Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I have been elected President of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association. Don't ask why or how; it just is, like so many other things. This coming weekend is one of the major events of the year for MBOTMA. It is the Winter Bluegrass Weekend and it is held indoors at a hotel/conference center in the metro area. There will be non-stop picking and grinning for three days and people will get enough of the festival thing to hold them over until this summer when there are more festivals and fun. I will not only be wearing my crown and purple robes (I hope it's purple; I haven't actually seen it yet...) , but I will be performing on the main stage Friday and Saturday with the two bands I am currently playing with. Ivory Bridge is even opening for the main (national) act Saturday night. We have been practicing like crazy to be ready and to sound our best. Between now and Friday my biggest challenge is to get enough rest as I notice that I play better when that is the case. In fact, I now notice that my vocabulary (such as it is) drops off to about forty words when I am exhausted. Tonight I will go to the home of Kathe and Bill for some dinner and some tunes. Kathe and Bill took very good care of me last Summer when things were tough and their care consisted mainly of spending time with me and feeding me and playing tunes. It was a wonderful Summer in that regard. We all got really good on our instruments too. We had the groove all the time, didn't make as many mistakes, and blended really well. We now reminisce about those months and maybe we can capture some of that magic tonight. Those guys are really special to me. They accepted me into their lives and supported me like crazy. They really and truly like the way I play the banjo, which makes me play the best I can out of sheer appreciation for being appreciated. I had retired from music for over twenty years and these guys heard me play soon after I returned to performing and decided I was the banjo guy for their sound, despite the fact that the rust was flaking off my fingers while I played (it had been a long time since I was in shape). My playing has gotten much smoother and consistent now that I have been playing and performing again for a couple of years. My style is not the currently popular style of banjo. I am kind of a groove player and not a technical wizard or driving traditionalist. Actually, my style hasn't ever been popular but that didn't stop me from just making stuff up and enjoying what I could pull out of my a... arsenal (ooh!).

As for the rest of my existence, Spring is starting to hint that it might show up this year and I am in decent shape after getting to the gym on a semi-regular basis through the cold months and I am hungry for some cycling time. I managed to free up the frozen seat post on my fixie so the seat height could be lowered (I might be shrinking) and I have the new tires on it. It's close; very, very close to biking time. I am glad I got away from the bike for the frozen months and even happier that I kept some fitness. It's the Jim plan for cross training, but instead of cycling Saturday and swimming Sunday and running Monday, I cycled in the Summer, ran in the Fall, and swam in the Winter (you get my drift). Later.


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