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No Clifftop, but I'm going to Gil-Fest

Posted by FretlessinTexas on Monday, July 21, 2008


Well, I mustered up the courage and ran the idea by my wife on Sunday about me going to Clifftop for a few days this week. A resounding no is what I got for an answer and I do understand.

You see, last month, I camped for three days at the Mount Airy Fiddlers' Convention in Mount Airy, NC. (where I got great recordings and video of Rafe Stefanini and John Hermann playing together), followed by a week at Mars Hill College, where I took beginning fiddle classes.

Didn't practice much on my fiddle at Mars Hill, as my friends wanted me to play banjo at night with them during the jams. Had a great time.

I reckon my next event will be a big party at my friend's house down in Tennessee over the Labor Day weekend. "Gil-Fest" is held on a 300-acre farm in Pikeville, Tenn., by my good friend  and fiddle player Gil Sewell. Situated in the Sequachie Valley, west of Chattanooga, it is simply gorgeous country and worth the eight-hour drive.

Last year, about 100 musicians -- mostly folks from Tennessee, North Alabama and Georgia -- attended, with many of us camping on Gil's property. We played old-time music the entire weekend and had a blast.

Gil was at Mars Hill College and we performed onstage together, playing Brushy Fork at John's Creek, sort of a demented sounding tune in A. Gil jokes that he likes to play to the dark side and I would agree to that. His wife, Dianne, took beginning banjo lessons there from Carl Jones, who is a real character.

If I can figure out how to do it, I may post a recording of us, playing a medley of Cotton Eyed Joe and Brushy Fork at John's Creek.

Holding a jam this coming Sunday at my home in Fort Wayne. Expect some musicians, but alas, where are the old-time fiddle players around here? I can't find em. I do miss Alabama.









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