate to have such a strong musician and teacher available to step into the breach after Paul's stroke.  I hope everyone will make him feel welcome, and I'm excited at the prospect of folks being able to hear him and study with him on his first-ever trip to the West Coast.

Martin told me that he visited and played with Paul recently for a couple of hours.  Evidently Paul can play, but has difficulty remembering full songs at this stage (not surprising after a stroke).  Considering some of the other common results of stroke, this is very encouraging, though a long convalescence is almost certainly in store, as well as a lot of work to regain skills, memory, etc.  I hope we'll keep Paul in our thoughts and wish him the very best of outcomes from his current situation.

All best,
Johnm 
« Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 11:18:48 AM by Johnm »

Offline Stuart

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Re: Port T 2014 Blues Week
« Reply #46 on: July 20, 2014, 04:52:33 PM »
John:

Thanks for the update on Paul. It's good to know that he's on the road to recovery, although the road may be long and difficult.

As I've mentioned before, I first saw Martin perform back in the 70's when I lived in Vermont and he worked with/at Philo. He was a solid player back then and I'm sure that he has only gotten better. For those of you who will be attending PT, you're in for a treat.

Offline orvillej

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Re: Port T 2014 Blues Week
« Reply #47 on: July 21, 2014, 10:46:53 AM »
Glad to hear Paul's doing ok and glad to hear Martin's coming to PT. I haven't seen him since we all taught together at Guitar Intensives and I really enjoyed playing with him there. See y'all very soon!

Offline eagle rockin daddy

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Re: Port T 2014 Blues Week
« Reply #48 on: July 21, 2014, 05:52:25 PM »
Thanks for the update about Paul John.  Martin is an old friend, and a tremendous musician.  He will be a great asset to PT.

One of these years I'll get out there....

Mike

Offline funkapus

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Re: Port T 2014 Blues Week
« Reply #49 on: July 22, 2014, 10:36:12 AM »
Flying out in 24 hours (a few days early for a little vacation w/ family and friends beforehand).  Nervous, but really looking forward to the workshop!


Offline jed

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Re: Port T 2014 Blues Week
« Reply #50 on: August 11, 2014, 11:37:51 PM »
Well, folks, another Stellar blues week has come and gone.  Centrum worked really hard - and succeeded - to invigorate the faculty while leaving us wanting for the folks whom we're going to request for next year!

Great (and increasingly foggy) memories abound from this year's PTC - C - C, godammit!-  BW.  For me, hearing Gayle Dean Wardlow tell story after story about players, Paramount and the history in general was a real highlight - five times - of camp this time. 

So I was surprised to hear a unique radio interview on the way home from work tonight.  That story begins like this: 

Did you hear the one about the young reporter who covered the culture of 78 collecting and ended up at the bottom of the river - the Milwaukee River?

It's here, beginning at 23:15:  http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/podcasts/qpodcast_20140811_77856.mp3

Be advised that it starts slow, but gets interesting.  I recommend taking twenty-five minutes out of yer busy schedule to hear what one kid's search into "physical music" yielded for her. 

Cheers,
Jed
ok then:  http://jed.net

Offline Stuart

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Re: Port T 2014 Blues Week
« Reply #51 on: August 12, 2014, 03:45:20 PM »
...So I was surprised to hear a unique radio interview on the way home from work tonight.  That story begins like this: 

Did you hear the one about the young reporter who covered the culture of 78 collecting and ended up at the bottom of the river - the Milwaukee River?

It's here, beginning at 23:15:  http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/podcasts/qpodcast_20140811_77856.mp3



Be advised that it starts slow, but gets interesting.  I recommend taking twenty-five minutes out of yer busy schedule to hear what one kid's search into "physical music" yielded for her. 

Cheers,
Jed

Thanks for the link, Jed. I just finished Amanda's book and really enjoyed it. It's not a comprehensive history of 78 RPM Country Blues record collecting, with a lot of depth and detail, but  it's not meant to be. I'll write more about  it when time permits.

Here's a link to the Q blog page with just the interview with Amanda:

http://www.cbc.ca/q/blog/2014/08/11/78-rpm-collecting-culture/

http://www.cbc.ca/q/popupaudio.html?clipIds=2486389580

Offline Johnm

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Re: Port T 2014 Blues Week
« Reply #52 on: August 16, 2014, 05:07:08 PM »
Hi all,
Thanks, Jed, for reporting on this year's Port Townsend workshop.  I had a really good time re-uniting with old friends and meeting new ones.  It was an absolute kick to have Gayle Dean there.  As Jed and funkapus have noted elsewhere, his talks were fascinating--non-academic in the best possible way.  His knowledge of the music, the people who made it and the times is truly staggering, and he is eager and happy to share what he knows.  I was happy that Martin Grosswendt was there, and his classes were (not surprisingly) well attended and well received, as was his music.  It seemed like most teachers had a good number of students in their classes. 

The event has become so big (I think there were 280 paying participants!) that I either altogether missed or almost missed a lot of people who were there.  The size of the event and being preoccupied with teaching combined to make me miss out on a bunch of social opportunities, I reckon, but I'm hired to work, so that is fine.  My classes were fun.  As usual people were very game and up for whatever direction things went.  I reasonably successfully achieved something I decided to try to do before camp, which was to avoid doing straight repertoire classes as much as possible, and focus more on skill-building, either with regard to hearing, understanding the forms you encounter in the music, or how to get around in different tunings.  It seemed like it worked, but the people who were in the classes can give a better read on that than I.

I think that Artistic Director Daryl Davis and Program Director Mary Hilts are doing a great job of planning the event, assembling a strong teaching staff and anticipating participant's wants and needs.  I would be interested in hearing more from other Port Townsend attendees, though, and perhaps especially first or second-time attendees as to how you felt the event went off, what worked or didn't work for you.
All best,
Johnm

Offline funkapus

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Re: Port T 2014 Blues Week
« Reply #53 on: August 19, 2014, 09:56:12 AM »
The event has become so big (I think there were 280 paying participants!) that I either altogether missed or almost missed a lot of people who were there.  The size of the event and being preoccupied with teaching combined to make me miss out on a bunch of social opportunities, I reckon, but I'm hired to work, so that is fine.  My classes were fun.  As usual people were very game and up for whatever direction things went.  I reasonably successfully achieved something I decided to try to do before camp, which was to avoid doing straight repertoire classes as much as possible, and focus more on skill-building, either with regard to hearing, understanding the forms you encounter in the music, or how to get around in different tunings.  It seemed like it worked, but the people who were in the classes can give a better read on that than I.

I think that Artistic Director Daryl Davis and Program Director Mary Hilts are doing a great job of planning the event, assembling a strong teaching staff and anticipating participant's wants and needs.  I would be interested in hearing more from other Port Townsend attendees, though, and perhaps especially first or second-time attendees as to how you felt the event went off, what worked or didn't work for you.
Hi John. As a first-timer,  I've been waiting to respond to this until after I found the time to respond to Mary's survey and thus had a chance to crystalize my thoughts.

Overall I thought the workshop was great:  I had a really good time, I met some great people and made friendships, had fun and learned a lot.  The challenge now is finding the time apart from work to get down/retain a decent chunk of what I learned.  If I could wave a magic wand and change anything, I'd have the workshop be two weeks long, with off days in-between workshop days so that there'd be more time to go over stuff; but I know that's not realistic.  Still, though, the schedule seemed very full -- is it usually that way?  There's an argument that more organized stuff each day = more value for the money; but there's also an argument that more time to work on what you were just exposed to prior to leaving, more time to play with other students and work on things with them, etc., is also of value.  A couple of frequent attendees noted to me that the number of "wild card" sessions was lower than in past years; and I wonder if that's because the schedule was busier (and if so, so were the instructors).

Since a lot of folks come every year (or most years), a lot of attendees know many of the other people there.  This gives them a bond that newcomers don't yet have, and it can be tough or intimidating to find a way in.  It worked out OK for me, because the hall my room was on had a number of really outgoing and welcoming people:  I didn't feel so much like an outsider.  But I got the impression from some first-timers -- people who are less extroverted -- that they had a little harder time finding a way in, if you know what I mean. 

I do think that it needs to be made clear earlier what level of experience the most basic classes available for an instrument will expect.  Part of the problem is that the class descriptions go out fairly late -- well after most attendees have decided to come.  But it would still be good to make clear whether "beginner" means "beginner to playing this genre of blues on the instrument" vs. "beginner to playing blues on this instrument" vs. "absolute beginner on (instrument)".  In one class I went to aimed at relative beginners/early intermediates, there were some folks who were complete beginners to guitar -- they did not know how to make any first position chords.  I hope they were there for other instruments, and had come to that guitar class on a whim; but I think that wasn't the case.  So they were stuck, and it was really challenging for the instructor to meet everyone's needs.

I understand that they tried "jamming dorms" or "jamming wings" in the past and it didn't quite work; I'd be interested in knowing how it failed.  I'm sympathetic to folks who want to go to sleep earlier and whose sleep is disturbed by folks jamming late; but sending folks who want to jam later to 204 doesn't work well either, IMO.  I don't know what the solution is; but I'm surprised to hear that trying to put late-night folks together didn't work when tried previously.

I looked for Weenie swag at the Crossroads shop but didn't see any.   :)

I had some other thoughts -- I gave some suggestions for classes and instructors -- but this is already long.  Oh, and as far as your plans for your classes went:  I was only with you for the Frank Hovington class and that afternoon bossa nova rhythm wild card you did; but I heard nothing but raves from folks who were with you all week.  So that suggests success.  :)


Offline Bald Melon Jefferson

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Re: Port T 2014 Blues Week
« Reply #54 on: August 20, 2014, 01:46:49 PM »
Thank you funkapus for summing things up so well; saving me much time and energy typing so many thoughts and observations that parallel my own. The line-up of teachers was great. There were too many good choices to take it all in, which is sure better than the alternative. You mentioned the 2 week idea to me at PT and I don't know.... We all seemed pretty overloaded and fried by the end of the week, teachers included. But it's a long flight and fair expense from DC for one week....a long drive from So. Cal as well.  Maybe we could rent a house for another week at the conclusion to the festival just to review what we were exposed to. I don't know...sounds like work.
 This was my second visit in 5 years. I'm a slow adhd learner and at the time of my first visit had barely mastered the alt thumb thing, never played in front of others let alone WITH others. I dedicated my off-time to trying to be a "good student".....documenting collating & cataloging all the recordings and written material from the various all-over the map classes, practicing and "learning" alone in my room ..standard tunings,open D, open G, cross-note, drop D, double drop d...  boy that didn't work.
Looking back, I could have bought a lot of instructional dvds  and "learned" more repertoire etc. for the buck. Looking back, the things that I remember and value were not the songs I failed to learn. What brought me back  5 years down the road were the people, instructors, tidbits, intangibles, inspirations, ah ha moments...

So, this time I vowed to focus more on the people, performances, the music in the clubs, the found moments playing. Or just socializing with people that don't stare at you like a space alien when professing one's admiration for Arthur Blake...  But for whatever reason, (Did I mention I am by nature a hermit, painfully shy in a crowd?), things started out poorly...that is, I was repeating the past, trying to "get the most out of my educational experience"... 4 repertoire lessons a day, spending 1 1/2 hrs of down time for example Then I finally got smart, going to a couple of GDW's lectures... took off a class to sit on the bluff overlooking the beautiful water getting down F. Hovington's opening 8 bars of Lonesome Road Blues,(sincere thanks John), thus freeing up the evening for Mike to drag me to the Weenie House to enjoy GDW singing some funny s**t w/ Lauren and Miller et al. Going to town w/ Gary, Rob, Chris and Darren, for some great concerts....Back to the weenie house w/ notrev to what..?... drink frozen gin out of tumblers?.....oi.
   PT blues week can be whatever you make it; the GREAT teachers are there, each with their own unique styles and methods (or non-methods), your kindred souls are there. It can be educational, inspirational, just plain fun or any combination thereof. Yes, the initial clubby camaraderie between the other participants who all seem to already know each other and their considerable talent can frighten you into your shell until you realize how very open, sharing and non-judgmental the  99.9% are; and when you make a small effort you'll soon have your own lexicon of inside jokes and shared experiences.

This years' highlights;
 1. Watching Screamin' Red eat popcorn at 2 am.
 2.  Watching Lightnin' attempt to tune his banjo onstage for what seemed like 15 minutes when  fuckapus leans in to ask me, "Do you know how long it takes to tune a banjo?" No I don't, how long? "No one knows..."
 3. Pondering the surreal and wonderful inappropriateness of a 10 year old Roman recording and singing, "What's That Smell Like Fish?" while beaming mom looks on.
 4.  The "No jamming in the dorms after 10:00pm" sign altered to, "No Jammies in the dorms after 10:00pm"  Hey, the late night noise in the dorms as I drifted off to sleep was...yes...music to my ears. Respectfully sequester the light sleepers somewhere quiet and safe but don't make everyone else trek all the way over to 204 just to stay up and hang out. Hanging out in your own local dorm parlor till you fall asleep in your chair is a must and a joy (no metal finger picks though).
5. Oh yeah, the new songs.

I'll go again and do it better. I think the 3rd time's gonna be the charm.


Thanks to the Staff, Mary and Daryl for a great job,
Gary
« Last Edit: August 20, 2014, 01:53:59 PM by Bald Melon Jefferson »
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