Sunday, August 29, 2010

End of Summer & Time for Fall Festivals

Yesterday's gig went well. Kudos to James and Jamie Faith and their excellent sound crew for the great job they did providing a first class stage and professional sound. We got there just in time to see our friends Bob Wescott, Ken Korb, and Mike DiGeronimo do their set as the Tobacco Roadies. Their show included some classic blues and rockabilly as well as a generous helping of Bob's original tunes. Ken played a couple of tunes by himself and got to display his amazing harmonica virtuosity. The Homegrown String Band did their usual stellar job of entertaining the crowd, then we listened to Klyph Black and Rumor Has It do a set of great original tunes in the classic Rock 'n Roll mode. The final act, The Donna Godchaux Band, kept the crowd hoppin'. I listened to three or four Grateful Dead tunes (singer/guitarist Jeff Matson sounds uncannily like Jerry Garcia) and a cover of Gillian Welch's Tear My Stillhouse Down before we decided to pack it in for the day. We have a couple of weeks off now then we have a busy second half of September that will include The Pennsylvania Sustainable Living Festival, The Apple Festival in Setauket, NY, and The Hudson Valley Garlic Festival.

Didn't get to run much last week, but I started this week off with a 12 mile plus run through the trails of the RCA property in Rocky Point. This is a 5,500 acre parcel that at one time was laced with towers and wires forming a giant antenna used to transmit and recieve trans-Atlantic radio signals by RCA and Marconi. RCA turned the land over to the state in the '70s and it is now controlled by the NY State DEC as part of the LI Pine Barrens Preserve. My run was about 60% narrow single track trails on varying terrain, winding through dense woodlands, and 40% wider flatter horse trails and fire roads running through more open areas. The single track portion of the run was on the first few miles of the Paumanok Path; a 125 mile hiking trail between Rocky Point and Montauk, NY. I decided to wear my belt pack and carry a 12 oz. bottle of water and a Clif Shot energy gel. I was glad I did. The temperature was around 80 degrees when I went into the woods, but was in the mid nineties when I emerged, with an empty water bottle, an hour and half later.

Photo by Rick Jackofsky

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Homegrown String Band & The Queen of Keen: Donna Jean Godchaux

I'll never forget the first time I heard  Miss Donna sing. It was March 1973, she and her husband Keith were new members of the Grateful Dead. Donna's high harmonies soared over the rhythm section and wove in and out of Jerry Garcia's lead guitar work adding an ethereal effect to the band's sound. This weekend (Saturday, August 28, 2010) we are looking forward to sharing a bill with her as part of The Sayville Seafood, Crafts, & Music Festival.
  Looks like the weather is going to be fine and the festival fun; crafts, music, food, and lots of other activities. The Homegrown String Band set is at 1:20. Donna will be appearing, with Jeff Matson, at the mythical time of 4:20.

Gates open at 10 am and admission is a mere $5, kids under 5 Free. For more info:

86 West Avenue
West Sayville, NY 11796

Saturday, August 21, 2010

National Trail Running Day

Bet you didn't know today was National Trail Running Day. I celebrated with a 12 mile run on the trails in Brookhaven State Park. The weather was great and wildlife was active. I saw several deer and a flock of wild turkeys. At one point I nearly ran into a young fawn—I turned a corner and the little guy ran right across the trail only inches away from me, a surprise for both of us! The trails in BSP are pretty typical of what you find in the Long Island Pine Barrens. I ran a couple miles of rolling, winding, pine needle covered single track, but mostly it's relatively flat sandy trails winding through pitch pine and scrub oak. The night before the Richmond Blueberry Fiddle Festival in New Hampshire we treated ourselves to dinner at The Newfane Cafe and Creamery and a night in a cool little bed and breakfast, Red Wing Farm, in Vermont. This was quite a treat for the road weary Homies. After driving 4,000 miles, eating lots of fast food, and staying in cookie cutter budget motels over the past 6 weeks, it was nice to get off the highway (through a covered bridge!) and enjoy the natural beauty and friendly folks in rural Vermont. The inn was just down the road from Townshend State Park. Before we hit the road for the festival, I ran down the dirt road to the State Forest Rd and into the park where I enjoyed a nice trail run up to the top of Bald Mountain. This was bit different than Long Island trail running. The 1.7 mile trail up the mountain was a rocky, rooty, twisting trail with one shallow stream crossing, fun, fun, fun! The festival was great, too. This festival is a fund raiser for The Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Richmond VT. The IHM school is run by a group of "fiddlin'" Catholic sisters, though the student body only numbers 35 they have plenty of talent that has been nurtured by the sisters. At various times during the festival I would say most of the student body appeared on stage, either performing with the BFF Fiddlers or playing a part in The New England Melodrama.

Next week we will be doing another day trip down to Somerset NJ for a free show at The Franklin Township Public Libray on Wednesday, August 25, at 7 pm.

We'll be closing out the month with a local performance at The Sayville Seafood, Crafts and Music Festival. Our set is at 1:20 on Saturday the 28th. Come early to see the opening set at 12 by our buddies, The Tobacco Roadies, and stay late to catch the closing act, Donna Jean Godchaux and Jeff Matson, at 4:20 pm.

Photo by Erica Jackofsky

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Richmond Blueberry Fiddle Festival

This weekend we head up to New Hampshire for the Richmond Blueberry Fiddle Festival. It's been a while since The Homegrown String Band last visited the Granite State and we are looking forward to meeting the fiddlin' sisters of The Immaculate Heart of Mary School. The festival takes place Saturday, August 14 at the Cheshire Fairgrounds in Swanzey NH. The music starts at 9 am! Our sets will be at 1:15 and 6:45 pm. Erica will also be leading a knitting circle starting at 5:45 pm.

Step back into the past with a one-of-a-kind, old-fashioned family festival: the eighth annual Blueberry Fiddle Festival, organized by Richmond’s Immaculate Heart of Mary School. Enjoy live music and delicious food, browse the craft vendors, participate in an original New England melodrama, and join us for a family contra dance.

Monday, August 2, 2010

On the Road Again

We've traveled 2,500 miles through five states in the past 2 weeks! Back out tomorrow (Tuesday, 8/3) for a day trip up to New Rochelle, NY, where we will be appearing at The Ossie Davis Theater, a 145 seat theater at The New Rochelle Library (7pm, 1 Library Plaza, New Rochelle, NY).  Friday night (8/6) we will be doing a show at The New Jersey Botanical Gardens, also a 7pm start time. The show will be out in the garden weather permitting, inside if it rains. Sunday (8/8) it's up to Redding, CT, for a dinner time concert on the green. Showtime is 6pm. Bring a picnic and your dancin' shoes!

Photo by Doug Decker Neahwa Park, Oneonta, NY