Date: Tuesday, October 18,
2005, 2:52 PM
[This mailing list is designed to keep our friends updated on news and our performance schedule. If you would like to be removed from this list, just e-mail a reply with "remove" in the subject header.]
First, just the facts: F2M returns to Bach Lunch on Friday, October 21, from noon until 1 p.m., at Parc Sans Souci, 201 East Vermilion in downtown Lafayette. Beginning at 11:45 a.m., Guama's, Italian Pie and Joey's Specialty Food & Catering will be offering a limited number of lunches for $6 for the general public, $5 for members of the Lafayette Natural History Museum and Planetarium. Drinks are $1.
If you like dialing in to public radio…and who doesn’t…we're also scheduled for a live-in-studio performance and interview segment during Cecil Doyle's Medicine Ball Caravan show on KRVS 88.7 FM the day before, Thursday, Oct. 20. Cecil’s show airs from 11 a.m. to noon. BTW, it’s fundraising week for KRVS—if you’re so inclined, we’d encourage you to show your support for their wonderfully eclectic mix of programming.
We’ll start our bringing-you-up-to-date ramble by highlighting a few performances since our last e-newsletter…just to show we haven’t let our strings get completely rusty ;-)
We’re looking forward to this week’s Bach Lunch because the last time we played in Lafayette was in November 2004, when we kicked off the Acadiana Art Council's TwoStep Literary & Music series...BTW, that gig--which coupled our music with the poetry of our friend Darrell Bourque--caught us by surprise in turning out to be (along with the year 2000 Art House show with Michael Doucet captured on our CD) one of the most rewarding and memorable performances we've ever experienced…those of you who were there would probably agree.
This year, in July, we enjoyed playing the St. Martin Parish “Summer Music at My Library” Series, including shows in Cecilia, Stephensville, Parks, Catahoula, St. Martinville & Breaux Bridge, La. For those performances, we brought along our pal Fiddlin’ Dave Trainer as special guest--which is always a hoot for us as well as the audiences. Especially in front of a group of kids, Dave is as funny onstage as Curley Ray Cline, the legendary Stanley Brothers fiddler who was one of Dave’s many music influences. We also kicked off the inaugural Bluegrass on the Bayou festival in April at LSU in Baton Rouge, performed for the fifth year running at the Festival of Live Oaks in New Iberia in March and played a set in January at the Magnolia State Bluegrass Association Winter Show in Columbia, Miss., both shows also featuring with our bass-playing buddy Butch Cooksey, of the Cooksey bluegrass gospel family, as our special guest.
Our friends have probably noticed a significant decrease in our public performances over the last year or two. Since 2002, Curtis has faced increasingly severe bouts of chronic, widespread nerve pain caused by continuing degeneration of two cervical discs...fortunately the problem seems episodic...unfortunately each episode seems to be getting more severe and lasting longer. As far as he can tell, the latest seemed to be triggered by three hours of post-show jamming after the Saturday Night on the Teche show he produced in June 2004. Still not out of the woods 16 months later, Curtis chalks it off to the wear and tear of decades of heavy camera gear--and now instruments---hanging around his neck, plus years of motorcycle racing. Wasn't it David Crosby who said, "If I knew I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself" <g>.
The physical effects, at their worst, are pretty debilitating, making an extensive schedule of commitments a little dicey…that’s why we've limited our bookings to a handful of festivals, shows and musical series over the past year or so. We’ve pretty much written off the 3-hour performance and out-of-town club scene for the foreseeable future, and have been forced to be very selective about any bookings we consider.
It’s been quite a hard road to travel and it’s forced us to make some difficult decisions. After a lot of soul searching about whether music was going to remain part of our lives under these circumstances, we realized we could keep the aspects that were meaningful--playing the music we love and sharing with you the joy and sorrow it conveys--by disregarding much of the extra baggage that the music “biz” entails…so we’ve cut back on performances, promotional efforts and even the frequency of our e-mail communications and mailings. It's sure easier to get away with this approach when you're plowing the back forty of folk music and not trying to make a living in “commercial” music <BG>.
Anyhow, we keep the best part …playing now and then for all of you who come up after shows and tell us how much a certain song has touched you, as well as for those magical moments when we find something new in a song we've played a hundred times...caught playing at that instant for our own amazement, to paraphrase the late John Duffey of the Seldom Scene.
Besides, we’d love to record a new CD here in Home from the Mill Studios at some point…we might have learned a few things in the last five years ;-)
While in a reflective mood, we’d like to share a few meandering thoughts about our music with all of you who have shared it with us over the years.
We've always described our approach as “folkgrass,” and after seven years it still seems to fit us well. The heart of the folk music tradition is taking a song, one that may be centuries old, and making it new and fresh in the reinterpretation.
It's the real heart, the honest emotions captured in these songs that continue to speak to you, no matter how many times you've heard them or sung them. People play music for a variety of reasons: for us, the main attraction is the opportunity to share the emotions these songs communicate so well, whether happiness or sorrow.
Most of the songs we play have stood the test of time: let’s hope we all age that gracefully. These songs still speak to us as human beings because the feelings they communicate mean as much today as they did a century ago, kind of like “anti-pop”…thankfully, they're not destined to be used up in 15 minutes, and then tossed out in the cultural landfill to make way for the next “big” thing. Of course, we're pretty flexible, and when we find a song like Randy Newman's “Louisiana 1927” which “ought” to be part of this tradition, we're happy to correct the oversight.
With the mind-numbing human suffering we’ve seen and experienced along the Gulf in the aftermath of two horrendous hurricanes, some of these songs express the feelings we all have such difficulty in verbalizing. Dominic Cross of the Baton Rouge Advocate asked us recently if we’d be writing songs dealing with the emotional wreckage which washed over all of us in the aftermath of these storms. In thinking about it, we realized that those songs had already been written and have been part of our set lists from the beginning…we can’t imagine a song that could capture the recent suffering better than “Louisiana 1927”…just as Gillian Welch’s “Annabelle” seems the definitive sorrowful elegy for our shared “hard life of tears,” resignation and loss. ’Til we can write something that communicates those emotions better, we’re happy to do our small part in keeping these songs in circulation. That's our folk influence shining through.
What we've borrowed from bluegrass is its rhythm and drive, which actually comes from a more modern musical sensibility. By the mid-20th century, thanks to Bill Monroe and scores of musicians he influenced, elements of old-time string music were melded with a driving, bluesy, swinging--dare we say it--rocking improvisational style. We just love the irony of how most people and even many bluegrass musicians have this romantic, “straight from the mountains” view of a music that Bill Monroe built partly from some pretty modern timber.
We may not follow the bluegrass commandments word by word, but we like to feel we read between the lines to capture its spirit…we were tickled when a reviewer of our CD came to the same conclusion.
So if someone needs a label for our particular blend of acoustic Americana roots music, the word folkgrass is the best we could do…if you come up with something better, we’re eager to hear from you <g>.
Best wishes friends, we appreciate your support for our music and hope to see y'all down the road again real soon.
Curtis & Anne Darrah
"Old-Time Folk Music"
We’ve got a few other things in the works for down the
road…we’ll keep your posted with e-bulletins.
Fair to Middlin