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School has started and the teaching season is about to go into overdrive. I will be doing an after school Ukulele class at the Union Elementary school in Montpelier, VT. Still room for you. Go here for more information.

 

I will also be teaching an intermediate Ukulele class and an advanced Clawhammer Banjo class through the Summit School on Monday evenings.

 

Also fitting in an almost cross country tour this October with Shady Rill.

 

Gonna be fun!

TGIF   Thank God I Frail #oldtimebanjo

Lots and lots of robins over the last couple of weeks, but today, the Phoebes arrived. Every year for the past 10 or so, there is one and sometime two nesting couples that come back to the same location every year. They make their nest on top of a light that is in our woodshed. Each year they will build a new nest on top of last years. Over the years it got so high that there was hardly any room between the joist and the ceiling for the birds to get in and out, so I took off a few layers this past year. I'm curious to see if I get a thank you.

This, of course has nothing to do with music, especially because the song of the Phoebe really isn't that melodic, except to another Phoebe.

Great guns! I won third place in the recent Banjo Hangout contest. Everyone had to do a video of the tune "Boatman". Of course I had to do two versions. Not bad for an old guy from Vermont.

 

 

"Side by Side" my book of Banjo and Fiddle tunes released by Katie Trautz and me is now available from Elderly Instruments, as well as directly through this site. You can go here to see it there. Now you can learn those tunes that you heard at the last festival, or get some ready for the next festival.

Here's where I will be from July 29th to August 2nd. Always a fun week.

 

Stuck in this pattern of wet, hot, wet, hot, buggy, hot, wet..... No end in sight and we are getting closer and closer to 40 days. Here's the start of a song in the works. Seems fitting.

Wheres_the_Sunshine.mp3

Spring is definitely in the air. You can feel the change in the light, the temperature and the temperament of folks around you. Lots of exciting things for me. I get to play a Banjo player in a play being put on by the Lost Nation Theater company in Montpelier, VT.

RANSOM

A Musical Play of Vermont’s History in the Civil War
 by Dick Robson;
music: Dorothy Robson & Jake Wildwood 

Inspired by actual letters home to Vermont, written on the battlefield, from Civil War soldier Ransom Towle of Rochester Vermont. A startling glimpse into the lives of the soldiers and those left at home. Deeply moving.
Opens our Main-Stage Season: April 25-May 12, 2013

 

Should be a lot of fun. I'm really looking forward to this. Also, Shady Rill has got some nice gigs coming up this spring, including a trip down to Maryland, balloon festivals and weddings.  We are also in the process of lining up a cross country tour for next October.

 

 

  

Having a great time teaching beginner Banjo and beginner Ukulele. Makes me stop and remember how hard it was to get started, though that was long, long ago. I think one of the best ways to become a better musician is to not only share but teach.

Shady Rill now has a facebook page where you can follow, lead or look in sideways.  Check us out and leave a comment or two here.  Although the page is new, we have been building our repertoire for a while now.  Looking forward to a lot of good tunes and songs in the future.

     Looking forward to the festivities this weekend in Montpelier, VT.  Lots of great Old Time workshops and performances by the likes of Dirk Powell, Riley Baugus, Ken Perlman, Pete Sutherland and more.  I plan to be up late all weekend playing and listening to tunes.  Hope to see lots of folks out and about.  Go here for the full schedule and more information.

Come on down to Guitar Sam's  on main street in Montpelier, VT this Friday, the 16th around 6:30 pm.  Katie Trautz and I will be playing tunes from our newly released tune book "Side by Side".  We will probably sing a few songs as well.  Should be a lot of fun, and it's FREE!

 

It's here, it's here!!

"Side by Side" is now available for all of you Banjo and Fiddle playing fools.  Go here for more info and to order.  Feel free to email me for more information.

 

 

Finally updated my ancient video camera, so here is a brand new video.  More to come.

 

Reuben's Train

The kids are drifting back to school now so it must be time for fall classes at the Summit School of Traditional Music and Culture.  I will be offering a beginner Banjo and an advanced beginner Ukulele class, as well as a kids Uke class.  The course goes for 8 weeks (6 for the kids) and a good time is guaranteed for all. Go here for more info. 

Just in time Katie Trautz and I will be releasing our Old Time tune book for Fiddle and Banjo.  It includes 24 of our favorites, and has both Fiddle notation and Banjo tab for each tune.  Ordering info will be posted once it is officially published but feel free to contact me about pre-ordering or just to bug me.

 

It's almost done! New tune book by myself and Katie Trautz.  The book will have fiddle notation and Banjo tab for the same tune, side by side.  Also included are two cds. One has slow Banjo then Slow Fiddle playing through the tune. The other has a little faster version with Fiddle and Banjo playing together. 

There are 24 tunes in all, with some of our favorites and a few originals also.  More to come later about the release.

Lots going on this summer.  Staying close to home more now since the slowdown of Woods Tea.  Somehow I still manage to fill the days up with lots to do.  I've enjoyed going out to see some other folks play and have even made it to two festivals this summer.

Finishing up a tune book with Katie Trautz.  The book will include tabs and music for both Fiddle and Banjo with a couple of CDs included.  Some of our favorite Old Time tunes.  More to come on that when it's finished, which should be soon.

Playing some concerts and weddings with Patti Casey.  We continue to work on our repertoire and have a couple of nice sets to offer. Looking to do much more in the future.  Check out Shady Rill.

Off to practice!

Heard some real nice Old Time last night by Dirk Powell and Riley Baugus then had a very pleasant drive home.  Saw two moose twins sauntering down the road in the snow, side by each for about 50 yards or so before they went off into the woods.  Probably 9 or 10 months old but still bigger than my dog.  Also saw three young deer and two older ones on the ride.  Very nice.  Woke up this morning to a couple of turkeys flying by in the front yard.  That's right; they are actually very graceful in flight. Love living here.

Winter classes starting soon at the Summit School of Traditional Music and Culture.  I will be teaching both Banjo and Ukulele but there are lots of other classes available.  Go and check them out.

Headed out tomorrow for a week out on the left coast with Woods Tea Company.  Performing up in Ridgecrest on Tuesday, the 10th then spending a few days with some friends down in Ramona.  Looking forward to a little fun and sun.

If you have always wanted to learn the Banjo (and who hasn't ?) but can't find the right teacher or would like to just stay at home and pick, you can now learn online from the comfort of your home.  I offer live, online lessons through Skype.  You can see me and I can see you no matter how far apart we may be.  Contact me for more information.

     Now this looks more like December.  I was beginning to wonder.

 

     Another December has snuck up on us, but its here again. I always like this time before the storm and certainly prefer this relative calm to the frantic pace that we all seem to get pulled into; some willingly , others kicking and screaming all the way.

     Lots of exciting music projects to look forward to in the next year.  More on that front later.  For now, take a breath and enjoy the day.  Perform a random act of kindness.

     About ten inches of nice heavy snow.  The dogs love it, but they are not doing much shoveling.

     Have a safe and happy Turkey Day, or Lasagna Day, or Whatever Day!

 

     

Maggie waiting to be stitched up after her barbed wire encounter. 

Messy but she's fine now.

     Those poor folks down in Westchester county in New York are still recovering from the most recent snow storm and many are still without power so the Woods Tea concert at the Lewisboro library has been postponed.  More to come later.  We will reschedule at some point.  Send your good wishes to everyone down there.

Hopefully playing at the Lewisboro Library in South Salem, NY this Saturday with the Woods Tea Company. They are still without power from the latest snow but hope to have it back in a day or two.  Last year I think they had more storms than we did up here.  We would both prefer something more normal this year. Hope to see you there.

First good frost  last night.  That must mean its time for a trip down south.  Heading off to North Carolina for a few jobs down where its still warm.  Check out the Woods Tea website for more info.

Seems like all of that rain and flooding caused every mosquito egg that was ever laid to hatch.  Even the dogs want in.  Its brutal outside.  What next? Maybe there is a good song to be written, but for now I'm too busy swatting.

Wade Mainer, the "Grandfather of Bluegrass" died at the ripe old age of 104 on September 12,2011.  He was truly an inspiration to myself, and I'm sure, countless others.  Read more about him here .   

Enough already! Hope you are all staying safe, if not dry.  Looking forward to some peaceful, dry weather.

Here is a song that I wrote back in 1992 during another flood event in the Montpelier, VT area.  It was heartwarming to see the way folks banded together and supported one another.  The same spirit has appeared this time. Go out and help a neighbor if you can.

 

Dont_have_to_go_it_alone.mp3

     Here is a wonderful song that comes from Carson Robison. All of you with hound dogs will appreciate the sentiment.  Let me know what you think.

Sittin_by_the_Fire.mp3

Busy with Woods Tea these days. You can check where we are by going to their website.

Well, I finally get to do a concert in my hometown. Come on out this Saturday, December 12th, at 7pm,to the Adamant community center at Haggett and Martin roads. Potluck is at 5:30. Come on over and get in the Holiday spirit.
Touring again with Woods Tea. Ohio, PA, NC and Texas are on the calendar in the next two weeks. Go to woodstea.net for more info. We have a few days off in Asheville, NC and hope to get out and do some hiking and music playing.
Woods Tea is about to head out to the left coast for a few weeks. We start our tour in Payson, AZ and make our way up through California with a side trip to Ontario,OR. After the amount of shoveling I have done in the last two weeks it will be a wonderful break. Check out the Woods Tea website for more info.
We are all hard at work putting together a new cd which will have all four of the current members on it. There should be a number of originals as well as some old chestnuts. We hope to have it out early next year. As our reward we will be touring out on the left coast in February and March. Can't wait!
Coming off another successful summer and ready to enjoy the beautiful colors of Autumn in New England. A nice relaxing October coming up with lots of time to button up the old homestead. Just a few concerts with Woods Tea. Lots of outdoor soccer to be played under the lights until the snow covers up the pitch. Woods Tea has some real nice gigs coming up in November. Check out the Calendar Dates and come on out if you can.
It seems like it has been raining for the last two months here in Vermont. Not that I am complaining but I have enough mushrooms now, thank you very much. I dislocated my elbow playing soccer a few weeks ago which has made playing music a little harder but I did manage to only miss one gig. You can go and see an xray of the damage in the photo gallery. The summer seems to be flying by with lots of fun gigs coming up in August. Woods Tea continues to keep me busy and I have a lot of side adventures to fill in any free time. At least the wood is all in.
Hey folks, Come on out and support the Vermont Food Bank this Saturday, May 3rd, at the Unitarian Church in Burlington, Vermont. The show starts at 7pm with music by the Woods Tea Company joined by Patti Casey and Pete Sutherland. It's a great cause and much needed. See you there.
Well, it's been a great time with Patti Casey on our latest Woods Tea Tour. The crowds loved her and she fit in just fine with the group. We are heading east now and should be home in a couple of days before starting up again. We will be staying close to home for a while with no big tours until September. I'm looking forward to a little down time. I hear the garden calling.
We have been hitting all of the back roads and towns of the Dakotas the last few days and are now in Hettinger, ND where we stumbled upon a flock of about 30 American White Pelicans resting up on Mirror Lake. Quite the unexpected site. We will be playing here tonight then it's on to Rugby, ND before we head up to Minnesota. We have also been experiencing some unwanted winter like weather (snow and sleet). Hoping that spring will make an appearance soon.
Out on the road again with Woods Tea. We are happy to be joined this time by Patti Casey, another fine singer from Vermont. Should be a great time. Check the Woods Tea web site for dates and places.
Yup, I am staring at a life size poster of Dolly, in the lobby of the Days Inn outside of this piece of Americana. Probably won't go in though. I'm on my way out to Arizona and then California with Woods Tea to do a short tour of the left coast. I will really miss the chest deep snow outside my house in Vermont the next couple of weeks. Joining us on this tour is Mark Cosgrove http://www.mcosgrove.com/, a great flat pick Guitar player, and his wife Mo, to keep him honest. Should be a great time. By the time we get back it will be time to gear up for Saint Patrick's month. Then in April, we have a nice tour of the upper mid-west with Patti Casey joining us. If you don't know Patti's work, check out her website http://www.patticasey.com/ Well, Dolly is demanding my attention. More later.
Well, it's nice to see the days getting longer. Winter is much more tolerable when you have more than a few hours of sunlight each day. I have been teaching an intermediate Banjo class through the "Summit School of Traditional Music and Culture" in Montpelier, VT. It's great fun and challenging for one and all. See the links page for more info on the school. There is some heavy duty touring coming up with Woods Tea, including a trip out to the left coast in February and then an extended tour to the upper mid west in April. I will try to post some updates during and after the trips. Keep well and keep in touch!
Had a great time out west, now it's time to button up the old homestead for winter. Woods Tea will be staying fairly close to home for the next couple of months with a few side trips down to Virginia. See the Calendar page for more info. We hope to have a new recording out soon with a combination of old and new material. Maybe even a ukulele song for good measure. I continue to teach Banjo and Hammered Dulcimer and am always looking for new students. Spread the word!
Today is the last of four wonderful days at this great festival in Winfield, Kansas. The weather has been on some wild swings, from low 90's to high 50's and back again. Great for allowing you to practice your Hammered Dulcimer tuning. There are some incredible musicians here, on and off the stage. Everyone has treated us grandly, especially the folks at the Chuck wagon who have kept us fed with authentic campfire cooking. Great biscuits folks. We take off later today toward Wyoming where we will be spending the next few days. More later.
I will be performing with the Woods Tea Company quite a bit in the next few months. A few local gigs and then off to Kansas, Wyoming and Montana for a couple of weeks. It will be great to see some old friends during this tour. Come on out and support the band during this difficult time.
My good friend and fellow musician Rusty Jacobs passed away on August 15th. Rusty was the front man and founder of the Woods Tea Company which has been performing throughout the country since the mid 80's. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. You can find more information on the Woods Tea website. Go to the links page to navigate there. Rusty Jacobs
Time for a month of jigs, reels and drinking songs. I will be joining Woods Tea Company for a number of concerts in Vermont and New York in the next few weeks. Guess I will have to bone up on my Irish Ukulele chops. See the calendar for particulars. Hope you can make it to some.
Well, I have entered the world of YouTube. I will be putting up some music videos to provide some balance in the world. There is just one Banjo piece up at the moment but I hope to get more soon. It is truly addictive. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/banjodulce I continue to create new music and hope to get some of it onto a recording soon. Been having great fun with my new Ukulele. More later.
Well, its not quite Oswego but 35 inches in one 24 hour period is a lot of snow. We still haven't been plowed out yet so we have been stuck at home for three days now and I have had enough shoveling thank you. The poor dogs are confused with no where to go and do their business. They just keep staring at me with that "fix it" look in their eyes. Not much new on the music scene. Still continuing to write songs and tunes. I hope to start recording some of them soon. I did put up a page on Banjo Hangout which is a great resource for Banjo players. The web site is http://www.banjohangout.org That's all for now. Keep well and keep in touch.
Off today to Austin, Minnesota, which just happens to be where Spam was created. We had a good time in Nebraska but I miss the hills and trees of Vermont. I would really appreciate a good cup of coffee with some real cream. Remember, the holiday season is coming and CDs make a wonderful gift.
I leave this Friday (the 10th) to join up with Woods Tea in Denver. We will be working our way east for the next two weeks with a lot of time spent in Nebraska. I look forward to the skiing. That's a joke son. I just got a nice new ukulele made by Kevin Crossett of Guitar Sam's in Montpelier, VT. Its a beaut and I hope to do it justice. More later.
The wood is under cover. This may not mean much to the folks down south or in places where every conversation this time of year doesn't start with "got your wood in yet?" but for those of us in the northeast, it's a reason to crow. I'm off to the sunny south this weekend for the Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival in Hamden CT. Check the Calendar page for a link. Some new and interesting things coming up in the future. As soon as the details are nailed down I'll be doing some updating here. Till then, keep well and keep in touch.
Things should start to slow down a little in a few weeks but the summer has been rolling along at its usual hectic pace. I've been busy with weddings, private parties and festivals as well as yard work, and getting the wood pile stacked. Never enough time. The Champlain Valley Festival was a highlight of the summer for me. Lots of great talent and wonderful people in an ideal setting . Next week I'm off to do my yearly stint at SAMW over in New Hampshire. You can go to the calendar page and click on the link for more info. That's all for now but I may have some interesting news in a week or so. Remember that CDs make wonderful gifts. See you all in hyperspace.
Made it back safe and sound after a whirlwind tour of Belgium and France. Spent the first part of the trip up in Flanders, then on to Brussels before going to Marseille and finishing up for a couple of days in Paris. I have posted lots of pics so go have a look at www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/Folkids The black flies are out here in Vermont which makes doing anything outdoors very challenging. Ah spring! More later.
I leave on Thursday, April 20th for 16 days in Belgium and France with Folkids of Vermont. Nine kids and seven adults will be dancing and playing their way around the country side. If you care to take a look, I have set up a travelblog site that should be up in a day or two. Go to http://www.travelblog.org/Bloggers/Folkids/ to check on our progress.

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