Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fiddles, Mandolins and Banjos...Oh MY!

I spent a delightful evening with a group of young musicians last night.

Remember the psychiatrist? Well, he has played for the last 30-40 years or so with a group called the Putah Creek Crawdads, who do folk music and play at a lot of fund raisers, special events, and occasionally at a venue like the local restaurant (we will be seeing them there tomorrow night).

The psychiatrist tells me that the youngest in the group is in his mid 60s and the oldest is 85. The basic four all met while attending the local Unitarian Church and after playing together for awhile they began to be asked to perform for fund raisers...and the rest is history. The psychiatrist plays the banjo, there is a prune and pear farmer who plays the bass, an attorney who plays guitar and is the lead singer, and the former editor of the university's agricultural newspaper who is now retired and who serves as the group's librarian.

In addition to the basic four there is a retired teacher who plays mandolin and who acts as the group's PR guy and then a young woman (who looks young enough to be granddaughter to all of the other guys), who plays the fiddle and who helps to arrange the music.

I have long wanted to do a feature article on the group. They are real favorites around here. I went armed with my tape recorder, my Flip video and my regular camera, which allowed me to catch Rory, the dog, joining in with everybody while they rehearsed, and some snippets of the rehearsal (one today, another one tomorrow).

Without the tape recorder going for 2+ hours, I never would have had the joke: What's the difference between roast beef and pea soup? (anybody can roast beef.)

After they had rehearsed for awhile, they took a break, all got a beer, and sat around me talking about the history of the group. Tomorrow night we'll go off to see them perform.

crawdads.jpg (49432 bytes)
(Note the psychiatrist's dog sits in the middle of all
the musicians while they rehearse)

And then this evening we went off to Little Prague restaurant here in Davis to see the group Riggity Jig performing Celtic music.

jig.jpg (42051 bytes)

What fun. We had a lovely dinner and heard great music. They could have used amplification for the vocalist (but I could follow along with Whiskey in the Jar, which was the one song they played that I knew!), but it was kind of like being back in a pub in Ireland again. The guy on the right is our friend, Lee Riggs and the guy on the left with the fiddle is his brother, David. I don't know David, nor the two guys in the middle.