[ From Butchross ] From Butch Ross: How I'll be spending my summer.
butch at butchross.com
Mon May 1 10:13:55 EDT 2006
Happy May Day to you all!
So how long has it been since we last spoke? Months maybe? As usual,
and through no fault of my own, I find myself in the enviable
position of once again having new people to welcome to this list.
Those of you who have been here a while may take it upon yourself to
let the newbie know, It’s usually like this… months of silence
followed by a rant of sorts and then a plea to go to my show(s),
usually later that day. I’m not a self-promotion guru guy you know.
Speaking of self-promotion: the wedding plans are coming right along.
Looks like it’s going to be Labor Day weekend. Not four hours wedding
reception for us, we’re gonna suck up the whole weekend at Jimmy and
Maggie’s. Of course many of you are invited, some are expected, and I
suspect some of you may just show up. Just as well; the more. The
merrier. Anyway, the point is if you haven’t got your yet, it’s
because the invitation designer (that would be me) has been busy with
other things like grad school.
More self-promotion; the future Mrs. Ross (this is the first time
I’ve seen that not used in reference to my mother, Christie is
totally keeping her maiden name) and I will be doing a good bit of
dulcimer festivals this summer (details below) and it is my plan to
do a good ol-fashioned tour of the NE in late summer, between frantic
wedding plans. I figure the summer is the best time cause that’s when
the gas will be cheapest.
Christie and I played the first of our summer shows last weekend, at
a summer festival in Russellville, Kentucky. Pretty, pretty town,
famous for being the home of first bank Jessie James ever robbed.
People seemed to dig it, and I even got a request for Ruben’s Train
(fiddle tunes requests are rare, except for the Orange Blossom
Special for some reason, which I don’t know, don’t ask). Some drummer
from a heavy metal band playing later that afternoon said he dug, it
was “real relaxing”, I tried to return the compliment but what am I
gonna say? “Yeah dude, when I wanna chill out, I like to take a nice
long walk in the wood, perhaps by a stream, listening to ‘Sabbath
Bloody Sabbath’”. Ah well, he meant well, and for a heavy metal
drummer, he didn’t suck.
One of the coolest things I’ve ever been involved in was when
Christie and I performed in a Jewish synagogue with Basya Schechter,
at the Mid-East Mountain Fusion Music Festival in Louisville. We did
two TV appearances and played the show with her. Basya plays Oud in a
Mediterranean rock band called “Pharaoh’s Daughter”, (I just totally
freaked my spell-checker out) and Christie and I were hired to mix
Appalachian tunes with her music, which is in these Middle Eastern
modes and bizarre time signatures like 6/7 or 11/2. Needless to say,
I was really pushing the limits of what I could do with the dulcimer.
Something I love to do anyway. And Basya has quickly become one of
our absolute favorite people. Christie’s gonna be playing with her in
North Jersey in a couple of weeks. Check out Basya here: http://
We have been crazy stupid busy, busier than ever before. But we’re
doing what we love so that’s okay. But the semester is ending and we
are about to hit the road. Here is a bit about how we’ll be spending
Next week, we’re going up to Columbus Ohio for the Central Ohio Folk
Festival. This is a good time, a pretty low key but fun festival in
the Batelle-Darby Park, which is just southwest of the city (and
outside the beltway). They’re a nice mix of a dulcimer festival and a
folk festival, held outside with jams and music and workshops. Last
year’s headliner was Tom Rush this year it’s David Massengill.
Christie and I will be teaching and performing with Randy Clepper, a
great Bouzouki player and part time member of Hammer On! Well be
doing a mix of his stuff and ours, Irish, Old-time and Swedish, and
who knows what else.
Then is on to Owensboro, one of two towns that claim to be the
birthplace of Bluegrass, for the Yellow banks dulcimer festival.
Where not only will I be teaching dulcimer but Irish guitar and old-
time guitar workshops as well. Christie will be teaching claw-hammer
banjo in addition to her hammer dulcimer classes as well.
Nancy Barker, of Kentucky Music week, has us playing a number of gigs
this summer at state parks all over Kentucky, as well as the very
cool Kentucky Music Weekend at Iroquois State Park (they air
condition the lawn seating there!). Check the gig schedule for that.
But the two big gigs I’d like to talk about are the Kentucky Music
Week and the Chattanooga Dulcimer Festival.
The Music Week as many of you know is a weeklong, training-intensive
festival in Bardstown, KY. It involves some of the finest dulcimer
players on the planet and has lessons in everything from dulcimer to
songwriting to steel drum, this year includes workshops on Native
American Flutes and Painted Gourds! http://www.kentuckymusicweek.com/
KMWeek/ be sure to check out the schedule to see how many great
players are gonna be there this year!
Right before that is a new festival put on by our dear friends Dan
and Angie Landrum, the Chattanooga Dulcimer Festival. It’s not
actually held in Chattanooga; it takes place up on Signal Mountain
(which is significantly cooler). This festival is great because it
focuses exclusively on technique. Karen Mueller and myself will be
there, and the elusive David Schnaufer will also be teaching master
classes! Where Kentucky Music is going to be a great place to learn a
bunch of songs, Chattanooga is where you’ll get the chops together to
learn those songs well. I can’t recommend these two festivals enough.
Okay lots more coming up as well; I’m planning a northeast tour in
August, writing a couple of songbooks this summer, and finally
developing a members area on the web site. But all that can wait
until later (when it’s been done). I just really wanted to drop you
all a note to tell you how I would be spending my summer, instead of
how I did!
C-you out there.
butch at butchross.com
New Album with Christie Burns
"Here to Play"
debut album produced by Robert Force
"the Moonshiner's atlas"
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