Posted by Chris Cooper on Monday, April 26, 2010
I've just got back from the Orwell Bluegrass Festival near Ipswitch, England. The weekend was a great one, a well organised festival, a credit to its organisors.
My band the Down County Boys (downcountyboys.com) played twice during the weekend, once on the stage in the Bar and once on the mainstage.
Friday night we played on the Bar stage, It was without doubt the hardest gig I have ever played! The bar was packed out, with the beer flowing freely, so there was lots of chating in towards the back of the room, we had no monitor speakers which ordinarily wouldn't be of much conscequence but with the noise levels in the room high it made playing almost impossible. (I suppose the sound engineer being deaf and having to use two hearing aids, didn't help the situation either LOL!) I was really down on myself getting towards the end of the set; so I was relieved to hear Dan (our Mandolinist) exclaim, "WOW! that was the hardest gig I've ever played! My Dad who is a vastly experienced musician and band player said precisely the same thing, so that made me feel much much more at ease about the whole experience.
Saturday night came our time to play the mainstage! After the previous nights events I was eager to get pickin' and this time things were perfect! The whole band played like stars and we went down like a storm! I loved every second of it and I could tell he other guys did too.
The entire weekend was spent jamming away with a special treat coming in the form of a visit from ex down county boys mandolinist Mike Rogers, who im sure some of the guys who have been around for a while will remember. Mike was the original Mandolinist with the band when it was first formed over 40 years ago! We picked for hours and hours, loved it.
I was also delighted to get the chace to spend half an hour picking with Richard Collings, who is a tremendous player from over here in England. He gave me a few tips which I have taken on board and am working hard on.
On behalf of JoeMac,
Joe and Bob (The Old Grey Dogs)also attened the festival but unfortunatelty had to leave shortly after their set on the mainstage on Saturday afternoon, as Joe had to be home in time to get a flight to Spain later on Saturday night. Both Joe and Bob were gutted they had to miss the rest of the festival and they were missed terribly by everyone who knows them.
The OGD's (Old Grey Dogs) show on saturday afternoon was absolutely fantastic! I was in the audience and thoughroughly enjoyed every note. Joe's Banjo playing was immaculate (as you might expect) and his old Gibson sounded superb! Bob's Guitar sounded incredible and his playing was clean and really cool to listen to, with hot licks at every turn! The recent addition of brothers Rick and Martyn on Mandolin, Bass and a superb vocal from all concerned has added a new and exciting dimention to the Old Grey Dogs sound. I can't wait to hear more!
Im sure Joe will fill you in on his feelings from the show when he returns from Spain but untill then at least you know how he got on!
One last thing,
Joe and myself spoke frequently about John Kuhn (the Kidd).
John we missed you over at Orwell, Can't wait for the day we all end up at a festival together......... Now that would be one Crazy Banjo Weekend!
Happy pickin Y'all!
Monday, April 26, 2010 @8:30:19 AM
I can only say hear, hear the festival was just fantastically well organised. It was great to see everyone who turned up and talk over old times. I am very sorry to have missed your spot on Saturday night but as the guitarist and chauffeur for Joe I had to go early or Joe would have missed his flight and I would have to face Helen.
Thank you for the kind words about The Old Grey Dogs. As you have said Chris, Joe will no doubt post something about it when he returns from Spain.
Hopefully we will see you at Steeple Morden festival next month if not then at the Bulkington bluegrass club.
Monday, April 26, 2010 @10:10:17 AM
Hey Chris, your recall of the hardest gig story really resonates with me. I used to be a sound guy and did a lot of setup/takedown many years back when I was playing electric guitar with rock bands. So it's been refreshing to play banjo and not have to worry about sound gear as much. Unfortunately though, when you play large or crowded rooms, you still have to get amplified and it can be really difficult to play when your monitoring isn't properly setup. I've played 2 or 3 gigs where the monitoring was just horrible (once it was completely my fault) and it is tough. Espcecially when you get through thinking, we didn't sound that bad... and then someone shows you a camcorder video of your worse than expected performance.
All I can say is that it's made me more attentive to details when it comes to setting up sound these days and we haven't had monitor setup issues in over a year... knock on wood
Sounds like everything else was a great time. Glad to hear
Monday, April 26, 2010 @10:15:16 AM
Hey Chris.Found a way to send you my thanks foryour great review of out set. I am so glad you played well more power to your elblow young Chris, you are a great player. will write more when i get back. Can you send your blog to the Kidd for me mate.............later dude, i got a beer waiting!!!!
Monday, April 26, 2010 @10:15:34 AM
Hey Chris.Found a way to send you my thanks foryour great review of our set. I am so glad you played well more power to your elblow young Chris, you are a great player. will write more when i get back. Can you send your blog to the Kidd for me mate.............later dude, i got a beer waiting!!!!
John Kuhn Says:
Monday, April 26, 2010 @10:51:55 AM
Hey Chris, Wait a min... (hollers to Spain) Im already here Joe!!! LOL. Yeah, I just now checked out your clips and band page. Man! some real solid pickin and killer vocals!.The noisy bar syndrome IS a nerve racker aint it? It can trip up the best of em.Yeah boys, it woulda been an honor to have been there with ya! Sounds like you'll be on a high for a while! Im high just readin about it!!
Wednesday, April 28, 2010 @1:27:24 AM
Thanks for the report Chris, great stuff and well done on getting through the noisy bar gig!
Jane C Says:
Friday, April 30, 2010 @5:38:25 PM
Sounds fantastic, Joe's my teacher and though I've had the pleasure of hearing Joe and Bob play together at Joe's home I've yet to see them in an official concert, I will one day but til then thanks for the report.
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