2004: Mostly close to home...
|11/19/04||Seattle, WA||Best of the Northwest |
Holiday Craft Fair
|10/24/04||Seattle, WA||Bethany Presbyterian Church|
|10/21/04||Lacey, WA||Panorama City|
|9/18/04||Seattle, WA||Olympic Hills Elementary School|
|9/4-5/04||Richland, WA||Tumbleweed Music Festival|
|8/20/04||Seattle, WA||Puget’s Sound |
|8/1/04||Moscow, ID||Unitarian Universalist Church |
of the Palouse
|7/22/04||Seattle, WA||Conor Byrne’s Pub|
|5/29/04||Seattle, WA||Northwest Folklife Festival|
|5/3/04||Seattle, WA||Hop Vine Pub|
|4/30/04||Seattle, WA||Best of the Northwest |
Spring Craft Fair
|4/23/04||Seattle, WA||Richard Hugo House|
|4/18/04||Spokane, WA||Nacho Celtic Hour|
|4/13/04||Vancouver, WA||Washington State University- |
|3/28/04||West Seattle, WA||West Seattle Unitarian |
|2/26-8/04||San Diego, CA||Folk Alliance |
Seattle Sounds Showcase
|2/6/04||Leavenworth, WA||Leavenworth Community |
|1/23/04||Seattle, WA||USA Songwriting Competition |
November 19, 2004
Seattle, WA: Best of the Northwest Holiday Craft Fair
After what must have been a flourishing set at the spring event in April, Adam Carlson has brought me back for the Best of the Northwest Holiday Craft Fair at the old Naval Station by Sand Point Magnuson Park (in the cavernous airplane hanger again!). Pleasant place to spend an hour on a brisk November Friday, playing a sort of ‘paid practice’ gig for luncheaters doing their respective parts to keep that economy humming this holiday season.
October 24, 2004
Seattle, WA: Bethany Presbyterian Church: Sunday Nights in the Parlor (SNiP)
Chris Glanister does a tremendous amount of sound/technical work to maintain both Puget’s Sound concert series, and tonight I’m excited to play for the series he co-produces, Sunday Nights in the Parlor (SNiP) at historic Bethany Presbyterian Church on Queen Anne Hill. The fourth-Sunday series features a musician and an artist each month, and tonight I share the room with the appealing, local-color photography of Eric Stern, an accomplished Seattle doctor and professor. The room is cozy, the cookies and coffee ample, and crowd favorable—and willing to sing!—as I strum along, enjoying the sight of Chris relaxing somewhere other than behind the mixing console. Chris adds pre-planned vocals and whistles to several tunes, and his wife, Jan, joins for the final two participatory numbers: “How Can I Keep From Singing?” and “Name of the Lord is Music.” Fun to find yet more instances of comfortable community music!
October 21, 2004
Lacey, WA: Panorama City Retirement Community
Panorama City Retirement Community is a spacious estate in Lacey with a tremendous amount of on-site resources for its residents—travel, financial, recreation, etc. The story, as I understand it, is that a resident caught the Seattle Post-Intelligencer story that ran this summer and walked into the office, paper-in-hand, to request that Panorama City hire me.  So here I am, the entertainment for the monthly birthday celebration!
Everyone’s good to me as I quickly set up and accept an invitation to join a table (near the back by the bar and TV so I can keep an eye on NLCS Game 7!) for the dinner. True to senior from, the meal—which’d begun at 5pm—winds down shortly past six and, just as I’m starting to set up a CD/info display, the emcee announces me! Guess I’m on... It’s fun to play some of my songs for this attentive and appreciative crowd and its generational perspective (ages range from late-50s to 103!), and I’m touched by many of the friendly and thorough responses afterward (we end early, too...in time for me to catch the last three outs). Many suggest I come back, and It’d be my pleasure!
September 18, 2004
Seattle, WA: Olympic Hills Elementary School
A li’l appearance at Visions Toward Tomorrow, a community event sponsored by the City of Seattle’s North District Council, North District Stewardship, & Department of Neighborhoods—a bunch o’ committed and well-meaning folk.
September 4-5, 2004
Richland, WA: Tumbleweed Music Festival
Richland’s Tumbleweed Music Festival, organized by the Tri-Cities’ Three Rivers Folklife Society (three cheers for John and Micki Perry!!), is one of my favorite annual folk-rituals. Whether relaxing in the generous performers’ hospitality area (which, as usual, includes free massages in the instrument-check room!) or scurrying to one’s next engagement, Tumbleweed maintains a feeling of openhanded comfort—a true performer’s festival (though audiences enjoying a sunny holiday weekend in a lovely riverfront park surrounded by good music and community seem content, too)!
Saturday begins (‘performance’-wise) with John Nelson and me helping Nancy K. Dillon with her harmony workshop. I take a considerable amount of grief throughout the day for being the “First Alternate” in the songwriting contest—a title the festival has published! (‘Eleventh-best song out of ten,’ I tell many...) Though Nancy, whose taken-squarely-from-behind picture will appear in tomorrow’s newspaper (we chide her about the photos the paper wouldn’t touch that you can find at Folkbutts.com), had sliced her finger earlier in the week, no one bails from the contest and I keep my ‘Alternate’ status. (I was unsuccessful in my attempt to hire someone to hide behind a dumpster with a tire iron and strike another contestant in the knee; and the intense psychological warfare that I employ during the contest—“You feeling okay?! You suuure?? ’Cause if you’re not, you know, I can step in...you should rest, it’s a long festival... ”—fails me as well.) Joe Jencks secures his Tumbleweed dynasty with a second consecutive win, barring him from future contests and promoting him to ‘Judge’ status.
I’m on as ‘Wes’ shortly after the famous Performer-Brunch on Sunday, and I’m pleased to see a nice noon-time crowd gather, many of them discovering Wes for the first time (and liking it!—as several share with me after the set). Joe joins me for the first three songs, before shuffling off (in true Tumbleweed spirit) to join another act for the last few songs of her concurrent set. A later workshop on “Inland Northwest Historical Songs” produces a wonderful in-the-round that could have lasted another hour-plus, and I’m glad to be a part of the regional celebration. My on-stage duties conclude with a guest-mandolin spot during John’s set, and another Tumbleweed Festival winds itself down in another tornado of contentedness.
August 20, 2004
Seattle, WA: Puget’s Sound: Meadowbrook Series
I’ve really enjoyed putting this show together with Joe Jencks, a Seattle expatriate now living in Cleveland (not to mention a tremendous singer and gifted songwriter); as much work as it’s been coordinating all of the various particulars, it’s been fun watching this come together. I’ve also really enjoyed the chance to learn some of Joe’s songs, teach him some of mine, and play together, and (as I told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer) I can’t think of a better person to help me celebrate the start of the second Puget’s Sound season than Joe, who shares my vision of community through music in a comfortable, compatible way. In fact, we spend a considerable portion of time discussing this in a live, on-air interview with Puget’s Sound partner KSER-Everett in the morning—bless the heart and soul of community radio!! (KBCS also had us on yesterday.) [Note to those keeping score: Though Joe is not technically a ‘local act’ anymore, he qualifies for this appearance in a Puget’s Sound series because we had not originally planned for an August show and he is thus not taking another truly-local act’s slot...much as I would not have allowed myself this appearance under different circumstances.]
The show itself draws a nice-sized, animated crowd that enjoys Joe’s and my efforts to make the evening more than merely two white-guys-with-guitars separately playing their own music. The highlight for me comes in the middle of “Ballad of the Whitman Greeks” as a siren screams by outside just after I’ve delivered the line: “None of his laws would land coeds in jail.” Serendipity... Joe is truly a remarkable performer, and I’m pleased to have been part of such a pleasant evening...and one that will likely yield future co-performances. Stay tuned!
August 1, 2004
Moscow, ID: Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse (Gospel Sunday!!)
Now in its sixth year, Gospel Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse in Moscow, ID, and its prodigious hosts—‘Reverend’ Jim-Bob (my father, Jim Weddell) and his faithful sidekick Tami ‘Faye’ Moore—have become quite the annual spectacle one choice summer Sunday a year in my hometown Palouse hills. (They’re even playing out some!—the UU church in Coeur d’Alene, ID, had ’em up earlier this year...) The Gospel-uninitiated feel more comfortable each time (the first time Dad, a failed Southern Methodist, called for a spirited “Amen!” in this setting many years ago you could hear crickets...), everyone sings along, and more often than not the clapping falls on the two-and-four beats! I’ll lend my musical facilities to this wonderful, feel-good event any time!
July 22, 2004
Seattle, WA: Conor Byrne’s Pub
I’m delighted to see more folk pushing the cause of the local musician—as Eva Tree and Anna Coogan have begun by offering these monthly local-songwriter in-the-rounds at Conor Byrne’s Pub in mighty Ballard—and just as thrilled to accept an invitation to perform for such an event. With me this evening are Puget’s Sound veterans Eva and the peerlessly-passionate Bob Antone, along with Bill Lavoie and Val (why don’t she and her powerful voice ’n’ guitar play out more, darnit!) D’Alessio. We’re good for five times ’round the horseshoe, and the impromptu accompaniments begin almost immediately: Bob adds some of his spirited fiddle to my songs “Every Now and Then a Sunset,” “Left Me With No Choice,” and my new, Washington-focused re-write of “I’ve Been Everywhere,” which continually proves a nice addition as we work out in the sweltering July heat. (There’s a convenient fan right at the foot of the stage, which makes things bearable—but, unlike Eva, I don’t have hair enough to take advantage of its potential ‘singin’-in-the-wind’ visual effect...) Fun times chasing each others’ songs, jumping in, and kicking back with a nicely appreciative (and sweaty) house. Hope Eva and Anna keep these up!
May 29, 2004
Seattle, WA: Northwest Folklife Festival
Memorial Day means camping to some, barbeques to others, boating, sleeping in, working in the yard... In my circles, however, Memorial Day weekend brings the all-consuming, over-stimulating fracas that is the Northwest Folklife Festival. My main set comes on Saturday this year, kicking off the “Life Beyond the Cascades” stage...at 11:00 AM. Hosts Carlos Alden and Dan Maher—both playful musical nemeses from my eastern-Washington past—do their expected and collective worst to incite the emergent, not-yet-drizzled-upon crowd. All in all, this proves a very comfortable way to play Folklife, and I feel good enough to debut my new re-write of Geoff Mack’s great trucking song, “I’ve Been Everywhere,” which exclusively features Washington State place names: I’ve been to Pasco, Tenino, Potholes, Indianola.... It goes over very well, and I wonder if my half-hour on the Fisher Green stage might emerge as one of the more relaxed moments of the weekend...
May 3, 2004
Seattle, WA: Hop Vine Pub
For six years the convivial, kind, and eminently approachable Kurt Myhaver has run the Monday singer/songwriter showcases at the Hop Vine Pub; and now, with a move to Maine imminent, I’m honored that he’s asked me to play the penultimate show (with Steve Key—seen a lot of him lately...though he, too, will be skipping town in a week’s time—and Amy Roberts). Amy opens the show with a nice set of tunes, eventually yielding to Steve, who, as he’s done once before, has asked me to join him on mandolin (we’ve never sat down and really worked through any songs...). His set also finds a nice rhythm and all (including Steve—which is important!) seem to enjoy my on-the-fly accompaniment. My set’s last, and I break out a few that I haven’t tried in a while to close the nice evening of Monday music. Best to you, Kurt!
April 30, 2004
Seattle, WA: Best of the Northwest Spring Craft Fair
While the airplane-hanger site of the 2004 Best of the Northwest Spring Craft Fair at Seattle’s old Sand Point Naval Station is, one must admit, pretty cool, the air inside on this gorgeously hot-’n’-hazy Friday afternoon is not. I had accepted the two-hour slot (from my friend and former UW T.A. turned Contra-danceband-booking-magnate Adam Carlson) thinking that the second hour would be a great chance for my accustomed Friday-afternoon hobbyband (never named, though we briefly toyed with the idea of Hasselbeck) to make its public debut. (The now mostly-defunct ensemble included fellow Pullman-bred Travis Luther, lately of Ultra Find and other projects, and David Bush, another good friend and intermittent collaborator with his hand in at least a half-dozen other musical adventures around town.) With Travis off to Colorado, however, the two hours were mine alone (though the posted schedule wistfully announced the presence of “Wes Weddell & friends”—perhaps the transitory audience took ‘friends’ to mean ‘harmonicas’...).
The set sounds and feels good, many in the non-committal audience respond positively, and the ensuing ice cream bar from Scotty’s Northwest Cuisine is one of the best I’ve ever had. Just another grand spring day in the neighborhood...
April 23, 2004
Seattle, WA: Richard Hugo House (S5)
Having spent so much time of late pushing the cause of the local musician with the Puget’s Sound series and related endeavors, I’m excited to remember the performer and songwriter in me (my real calling, darnit!) with an appearance in mover-and-shaker Steve Key’s S5 series: the Secret Society of Seattle Singer/Songwriters (don’t tell). Steve has done a nice job pairing able local acts with traveling singer/songwriters, and I’m honored to split tonight’s bill with an award-winning Bay-Area gentleman named Christopher Smith.
Steve opens the show with his trademark affability and a few great tunes, soon handing the stage to Christopher for a set of well-crafted songs. I begin to see some why Steve might’ve billed us together—Christopher’s clever wordplay and clear, versatile expressiveness remind me of many of my aspirations when writing. The cafe/bar finally opens, and I go on after a short intermission, playing to a nice, familiar crowd of appreciative listeners and enthusiastic clappers. An emotional and fragile as-yet-untitled song (someone else’s personal story) that’s been over a year in the making makes its debut, allowing me to meet a goal I’d set of having this one done by this evening...which feels pretty good! In fact, the whole durn evening feels pretty good!!
April 18, 2004
Spokane, WA: Nacho Celtic Hour
Three years ago, while deeply immersed in The Project, I appeared on Carlos Alden’s Nacho Celtic Hour, a great weekly radio program on Spokane’s NPR affiliate, KPBX. Carlos interviewed me some, I played a couple of tunes, and then we opened the phones to listeners who might have ideas about local songwriting topics as I used their ideas to write on the fly—‘Folk Radio on the Edge,’ we called it. Knowing I would be in the area over the weekend, Carlos, himself a fine Celtic player (with the Celtic Nots) and songwriter, has invited me back and, after a brunchtime taste of Spokane’s inaugural Dim-Sum enterprise, we again challenge listeners to do their worst/best. The ensuing medley this time includes a probing, Western-identity-soul-searching treatise on folk who move to the Methow Valley (or like areas) looking for that elusive ‘something’ and a showtuney coda remembering grand Lake Missoula and her impact on our landscapes and lives today. Maybe you’ll see part of this again...
April 13, 2004
Vancouver, WA: Washington State University-Vancouver
WSU-Vancouver twice had me down last year—both great visits—to present songs and materials from The Project, and I’m happy to find myself guesting for Susan Tissot’s Senior Public History class once again. This time, however, I’m not battling food poisoning (as I was when I appeared before this class last April!), and the results with regard to my disposition are manifest. It’s rare anymore that I play the entire Northwest Home set, and I enjoy digging out some of the songs I don’t play very frequently (“Row, Row Your Boat, ” “We’ve Got Stories”...), but some of my rhetorical gimmicks suffer from having the lyrics simultaneously on display (like watching a sitcom in closed-captioning—the timing’s lost). I also salt the playlist with some relevant Woody Guthrie (who, Susan tells me, is largely an unknown among her current students; bummer...), James Stevens, etc.
The first musical voyage in the new-used car goes quite smoothly (though I should do something about the carnivorous tape deck; I did a lot of yodeling on the way down...); farewell Blue-Beauty-cum-Dented-Dinghy: you served me well! Also great to see good, old friends and catch up.
March 28, 2004
West Seattle, WA: West Seattle Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
This was supposed to be Steve Key’s gig, but he had to run to Portland on short notice and graciously referred me. After years of experiencing the (Right) Reverend Jim-Bob’s grand UU revivals—my father’s triumphant Unitarian guest-appearances across the Northwest, to the uninitiated—I’m well prepared to address this gathering of delightful, community-minded West Seattleites, and they seemed equally predisposed to welcome me and my two tunes: David Mallett’s masterful “Garden Song” (for the kids); and Josh Ritter’s “Snow is Gone”, a fitting and uplifting spring melody to preface Rev. Peg Boyle Morgan’s service entitled “The Abundance of Invitations.” Many smiling, enthusiastic faces, and a pleasant social hour afterward!
How does one begin to describe to the uninitiated the over-stimulating fracas that is the annual International Folk Alliance Conference? Or, perhaps more challenging, driving rain in San Diego?? I pause during a quiet Wednesday dinner in San Diego’s Old Town with co-Seattle Sounds-mates John Nelson and Nancy K. Dillon to breathe the fragrant, floral air and enjoy the peace while I have it. By the time I’ve begun putting up posters the next morning, it’s gone and, as I write this, I’m still searching for some of it!
Jenn Adams remarks that the conference is like “kid-in-a-candy-store” time for her, and I wish that my deeply-committed organizing drive allowed for more of that feeling in myself. I come close sharing bawdy jokes (when I ought to be networking with folk-radio DJs!) with Tom Paxton, Steve Seskin, and dear friend David Maloney, but too soon I’m back to fretting over the upcoming Seattle Sounds showcase, which’ll feature thirty individual performance slots and four in-the-round sessions over the course of two late evenings; further, I board a plane for Portland at 6:45 Saturday morning—merely five hours after my last performance!—to drive out to Astoria and attend a relative’s wedding...and I’ll end up wasting my first-ever first-class upgrade (for weight-and-balance purposes, they tell me, though I’m not sure that I’m the best choice given my wiry body-type) fast asleep over the slowly waking western coast.
Despite a pretty major hotel screw-up (not the only one, I hear...and that’s not even counting the serious fire in one of the showcase rooms!) that booted us from our original, advertised room (sigh), the showcasing plods along at its spontaneous and serendipitous best, complete with requite drop-ins, drama, jams, stress, and occasional smiles all around. And good coffee—we take representing Seattle very seriously! More physically and emotionally taxing than last year for a variety of reasons, but I’ll catch back up. And, sometime MUCH later, I’ll also think about whether I want to take this damned thing to Montreal next year...!!
Fri., February 6, 2004
Leavenworth, WA: Leavenworth Community Coffeehouse
I’m starting to think that I could settle in Leavenworth, the little Bavarian hamlet in the Cascade foothills. Behind the faux-Alpine Dairy Queen and Rodeway Inn lies a wonderful, vibrant community of good folk surrounded by stunning mountain and river-valley vistas that are as awesome in today’s heavy snowfall as they are on a clear summer day. Jessica and I have come over the pass the previous night in order to make my early-morning radio spot more doable, and I’m out the door of our delightfully-energetic hosts’ house as the snow’s just starting to pick up. The KOHO studio is always cozy and welcoming (donuts!), and I’m happy to swing by even for the smallest of radio spots, which this morning yields.
With a full, free day looming before the gig, Jess and I set about snow-romping and visiting the wonderful little shops that dot downtown and beyond (the new guitar store, Hi Strung Music, proves to be a real treat!!). After a great home-cooked dinner back at Alex’ and Amanda’s (I love homestays!) I’m off to the Grange Hall for the gig, long a coveted performance by Northwest artists given the Coffeehouse’s loyal following and spirit (one of my inspirational templates for the Puget’s Sound series). Though I hear that audiences have been slower of late, I’m still happy to play to a modest gathering of enthusiastic concertgoers (next time, I’ll have to make sure not to schedule myself opposite a home basketball game at the high school—you’d think I’d’ve figured that out by now given the number of small towns I play... Pleasant weekend, as expected; gonna have to make it back.
Fri., January 23, 2004
Seattle, WA: USA Songwriting Competition Showcase
The true ‘thrust’ of this gig—booked/coordinated entirely via e-mail (not unusual)—has remained somewhat murky in the weeks leading up to it (I’m ‘required’ to provide a certain number of audience members at a showcase for a contest I never entered...), and things don’t exactly come right together as I enter the downtown Borders on this drizzly, traffic-heavy evening. Shea, a personable Borders employee, explains to me that the host for these monthly showcases never comes (?!), but that folk usually pay mild attention. As I begin to fill in the (considerable) blanks in the sound system with pieces I have brought, it appears that neither of the other two musicians scheduled—fellow Seattle Sounds showcaser Kathryn Mostow and Texas refugee Michael Hill—are coming in addition! (Maybe they know something I don’t...or at least learned first!) I really didn’t sign up to play two hours to apathetic book/record-browsers, and I’m ready to burrow full-bore into my grumpy-pants when Kathryn and Michael arrive five minutes past scheduled start time. Friends arrive, too, and we make a perfectly pleasant evening of sharing tunes—proof what groups of good folk can do with a little time, space, and good-will! Coulda been a whole lot worse, but not how I’d hope to kick-off the new performance year... And I don’t imagine I’ll enter the USA Songwriting Competition (a Florida company, I hear...) anytime soon!