The contracts are in. (The last one two days before the ad copy deadline.) First of all, I finally landed Alice Stuart. I’ve been after her for almost three years. She was always playing The Port Townsend Blues Festival, back in New York, or out of the country. I only snagged her because her agent is getting tired of me whining, and Alice was coming off rare break (to get back her giddy- up).
Alice was an original member of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention. She left the band to form Alice and Snake. In a time when female musicians were at the rear of the stage singing backup, Alice was fronting an all-male band, playing wicked slide guitar on her Fender Stratocaster- and landing a spot on the Dick Cavett Show. As Taj Mahal stated “Alice cut the road Bonnie Raitt traveled.” She’s toured with Van Morrison, Joan Baez, John Prine, recorded with Jerry Garcia, Elvin Bishop, and Dave Mason (just to mention a few).
I have a feeling I’ll be sponsoring one of Alice’s shows, (the buck stops where?), but hey, what fun, what memories! Lodging at my house for Alice and her band was part of the deal. I’ll be cooking them dinner Saturday and breakfast Sunday. I’m not holding my breath, but I hope I”ll be trading a few guitar licks with Alice Saturday night (she can smoke me playing backwards and upside down).
Don’t miss the opportunity- a live performance by Alice Stuart! www.alicestuart.com
Then there’s Rabbit Wilde. I saw them at the Brown Ale in Anacortes -the crowd was mesmerized. I approached them to play at our Festival. They were already booked that weekend at the Darrington Roundup, but I was able to sweet talk them into an early afternoon performance before they head up to Darrington for their evening gig.
Rabbit Wilde is a quartet of incredible string band musicians, (cello, banjo, ukulele, guitar, kick drum, percussions, harmonica, piano), with beautiful vocal harmonies who quickly rose beyond local renown and now tour extensively through the U.S. Ask around- anyone who has heard them are blown away (including our illustrious librarian, Leslie Franzen, who put in a personal request for me to snag them at the very time I was trying to do just that.) They deliver a melding of the choicest bits of indie rock, pop, blues, soul, and orchestral arrangements in with their trademark brand of front porch-shaking folk.
Check them out at www.rabbitwilde.com.
Which brings us to the Roy Kay Trio. They set the standard for quality music at last year’s Festival. I don’t want the Festival lineup to be predictable, but these gents deserve a second look. Roy Kay leads the trio with lead vocals, stellar songwriting, and rhythm guitar. He’s backed by lead guitarist Mike Geglia, and upright bassist Robin Cady. They’ve entertained all over the world, recording albums at the prestigious Lightning Recording Service in Berlin Germany while touring Europe in 2005. They play regularly at the Tractor in Seattle, where I saw James McMurtry a few months before seeing McMurtry grace the Arrow Stage in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park at last years Hardly Strickly Bluegrass Concert. (Kind of a sidebar- but shows the company The Roy Kay Trio keeps).
The trio lite up the stage with infectious foot- stomping rockabilly/ hillbilly pop at last year’s Festival. I was sitting in he sound tent with Mike Fasst of the Archtops and Lynn Cantwell, our stellar sound engineer who opened the Saturday show fronting the Bayview Sound Quartet. Mike and Lynn were going back and forth about the amazing style and ability of Roy Kay’s bassist. When two pros take notice, something special’s going on. (I was too transfixed on Mike Geglia’s lead licks to notice.) www.roykaytrio.com
Mike Fasst and the Archtops Blues and Rhythm Band were kind enough to open the show for us both days. (They closed the show for us last year) Believe me, no one’s going anywhere while these guys are on stage. They’re
the cover band for this year’s festival and these guys pull it off in spades, bringing back memories and enticing the crowd to sing along. I’ve enjoyed their performances at the Oak Harbor Music Festival and the Meerkerk Bluegrass Festival, where with Lynn Cantwell’s help, I was able to entice them to come play for us. Hook up with Mike Faast and his many bands at www.mikefaast.com.
Now for a few closing shots. I know it’s the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival, not the Coupeville Music Festival, but live music is a valuable (not to mention fun) asset; and the more special, the better. The Festival spends a respectable chunk of change for entertainment. We still have promotional posters to print up. We’d like to bring in some seating and maybe some ground cover (artificial grass?) to soften the hot gravel plain in front of the stage. We’d like to upgrade the entertainment space, but we’re more than out of dough.
So here’s my pitch. The Oak Harbor Music Festival is funded almost entirely by donations by local (some not so local) businesses and individuals. The Oak Harbor Music Festival spends $2,000 more than our entire budget just to set up one of their two stages. It would be wonderful if some of our local (hopefully some not so local) businesses, individuals- would show similar love to the entertainment portion of the Coupeville Fest. Maybe sponsor a musician, (I got Alice- you bring in your own musician to jam with), so we could free up some bucks to upgrade the entertainment space.
Maybe try a crowd-funding blurb on the web. Just fifty $20 donations would do a world of good. (Help! I’ve no idea how to get that done- I’m an analogue guy in a digital world.)
The Coupeville Fest more than carries their load to bring in quality live music free to the public. I’m hoping someone else steps up. We’re not looking for $100,000 plus a bunch (the Oak Harbor Music Festival budget), just a little love- and we’ll fly your colors on the front of the stage canopy.