Monday, May 02, 2005

Old-Time Music at the Half-Time (meets Portland)

Fun at the Half-Time Rec Old-Time Square dance tonite (held first Mondays, 7:30 - 10:30 pm). Besides the terrific Mastodons who've played the dances for years, and it's super full, there was a guest young whippersnapper caller from Portland, one of the biggest old-time scenes in the country, which draws hundreds of punks, travellers, people of all ages and walks of life (it ain't the square dances you might be thinking of, with the costumes and the twang and polkas). Paul Silveria, here for 4 days, brought with him his compilation of Portland old-time stringbands "An Old-Time Portland Potluck" featuring the several bands of that area, done up old '20's Skillet Lickers 78's and radio show style. It's a "window-opener" as one fiddlin' friend would say, really fun, wild, and funny. Foghorn, Whiskey Puppy, Gov't Issue, Earl White -- very great.

If anyone's interested, let me know. They're $10. The low down on the Dickel Bros. is that at least 3 of the 5 are together, and while Clancy isn't fiddling there (cuz he's here), they may well come down this summer, because they love Minnesota.

Paul brought with him the Tilt-a-Whirl dance, the rage in Portland and fairly dangerous. You know a dance is dangerous when the caller teaching it, warns repeatedly, "and GENTLY disengage from your partner." When you see it in action, people are spinning so fast in circles, that their feet barely touch the floor. . . if anyone let go, they'd fly into a wall, with a great centrifugal force. Fun! Sounded like an amusement park!

Looks like friends, St. Dominic's Trio will be playing gigs at the Half-Time a few weekends this summer, so keep an eye out for that.

So, I hop in my car, and I don't believe my ears. The Current was playing an old-time string band tune, from the 30's or so! Almost noone ever in radio land in these parts (cept maybe KFAI and me on my Wave Project show) play old-time. Lots of bluegrass, but no old-time because that's still pretty obscure. What timing. And then the next song was a rare Pink Floyd. Totally something I'd do, and it worked. You could hear similar qualities and melodies at times, and it's mostly about the spirit.

Continuing with shameless self-promotion . . . I'm publishing a couple articles on old-time music, I'll let you know when they come out. Old-time is difficult to define, you mostly know it when you hear it. But it sure is fun.

Speaking of which, if you've read this far, not having been bored by my rant, there's going to be a great show at the Cedar on Friday -- Dirk Powell and Riley Baugus, the guys who did the Cold Mountain soundtrack and are some of the best old-time players in the country.

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