Was away but not from music.

Vacations are not supposed to be transformative and I usually don’t visit other people’s festivals neither here in town nor anywhere else really because I get antsy and want to jump right in to help (something like that.)

So there I was Saturday with my wrist band for an entire day of the 20th Annual Godderich Celtic Roots Festival and wow – can I say wow twice! Highlight for me was The Kruger Brothers, heard first at a side stage in an intimate session, and then on the main stage when things got dark and the ominous rain clouds departed.

Big shout out to all the acts I heard from far away Scotland to the heart of Quebec, Olympic England and of course Ireland, as it was much more than just fiddle playin’ n’ step dancin’ – but to watch all the art forms together and on top of each other was astounding. I kinda felt I was getting roped into something when we were in town on the Thursday before the Festival opened and I looked across one street into the big wide windows of the Godderich Grill and saw this large song-circle taking shape with more fiddlers and small-harp players streaming in from the hotel next door. Everywhere you could see a performer lanyard or a case strung over a shoulder and around a neck. I new I was in the heart of a festival and tried desperately that night alone to put it out of my mind back at the camp site. Vacations are for vacating the mind aren’t they? Sucker!

I am truly and utterly blown away by roots music and the Appalachian sound and American tradition (half the Kruger’s are from Switzerland believe it or not) and want to do my best to help its resurgence locally.  There is a vibe/scene happening here with young emerging folk musicians who are not afraid of a good union song; if you haven’t noticed YOU SHOULD CAUSE ITS SO AWESOME at least for a sentimental old fool like me!

So there I was on my way home today – fishing from river crossing to river crossing along the Maitland – in the wilderness and impoverishment of Huron County, blasting The Krugers’ 3-disc compilation with the windows on the pick up down. And, by the way, you can legally do 90 on them county back roads; yeee-freekin-hah!

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Horror genre, why the hell not!

I have to get the idea down….from a lucid dream the other night.

Southern Ontario doesn’t hold much evil, not the way the original North Americans tell in their cultures – stories that help things go easy in the middle of the night. And we haven’t yarned any better since from our minds creativity unless you can count the heinous crimes of Lucan Township – even then, a few bad farmers bent on destruction is not the gut-wrenching experience of malfeasance. We have our Grandview, and off course the odd psychopath to remind us to lock our doors at night, but not much more. That’s probably why when the wind blew in the window at night Bill didn’t wake at all, and Eileen merely startled at the noise of the door swaying shut, banging more than once. Had she looked over at the door framed by the half lit hallway she would have noticed the tiny hand on the knob, pallid – even grey, dripping wet, slamming the opening shut, again and again.

The Olympics are not tarnished!

I remember the ‘agony of defeat’ trailer as a child with the ski jumper falling dangerously off the ramp twisting and turning at high speed like a rag doll. Pushing themselves to the limits of physical, psychological and emotional excellence is something athletes do on a regular basis. I heard the other day that within the next couple of decades; advances in training technology could result in the first sub-nine-second 100 meter sprint. That would be amazing. What can I personally learn from the Olympics, rather than rail at corporate commercialism or dangerous Dupont sponsorship ethics?

For every rising star and gold medal there is a story equally as bold and triumphant that brings hope and inspiration that anyone can achieve something better, something greater than they set out to do yesterday, by the sheer audacity of their determination. From what I have seen of the Olympics this year, personal sacrifice and unending desire for excellence has brought the world’s attention to the highest stage. It’s not the Coca-Cola stage or the Bell stage – that just helps to put them on in a more complete form, to enable rather than to purchase.  

Perhaps it’s having been on the field of competition, perhaps being on the coaching sideline as well, and perhaps most of all – like those taking part today and tomorrow in the apex of their sport – it is witnessing and rekindling that feeling, the opportunity to go for it that continues to makes me a fan. Go Canada!