[Harp-L] SPAH '09
- To: h-l <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: [Harp-L] SPAH '09
- From: fjm <bad_hat@xxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 18 Aug 2009 19:39:47 -0700
- User-agent: Thunderbird 22.214.171.124 (Windows/20090605)
Jerry Devillier was at the last Filisko teach in. He plays Cajun music
on a 10 hole diatonic. No altered tunings, no extra reeds just a plain
old 10 hole. He imitates the accordion parts. As Joe Filisko says,
"the man is a national treasure". I don't think I'd disagree with that
statement. I just parked myself at his table and spent the next 2 hours
listening and playing trying to get it. Jerry had a friend there
too. I've forgotten his name at the moment. Nicest guy you'd ever want
to meet. Makes me want to get in a car and just drive for 2 and a half
days and get to Eunice Louisiana to hear Jerry play his Friday night gig.
I was fascinated by the Hohner giant harmonicas. I think they had a
Blues Harp and a Marine Band. Jerry Deall has them in a photo. What
was fascinating were not the harmonicas. Nope it was all the people who
were posing for pictures in front of the harmonicas.
Buzz was Buzz only more so than ever and better than ever. I think
therein lies the rub. You spend an awful lot of time standing around
talking to friends. You can't really report much of that in a Spah
Chris's product is very attractive in person. Beautifully finished
harmonicas. Christelle is larger than life and does play quite well at
the jams but really that wasn't so surprising because her videos are all
about hurling herself from cliffs and seeing if she lands on her feet.
That and the blues jam is a lot like playing to a backing track. She
has this low end wail she does that spans many notes. I'm incredibly
jealous of it and I'd say I want to know how she does but I think I
actually figured out how it is she does it, practice. She was talking
about playing the 2 and 3 draw notes. Practice by going open note bend,
open note next bend, open note next bend over and over again. that and
playing Yesterday, it's all low end bends.
I hate to think of the carbon footprint of this event. Can't be pretty.
Probably as bad as the collective sleep deficit. Personally I liked
the venue. I was tipped to an Ethiopian restaurant and foodwise it was
the highlight of the event. Sacramento is beautiful and the climate
suits me. The hotel was fine I grew to like how spread out it all was.
Paul Messinger showed up for one night. Quite the treat. Will
Scarlett could be an event unto himself. Got to see Cissy Jones
replacing reeds in a seminar. Thoroughly enjoyed that. She's a hero of
mine. She handled being talked over by the audience with aplomb.
The effects throw down was entertaining and LOUD! I was finally driven
from the room towards the end and I had 25 dB flat cut ear plugs in. It
was that loud. I learned what the difference between a HOG and POG is.
I also got to hear an RP in person, intriguing but it has some
similarities with MP3's. Same crunchy sibilance as it distorts.
The new guys were astounding. One person in particular blew my mind.
Unfortunately I don't know which of the 4 it was because they were all
sitting together in the blues jam and I was in back. Best solo I heard
all week that didn't come out of a Dennis Gruenling or a Steve Baker
etc. Masterfully musical.
Way too much to do this year. Absolutely no down time. There was
something fun to do from 8 am through pretty much 1 am every day.
Exhausting. Love that Torch Club neon sign. I very much enjoyed the
Harpbeats short set at the club. Winslow was also quite fun that night.
Rather than start my week at deficit I left early so I missed Mark
Hummel etc and Jason's last set.
Charlie Musselwhite was playing a Cruncher. I'd say it worked really
well for what it is he does.
Richard Sleigh deserves an award for being the hardest working man at
SPAH. He did the teach in. the beginners jam at 10 am and he backed
anyone and everyone for the entire week. Great 3 harmonica thing with
James Conway, Brendan Power and Richard Sleigh.
I will admit that I approach every SPAH with more than a little dread.
I have great ambivalence for the event. I think about day 1 1/2 I had
had it and wanted to leave. By the end of day 2 I was fine and it was
always fun for the rest of the week. Better than average SPAH. Calmer
with less apparent drama. Really well run and kudos to Warren for the
top notch job on publicity. fjm
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