Summer 2000 Travels
TRAVELS - Summer 2000
We have been exploring Northwest Washington for the last few days. Tuesday we went to the Seattle market. Flowers lined the roof and neon signs advertized the fish, flowers, photos, produce and crafts in this open air market. A busker sang "Summertime" and "When the Saints come marching in" accompanying himself on a plastic horn and a paper Coca Cola cup. Men in orange waders at the Pike Place fish market tossed fish to each other to the surprise of some passers by. The Market overlooks the bay, where freighters and ferrys traverse the blue waters.

We took a ferry to the Olympic Pensinsula and drove to Ruby Beach. The furious ocean carves "stacks" out of the rock. These stacks are seperate from the cliffs, left behind when the crashing waves cut through softer stone. The beach is lined with tree trunks thrashed bare and weathered white by the fierce ocean. They look like bones washed ashore. The stones are rounded, never sharp. We drove back to Seattle by hills- some green with conifers, some clearcut. The towns are sparse and rugged, dependant on those trees and defensive of any outside opinions. Signs along the roadside promise vigilance and read "Cut 1998, replanted 1998, next harvest 2018".

Today we hiked in a beautiful valley lined with long narrow evergreens up a trail to Snow lake. The lake glimmered blue in the sun before the rain blew in. We hiked down the valley through a switchback trail thatcut through rockslides and descended into green forest. The weather in Seattle eveolves continuously, revealing and covering the mountains throughout the day. The traffic is nearly constant, and building ever present in this growing city.


Last Sunday we released our latest album at Club Passim. We shared the show with the Scharff Brothers. They started out the night with a set accompanied by a new drummer. We played with a bassist, Michael Calienes, who is quite talented and fun to jam with. The audience was so warm and we got two encores.

We played in Worcester at the Java Hut in the Estrogen Fest. The Java Hut has music often and the crowd was appreciative. The festival raised money for SPIN, an organization which helps place stray animals in good homes. The next night we played at the Barn House Concerts in West Orange NJ. The house concert was in a parsonage for a church where many of the residents were artists. The living room had a beautiful classical plaster statue of a man holding a large beam across his back. There was a painting on one of the walls and the gray paint and white trim made the room look like an art museum. Dave Murphy opened the show. He sang songs mostly about heartbreak, which is a fairly potent topic, and he sang with a woman named Abby who is an actress in the City (New York). We played well and enjoyed meeting the people at the concert. The air was crisp and chilly for the first time this fall. We drove back to Hartford in the darkness of September.

We are now in Seattle for our first Northwest tour. We flew in yesterday and got a fabulous view of Mt Rainier and the harbors in Seattle from the plane. The Seattle airport is quite large and I got seperated from Meredith while getting the bags from baggage claim. I waited fro our host to pick us up on the top tier of the airport, listeing to a loudspeaker that shouted at the cars parked on the street."Do not park, active unloading and loading only. You will be towed." But no one was around to hear the message. I watched people get out of cars, exchange hugs and "thanks" and "see you soon"s and part ways. I watched cars drive around and around looking for people they wanted to pick up. Our friend arrived and we drove off to her place. Seattle is a true working port. We saw huge orange steel cranes and candy-colored train freight cars stacked up by the water. There was industry in the valleys and small bungalow homes on the hills. The city is surrounded by mountains: the Cascades, the Olympics, Mt Rainier. Our host pointed them out and they looked like the bottoms of clouds rather than the tops of mountains because they were so tall. Our host lives North of the city in a sweet neighborhood of small houses that are now seeing better days. The grass is burnt from lack of rain but some of the gardens are lush with green. I notice most that the trees are different. I don't recognize them but their shapes are exotic and beautiful.                

We opened for Ellis Paul at the Bull Run Restaurant in Shirley, MA on August 5. Ellis is an electrifying performer with a very loyal and growing fan base. He is one of the singer songwriters that enjoys good press, great opportunities and large attendance at shows. One of his songs was featured in the movie, Me Myself and Irene. He mentioned that this summer has been the best summer for music in his life.

We were well received by the crowd- it was a show where tyhe audience felt like they were really "with us." That is the dream- to play shows with that kind of audience all the time.

We traveled up to Maine to play two outdoor concerts. On Tuesday we played in Gray, ME outside of the elementary school and the town hall which was a small charming brick building. This part of Maine is so beautiful. There are small colonial houses and old farms with a main house connected to a huge barn by a smaller passage with a porch out front. Some of these old barns are immense - taller than the house beside them, and dwarfing even some of the trees in the yard. Yarmouth is another one of these small towns. The center of town had a few shops in colonial-style buildings, and the Royal River Park sits beside a river with brick structures that suggest a former dam or bridge, although I could not figure out which.
(photos by Joe Schaefer)




Meredith at Rainforest Fest Chris at Rainforest Fest We had a great show with some of the other Indiegrrls at Club Passim last night. The show sold out, and we got a chance to hear some great music from Amelia White, Lynn Deeves, Laura Higgins, Lis Harvey, and Charan Deveraux. Yesterday we also played at the Yankee Homecoming Festival in Newburyport- a town on the North Shore of Mass that is worth seeing. The downtown area is right near the water, and the architecture is brick shops lining the pavilion.

We played the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival and the Rainforest Festival on July 20-22. Both festivals were near Great Barrington, and the weather was great. Usually it is so hot. These festivals are what make summer fun- people out enjoying the sounds and sky.
the crowd  at Falcon Ridge as we played with the Indiegrrls
(photos by Joe Schaefer)


Clearwater We played at the Hudson Clearwater Revival (Clearwater webpage) this past weekend at Croton on Hudson. The park was beautiful- overlooking the Hudson river on three sides. The Clearwater sloop was anchored just offshore, and on Sunday unfurled her sails against the gray blue sky. The site crew did an incredible job with the grounds. There were banners all over, very simple scraps of cloth like nationless flags on bamboo sticks. There 10 bamboo sticks with indigo blue banners lining the curved shore. They fluttered in the breeze like sails. The storytelling tent had a forest of sticks with colored triangle scraps of different heights with small earthen vases of wildflowers attached to some of them. The storytelling area also had a great paper mache dragon that hung from a tree overseeing the festivities. The banners were as many different colors as the people at the festival. People of all walks of life were out enjoying the day, despite a bit of rain on both days.

Nationless flags with flowers We played several times at the festival, and the crowd was incredibly receptive. We played "In the Heat of the Summer" at the Phil Ochs song workshop. Phil Ochs was part of the folk scene in the sixties, who wrote many songs about protest and struggle, especially against the Vietnam war. He wrote "In the Heat of the Summer" about the Watts riots, and it is a powerful and visual song. Phil never achieved the same status as Bob Dylan or Joan Baez, and sadly he committed suicide in 1976 due to depression.

Pete Seeger on left, tells stories to a large crowdThe highlight of the festival for me was seeing Pete Seeger. Pete is 80 years old and still sharp as a tack. I heard him tell stories to a packed crowd at the storytelling area (In the picture, Pete is on the left of the photo seated wearing an orange shirt.) I also heard a part on an interview Pete gave about the history of the Clearwater. I asked the reporter when they would air the piece and she said sometime in July of 2001 on NPR. What struck me is how much Pete has been able to accomplish in his life. He has taken on impossible tasks, like demanding the clean up of the Hudson, and he has seen the results. The Hudson is much cleaner now, - people can swim in it! The Hudson is still polluted with PCBs, and some activists worry that General Electric of an ad campaign telling people that PCBs are no longer a problem.
(photos by Chris Thompson)  


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