Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Surprises and Fun All Day Long!

Saturday, March 9th, 2024

Nancy Lloyd – Photo by Andy Dolan c. 2003

Today was the day that I was to Get Things Done.  It said so on my calendar in my own handwriting.  And so I did — but not at all as expected!

At the top of my list was to call my old friend Nancy Lloyd which I did, but had to leave a message.  Then I spent three or four good productive hours writing before going to Colleen’s to meet with another friend, Patricia Moss.  She has moved and this is the first time we’ve managed to catch up with one another in many months.  We had no sooner hugged and settled in with a cup of coffee than Nancy called and I had to beg off and tell her I’d call later.

Patricia Moss, Art Historian

Great “catch-up” with Patricia — hearing about her latest art sleuthing projects and, as always, being blown away by her meticulous research in her work as an Art Detective.  (Well, that’s what I call her, though I’m sure there is a proper and more academic title for her job.)  I always feel inspired by her single-minded dedication and, as usual when we parted, I was filled with resolve for getting right back to work.

But first… I headed south to Long Beach to the Performing Arts Center to see Spud Siegel and the Snakeskinners. Sandy Bradley, one of the band members, had called me earlier in the day to ask if I was coming  (No. Gormless, as usual.  And, yes if there was still room.  And yes, again, if I didn’t mind sharing a table with her brother.)

From The Bottom: Spud, Mick, Sandy, George

I was greeted at the door with a big hug from Spud and a request to do a House Concert here in Oysterville again next Fall.  Wow!  Details to be worked out later.  The last time he played here, he was with Mary Flower; next time it will probably be with one of the other Snakeskinners.  In addition to Spud on the mandolin and Sandy on guitar, the group includes Mick Doherty on hammer dulcimer and George Penk on fiddle.  Only Spud and Mick sing.  And I meant to ask George if he always performs barefoot, but I forgot.  Most of their numbers were Irish in deference to Saint Patrick’s Day — or perhaps they bill themselves as an Irish Band but from the smattering of non-Irish music they played, I doubt it.  They are totally eclectic and multi-national.

It was a fabulous evening and, despite pouring rain, glaring headlights, and pitch black surroundings, I made it home safely.  I called Nancy immediately, but no luck.  I hope I did not miss my opportunity entirely when I had to postpone things earlier today.




Wow, Fred Carter! Just… WOW!

Monday, February 26th, 2024

Fred Tunes His 37 Strings!

As promised, Fred arrived a bit early on Sunday.  He and Vicki unloaded and unloaded and unloaded their vehicle — three guitars, one banjo, one dobro, one mandolin  — plus his spiffy ipad that has all the words. a stool of just the right height and a mystery box (that I, for one, didn’t really notice until well into the second set.) He got right to work — tuning all 37 strings!

And the audience began arriving.  And arriving.  And arriving.  We had to get more chairs and even snagged a couple of tall stools from the kitchen.   A FULL house!  Forty counting me (but not Fred.)  I probably didn’t keep a well-updated list — I thought we had 30 coming.  I couldn’t have been more pleased!

Fred played each of his instruments and told a little about it — including the cigar box guitar — an unusual six-string one — made for him by a luthier who lives here on the Peninsula.  Except the box.  He said nothing about it until into the second set when he just picked up and began the wild beat that accompanies “They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!”  It brought down the house!

And someone brought the most gorgeous roses — forgive me but I’ve forgotten who!

Apparently, Fred had had a number of requests ahead of time — mostly music from the ’60s era. And mostly love songs.  I don’t think there was a dry eye when he dedicated “Look At Us” by Vince Gill to Vicki in honor of Valentine’s Day just past — their 35th together.  He had dedicated the entire concert to those with February Birthdays (my request, as mine is the 28th and neighbor Sandra’s is the 29th.)

Only one other in the crowd — Ray Hansen from Utah — admitted to a birthday this month and I’m not sure if he requested anything special.  Sandra did, however, even though she was unable to be at the concert.  “I was born in the year of the dragon and this is the year of the dragon,” she told me.  So, as his next to last number, Fred played “Puff the Magic Dragon” and we all joined in!

The last number was for Nyel — “Don’t Let The Old Man In,” Toby Keith’s theme song for Clint Eastwood’s 2018 movie “The Mule.”  Fred came with his guitar all the way to St. Vincent’s Hospital that year after Nyel’s final surgery to play it for him and has played it at every musical gathering here since then.  Thank you, dear Fred.  My heart runneth over.

Standing Room Only Tonight in Ilwaco!

Saturday, February 10th, 2024

Joel Underwood

When you’re one of the shorter ones, it’s hard to see everybody in an SRO crowd but, even so, it seemed like everyone I knew was at the Joel Underwood concert tonight in Ilwaco.  The event was a benefit for the Ilwaco crabbers whose crab pots were lost and whose livelihoods were threatened in the devastating fire at the Ilwaco Landing two weeks ago — just days before their season was to open.

The concert was held at the River City Playhouse in Ilwaco, the venue arranged for and organized by Sue and Bill Svendsen of the Performing Arts Center, Long Beach.  And although it was billed as a Joel Underwood Concert, four other musicians joined him on stage during the course of the evening. “I gave each of them a call,” said Joel, “and each of them said ‘yes’ before I finished asking!”

The communities of the Peninsula (and beyond) were well represented  — scores of people there to support the crabbers and to hear Joel’s amazing music.  We weren’t expecting bonus musicians and the enthusiasm increased (which seemed impossible) as each additional player came onstage.  Steve Frost, Daryl Beau, Barney Petrine, and Don King each played, sometimes singly and sometimes with Joel and, finally, in a grand finale, they all played together!  Wow!

Left to Right: Don King, Barney Petrine, Joel Underwood, Daryl Beau, Steve Frost

And, of course, Joel saw to it that the audience also got into the act.  We sang, a bit tentatively at first, but eventually our voices rang out and… were there a few dance steps happening here and there?  “Mr. Bojangles” and “If I Had A Boat” were probably my favorites.  Or maybe best was Joel’s rendition of “The Frozen Logger” reworked as “The Frozen Crabber” in honor of the occasion.

All in all, it was a fabulous evening!  I enjoyed every minute of it and it seems a bonus, indeed, that it was all for a good cause!  And, to my neighbor Cyndy, a special shoutout for treating me to a great evening which included an early gourmet dinner and being chauffeured in her all-electric (and a bit mystifying) car!  Who’da thunk I’d be so lucky?

Tomorrow! It’s Fred Carter in Ocean Park!

Thursday, February 1st, 2024

Thursday, February 1, 2024

If there are two things that definitely belong together, it’s music (especially of the acoustic variety) and books.  So what could be better than an afternoon of “acoustic guitar music with local musician Fred Carter” at the Ocean Park Timberland Library.  I can’t imagine that any of my readers don’t know — but just in case —  “Fred plays a variety of mid-century American and British rock and folk music.”  Well, that’s what the Library’s webpage says. but if you know Fred, that word “variety” doesn’t really cut it.  Fred can play almost ANYthing.  Once he has heard it, he can play it — a remarkable gift indeed.

And as for the acoustic part… well, that’s been a continuing “discussion” between Fred and myself for some time now.  I am not of fan of amplified/electrified/plugged-in music and so I’ve been pretty tight about keeping the House Concerts here acoustic-only venues.  It’s an ongoing (and fairly civil) argument that Fred and I have, and I must say that he has always gracefully adhered to my wishes in his concerts here. I was delighted to read that his gig tomorrow at the O.P. Library will be acoustic (and honestly, Fred, I wasn’t given any opportunity to influence anyone!)

He’ll be playing from 2:00 to 3:30 tomorrow — I imagine in the Meeting Room at the Library, although I went to an Aaron English concert there years ago in the computer room as I remember.  But I don’t think Fred will be hard to find.  Follow the crowd!  Better yet, get there early to get a good seat.  Right next to me!


Art and Music, New Friends and Old!

Sunday, January 21st, 2024

An Inviting Sign and Peek through the Windows a Paul Polson’s Gallery in Astoria

Last night I had the rare privilege of attending a belated Astoria Art Walk Tour — one gallery only, musically enhanced, and attended by a very select group of folks — Tucker, Carol, two young women from Astoria and me!  The event was held at the Paul Polson Gallery and Studio at 100 10th Street in Astoria.  It was a sort of “make-up event” because the regular Art Walk scheduled for a week ago was iced out.  Our friends, Double J and the Boys were playing and they invited us Oysterville groupies to “come on over.”

Somehow or other  we had the place almost to ourselves!  Though there was no ice, it was rainy enough to make the oncoming (HUGE, BRIGHT, BLINDING) headlights hell on wheels and thank goodness Tucker was driving.  He dropped Carol and me off and while he went hunting for a parking place, a darling little dog scampered down the lobby stairs barking a greeting specificallu to Carol.  “Are you Gidget?” Carpl asked as the dog tugged insistently at her trouser cuff and then went boundin up the stairs to see if Carol was coming.  She wasn’t so down Gidget came and repeated her instructions, until finally Paul Polson, himself, came down to see what all the excitement was.

Double J and the Boys — and later they invited Tucker to sing with them!

Gidget, who I met a bit later, is Judy and Charlie’s new dog and had been introduced to Carol a few days ago.  She was the most exuberant “greeter” ever (not to me of course, since we hadn’t been properly introduced.)  As soon as Tucker arrived, up we went and there we found the musicians playing some old country western favorites  with an audience of two… now five!  From our point of view,it was perfect!  Surrounded by fabulous art and great music and all for us — almost!

At break-time., Judy introduced us to Paul (though we had done that for ourselves to translate for Gidget).  Judy  and Paul have been friends since the 60s.  She also told us a bit more about his work.  In addition to the large oils on display in his gallery, Paul makes those huge oversized balloon structures like those used in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I especially liked the picture of the gigantic pig he did for Cirque du Soleil — available for viewing at the gallery only in picture form and in newspaper articles

But the best part? “Would you like to see my studio?” he asked.  And up we went!  Carol and I just looked and looked but Tucker had questions about what paints he used for certain colors and other technical stuff that only another trained artist would know to ask.  As usual, I was so impressed by all the facets of our world  that others know that I haven’t a single clue about!  It was a very special evening, indeed!

Oysterville House Concert #107!!

Monday, November 6th, 2023

Randal and Clint 1-5-23 — Photo by Tucker Wachsmuth

Yesterday marked the 107th House Concert hosted in this old house in Oysterville!  That’s “quite a many” as my mother would say!  In some ways, that’s hard to believe.  Each one has been unique.  Each one memorable. And each has added to the cumulative joy that shared music carries along with it.  Would that we could say that about all of our other endeavors in this tumultuous world!

Susan (singing), Randal and Clint 11-5-23 — Photo by Tucker Wachsmuth

Randal Bays, Susan Waters and Clint Dye shared the “stage” — Susan playing fiddle and also singing(!) which was a first in her appearances here.  Randal played fiddle and guitar and Clint (here for the first time) played guitar and joined in the chorus of one of Susan’s songs.  And, I might add that  “played” is not quite descriptive of Clint’s relationship with his instrument.  “Magical” and “riveting” might be more like it!  He is recent to the Irish music tradition and credits Randal with his interest and growing repertoire.

Randal’s first House Concert here was on January 28, 2001.  Nyel had remembered going to one or two such gatherings when he had lived in Seattle (pre-Sydney) and, when we met Randal (through my mother and her Vespers scheduling), Nyel asked him a little bit about the nuts and bolts of hosting such an event.  We talked it over, tweaked some of Randal’s information to fit our lifestyle, and invited him to be our “guinea pig.”  The rest is history, as they say!

Susan, Randal, Clint 11-5-23 Photo by Tucker Wachsmuth

I’m not sure how many of those 107 concerts have involved Randal (and very soon Susan who was shortly to marry him.)  And then, over time, their sons Willie and Owen — although, come to think of it, I’m not sure the boys ever played here at the house — but they often did a family gig at Vespers pre-Covid.  Over the years, we’ve become “family” — Willie learning to crawl on our carpet; Owen, complete with a kid’s-sized chef hat helping Nyel cook in our kitchen, both boys perfecting their two-wheeler skills in our lane, and more than one holiday dinner with noise-makers and silliness!

We look forward to seeing more of Clint now that he’s met Oysterville and some of our House Concert followers.  I notice that Jayne Bailey, Bob Kelim and Suzanne Knutzen were all among Randal’s initial concert attendees here and were here yesterday, as as well!.  And, of course, many of yesterday’s audience members have been at other Randal Bays concerts over the years.  Someday — perhaps in my old age — I’ll take a look at how many there have been.  Probably one every year or so…

And until the next one… you can enjoy Randal (and various other accompanying musicians) on his CDs, available for sale online.  Just Google and you’ll come up with a number of possibilities!


The last time I saw Spud and Mary…

Monday, September 11th, 2023

Spud Siegel and Mary Flower

Yesterday’s House Concert with Mary Flower, Spud Siegel and Doc Stein was perfect in every single way.  Mary, described by Hipfish as a “Finger Picking Artist” and Spud, mandolin (and pocket trumpet!) player extraordinaire, were everything the audience expected and more.

Doc, came as a complete surprise.  He apparently often plays with them and, as Spud said, “Mary wanted him to join us.”  It didn’t take long for the audience to understand why.  The three not only speak the same language musically.  The byplay among them kept us all laughing and wanting more! more! more!

Spud, Mary, and Doc September 10, 2023

Spud and Mary have done a House Concert here before which, I am chagrinned to say I do not remember at all, though at least two audience members assured me that they were here for it.  And since they came from Yakima and from Vancouver this time, specifically to see them again, I could only conclude that I am, indeed, losing it.

Today I spent a bit of time going back in our guest books to see if I could track down that concert. Yes!!   Spud and Mary were here on April 26, 2009 but I’m not at all sure Nyel and I were.  My usual House Concert heading naming artists and date  is not there — only signatures indicating a full house with a note from Brigid saying:  We are headed for New Orleans this Thursday.  This was the PERFECT warm up – Thanks to Mary F.

I can only think that I was in the hospital with Nyel on that occasion and that someone else hosted in our place.  Or… more likely, my mind has finally gone into overload mode.  I did count and found that there have been 106 House Concerts here since the first one Nyel and I hosted on January 28, 2001 with Irish Fiddler Randal Bays.


And, I did count and found that Spud has done six concerts here (counting that one with Mary that I’ve spaced) — most of them with David “Crabbo” Crabtree who used to play with him at the Ark and, before that, at the Shelburne when Nanci and Jimella had the restaurant there in 1981.  We remember one another from way back then…

How lucky I am to have so many fine musicians in my life.  And for so long, too!  I am rich beyond measure that I can count so many as friends.

“Sing me a song…”

Saturday, September 2nd, 2023

Marais and Miranda

I was so pleased that my friend Mary followed my blog suggestion yesterday and looked up Josef Marais’ song, “Pity the Poor Patat.”  She made no comment about it, but I was happy to know that someone “out there” had connected, perhaps for a first time, with Joseph Pesssach (1905-1978), a folk-singer from South Africa whose stage name was Joseph Marais.  For many years he sang with a partner and they were known as “Marais and Miranda” — and if you don’t remember them, you may be old enough to recall the Doris Day/Frankie Laine rendition of their song “A-round the Corner (beneath the berry tree}.”

I first learned of Marais and his music from my college roommate Sandra Peters (who, some years later, was to become my sister-in-law, making our children first cousins.)  Sandy came from a musical family, but more importantly to me, a rather quirky one.  Not only did she and her sister share an attic room with a pet bat (!), her dad played the musical saw and Sandy knew more off-the-grid folksongs than I’d ever heard of.

Sydney and Nyel – Wedding Picture 1987

However, it wasn’t until I met Nyel that all those songs (and more) came bubbling forth — perhaps because he said he didn’t sing (and, indeed, I never heard him do so — not even when standing beside me at church during the hymn-singing) — but he always asked me to sing!!  Me!  The one who can’t carry a tune in a bucket but remembers all the words — especially the kookie ones.

Mostly, his requests for “musical entertainment” came when we were on car trips.  Since I have always been pretty much night-blind, he would drive after dark and it was my “job” to keep him awake.  He didn’t seem to mind my tenuous tune-carrying and he enjoyed the lyrics — which often led to discussions about where I’d learned them, from whom, and about the years before we had met.  (It’s hard for me to believe that even as late-in-life as we did meet, by the time Nyel died, we had spent nearly half of our lifetimes together!)

Sydney and Nyel — Oysterville Sesquicentennial, 2004

It both amuses and pleases me that music was such a huge part of our lives, though both of us professed to a severe “lack” in that area of accomplishment.   But… I did follow my mother’s advice to “Make a joyful noise” and, somehow, ended up with the perfect appreciative partner!  And… back to yesterday’s potato patch discovery:  you can never tell what will trigger a song and a whole host of fabulous memories.  They don’t say “music makes the world go ’round” for nothing.


Some Days Are Like That!

Thursday, August 31st, 2023

Patricia’s Garden – 2019

Carefully considered, I do believe yesterday had many more pluses than minuses.  As a matter of fact, there was only one negative and, as it turned out, that was mostly a figment  of my imagination.  (Doncha just hate when that happens?)

The morning passed “as usual” — a few household chores, a little catching up with email, and another pass at next week’s column for the paper.  It’s not quite to my liking yet but maybe the lightening gods will visit me today.  Not “lightening” in the sense of a flash of brilliance; more the opposite of serious as in “lighten up!”  I still have a day or two. so I can but hope.

But back to yesterday — I spent the midday hours at my friend Patricia’s house — lunch and a garden tour (but forgot to take pictures, of course!) and a lot of catching up.  I especially loved seeing the latest pictures of her granddaughters and hearing the latest among her many siblings and in-laws — all areas of life that I’m not personally privy to, being as I am, an only child and also the mother of an only, unmarried child.  Thank goodness for good friends who don’t mind my vicarious clapping and cheering or (sometimes) clucking and lamenting.

Judy in her Rodeo Queen Days!

Then off to the Performing Arts Center to Judy Eron’s concert — some familiar songs, some new, and all pure Judy!  My personal favorite was her tribute to Charlie, “her very own fruitcake.”  I couldn’t help wondering how many people in the audience had been lucky enough to actually sample some of Charlie’s fruitcake — his father’s recipe — as Nyel and I had.  I think Nyel actually gave Charlie a sample of his fruitcake — in his case, his mother’s recipe! (Again, I didn’t even think of taking a picture, so entranced was I — but scored today online with one that must have been taken in her “Rodeo Queen” days!)

I drove home in the glow of friendships and laughter and music and decided to start dinner and then get back to my computer.  But… cough, sputter, rusty spurts, silence!  No hot water!  Not in the kitchen!  Not in the downstairs bathroom sinks!  Not in the bar.  I went out to listen for the pump.  Was it running?  Did I have yet another  leak?

Spiffy New Faucet

It was well after six-thirty but I called the plumber anyway.  I could at least leave a message.  But on just the second or the third ring, he answered!  Himself!  And I began to cry.  So much for Competent-Widow-Woman-In-Charge-Of-Her-Life…  Patience on his part, an explanation that he’d been here doing a little more work that we’d discussed previously, and following a few simple directions on my part and… all was well.  But doncha just HATE when that happens?

I know Nyel was nearby when I was enjoying Judy’s Fruitcake song.  I hope he was off doing something else when I was blubbering over the phone to my ever-patient plumber.  And I tried mightily to cut myself some slack. One or two plumbing disasters in a summer… maybe acceptable.  But five?  OMG! Please, please!  No more!



Another 1st at Our House (& not a good one)

Saturday, May 20th, 2023

Susan Waters, Randal Bays, Clint Dye Maybe in the Fall??>

In all the years (22+ probably) that we’ve been hosting House Concerts here at the White House in Oysterville, today we had the first ever experience of having to cancel the day before the event.  One of the musicians, Randal Bays, called me at 8:00 this morning with what he said (thought? hoped?) was a terrible cold.  So far, he was testing negative for Covid.

Ironically, the very first House Concert Nyel and I ever hosted some twenty years ago was with Randal!  He’s probably done fifteen or more since then, has played at countless Vespers, and has included his wife Susan and sons, Willie and Owen, in most of them.  He sounded devastated.  (I was, as well, but tried mightily to sound supportive, concerned and all those other things that one feels in these all too recent days since the Pandemic.)

Randal Bays — when he was feeling plummier!

As soon as we were off the phone, I began e-mailing and calling the 30 folks who were planning to come tomorrow.  I do hope I got them all!  Everyone I talked to was amazingly sympathetic — wishing Randall and his musical companions — wife Susan and friend Clint Dye — well and hoping that we could reschedule at a later date.

Thank you all for your understanding.  And if, perchance, you know of anyone planning to come who didn’t get the word, PLEASE let them know!   This is not the hostesses worst nightmare, I’m sure… but it could be close!