Here we are in August……the eight month of the year……and we will soon be going full tilt here at the Ranch as we start our second half of the season. We’ve got a couple great camps coming up back to back in August and I’ll be sure to give you all a full report next time around. But, how about that great month of July that just passed bye.
The last weekend of July was the weekend of our “Arts and Minds Festival”. It was a great weekend and we had a great time on so many levels. The Ranch was blessed with some fine artists and craft folks that really had some nice works on display. Bob Steeler came out all the way from New Jersey and his fine art work was on display to be viewed. Bob was present to talk art or music and it was nice to have him around the Fur Peace. Our good friend, Don Aters, was here as well with some of his fine rock photography and his recently released photo book. Don also loves to chat with folks and the people who engaged him in conversation were treated to some rock and roll stories and history. Check out Don’s website to see his amazing collection of photos from back in the day…….he was there and he caught some classic pictures. We also had wood carvers, soap makers, jewelry, poster art and more. It was a nice array of artists.
We also had the good folks from the Snowville Creamery on the grounds talking good milk and good dairy practice. They were also handing out free samples of fine ice cream, made fine by the use of the cream from Snowville Creamery. The ice cream was churned by a unique contraption …a bicycle peddled ice cream maker. This was a delicious treat on a hot summer afternoon. We also had Mauvette on the grounds cooking only the finest Jamaican food and Chelsea’s Real Food Truck with the best in natural eating delights. You get the picture…….lots going on ……and it was all good!
During the daytime hours of the Festival we also had musicians playing up under our gazebo by the Psylodelic Gallery. On Saturday we had the great Marshall Bellew from Tennessee playing and singing the blues along with a whole heap of great Americana songs….past and present. He was followed by upcoming local faves, Emerson and Seeder. These are two brothers, a bass and six string player, performing cool original music with a nice organic feel to the music.
On Sunday, the Captain of the Camp, Jorma, took the stage at about 1:30 PM and performed a wonderful solo set for what turned out to be a pretty good sized crowd. They had called for a high percentage of rain that day, but we had a beautiful afternoon and it looked really nice seeing Jorma playing under the gazebo and all the people sitting around and enjoying his set. Following Jorma’s set of music the Captain moved into the Fur Peace Station to get ready for a phone interview with Grace Slick. The Station had a good group of folks in there to hear the interview and it was fun and informative. It looked pretty cool seeing Jorma on stage sitting at a desk with a microphone…..the amazement of modern technology….Grace was mic-ed through Jorma’s Iphone and it was hooked into the sound system and it came through really clear for all to hear. The music on the gazebo stage continued with nice sets of music by Laura Nadeau and Rusty Smith completing the day’s musical entertainment.
That night we had one of the greatest shows to ever hit the Fur Peace Station stage when It’s A Beautiful Day (IABD) performed. This visit and performance by IABD was powerful. First off, they are the nicest folks and without trying to sound cliche ….. they embody the spirit of those halcyon days of San Francisco 60′s rock. The music took us all away…..from the set’s opener, Don and Dewey, the band just took off treating all in attendance to the best of their first two records from the late 1960′s….their self titled 1st record and Marrying Maiden. Hot Summer Day followed as did Girl With No Eyes, Bombay, and White Bird. They played two amazing sets and David LaFlamme’s violin playing was exciting and amazing. The band was TIGHT. Val Fuentes the original IABD drummer sat behind the kit and did a great job of working with long time bassist, Toby Gray. Linda and David’s voices were beautiful and their harmonies were heavenly. The band got several standing ovations and that was even before the encore. They did two encores…..Time Is and God Bless The Child…..and these were the icing on a very tasty cake. As I mentioned the band is a tight outfit and I must give kudos to the fine keyboards of Gary Thomas and the fine guitar work of Rob Cunningham. There were times when Rob’s playing parralled what Dave was doing on the violin and it created a great sound. So, if you can’t tell……I was totally jazzed by the IABD performance. This is a band I’ve loved for a very long time and had never had a chance to see LIVE. So it was great to hear them and hear them sound greater then anything you had ever heard by IABD before.
The Saturday night show with Hot Tuna was pretty special as well. We’d had a nice day at the Fur Peace Ranch and about one hour before the show was to start all of a sudden the sky darkened and the rain came a pourin. Next thing I noticed was the lights flickering, just before the electric went out. We didn’t miss a beat and before long Smiles (a FPR associate and a good cat) was pushing the generator up to the back of the concert hall. Jorma and Jack started the show with enough power to fill the room with sound and enough to power two floor-lamps to illuminate the scene. Once again, even in a case of adversity, things turned out better then you could ever hope. Aside from the usual great sound of Hot Tuna…..maybe it was the low lights…..but Jorma and Jack were hilarious with their on stage banter. By the time they hit song number six….the lights were on and it was no stopping from that point.
This was a big and busy weekend! It was our only working weekend in July….but we’ve been staying real busy. … Busy with work on a new Fur Peace schedule for 2015. It’s about 90% complete and we’ll be posting it at the end of the week. Check it out……the good times continue to roll!