As you read this I’m on my way home from The Dixie Bee-Liners’ weekend gigs, which took us to Staunton and Charlottesville, Va. and Thomas, WVa., and I have to say it was one of the best eating tours that I can ever remember. I’ll spare you all the foodie details (I expect they’ll be up soon[ish] over on my own blog) and I’ll try to confine my comments to the venues and the shows.
Friday night found us in the surprisingly hip town of Staunton. I found several really cool restaurants as I was walking around town before the show, many of which used local sources for their ingredients. One of these was the place we played that night: the Mockingbird. This new venue (it’s only six months old) combines gourmet fare with a concert hall large enough to provide a decent paycheck for the band but small enough for an intimate-feeling show. It’s the ideal type of venue for this band because we like to be close enough to the audience to interact with them and really see their faces. The owner, Wade Luhn, and all the staff were extremely attentive and made sure we had everything we needed, from plenty of cold water, to a great dinner, to a nice private place to warm up and stash our stuff.
We were happy to have our regular fiddler, Rachel Renee Johnson, back after two weekends without her. Our two sets flew by, as they often do when the audience is on our wavelength, laughing at our jokes, and calling for an encore. I was honored to have Robin Williams in the crowd (of the fabulous folk duo Robin and Linda Williams) for our first set. I thought it was especially generous of him to come out to the show, especially since he and Linda had been working out in their garden all day. I got to see Robin and Linda and Their Fine Group in Nashville earlier this month, which is always a huge treat.
Also in the crowd were my friends Bert and Marianne Lampert. I gave banjo lessons to Burt for a while when I attended the University of Virginia. We couldn’t actually figure out when was the last time we’d seen each other (many years…) and it was awesome to see them and catch up.
The next night found us in Charlottesville, where I insisted we go to Bodo’s Bagels. They make the best bagels in the south and they are the number one thing I miss about living in C’ville. We played at the Southern Café, another bar/restaurant/music hall, where we split the bill with the Fitzmarice Band, a young group from Maryland. They opened up with a fantastic show and we played one long set to another excellent crowd. To tell you the truth, the members of the Fitzmarice band provided much of the enthusiasm from the seats they took in the audience after they played.
I was going to add a lot more to this post, but it’s after midnight. We just got done playing at the Purple Fiddle in Thomas, WVa., and I’m tired, darn it. So, as my mom says, that’s all you get for a nickel!