Our Longest Day Jam, held Friday, June 21, in Winchester was a huge success! By my calculations, we raised $5410! (This is adding together the money for the team, Murphy's Misfits, and the money that was donated in my name, Murphy Hicks Henry.) Thanks, again, to all of you who donated. I've tried to send personal emails of thanks, but I'm sure I didn't thank everyone.
According to the Longest Day website, you can continue to donate until July 21.
We had 70 people show up throughout the day (counting 7 kids). We started the picking promptly at 9 a.m. when my sisters, Nancy (guitar) and Laurie (fiddle), and I (banjo) sang Uncloudy Day, in memory of Mama and Daddy. We had 4 other people picking with us including Dennis Leitner, on banjo, who had driven all the way down from Illinois just to jam with us; the ever-faithful Bob Van Metre on bass; Janet Moore on guitar (ditto on the faithful!); and my first-ever modern-western square dance partner and constant cheerleader, Nick Capozio (President of the Rivermont Ramblers' Square Dance Club).
By noon we had 19 pickers, playing in two separate jams, one outside and one inside. We kept about that same number of pickers up until 6 o'clock, when folks started wandering off to get supper. (Or soak their fingers!) Still, we kept picking right up until 8 pm when the Gooseneck Rockers took over for an hour-long concert. The last song we sang, before the Rockers took the stage, was a reprise of Uncloudy Day.
The Rockers, of course, rocked the house, which was full of folks sitting shoulder to shoulder. David McLaughlin, on mandolin, joined Casey, Marshall Wilborn (bass), and Tom Adams (guitar) for an hour of old standards and newer tunes. It's always so much fun for me to sit and watch Casey play the banjo--she is so amazing. Occasionally I will hear little glimpses of my own playing in what she does but, by and large, she has carved out her own banjo path. (Never straying too far from the path that Earl trod, though.)
We were honored to have Lynn Morris come in to watch the show. She sat down right by me and I could tell she was really enjoying herself.
A special GREAT BIG THANKS to my many helpers! I could not have done this jam without you all:
Bob Van Metre
And I have to single out Scott Brannon, the great guitar player and singer from Martinsburg, W.Va., who leads the Scott Brannon Band. He came early (10:00) and stayed till the end. And he was playing music practically the whole time. When we split the jam (which was getting too big to be very musical) and sent the faster pickers (Zac!) outside, Scott looked at me and said, "Where do you want me to go, Murphy?" I said, "Where do you want to go?" He said, "I'll go wherever you need me." BLESS HIS HEART! I told him to go on outside.
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed singing with my sisters. I think our harmony has actually gotten better over the years. One of my own personal highlights was singing Sweetheart Of Mine Can't You Hear Me Calling with my sister Nancy. That song has some tough, complex bluegrass harmony--some really weird notes--and we were hitting them. It was awesome. Nancy and Laurie and I also did a trio on the Gillian Welch song By The Mark which also sounded awesome. (It's late in the day and I have run out of adjectives!)
I will quit before I type "awesome" one more time. Or fall into using "really" or "very" or "just" which are my I'm-too-tired-to-write-good words. I usually go back and take them out!
The whole day was just (see?) one of those really (ditto!) perfect days when everything just (again!) fell into place. I was very (!) happy and very (!) tired. But it was just so very worth it! Really!