Monday, March 2, 2015

Sensory Overload : Folk Music-Style

Steve Purtelle stands proudly in front of the Acoustic Jam Records elevator skin

Steve Dawson laying it down
It has been a week since I got home from the Folk Alliance conference in Kansas City, and I think I am almost recovered. Lots of late nights and quite a festive atmosphere! 

However, underneath the reverie, one could feel a strange energy permeating from the hundreds of musicians that were gathered in the halls of the Westin Hotel last week. A quiet desperation if you will. Musicians spend a good deal of money to attend these conferences, so it only makes sense that there is some pressure to "get something out of it", as it were. It can be overwhelming.  I decided to approach the week as a time to play lots of music, have fun, and to meet new people and connect with old friends and acquaintances. I came away from the conference having accomplished all of these goals.

Brock Zeman
The coolest thing about Folk Alliance is the "private showcases" that happen after the official conference wraps up for the evening. Basically, three floors of the hotel are taken over by musicians, with a series of mini-concerts going on in every room. It was really cool walking from room-to-room and checking out different music. Most of my time was spent in the Acoustic Grill/ Acoustic Jam Records room helping out Steve, playing lead guitar for Brock Zeman, and playing my own sets of music.

Me, Rick Fines, and Brock hanging out after the show
The most fun we had was hanging out after the shows. Myself, Steve, Brock, and Rick Fines, would sit around strumming the guitar, sharing songs, shooting the breeze, and drinking a few. We all thought it was ironic that we travelled 2000 miles to hang out with a group of guys that live about 2 hours apart from each other. That's how it goes sometimes. 

     Musically, it was the Canadians who impressed ( there was a large Canadian contingent in attendance). I got a chance to hear my buddy JD Edward's new project, The Small Glories, and they were great. JD and Cara Luft have a great chemistry on stage, and I predict this group will be a Folk Fest Favourite over the next few years. Another group that impressed me was Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar. The sheer vocal power of this group is inspiring. Good, solid (R&B Folk/Blues) writing. Check 'em out!

Rick Fines and I jammin'

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