By Jane Harrison
Summer glorious summer is finally here! Sort of. We all wish that whoever is fiddling with the temperature knob would just leave it alone!
Still, this season feels different from the last two years. Make no mistake, COVID is still with us, and a threat to compromised people, but the general feeling is one of freedom and almost a demand thereof.
This really hit me last Saturday, when I was at THE DALE to see THE JOHNNY JULES BAND. The Dale is strictly an outdoor venue, as far as I can ascertain and it was cold!! Long johns, sweatshirt and jacket cold. Yet people just kept coming in until every seat was filled, regardless of the temperature, before the end of the first set. I also saw it in the band, where the core trio of JOHNNY, BOBBIE D on Dobro and DAVE D’ARCY on upright bass were joined by MANGO MIKE on banjo, JOHN CONDON on drums (up from Long Island) and the incomparable JIMMY SWEETWATER on harp (harmonica) who is up from New Orleans for the festival season here.
And, thinking back, I saw the same with CAPTAIN MAGIC at CABERNET FRANK’S in Parksville the week before. CAPTAIN MAGIC is a very interesting band that I saw for the first time at the HURLEYVILLE MUSIC FESTIVAL at the beginning of the month. Singer/ guitarist PAUL ALDEN unabashedly admits that most of the songs he writes are love songs. Backed by JOE GIAIMO, an amazingly good guitarist and the extraordinarily talented anchors of NICK SHERMAN on bass and drummer SIMON EPHRAN, the latter two who are also part of the ELECTRIC CHORDS. Guitar phenom GREG CASTRO joined the stage in the second set with the ELECTRIC CHORDS finishing out the set with a seamless transition throughout.
In this same vein, JULIAN SANCTON’S talk about his new book MADNESS AT THE END OF THE EARTH at the SULLIVAN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY and MUSEUM was standing room only. I have to admit, I know very little about the early exploration of the poles, I just never thought about it. But listening to this talk, JULIAN SANCTION brought the human aspect to the forefront in the most compelling way. And I bought his book. Imagine how delighted I was to find it is written in that same easy storytelling style of his talk. I’m learning so much without even realizing it!
And I can’t end without mentioning the two mind blowing new music festivals right here in the area in June: THE FIRST ANNUAL SULLIVAN COUNTY MUSIC FESTIVAL in Hurleyville at the HURLEYVILLE ARTS CENTER and THE SUMMER SOLSTICE FESTIVAL at the Martinfield Ranch in Woodridge, three days of music, camping and fun. Both had an unbelievable amount of talent on display and a more than impressive amount of organization. Very impressive!! With the first of each being so successful both with talent and attendance, I can’t wait to see what next year will bring!
With gas prices high (along with everything else), might I suggest combining to catch some live music. Like DEFILLIP’S BAKERY in Monticello for their Open Mic on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1-ish, and to pick up a loaf of bread that is not commercially made. Or, the ROCK HILL FARMERS MARKET on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., which has great local products and always live performers. Or, the live (free) concert series in ROCK HILL on Wednesday evenings or KAUNEONGA LAKE on Thursday evenings. The music is out there, just waiting for you.
Stay safe, stay well and mask if it makes you feel more comfortable.
Until next time.