Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 Gig Archive

2005: Sharing stages...

Date City Venue
12/30/05 Bellevue, WA Crossroads
with Joe Jencks
12/29/05 Seattle, WA Haller Lake Community Club
with Joe Jencks
12/17/05 Bellevue, WA Crossroads
with Reilly & Maloney
12/16/05 Seattle, WA Puget’s Sound
with Reilly & Maloney
11/12/05 Seattle, WA Seattle Folklore Society
with Reilly & Maloney
11/10/05 Mount Vernon, WA Lincoln Theatre
with Reilly & Maloney
11/6/05 Studio City, CA Unitarian Universalist
Church of Studio City
10/20/05 Bellevue, WA Crossroads
9/9/05 Bellevue, WA Crossroads
8/21/05 Seattle, WA Northgate August Festival
7/31/05 Moscow, ID Unitarian Universalist
Church of the Palouse
6/19/05 Seattle, WA History House
with Erin Clancy
6/18/05 Seattle, WA El Diablo
with Ron Dalton
5/15/05 Everett, WA Flying Pig
with Joe Jencks
5/8/05 Spokane, WA Unitarian Universalist
Church of Spokane

with Joe Jencks
5/7/05 Spokane, WA The Shop
with Joe Jencks
5/6/05 Moscow, ID Palouse Folklore Society
with Joe Jencks
5/5/05 Boise, ID House Concert
with Joe Jencks
5/4/05 La Grande, OR Northeast Oregon Folklore Society
with Joe Jencks
5/3/05 Hood River, OR Mid-Columbia Folklore Society
with Joe Jencks
4/29/05 Seattle, WA Seattle Poetry Festival
4/10/05 Moscow, ID Palouse Folklore Society
with Reilly & Maloney
4/9/05 Spokane, WA The Met
with Reilly & Maloney
4/8/05 Kirkland, WA Kirkland Congregational
Church, UCC

with Reilly & Maloney
4/3/05 Coeur d’Alene, ID North Idaho
Unitarian Universalists
3/10/05 Bellevue, WA Crossroads Bellevue
3/7/05 Seattle, WA Hop Vine Pub

Performance Notes

Fri., December 30, 2005
Bellevue, WA: Crossroads
(with Joe Jencks)

Rehearsal time for my songs (as presented by a Wes/Joe duo) became a casualty of last night’s musi-fracas, so the set (and, at times, the chops) are a bit impromptu...but that seems to be just the kind of presentation that the nice-sized, holiday-weary crowd seeks as I close 2005 with my fifth visit to the Crossroads stage. A happy and safe new year to all—thanks for the support & company!

Thu., December 29, 2005
Seattle, WA: Joe Jencks “Rise As One” CD Release Concert
at Haller Lake Community Club

Lotta particulars to this one—a special CD-release concert for Joe’s new live album, “Rise As One”—but a heckuvan event: fun to be a pure sideman, swapping mandolin, acoustic-, and electric guitars (and singin’ some) to compliment the arrangements, which are really enlivened by the presence of the fabulous Cary Black on upright bass. Linda Allen and the Seattle Labor Chorus guest, and everyone sings along (decently). A welcome celebration in these lean times for live-music (though I wish 100+ more people would find events like this!!).

Sat., December 17, 2005
Seattle, WA: Crossroads
(with Reilly & Maloney)

Back again, slinging mando (never far from sight after last night...!) from the sidelines.

Sat., December 16, 2005
Seattle, WA: Puget’s Sound (Meadowbrook)
(with Reilly & Maloney)

Looks like a Reilly & Maloney Holiday Concert is now an annual Puget’s Sound event, and we’ve turned out another animated and engaged crowd as I juggle my multiple role-hats. The standard ‘never-take-your-instrument-away-from-the-stage’ rule surfaces as I take my mandolin back to the ad-hoc green/dressing-room just a shade early in an attempt to make sure that David & Ginny find an unlocked door at intermission. Oops...

Sat., November 12, 2005
Seattle, WA: Seattle Folklore Society
(with Reilly & Maloney)

Trying a new hall (Haller Lake Community Club) tonight with my now-annual (wearing my Seattle Folklore Society concert producer hat), fall presentation of R&M, and the early returns are great. Desiree and Larry Smith of the spirited, fledgling Haller Lake Arts Council had literally grabbed my arm at the Kirkland show earlier this year after hearing my Puget’s Sound spiel, sharing their desire to see this facility used. (We also collaborated some for the Northgate August Festival). Nice house (I was gonna be upset if I’d done all that chair-wrangling fer nuthin’!), sound, and, to my great relief, playing from me and the finger I smashed in a microphone stand at last night’s Puget’s Sound event. Busy weekend...and I look forward to more like it as HLAC’s Arts Live! at the Club gets set to take off this spring.

Thurs., November 10, 2005
Mount Vernon, WA: Lincoln Theatre
(with Reilly & Maloney)

I’m purely along for the ride tonight (well, I’ll play some sparse mandolin...)—David wants an ally and thinks I might like to scope out the gorgeously warm Lincoln Theatre in downtown Mt. Vernon. The industrious Don Wick has arranged the event (the story he tells is that he was driving in his car when his phone rang: “This is David Maloney...I have your business card...who the hell are you?”), guaranteeing at least the attendance of his ‘For No Particular Reason’ dinner club. The crowd that turns up, though, is much more: numerous; rowdy; and great fun! (Someone gave me flowers...) Seems like I keep busy even when I’m not really working...

Sun., November 6, 2005
Bellevue, WA:

A favorite high school classmate of mine is marrying himself off outside of San Diego (home of my somewhat-grievous 2004 Folk Alliance experience—hence my lack of overt enthusiasm surrounding a few days in obscene November sun), and, as it turns out, another old friend has begun coordinating some activities for the Unitarian-Universalist congregation in Studio City, so I’m able—with a little more driving than I’d like—to add some work to the trip, immerse myself in plenty of good company, and share tunes with another UU community. The ocean (dolphins!) is a bit like a good Northwest lake plunge in May, and I wonder, as I romp around in sandals, if Southern Californians sing the same winter-holiday tunes as the rest of us... The Studio City crowd is pleasantly receptive (and, in one particular instance, charmingly- and disarmingly-decisive...), and Rev. Atkinson reveals some fire beneath his gentle, liberal-white-guy-with-beard deportment. Nice to share music, stories, small-world connections, and future planning with this neat group...and then feel underdressed (not hip enough...) at our Hollywood lunch spot.

Thurs., October 20, 2005
Bellevue, WA: Crossroads
Hurricane Katrina Benefit

Crossroads is starting to feel a bit like my ‘regular’ gig: I’m back tonight for a Hurricane Katrina benefit organized by the generously-spirited Reggie Garrett, a great performer and citizen—all donations from the evening will go to Habitat for Humanity’s rebuilding efforts. My short set to kick off the evening becomes a double-set as Richard Middleton has phoned in ill, and it’s nice to see folk meandering over to Reggie’s table with open pocketbooks. Brad Warren, Reggie with the so-smooth Gary Westcott (who sound great!), Larry Murante, Grant Dermody, and Paul Benoit follow; Jim Page couldn’t make it, but a few patient folk who’d come looking for the Victory Music Open-Mic do a few songs each before the promised song-circle/performer-jam. (And Nes-Quik Guy is back for a brief cameo!!) It’s been great sitting around and catching up with these guys, and it’s even more fun all stumbling about in a self-indulgent, ad-hoc jam: Gary, Reggie, and Larry cover guitars; Grant (of course) on harmonica; Brad takes piano; and I commandeer Brad’s funky mandolin. Bellevue loves it! And nearly $600—and two guitars (eleven strings between ’em...) and a clarinet—are headed down to help.

Fri., September 9, 2005
Bellevue, WA: Crossroads
Bite of Crossroads

Glad I chose to eat after my set... Just a quick hour on this great stage (with Bob Conger’s fabulous sound), rewarded with phad thai, gyro, popcorn chicken, spring rolls, peach cobbler, and bubble tea (my first time...) from the third-annual Bite of Crossroads celebration. The shakily-enthusiastic fellow who pleaded for me to really shred some tunes on my Martin departs early, perhaps to refill his large, yellow ‘Nes-Quik’ bottle with whatever he had in it (not, Bob and I agree, Nes-Quik...).

Sun., August 21, 2005
Seattle, WA: Northgate August Festival

Puget’s Sound is coordinating the live-music stage at the first-annual Northgate August Festival, so I’ve got a brilliant-yellow nametag and a radio to make me look far more official than necessary in my capacity as Stage Manager for the local lineup—some of which I’ve arranged—featuring High Class Brass Quintet, Johnny Moses, Nancy K. Dillon, John Nelson, Tim Noah, Brian Butler, Filé Gumbo...and me. The shadow of Interstate-5 is hardly a sonic paradise, but the trademark-Seattle slowdowns and convenient placing of giant, inflatable ‘bouncy-toys’ help limit encroaching traffic noise. I’m following Tim’s dynamic kids act on stage, and, one must admit, nothing from my near-hour set compares to my impromptu role as “Superkid” (we were, sadly, a bit thin on youth in the crowd) for the Emmy®-winning Mr. Noah, which saw me dress to just below my ribcage with a confrontationally-pink, converted-kayak-life-jacket-looking muscle-suit and cape, running (‘flying’) and flexing through the sparse crowd as Tim sang my super-praises.

Sun., July 31, 2005
Moscow, ID: Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse
(Gospel Sunday!!)

My father—now a real, live, ordained e-mail-order minister through Universal Life Church—and I reprise our Gospel Music Sunday program from April at his home church (UUCP), with the usual (and growing!) cast of characters, including the also-Reverend Tami ‘Faye’ Moore and an ad-hoc choir to help us lead the songs of spirit/labor/justice that comprise the sermon: what undeniable fun!! After, our traditional fried-chicken / RC Cola potluck (Dad and I drove all over the Palouse looking for Moon dice) prolongs the fun (and tastes delicious!!), a welcome distraction for me from the heavy (though healing) memorial of a lost high school classmate the day previous.

Sun., June 19, 2005
Seattle, WA: History House of Greater Seattle
: Music in the Sculpture Garden
(with Erin Clancy)

History House of Greater Seattle is a great non-profit community museum/resource that celebrates neighborhoods around Seattle (the building itself lies in Fremont), and this summer it’s been hosting an outdoor Music in the Sculpture Garden concert series Sundays May-September—I (lucky me!) am booked for Fremont Solstice Fair weekend. Once a year (or therabouts—I’d like to make it more frequent) I call my dear friend and fine singer Erin Clancy to join me for a gig, and this ’un seemed like a good ’un: I’ve recently finished a song (“White Hats & Wild Times”) begun live on-air on KPBX-Spokane’s Nacho Celtic Hour last year, and it’s turned into (my producer’s mind tells me) a duet with a unassumingly twangy female voice—perfect!! With a fragment of the Berlin Wall behind us and a spot of sizzling sun streaming through a strategic skylight in the awning directly onto me, Erin and I teeter through some our annual favorites for the transient festival crowd.

Sat., June 18, 2005
Seattle, WA: El Diablo
(with Ron Dalton)

Ron Dalton, a skillful songwriter and altogether-pleasant fellow, has asked me to join him this evening at El Diablo, a funky little coffeehouse on Queen Anne Hill with great coffee, victuals, and décor: a low-maintenance evening swapping songs to the comings and goings of an awfully light Saturday crowd that chosen to step indoors on this near-longest day of the year.

Sun., May 15, 2005
Everett, WA: Flying Pig
(with Joe Jencks)

Puget’s Sound and KSER recently completed a nice first-season run at the Flying Pig in Everett, a great all-ages brew-pub (though, I learn, it’s starting to outsource its beers...and has sold it brewery equipment to a joint in Israel called the Dancing Camel...) with music-supportive ownership and a loyal clientele, and I’m excited to play one more ‘non-sanctioned’ show (neither organization is officially involved, just owner Joel Starr’s benevolence) with Joe. Joe scored a nice write-up in the Everett Herald, and, through Chris Glanister’s infamously-crippling stagelights, I can sense a reasonable Sunday crowd enjoying the collaborations, which continue to evolve: a nice, pleasantly comfortable way to close the run—looking forward to the future possibility of more!

Sun., May 8, 2005
Spokane, WA: Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane
(with Joe Jencks)

Joe has had striking successes lately sharing his music in spiritual communities, and I’ve lined up this morning’s guest-spot with the Spokane Unitarian-Universalists’ Mother’s Day service. Our first impression of The Rev. Dr. Richard Erhardt is that he’s not from Spokane...and we’re dead-on right (never lived a day outside New York-metro area prior to his move to the Inland Empire). And neither of us’d ever heard the word “Hussy” delivered in a sermon before, either...! But the morning proves to be really special—a gathering where people and energies and spirit all line up in a wonderfully human celebration of the moment (Boise was this as well). Of Joe’s songs we offer “For the Singing” (a nice way to start with folk singing together) and “Fox River Song” (written for his mother), and I’m excited to sing “Lakeside Summer Home”—a song based on maternal jounal-keeping—in its ‘home’ environment. Special thanks to Music Director Deborah Jacquemin for beyond-the-call support and kindness!

And thus end 1,500 quick miles of mayhem...

Sat., May 7, 2005
Spokane, WA: The Shop
(with Joe Jencks)

After yesterday’s run, Pullman-to-Spokane is nothing, so it’s fun to linger around bed and then with the folks—Joe finds it particularly relaxing to have two sit-down meals in succession at the same table. I’m also looking forward to revisiting tonight’s venue (The Shop), which I last played during the Project Tour of 2001. A groovy little converted auto-body shop that’s coffeehouse by day, slick Pro-Tools-equipped concert hall by night, The Shop has run into trouble of late from predatory city officials demanding back taxes on tickets from five years of by-donation events, so the details of tonight’s show took some time to throw together. But, with that long squared-away, it’s time to enjoy the setting and the last evening-gig of our manic week of shows. I’m blown away by the attendance-response from the Camp Sweyolakan network, a former summer haunt of mine (as camper and, later, staff), and we play to a nice-sized (though oddly docile) crowd. And always nice to visit, however briefly, with good friends Phill and Amanda Kopczynski (and 4½-month-old Cole!), our hosts tonight in newly-liberated Spokane Valley.

Fri., May 6, 2005
Moscow, ID: Palouse Folklore Society
(with Joe Jencks)

Conscientious singer/citizen-types like Joe and myself should know better than to stay up as late as we did last night, and, to complicate our still-hazy lives, Joe’s State of Ohio Driver’s License has vanished. A morning on the phone with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles yields a faxed copy of Mr. Jencks’ ‘Abstract of Driving Record’ from the previous three years (squeaky clean!), which, the state assures us, will keep us legal for the time being. So instead of taking the endless meanderwindings of ID-55 and US-95 at the suggested leisurely pace, we’ve got eyes on the clock (we get that hour back!) in our deteriorated state. And the green is still rather alarming!

Moscow is a hometown show for me (back at the familiar Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse!), and it’s always neat to see who turns out; in addition to the Palouse-area Wes-Faithful (thanks for the phone-banking, Mom & Dad...!), the crowd features many won-over from Joe’s previous visits and the cohorts of a young man who’ll receive a surprise birthday serenade prior to intermission (Joe is his favorite singer, his mother tells me, as if I don’t have feelings of my own...). It’s nice to build on the energy from last night (though we ourselves have decidedly less), and to show the two former music instructors of mine in the crowd that I’ve stuck with it!

Thurs., May 5, 2005 (05/05/05!!)
Boise, ID: House Concert
(with Joe Jencks)

¡Cinco de Mayo!—and not only that, but today’s date is 05/05/05 as well...!! Before bouncing out of town we’re thankfully able to visit briefly with one of our hosts to apologize for our post-concert ruckus and fill our heads with train fantasy: David is a model railroad enthusiast (as is Joe...on the ~3 days a year he allows himself the opportunity) with a heckuva spread downstairs (where we slept), and he also, we learn, serves on the board for the new Eagle Cap Excursion Train, a startup tourist rail line through the gorgeous Wallowa Mountains that’ll also haul freight! We lose an hour on today’s show time, so we’re nonetheless out quickly and pushing further down I-84, whose hillsides continue to shine greener than we’ve ever seen.

Tonight’s venue is the stately house of Marvelous Mike Reuling (Jessica’s father; Jess has been traveling with us thus far) and his fiancée, Marianne McIntosh. Mike has been a great sport in slinging this together, willing to take my word that house concerts are in fact a common, accepted practice: I located a helpful New York Times article on the phenomenon, aimed at a readership like Mike’s, to build my case, and ended up including it in my Boise press releases (the Boise Weekly, incidentally, has starred this evening’s listing (great!)...but also listed it as a “House Party,” which, on Cinco de Mayo, may prove interesting...). The nice-sized audience isn’t yet sure what to make of the setting (I expected some of this): is this a party?; a concert?; are these real musicians...? But as folk’re warming up to the idea (and the vino), Joe begins with a superb rendering of “Red River Valley,” and I’m elated to see everyone jump right in!—with this gesture, Mr. Jencks has won over the masses and paved easy rest-of-the-way. And Joe and I are starting to really click playing together, too!

A particular highlight for us is an exchange that transpires following Joe’s performance of “Men Are Good,” his charmingly- and constructively-assertive response to 30+ years of Women’s Music...which, we discover, assumes one has said frame of reference! “Now you need to write ‘Women Are Best!’ ” a woman in front demands good-naturedly; not realizing the fire we’ve faced from the Holly Near-, Tret Fure-, and Cris Williamson-types (all wonderful songwriters and people!) in the folk music community, some in the room may have thought we were beginning negotiations with the independent contention that, Y’know, men are pretty fantastic...! What a great night!!

Wed., May 4, 2005
La Grande, OR: Northeast Oregon Folklore Society
(with Joe Jencks)

After a pleasantly slow morning, we’re off to La Grande, OR, for a date with Northeast Oregon Folklore Society. Rolling into town (and navigating streets that, we agree, should be through in places they’re not) we find our venue at The Olde Meeting House, an Evangelical Quaker haunt (who knew?!) that proves wonderfully warm and welcoming in its role as a concert hall (I especially dig the eight-inch white picket fence at the foot of the stage, protecting us, I assume, from unruly La Groupies). As showtime nears and a modest crowd trickles forth, however, Joe and I elect to forgo the staging and invite all to circle chairs to share music—we’ve nothing really to prove (and mid-week in La Grande has its challenges). The gathering grows (touching to have folk go home and bring others back with a “You gotta hear these guys!” appeal) and the end result, despite an awkward admission-charge miscommunication (resolved with moving generosity), is a neat musical experience.

Tues., May 3, 2005
Hood River, OR: Mid-Columbia Folklore Society
(with Joe Jencks)

“Let’s take my car,” Joe Jencks had asserted as we planned the transportation details for our week’s-worth of shows together; “I really trust it.” I’ve really been looking forward to this string of shows, a chance to share the road with a good friend and spend evenings singing with such a tremendous voice as Joe’s, and the first 90 miles are cake. After filling the gas tank in Centralia, WA, however, the car (“Bertie, ” a 2000 Saturn wagon with the same name as my mother...) offers nothing. No dash lights, engine turning...nothing; new battery, just drove ’er 90 miles... An hour-and-a-half of head-scratching and two agreeable and openhanded Good-Samaritan helpers help us determine that Bertie’s battery terminals have become so corroded as to prevent any current whatsoever from passing through, and another ten minutes of scrubbing have us back on I-5 headed south, rattled but moving.

The gig in Hood River, OR, is one I’ve played before (December, 2002): a pleasant house-concert setting at the home of Paul Blackburn, Kristen Dillon, and their two daughters Althea and Rosalie, hosted by the Mid-Columbia Folklore Society. On my previous visit Paul had taken me out to a sauna post-show where I met Don Shawe, whose chilling and touching World War II stories inspired the song “Carry On, ” which I’m thrilled to return to its home community. Joe and I trade songs through the evening, backing each other on many and making note of what’s working (and, of course, what isn’t...). No sauna this time, but Paul and Kristen have added a hot tub to the grounds...

Fri., April 29, 2005
Seattle, WA: Seattle Poetry Festival
at Richard Hugo House

While thumbing through a recent issue of Poets & Writers magazine, I stumbled upon an ad calling for, literally, cheesy poetry: “Did you know that April is National Poetry Month AND National Grilled Cheese Month?” it inquired with visible enthusiasm (I didn’t...but Google tells me that plenty did/do!); “Celebrate by sending your best couplet using ‘cheese,’ ” it continued, “...[to] be featured at the National Grilled Cheese Poetry Booth during the upcoming 2005 Seattle Poetry Festival...” I wondered whether my recent musical ode to the infamous Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich (hear it *HERE*)—written on a challenge from good friend and quirky-music aficionado Carlos Alden—would qualify, so I sent the lyrics along. One week later I received a request to perform.

I arrive at the cozy Richard Hugo House not at all sure of what to expect—I know that I’ll perform “Happiness Fulfilled” (the cheese song) and perhaps a few others from the Northwest Home collection for a group of schoolkids from Lowell Elementary School, who have themselves constructed cheese-sonnets, but beyond that I have no idea what the organizers have in store for the remainder of the three-hour ‘shift’ to which I’ve agreed...though I have a sneaking suspicion (my favorite kind of suspicion) that they plan to put me to work. And I’m right. Before I can even uncase the guitar I’m hanging banners and moving chairs, and after my little presentation—much fun and nicely interactive (I debate playing “Ballad of the Whitman Greeks,” a song that I know will hold attention and inspire, but which also has overt ‘brothel’ references; as it turns out, the fifth-graders have recently completed a unit on old Seattle history and, the teachers tell me later, should be well aware of the phenomenon of brothels!...I play the song...)—my job for the next two hours is to hunch over the George Foreman Grill and act as grilled cheese line-cook for the lunch rush that never quite happens. (Note the lesson in real-life economics, I encourage the teachers to tell the kids: the professional musician is now making lunch for everyone, gone from taking #2 pencil autograph requests on notebook paper to placing toothpicks affixed with a G.K. Chesterton quote—“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese”—into sandwiches.) How the mighty have fallen...

Sun., April 10, 2005
Moscow, ID: Palouse Folklore Society
(with Reilly & Maloney)

The weekend concludes with a visit home and a show with the good folk of Palouse Folklore Society in the majestic Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse, which my father attends. Taking most of the day easy (except for a chance brunch encounter with the entire spirit/cheer squad from Washington State University’s Mom’s Weekend festivities) after the scramble of yesterday and David’s rough night at the Spokane Valley Super 8, low-key is just what we need and the comfortable setting, responsive crowd, and great PFS volunteers make everything easier. I open again (“My name’s Wes Weddell, and I’m from here,” I drawl stupidly, preparing to follow with something clever but overtaken by boisterous applause) and add mando later, realizing that I’ll be back on this stage in less than a month (Friday, May 6, with Joe Jencks).

Sat., April 9, 2005
Spokane, WA: The Met
(with Reilly & Maloney)

First trip east of the mountains for Reilly & Maloney in nearly twenty years, and I’m delighted to act as chauffer and ambassador to the home-country. Spokane has had more big-ish events than usual of late (Elvis Costello tonight...), and The Met has suffered some, I think, as a result. Elvis is, it turns out, playing next door (I thought he’d be in the Arena across the river), and I pull right behind his bus into the parking spots clearly reserved for us (“Reserved - Met - Reilly & Maloney” & “Reserved - Met - Wes”), noticing my name on the marquee (I wasn’t supposed to be on the bill-proper). Elvis’ posse, it seems, didn’t think it’d have to share the block, and several goateed fellows with sport jackets and ear-pieces hustle over to sort me out (“I’m ‘WES,’ ” I respond, gesturing to my sign). The bulk of the seats in the gorgeous Metropolitan Performing Arts Center lie in balcony, so the modest crowd isn’t too lost in the orchestra level (save the three folk who choose said balcony)—nice for the collective pride. I play a three-song opener, a late (and generous) decision encouraged by the glowing marquee outside, and join in for my planned mandolin accompaniment in the second set. Fun to see all the posters in the dressing rooms of acts who’ve passed through, and to work with the great staff.

Fri., April 8, 2005
Kirkland, WA: Kirkland Congregational Church, UCC
(with Reilly & Maloney)

As my busi-musical relationship with the beloved folksinging duo Reilly & Maloney continues to grow, I find myself with increasing chances to put on shows under creative circumstances. Tonight is one such opportunity: though we’ve done a Puget’s Sound-sponsored night at Kirkland Congregational before (and had a very nice experience; great folk here!), we haven’t while the church has been hosting Tent City IV homeless encampment! As a former volunteer with Real Change Newspaper (& Homeless Empowerment Project), I’m especially excited to see how my scheme will materialize—I’ve arranged with Brown Paper Tickets (another neat organization that’s treated me well) for community members to sponsor Tent City IV residents to attend the evening (a rare non-‘benefit’ opportunity to reach out and raise awareness while doing okay for ourselves). The idea never reached front-page status, but it’s been neat to see a handful of sponsorship-sales trickle in and, now, a few residents enjoying the show (which has become an enthusiastically-cozy happening!). At some point, however, I have to yield enough organizational verve to try to be a musician and sit in with R&M, and as the manic pounding of kid-feet increases upstairs (what’s going on up there?!) I add some mandolinnings to tunes in the second set. Wonder what we’ll do here next...

Sun., April 3, 2005
Coeur d’Alene, ID: North Idaho Unitarian Universalists

My father, the sometimes-Right Reverend Jim-Bob (Unitarian Gospel Crusader—see 8/1/04 Notes), has invited me to join in his second visit to the North Idaho Unitarian Universalists in Coeur d’Alene, ID—a town that holds many fond memories for me (piqued by the presence of a Camp Fire USA branch office in the NIUU’s multi-use schoolhouse-ish home, a former employer of mine in these parts...). Dad has put together a truly great service featuring traditional songs that all have three versions from particular contexts: a gospel/spiritual version (usually the ‘original’); a Labor version; and a civil rights/social justice version. I (introduced twice as Jim Weddell’s brother, not son) am here to lead the singing. It’s wonderful to hear the evolution of a gospel song like “I Will Overcome” as it becomes “I’ll Be All Right” (from a 1945 Negro Food and Tobacco Union worker’s strike in Charleston, SC) and then the better-known “We Shall Overcome.” Other highlights include “You’ve Got to Walk That Lonesome Valley”/“You’ve Got to Go Down and Join the Union”/“Ballad for Bill Moore,” “Revive Us Again”/“Hallelujah I’m a Bum” (Love that one!)/“Hallelujah I’m a-Traveling Down Freedom’s Main Line,” and “Sweet Bye ’n’ Bye”/“Preacher and the Slave” (Joe Hill’s brilliant satire)/“Elected Officials All Say” (another clever parody). Great to hear folk singing and renewing commitments to social justice and community well-being! And a Paul Bunyan milkshake for the road never hurt, either...

Thurs., March 10, 2005
Bellevue, WA: Crossroads Bellevue

Puget’s Sound has agreed to co-sponsor the new alternating-Thursday Singer/Songwriter Showcase at Crossroads Bellevue, one of the last strong local-music stages in the area, and I’m excited to be kicking the venture off this evening...well, I had been even more excited before that bug I began to feel Monday at the Hop Vine turned into a full-fledged-flu... I’ve had little voice—or energy—all day, but I find that, with help and hot monitor levels from Bob Conger (Crossroads’ wonderful house sound-tech), I’ve got enough to make do. The lights, however, are toying with my body temperature something fierce, but the evening ends with another surprising number of attentive souls expressing satisfaction, so no harm done. Excited as I remain for the future of this series and the collaboration between Puget’s Sound and Crossroads, it’s time to head home and crawl into bed!

Mon., March 7, 2005
Seattle, WA: Hop Vine Pub

Barbara Buckland, an active and spirited promoter of local music, has commandeered hosting duties at the Hop Vine’s Monday Singer/Songwriter Showcases, and I have accepted her invitation to appear this evening along with Michael Fleckenstein and Heidi Newman. More than customary for the busy-pub environs heed my hour-long set to open the night, and it feels good to get back up in front of folk after a few months’-time off from performing—despite the bug I feel coming on...