"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Folk jam

I wish I had a photo of this, and perhaps an audioclip. The Butte Folk Music Society has a website of sorts but it's more of a cry for help than a website. Nothing that captures how much fun it is to go to one of their jams. There were two or three banjos, a fiddle, a mandolin, a slide guitar, a couple harmonicas, and several guitars (including mine) in the circle yesterday, along with a few people who were just singing. They went around the circle and everybody took turns picking a song, which the whole group then would play and sing. Those who were able to play some lead / solo took turns soloing. (I'm not there yet with my playing.)

I happened upon the group several months ago at Augie's Coffeehouse (named for the Anglican "Church of St. Augustine" to which it is attached) and have been wanting to go back with my guitar ev'ry since. When my turns came around, I picked "Can the Circle Be Unbroken," "Goodnight Irene," and "Wildwood Flower." I learned some "new" old songs I want to add to my repertoire too, like "Hard Times" and...shoot. Should have been writing things down. I was reminded that a crucial piece of equipment I haven't yet acquired is the bible of group folk-singing books, Rise Up Singing. I don't usually think of it until I get into a group where people want to sing old-timey songs but nobody can ever remember all the words (not to mention the chords).

There were some really great bluegrass players in the group. I need to go to one of their "Bluegrass Jams" so I can learn some of that pickin'. I stayed for over two hours yesterday and finally had to stop because my left hand was getting a cramp and I was getting hoarse and my fingers were already sore from playing at the office holiday party the night before.

I'll try to remember to take a picture next time. Meanwhile here's the Carter Family to tide us all over. There is some great close-up footage of Mother Maybelle's guitar picking.


Bellabell said...

So Nancy says to me, "Emily's found this great place in the country where they do jams."

So my mind lumbers ahead: "Ah! She's always said she wanted to make jam and apple butter and cider and other organic goodies. So what do they do? Everyone picks their own berries or fruits and then they get together in the shed to add spices and bottle them. . . . Real community endeavor; that's SO much like Em. . . ."

Never mind.

hmr said...

Mmmm! Maybe next time you could make jam! Then, even if we're not in Butte County, we can all enjoy the fruits (hee hee) of your labors.

I move Emily makes jam. Anyone second? [I think I'm on too many committees that talk like this.]