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Six String Heartblog

2011 Folk Alliance Conference

Welcome to my first "official" blog.  That is what the kids are still calling it these days, right???? 

Anyway, just got home with my wife from helping a good friend move into a new place.  Just a couple of hours of donated time on a gloomy Sunday and a few less boxes of stuff that has to make the transition to a new home - a good feeling and a well earned pint of beer if there ever was one :)  The act of moving, even if it's only a few streets from where you are, reminded me of how we are always in motion, headed to the next adventure - in the case of our friend, a new set of neighbors and personalities to engage or for most of us on a daily basis, heading to work whatever that career may be.....  we are in constant contact with people that may or may not become agents in how the theater of our life plays out, which brings me to the body of my story.....


I am one week removed from my first ever Folk Alliance Conference which took place February 16th - 20th in Memphis, TN.  Jeffrey, myself and our good friend Bill Hawley arrived by van from Buffalo on Friday, the 18th around midnight, going into Saturday.  One would think that three guys + 15 hours in a van would result in checking into the hotel and immediately crashing, but we met up with my manager Giselle Fleming in the lobby, dropped off our luggage, freshened up and rode a surge of excitement and adrenaline until 3:30 am.  It is a chaotic scene to say the least - watching songwriters and musicians hurry their way down crowded and narrow halls, guitars, fiddles, and stand up basses in hand to their 15-30 minute showcases, where presenters, fellow artists, managers and agents cram into hotel rooms to watch inspired and unplugged performances that were the musical equivalent of speed dating.  This scene repeated itself on Saturday, as the elevators received a good workout between floors 17 -19, where all of this activity was taking place until the wee hours.  An amazing site to see mattresses leaned against walls, bed frames dismantled, folding chairs in place and beyond that an overflow of folks into the halls straining to hear what they could.

We were very thankful and appreciative of our surroundings, being with like-minded folk, numbering into the thousands, confirming that yes, we are not crazy in the pursuit of this very difficult, highly romanticized, yet equally rewarding lifestyle!!!!  We were also very appreciative of all of the folks who attended our showcase sets and for the three that we were booked for, in particular, honored that a first timer like myself was awarded a juried "official" showcase nestled into the schedule among some of the finest touring acts in the Folk/Americana and Roots music genres.  After our third and final showcase ended in the Concerts In Your Home sponsored room at 1:30 am on Sunday morning, it all came crashing down - the frenzy of 2 days of networking, handshakes, elevator rides and sensory overload became the wall into which we ran. was back down to the 4th floor, room 410, a cold Heineken while packing our suitcases, and off to a brief night of rest in a comfortable hotel bed....

Our ride home to Buffalo started out beautifully, basking in the warm rays of 72 degrees of Memphis sunshine and good old fashioned Southern Hospitality.  A few goodbyes, and final exchanges of business cards, well wishes, compliments, and "see you next year", before packing the van and heading out.  We knew from watching The Weather Channel, that there was a snow storm headed toward the OH, PA, and Western New York regions of the country, and when we finally hit the full brunt of it as we crossed into Pennsylvania, a trip home with an ETA of around 2:30 am turned into being slowed down to 30 mph, a white knuckled , intense drive for Bill, and an arrival at my front door at 5:18 am.  It was an arrival that is assuredly in my top 3 "couldn't be happier to be home" moments.

Some reflection has found me with a new found excitement and passion for what I do as a songwriter, and even though I haven't cracked into doing this full time, I am continually amazed that something that I have created has allowed me to go to the places I have gone, to meet the people I have met, to build relationships and to share my music with anyone who cares to listen.  I now feel so much like part of the greater community of this wonderfully rich music that is Folk and Roots - definitely not a sport for the ego driven.  Happy days ahead.....

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