Calaveras

 

Telluride

We woke up in Telluride and finally saw it--a classic western Victorian era town with cute little gingerbread houses and classic brick and stone commercial buildings lining the main street, set in a bowl of pine and aspen covered peaks. 

Today was about getting ready for our first concert—kicking off the Telluride Bluegrass Festival with a free evening concert at the outdoor plaza of the public library.  It’s a two hour show, but it turns out the preparation is monumental.  First of course is booking, which was remarkably easy this time because our host, Scott Dozier, is a good buddy of our engineer/producer, John Jacob, who put in a good word (or a few hundred, if he was true to form) for us several months ago.  Scott also happens to help run the beautiful town library, and cut right through the bureaucracy to sign us up.

Then there is the rehearsing, which we do once or twice a week when big concerts are looming.  Can’t really call that working, although we do spend a lot of time trying to ferret out what is wrong with a given harmony, or which instrument should be more prominent, or just running through difficult passages a few extra times.  Then there is promotion—usually something we do on our own..  We typically send out around a dozen 11 X 17 posters featuring a picture, a few quotes and the date and time of the event.  We never know what happens to them and generally assume quite a few of them end up decorating the inside of a trash can.  But this time, as we walked down the main street of Telluride, about every 100 feet one of us would do a double take at a store window or bulletin board—there we were, staring back at us.  At the library, there were posters everywhere, including sandwich boards outside and an electronic flat screen display.  This was all the hard work of Scott Dozier, our host, who is also managing our sound tonight and spent about three hours setting up the PA system, sound checking us, and skillfully extracting all the feedback out of the brick courtyard, which serves something like a shower enclosure, amplifying certain frequencies until they boom above the others. 

Not only that, but Scott jumped in to help Dave procure a guitar for the evening.  Dave could not bring his on the plane because he has a soft case for it and carries it in the pressurized cabin with him, but the plane flying into Durango was so small (a Dehaviland 8, if any touring musicians are reading this) they had no room for it, and turning it over to the luggage handlers and into the depressurized underbelly would create a good risk of being delivered a bag full of splinters at the end of the flight.  So Scott took Dave to the local music store, vouched for him personally, and talked the owner into parting with a very good Martin for the night.    

And last but by no means least, Scott coaxed our kids into coming down to the library for the afternoon so we could focus on the music.  They met a group of peers and joined them for the afternoon activity--a selection of Wii games and a giant projector screen--and spent several happy hours ignoring us, even refusing to come back to Scott’s house with us for dinner.  Never before has a planner managed (or even tried) to keep our kids happy while we prepared for a gig. 

Finally, the concert.  The weather cooperated, although gale force gusts earlier in the evening had knocked down a few trees, and had left a chill in the air.  But the library staff draped blankets across the chairs and brought out a portable gas fireplace to keep the audience warm, and we had added a layer or two under our work clothes.  Scott gave us a wonderful introduction and sat smiling broadly at the sound table.  Only a handful of people were assembled when we started, but the place filled up as the music rang down the street.  We  could hear our kids playing about a half a block away with the local teens they met today (they report that their friends pronounced our music "cool").   A mom and her five-year-old daughter danced to every song at side stage.  Across the street I noticed a couple of windows opening and heads leaning out to listen.  And a whole bunch of warm friendly faces looked up at us as we sang.  It is such an honor to have our music appreciated.

 

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