Posted by on Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

As I was saying, Bill and Shirley, Scott’s aunt and uncle the llama-ranchers, were in DC last week for a conference.  We got to claim them over the weekend.  Like most people, we get stuck in the daily work-cook-clean-sleep routine, and forget what our hometown has to offer us.  When guests come to town, we get to remember what this region is all about.  And this time, I remembered my camera.  I remembered my camera in a way I haven’t for years.  It may take a while to show you just a piece of what we saw.

On Saturday, we went to a mini-Celtic fest at a winery in Culpepper.  Tinsmith was playing, and Tuatha made an appearance thanks to Dark Mary, so we figured it would be nice to pop in.  I actually got a lot of knitting done on Saturday, what with the driving and the hanging out in the lovely weather.  But I frogged it all (hence some of the frustration I mentioned.  “Ground-up Clown” is not a colorway I need in my life, or on my feet).

The grapes were beautiful.

The wine was, well the wine was crap.  Sorry.  It was crap.  But the music was great.

I love being friends with such a good band.  I’ve been friends with members of bad bands in the past, and it’s an uncomfortable thing, lemmetellyahsister.  No fun trying to hide your distaste for your pals’ shite tunes.  No fun at all.  I love being able to look this quartet of people in the eyes and say “That was a great set!” and really mean it.  Ahhhhhhh.

Here’s Rowan. looking cool while chatting with a fan, post set.  Rowan has a thing about taking pictures of people, and I really hate to be photographed (Dad’s a photographer, plus some other stuff) The only way to defend myself from Rowan’s lens may be to turn mine on him.  So nyeeah.

Mostly though, I am in love with Brooke’s banjo.   I want to sent it flowers.  And buy it chocolate.  And maybe write it a song.  Brooke, Rowan and I actually had a short discussion about doing some song-writing together . . . I wonder if instruments can be wooed that easily . . .

It’s an antique Bacon.  That in itself makes it deserving of love.  But it’s got fantastic tone.   And great mother of pearl.

I remember talking to Brooke once about how being a banjo player brings the Nashville big-haired rhinestone-loving glitz out of a girl.  Brooke’s not a frilly person.  Neither am I.  I doubt either of us has a sequin to our names.  But show us some shiny crap on a banjo, and whooooo-weeeeeee!  Get the aqua-net!

Her banjo has really gorgeous carving on the heel

But I’m not just after the banjo because she’s fancy.  I love her working roots too.  Look at that head.  She’s been around, and it’s part of what I like about her (still talking about the banjo, here).

Look at that cascade of brackets.

Brooke told me to play this beauty on Saturday.  She may as well have told me to go ask Bruce Molsky to dance.  Actually, I wouldn’t think twice about asking Molsky to dance–he’s just a musician, and I bet I can out-step him.  But I’m sort of star-struck by this beauty.  I wonder if she likes me . . .

I don’t deserve to play her, because I still simultaneously suck and blow as a banjo player.  Please know that I’m not being self-effacing, there.  I’m really not playing in public yet.  Because I never practice, in part because of something I’ll get to in a minute here.  And also because I am obsessed with the freaking wool.  One day though, I hope to earn its equal.

Now I’ll point out more proof of my tenuous hold on sanity.  I love banjo, obviously.  I’m also allergic to nickle.  It’s why I have to be very careful in selecting knitting needles, and why my body occasionally reacts badly to my wedding ring, which was handmade by a dear friend out of white gold.   Gold always has nickle in it.  So let’s take a look at the brackets again.

The brackets on just about every open-back banjo in the country are nickle-plated.  Do you know how much that sucks for me?  In fact, it sucks for most people.  Brooke isn’t allergic, and look at those top brackets, where her arm rests.  Look right to you?   Nope.  One of Brooke’s students has a worse allergy that I do.  She regularly has huge terrible reactions to her banjo, and yet she keeps playing.  I haven’t found the right banjo-strap/arm covering/motivation combination yet.  But I will, one of these days.  If not, someone will confiscate my banjo, and I’ll be sad.  Sigh.

Next: the Smithsonian.

Filed in Celtic,Music,Travel | 2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Euterpe”

  1. rachelon 22 Sep 2006 at 11:42 am 1

    That is indeed an awe-inspiring banjo. Puurrrr-tee. Ahhh, so I’m not the only person who’s major passion in life is out to get her. Knitting is making me literally all thumbs and you’re allergic to banjos. Life is cruel, innit?

  2. Taraon 24 Sep 2006 at 4:16 pm 2

    I wish you’d’ve been able to come see Bruce Molsky with us this weekend! We got a chance to chat with him–what a nice guy. He mostly played fiddle but there was other talent on the claw-hammer, including Dirk Powell. Maybe next time?

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