Festivals and Cloggers 2016

Dear Friends,
We're writing on the last day of July and fondly looking back on the last couple of months. June included a memorable night at the grand, old Franklin Theatre in Franklin, TN with a big, receptive crowd and ended with us playing at the Old Songs Festival in upstate New York where we had a great time. We saw some old friends, Anne Hills, Claudia Schmidt, Sally Rogers, Andy Cohen, to name a few off the top of our heads, and heard some wonderful music by performers who were new to us, Matthew Byrne, Barrule, Low Lilly and the Wax Wing Four. It's fun to see how the oldsters are still cranking, not having lost a musical step over the years and then to hear the new bands and performers and marvel at how good they are. It was an action-packed couple of days.

The next week we were in Swannanoa, NC where we spent seven days at a teaching camp on the Warren Wilson College campus. We spent a lot of time preparing for two classes, trying to figure out what it is that we know and wondering how to make it interesting. We rarely stop to ponder what it is we do, i.e. what skills have we developed over the years in choosing songs, writing songs and arranging them vocally and instrumentally? It was quite an experience, the folks in our classes seemed receptive to us and we came to understand through our interactions with them where our strengths and abilities are and how we've used them to make a life in music. These teachers learned a lot from their students. Plus we had a great time with the other staff members, some like Tim O'Brien and Ranger Doug of The Riders In The Sky we've known for years, but others like David Roth, Tim May, Matt Watroba, Cathy Jordan, Daithi Sproule, and Mark and Julee Weems were new to us. We're now richer for having been around and played music with them for a week.

After Swannanoa we went to Boone, NC and played a concert. An old friend of almost 40 years, Rodney Sutton, called us up - so we went. Rodney was an original member of the Green Grass Cloggers and we first met him in Stroudsburg, PA at a folk festival where Peter Ostroushko and we were asked to be the band for the GGC. Talk about getting your heads turned around! We'd never seen anything like them. We were used to clogging teams who came out in polyester costumes/uniforms and did strict, short routines. They'd be good and fairly interesting but they were rarely exciting. The GGCs, when they hit the stage, were like a blast of energy from a higher power that brought audiences instantly to their feet. When they were introduced in Stroudsburg, Eileen Overman/Sutton/Carson/Shatz looked at us and said "play it fast!" And off they went. They had these wild pieces, the women would flick their skirts and everyone would kick, all steps in perfect rhythm and then all would leave the ground at the same time and seemingly stay airborne for minutes and, when they came down on the stage, it sounded like thunder - one amazing routine after another. They'd finish their last number in a straight line and each individual dancer would step out and show off. Man, we had fun playing for them! Now, all these years later, they still do gigs and Rodney presented us with a copy of a documentary done on them called "The Year Of The Possum." We loved watching it. If you want to see if Rodney still has it or not, you can go to our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/robinandlindawilliams/, scroll down and see for yourselves. He came out during one of our songs and put on the dog.

August's work will be fun. Next weekend we'll be in Virginia, one of the gigs, the Oak Grove Music Festival, being a festival we were instrumental in starting 38 years ago. It's a testament to the music community around here that it has continued all this time and we're proud to have had our name associated with it for so long. This year's outstanding lineup includes Happy Traum, a folk music legend and founder of Homespun Tapes and CDs, the world's leading producer of audio and video music instruction. We first met him when we did a "How to Sing Harmony" instruction book for Homespun with Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer.

Then, after a long hiatus, we return to the 55th Philadelphia Folk Festival. The list of performers, some eighty strong, is a Who's Who of performers, some are celebrities and stars but all are important contributors to this wonderful music. Irish music, Country Music, Singer Songwriters, Blues, Bluegrass, Cajun Music, i.e. Folk Music, all at one site for three days. We haven't played the PFF in over ten years and are pleased they are having us back.

Bumper Sticker Of The Month: If it jiggles, cover it!

Time to go. The tomatillo tomatoes are coming in so the garden calls. An old friend of ours, when we'd ask her what she was going to do this day, would answer, "I'm heading to the garden. It will tell me what I'm doing.

Your pals,
Robin and Linda

FOR BOOKINGS: Trish Galfano, trish@myriadartists.com, 919.967.8655

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