Monday, November 19, 2012

Frailin', Sawin', and Singin'!

We played a show yesterday and a photographer covering the event gave me this photo that he took of me and my daughter Erica playing together last summer. A reminder of how blessed my life has been. Like Johnny Cash said, "These are the things from which my mind and spirit feed."

Erica and Rick,  Frailin', Sawin,' and Singin'  - photo by Mark Shanholtz

Life is Good!   Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Copper Finger

A new nemesis for James Bond? No, a new clawhammer banjo finger prosthetic device. I was working in my metal shop and I got my fingers a little to close to the bench grinder. I didn't get hurt (this time) but I gave my clawhammer banjo fingernail an unwanted manicure. Usually when this happens I will use a National or Dunlop metal finger pick spun around backward as a fingernail substitute. I was never really happy with the way they felt or sounded. I would often get the edge caught up on the banjo strings. So today I decided I would make a banjo specific metal finger pick. I made a sketch and paper pattern with a nice wide fingernail the same size and shape of the one I had accidentally ground off. I cut the shape out of 16oz copper and customized it to fit my middle finger perfectly. So far I think it sounds and feels pretty good. It's also loud! I may be hooked on my new copper top banjo pick!.

Rooster Rick's Copper Top Clawhammer Banjo Picks!
By popular demand, I am now making these unique picks available to the banjo pickin' public.

 I'll give it a full test run at our show this weekend at the East Meadow Library.

Sunday, November  18, 2012 at 2:00 pm.

1886 Front Street
East Meadow, NY

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rocky Point Farmers Market Winds Down

Annalee minding the store at the Rocky Point Farmers Market 
Today was our last day at the Rocky Point Farmers Market. This was the first year for the local market place sponsored by the Rocky Point Civic Association. The market started out slowly in May and built up to a peak with the big Octoberfest pig roast celebration in early October. Since then activity has been gradually winding down as the weather cools and farmer's crops become more limited. As winter sets in I will miss the community spirit that was built and nurtured by this local gathering. I'm already looking forward to springtime in Rocky Point.

This Sunday (November 18, 2012) will officially be the last day for the market, but we wont be there because we have a show next Sunday. The Homegrown String Band will be performing at the East Meadow Library at 2:00 pm on Sunday afternoon. The library is in an area that was hit hard by "Post Tropical Cyclone Sandy". Hopefully we can give folks a break from clean up and recovery with a couple hours of old time music and dance.

East Meadow Library
Sunday, November 18, 2012 @ 2pm
1886 Front Street
East Meadow, NY

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Super Storm Sandy

Downtown Port Jefferson, NY  Monday October 29, 2012 - photo by Erica Jackofsky

Now they are calling it Super Storm Sandy, and things got worse before they started to get better. I spent Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday cutting up and clearing away downed trees. Power was on and off all week. We just got internet back this afternoon. Most traffic lights were down and local businesses were closed for a couple days. Up here on the north shore we had mostly wind damage, which is getting fixed relatively quickly. The big thing now is no gasoline. We had to cancel our show in River Vale, NJ scheduled for this Sunday because we didn't think we would have enough fuel to get back home. On the south shore a lot of the damage was caused by flooding and fire. That will take much longer to get back to normal. At one point over 90% of the three million people here on Long Island were without power. LIPA (Long Island Power Authority) is estimating that 100,000 homes were destroyed or severely damaged to the point where power cannot be safely returned. I think there are still about a million people in Nassau and Suffolk counties without power and it is getting pretty cold. Many on Staten Island and the south shores of Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties are are in dire straits due to the severe damage to the infrastructure. Disasters like this bring out the best and the worst in people. We are hearing stories of looting and fights breaking out between people waiting on gas lines. So far I haven't witnessed any looting or people fighting for resources, only people helping each other get through a difficult time.