Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mountain Music & Medicine Show at Athfest

Sunday: I'm hitching up Bleb to the wagon and heading for Athens, Georgia to host a special production of the Mountain Music and Medicine Show tonight. The "pre-show" starts at 7:30 p.m., and features 92-year-old fiddler Earl Murphy (who I believe is a medicine show veteran himself), and the duo known as Hawk-Proof Rooster, who count Mr. Murphy among their musical influences. Between them and The Solstice Sisters, the Packway Handle Band and other special guests, you can bet there will be some mighty fine music filling the Morton Theater tonight! Since the show runs until after 10 p.m., I'll likely be home too late to post anything here. Check back Monday or Tuesday for an update (better yet, come to the show if you can)!

Packway Handle BandTuesday night after the show: The show went well and everyone had a good time, despite the heat. It was at least 80 degrees Farenheit inside the theater, but cooler than outside the theater! The sheriff kindly let us get a running head start as we left town, once we promised to go by way of the river road. This would help us to avoid running into all the traffic on the main highway, he said, as well as the town council that pays his salary.

Maggie HunterBuzzard Mountain BoysMany thanks to all the folks who helped out and worked so hard! My wife took some photographs, and this time managed not to ignite the stage curtains with flash powder. I look forward to the next Mountain Music and Medicine Show in September. In the meantime I plan to catch my breath, feed Bleb and dry out the wagon.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Doc Visits Athens (Georgia)

The evening of June 28 I will be hosting a special production of the Mountain Music & Medicine Show. Normally the show is held in the Georgia mountain town of Dahlonega, but next Sunday night it will be held about 60 miles to the south in the historic Morton Theatre in Athens, Georgia, as part of a music and arts festival known as Athfest. [Note: The Morton Theatre is not be be mistaken for its famous and unfortunate uptown neighbor, the Georgia Theatre.]

Musical guests will be the Packway Handle Band, the Solstice Sisters, Beverly Smith and Carl Jones, Hawk-Proof Rooster and old-time fiddler Earl Murphy. Get there for the 7:30 p.m. pre-show to catch 92-year-old Mr. Murphy, who can still wear out younger fiddlers! (Be prepared for spontaneous buck-dancing to erupt in the aisles!) Of course, Mr. Nix and a few Dahlonega folks will also tell a few tales and share a few laughs.

Tickets are $10, or $5 with the purchase of an AthFest wristband. Advance tickets should be available through the Morton Theatre box office (Weekdays 10am-1pm and 3pm-6pm, phone (706) 613-3771).

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wizard Water© Helps Church Sing-along

Speaking of music, Wizard Water© can also aid performances.

pump organA minister told me his biggest problem was keeping his congregation awake during the service. “My sermons are quite lively,” he said, “but the music director insists on choosing slow, solemn songs. She claims our old pump organ is too stiff to handle anything energetic, and so plays everything at a snail’s pace. As a result people drop off to sleep – even during ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’!”

“Put a a few drops of Wizard Water© in the instrument,” I suggested, “and stand back.”

He returned a week later to report success.

“I must apologize for doubting you,” he said. “You were right. I sprinkled quite a bit of Wizard Water© between the keys and in the pedal mechanism and other interior parts, and when the organist began to play, her speed more than doubled. We had the liveliest renditions of ‘Bringing in the Sheaves’ and ‘Nearer My God to Thee’ that I think I’ve ever heard. In fact, hymns that normally take about ten minutes each instead took about two minutes total. Everyone was quite out of breath by the end of the songs.”

“If only the service hadn’t been a funeral,” he continued. “Several attendees were unable keep pace through all ten stanzas of each hymn and collapsed. The organ also caught fire, and the music director developed blisters that now impede her playing. Somewhat understandably, I have been asked to look for another flock.”

So those of you who wish to pick up the pace of your musical endeavors, consider applying a few drops – a very few -- of Wizard Water© to the instrument of your choice. Choose your moment carefully, though.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

A New Musical Instrument

I’ve invented a new musical instrument, a combination of bagpipes and banjo. The “Baganjo” is a wind-string instrument that should fit in well with both military processions and front porch picking sessions. It will appeal to the frugal who are musically inclined, because it combines two instruments for the price of one.

It will also appeal to merchants seeking to identify folks who are willing to buy just about anything.

It takes certain skills to play, however. You need good coordination to pluck the strings that operate the chanter pipe-holes. Also, musicians of these instruments must sometimes resort to threats of nonstop performance in order to assure payment. Therefore, you will need strong lungs to keep the bag inflated while you stay ahead of an angry mob.

copyright ©2009 Laurie J. Anderson, all rights reserved.