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Hello New Decade

Posted by FretlessinTexas on Friday, January 1, 2010

Goodbye to a decade from Hell. That's what Time Magazine called it.

Bookended by 9/11 and a financial wipeout, the first 10 years of the century will likely go down as the most dispiriting decade Americans have lived through since the Great Depression. But despite all that, I made some wonderful friends in old-time music.

One of them was Don Borchelt, who wrote me this: "Let's hope that in the new decade, if we can't have peace and prosperity- and I'm not holding my breath- hopefully we can still learn a lot of tunes we didn't know before. That will help us get through, anyway. "

Meeting new friends and learning new tunes. That's what this venue has provided me, free of charge, which is a pretty amazing thing. I probably met a dozen or more BHO members for the first time at Clifftop 09 but it seemed like we already knew each other because of our back and forth here.

When baseball great Ty Cobb died in 1961, only three baseball players attended his funeral. Leave it to say, he was not known as a warm and caring person. Toward the end of his life, he reportedly said, "I wish I had more friends."

So my new year's resolution will be -- in addition to finding a good challenging job in economic development  -- is to make more friends and learn more tunes. I figure you can't have enough of either.


Speaking about friends, if the weather cooperates, Gil Sewell, an old-time fiddle player from Pikeville, Tenn., will be visiting my home for three or four days in a couple of  weeks.  We will play the Firefly Coffee House here in Fort Wayne on Friday, Jan. 15, as the "Dogtrotters." On Saturday, the 16th, we will join the Spy Run String Band and play a contra dance at the University of Saint Francis.  On Sunday, we'll go to church and then figure out something to do in the afternoon.

Gilbert has a real archaic style to his fiddle playing. He often stomps his feet and hops around in his seat when he plays. A born and bred Tennessean, he has made friends in old-time from all over the country but refers to midwestern and New England fiddle tunes, some of which he begrudgingly likes and even plays, as "Yankee pussy music."  Those who know him never take offense but just laugh. We talk on the phone several times a week. Right now, he is infatuated with a tune called "Old Joe Bone,'  from the Carter Brothers in Mississippi, circa late 1920s. He'll be all excited about a new tune next week.

Once a year, Labor Day weekend, Gil and his wife Dianne hold a three-day old-time music party called "Sewell Fest." I started going to it when I lived in Alabama and I've continued the trek from northern Indiana to Gil's beautiful 200-acre spread in the Sequatchee Valley, about an hour north of Chattanooga. Gil and Dianne have found a little piece of heaven in Pikeville, and I am so happy and proud to call them friends.


On Aug. 19, 2007, an oil tanker off the coast of Austrailia split in two, dumping 20,000 tons of crude oil into the ocean. A member of the Australian Parliament appeared on a TV news program to reassure the public. See link below for interview.






2 comments on “Hello New Decade”

banjotef Says:
Friday, January 1, 2010 @8:27:15 AM

Thanks for the message, Dean. I hope to meet you sometime, I live only a few miles south of you. Keep us posted on your gigs.

Guinevere Says:
Tuesday, January 5, 2010 @6:32:11 AM

Hi Dean, just a note to say I always enjoy your posts and hope maybe to hear you play while you're still up here in Indiana. Might look up that Firefly Coffee House for next week.

I play guitar with the Goshen jams when I can, still struggle w/clawhammer, but working on it! Your playing is really fine and your posts always interesting. Good luck with the job search. Guinevere

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