...and the audience (with any luck upwards of 2000 people) shouts back "BLUEGRASS!" That where I'll be this weekend. Matt Ray and Those Damn Horses are playing at the Boats and Bluegrass Festival in Winona MN this weekend, AND we have a killer time slot - 6 p.m. on the MAIN stage. Hehehehe. I haven't been to Winona for nearly 6 months, and I'm excited to return. There's just something about that part of the state for me - it feels very much like home. The grouse woods and the duck blind will have to wait - there's crazy old time music to be made. :-)
Here's another "Ok, so..." of mine. Ok, so, I've been working on the guitar since I was in 9th grade. Yes, that's a long time, and how sad that I've only reached my current level of skill. Oh well, I get by just fine, thank you, BUT with the unfortunate departure of Damn Horses' long-time washtub bass AND jug player, the job of blowing the jug in the band has fallen to me. This summer we played in Grand Rapids MN for KAXE Radio's Mississippi River Festival, and that was my debut performance on the jug - in a big amphitheater in front of a couple hundred people. Despite my total lack of experience - or know-how or skill for that matter - it went fairly well, and I received two very generous rounds of applause for my efforts. After our set as I was walking around the festival, I had numerous people actually approach me and tell me how much they enjoyed my jug playing. I thought about it for a moment and came up with, "Really? So, I work my fingers literally to the bone for 25 years trying to learn how to kick a$$ as a guitarist with luke warm results, yet one of the first times that I step up to a mic and produce semi-musical tooting noises by blowing into a ceramic container, it's an instant big hit?" I'll edit out the conclusions about people and music that I drew from that. ;-) Instead, please enjoy this instructional video from the "Jimi Hendrix of the Jug."
"...if you were worried about looking like an idiot, why are you learning to play the jug?"
Ok, so, I LOVE duck hunting...I dig driving down some lost old dirt road at 3 a.m. with a cup of strong coffee while the BBC World Service on NPR is on the radio, and the very thought of pulling up to some overgrown landing on a little used swamp or bog of a body of water with my loyal dog Lucy in tow excites me even as I type this. The sounds of wings whistling overhead while mallards call and ringbills burl on distant darkened rice beds as drops of freezing rain pelt my parka have come to haunt my dreams, and I actually make a couple trips every year purely for the reason that they insure the maximum amount of Canoeing in the Dark. The rush of adrenalin that comes from accidentally cornering a family of territorial otters in a bend on a river or scaring a large moose from it's pre-dawn breakfast is really the only drug I'd ever need. Please don't misconstrue my enthusiasm about this activity as any sort of psychotic love of blood or killing, either. Harvesting ducks is but a small part of a very complex and colorful equation, and far FAR more ducks pass safely over my decoys than actually end up in the game bag. Adding even more enjoyment to my favorite activity (yes, if pressed I'd give up the public performance of music LONG before I shelved my decoys) is the fact that BOTH my young sons have become willing accomplices to this annual undertaking. Today is a "big day" in the scheme our duck season, for this morning we hauled 10 or more large bags of duck decoys from the storage shed to the garage where they will be sorted, inspected, and repainted as needed. My garage will also be an "unparkable mess" of blocks, boating gear, bits of wild rice, and assorted happy debris literally until the lakes freeze over in mid to late November. "Get ready, boys...here they come..."
My crazy old-time acoustic string band Matt Ray and Those Damn Horses was recently invited to play on Twin Cities radio station KFAI’s House Party. The show and the interview went fairly well, and the gig at The 331 after was REALLY good. There’s a video below and a bunch of other videos from the day as well as a TON of stuff from other amazing bands here on 420Ninja's Channel. Enjoy!
Incidentally, that also marked the sixth time I've done a live radio show...it doesn't seem to be getting any easier. ;-)