Corby's Orbit

Corby's Orbit
Listening in All the High Places illustration by John Kricfalusi

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Folk Alliance Dalliance

                                        Mandolin Orange Jam : "Steam-Powered Aereoplane" by John Hartford

  Reports are still arriving, and they will continue to do so throughout the convoluted consequences, but consensus places the 25th Folk Alliance Conference / Festival / Flash Jam at the zenith of recent life-magnifying musical events.

                                                                                   Stella, Greta and Sunniva of Baskery

   Greta from Baskery, in one of her bemused between-song mockologues, boiled it all down: “You don’t want to get involved with it, and you really don’t like it, then you find out some things, and you start to like it and it becomes the Overlook Hotel and you never want to leave.” From behind her doghouse, her sister Stella commented, “That’s too much talking”.

                                                                                           The Hot Club Of Cowtown

  Talking created the landscape upon which the music gestured and posed and walked its walk. Much of it was peremptory. DJ Bob Weiser’s lanyard button was to the point: “I Don’t Remember Your Name Either”. But unlikely flashpoints of hot discussion broke through the schmooze: nostalgic reveries at the photo retrospective, political analysis in the equipment secure room, effects pedal gossip while standing on black spaghetti tangles backstage at the Churchill showcase. As the conversationalists listened and loosened, platitudes and attitudes dissolved and hilarity became a priority, with artists deconstructing MC introductions, and random hallway encounters turning into boffo hey-rubes.

                                                                          Star & Micey

“Serendipity” as CKCU’s loosey-goosey MC Chris White divined, was the operating system.  You were as likely to walk in upon the stark , dramatic blues of The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer, as the riotous dance party staged by the back-flipping, chair-climbing Star & Micey, the hallowed hush of The Stray Birds or  the satirically lyrical logic of Gurf Morlix, Dry Bones or JIM <Effin'> KWESKIN.

                                                     Chic Gamine in the Manitoba Room

For five days, the Delta Chelsea featured room upon room adorned with immaculate degrees of talent, character, costume, camaraderie, extravagance, affection, and community, revealed in chance tableaux. Bedrooms at midnight could contain a quartet serenading a single listener, or a jammed throng spilling out into the pulsating corridor. Saturday night’s three-storey stairwell jam evolved as naturally as a crystal.

And just as naturally, it all got in taxis, vaporized, disappeared; in the Sunday silence, flyer-strewn hallways were once again clear, and hundreds of folks were rekindling the fires through pictures and fresh cyber-cortex connections, sorting through 4-inch stacks of CD's, trying to play a new song on a well-worn guitar, and prepping for the next gig, all the while astounding themselves with impossible memories.

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