Sunday was a busy day for us at White Springs, and was going to be a long one. So, when I rolled out of the car at about 7:00, I went looking for coffee. Once that was found, it was time to wake up and get ready to play, including some picking, starting at about ten. Now, the Florida Folk Festival runs about ten stages, and we had a show to play at 1:00 at a stage called the Seminole Hut. That's not as peculiar as it sounds! The hut is a good venue with plenty of cool cover from the sun, solid cover from the rain, and a chance to play without a sound system and get close to our audience-- always a plus.
The morning was beautiful, with blue sky and not a drop of rain. Once warmups, visiting, and picking were accomplished, we all proceeded over to that Seminole hut, which is at the other end of the festival and most of a mile from the campground. The hut overlooks the grounds of the old, original Florida Folk Festival as it was in the late 1960s, when I first began going there, so I experienced in a bit of nostalgia as we arrived.
1:00 arrived, and we hit the stage-- or, rather, we stood up in front of the crowd. I like that. There's nothing quite like being close to the audience, so that the band and the listeners can really see and hear each other and trade energy. We had a packed crowd, of ages from about 9 on up. And like us, the people were ready to enjoy the show.
We started our set off with "Centerville Road", a high-energy, original mandolin tune. As we all took our breaks, the tune sounded really tight. The folks really liked it, and recognized all the instrumental breaks. A good start! Then I indulged in a few seconds of reminiscences about the great musician Chubby Anthony, the writer of the next song, and how I'd first seen him in 1968 within sight of the place we were standing, before launching into his song "Foothills of Home". Since we've been playing that one for years, it sounded good and tight.
Christopher's turn came next, and he sang his excellent number "Listen to the Lonesome Train". The crowd really liked it. Then John Hedgecoth regaled the audience with a fine rendition of "Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow", dedicating it to our cousin Dan Buie, who was in the audience. (It was Dan's birthday.) The crowd was really warmed up and responding well. Then it was time for a fiddle tune.
In the campground we'd discovered that Bill Monroe's little-played tune "Brown County Breakdown" sounded real good when we played it, so I put it here in the show. The tune is in E and is a bit unpopular, I suspect because few people have discovered how it good it can sound when it's "tight," but the number really came together as we played it that Sunday. More great crowd response.
We had time left for two numbers and a little extra, so I informed the crowd about some exploits of our legendary hero Clermont Hosford and then sang Will McLean's song "Abraham Washington", which was written about the first execution in the State of Florida. (Don't worry, the song comes out well.) Then it was time for our finale, and we played our favorite closer, the title tune from my CD "Helton Creek". That was a good show! The people liked us, and we sold quite a few CDs afterwards. (Here's a photo from that set, showing how close we were to the audience and how they were almost in the middle of the musical action.)
After that show, on the spot, John had to leave and drive to Nashville. We wished he could have stayed, because we had some more plans for the afternoon and evening. First of all, at 4:20, our friend Dale Crider was playing a set at the River Gazebo stage, and we wanted to back him up. So shortly before that time We all went down to the river bank and sat down in the small stage building. Good thing we did! The bottom suddenly dropped out overhead, and there was an absolutely deafening rainstorm falling on the metal roof overhead. So much for hoping Sunday would be a dry day! But Dale took the stage, with us behind him, and he carried the crowd away. First of all he sang two of his signature songs, "Mangrove Buccaneer" and "Gospel Snakes". Then, thunderstorm or not, Dale had the people all howling to his "Tallahassee Wolf" song. Good job, Dale!
After the set the rain slacked off a bit, so we ran for the cars. The weekend wasn't over yet. Dale, Chris, Jenny, and I all drove from the festival down to Dale's house at Windsor, Florida. We had music to play the next day!
Next time: Our recording session with Dale, on Monday!