do hope you’ve been well, since our last writing. we’ve been traveling steadily since this spring — twenty airplanes, four nations, twenty states, thousands of miles in elizabeth’s buick.
we're finishing off a series of shows: opening for valerie june in roanoke, playing mountain stage alongside tim o’brien and session americana, and spending a week working on quartet arrangements in baltimore with one of our favorite duos the murphy beds.
and then, a hibernation this winter and spring. we are taking time off the road to dig deeper into our collaboration — beginning creative research into a new repertoire of ballads and stories, mapmaking, sketching, reading, and music-making --
anna will spend a month in her native new england, delving into archives in vermont & maine, learning ballads sung there and visiting the spots they were recorded, learning ballads sung there, and taking time with a vast pile of family photos and letters she recently inherited— including this one, of her great grandma nina.
elizabeth’s spending time on her land, in southwest virginia; getting to know the rocks and trees and creatures a little better—and learning more about the lives of some hero singers of hers, Texas Gladden and Betsy Rutherford. so far she’s enthralled with taking billions of pictures of mountains on her phone, like this one.
in the coming months, we’ll keep you posted on our discoveries— we’d love to have you in on this conversation, thinking about the ways that each of us connect with the history of the land we walk on.
we’re really looking forward to this time — and, if we let ourselves think that far ahead, we are really excited about the fruits of our labor next fall— new crankies, puppets, stories — and a new album— to share with you!
we’ll keep in touch, and hope you do the same.
also, we have a facetious blog now: cute duos. the bands are amazing, our jokes not so much: www.cuteduos.tumblr.com
Each month, we have the grand pleasure of hosting a variety show-- THE FLOYD RADIO SHOW, we call it.
I call it a grand pleasure, because it is -- gathering a group of unlikely radio actors -- be they our favorite old time musicians from the area, a school group, a representative from the local historical society or hardware store, or an older person with a great family story. We gather them two hours before the show, gather them around a few tables, upstairs at the Floyd Country Store, and do introductions. And then, hand them
their scripts. Twelve page things we concocted over the course of the month, with help from friends and storytellers and local writers. Preposterous ads for businesses that don't exist (Jasper Jenkin's Jingle Taps, Marge's Cat Funeral Home and Banjo Head Manufacturer), mixed with dramatized story -- mysteries, true tales of old time musicians, quests, and Jack Tales.
And then we read through the script -- assign parts, sure that the bass player of this band would make a great Witch, and the fiddler would make a great bumbling hero.
We eat dinner. And then it's showtime. Two hours of skits, music, and storytelling.
It's a madcap evening.
So glad, this last show, to have one of Elizabeth's heroes aboard.... along with nearly her entire family. Our next show is in February, with our dear friends, the Black Twig Pickers.
the one and only,
SHEILA KAY ADAMS
on our radio show,
telling a few family stories.
SUMMER COMES... and we take time off from traveling with our crankie show, to do a few other things we love:
1. TEACH! we'll be at a few camps this summer-- if you are itching to play, to learn something new, to try an instrument for the first time, there is no better way:
MILES OF MUSIC CAMP (http://www.milesofmusiccamp.com) (new hampshire)
COWAN CREEK MOUNTAIN MUSIC SCHOOL (http://www.cowancreekmusic.org) (east kentucky)
FESTIVAL OF AMERICAN FIDDLE TUNES (http://centrum.org/programs/fiddle/) (washington state)
the SWANNANOA GATHERING (https://www.swangathering.com/) (vocal AND oldtime weeks!)
TIMBER RIDGE FAMILY DANCE CAMP (http://www.cdss.org/adult-family.html)
2. SING! we're recording a new album... and are excited to be bringing some special guests on board, over the course of the summer. look for it, NOVEMBER 2014!
3. GET CRAFTY! we're making a new crankie...
LIVE AND IN PERSON! (upcoming shows) ANNA is doing a series of solo shows of fiddle music, shadow puppets, songs & the usual stories, with our friend Shane Leonard (http://www.kalispellband.com) of Chicago-- hope to see some of you there! JUNE 1 : The GARAGE, Charlottesville VA / 7 / 100 jefferson street
JUNE 2 : HOUSE SHOW, Washington DC / 7 / firstname.lastname@example.org JUNE 4 : HOUSE SHOW, South Egremont MA / 7 / email@example.com
JUNE 5 : HOUSE SHOW, Brattleboro MA /7 / 118 Prospect Street / RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org
JUNE 20 CRANKIES at THE WEST VIRGINIA STATE FOLK FEST
JULY 20 CRANKIES at the CRADLE of FORESTRY, brevard nc
coming in the fall.... Watermelon Park Festival (http://www.watermelonparkfest.com) ! The Floyd Radio Show (http://www.floydradioshow.com) resumes-- and we are bringing a special edition show to The Jefferson Center (http://www.jeffcenter.org) in Roanoke!
HAVE A LOVELY SUMMER!! can't wait to see you all soon. thanks so much.... and keep in touch! anna & elizabeth
twas bound to happen, that we'd get very much behind on writing.
TO A NEW START< then.
we're off, bright and early tomorrow morn, to HAZARD KENTUCKY, to facilitate crankie-making about creating a better future, in that community.
PICTURES to come!
came across this tedtalk recently-- thinking on how this dancer's philosophy, and his teaching african dance to african american kids in baltimore relates to the teaching of appalachian music to kids in the mountains.