Sunday, September 16, 2007

Jerusalem Ridge

Friday I was interviewed on air for Radio Bluegrass International by Mike Lawing who is the Assistant Director of the IBMM and a superb fiddler. Later I had a nice lunch conversation about music with Richard Clark. Richard is a skilled bass player I met in Owensboro as part of the camp. He works at the Honda dealership. Later I played at the Rosine barn jam until midnight with very talented musicians. I had the honor to play some mandolin while Tom Ewing played bass and sang for a while. Tom was Mr. Monroe's last lead singer, and compiler of The Bill Monroe Reader, a nice collection of writings about Bill with commentary from Tom. I remember us playing Some Old Day and Columbus Stockade Blues.

I played bass for most of the night with some great guys, Mark Hargis. and Byron Oust. Byron was around last year and is a powerful lead singer and guitar player. Mark is tremendously fluent in the language of Bill Monroe. Great picker, we did songs like Wayfaring Stranger (the way Bill played it) and instrumentals like Going Across The Sea (incredible!), Solider's Joy, and Tombstone Junction. Don Stanley joined us and sang some of his powerful original bluegrass songs. What a good guitar player! We had a fun time. (Here's a shot of Don from 9/21/07). During the last song, my phone rang. It was the caretaker asking 'how I was going to get in?' "I was going to hike in." (It's a little over a mile from the gate). Well, he unlocked the gate for me just after midnight.

As I was getting ready for bed, he asked if I wanted to pick some, so we sat on his porch and worked on six songs or so. The night before we sat on the Monroe porch. Tonight we played for another hour or so. It sure is fun working with a traditional bluegrasss mandolinist who wants just what I do: no flatpicking or solos. Since he's rehearsing for his festival appearance, he needs that rhythm guitar. It has been real fun working on ways to make it more interesting and dynamic, while still solid and not getting too far out there. Wait, I'm a little ahead of myself.

Because of all that picking, I have been tired! I woke up at 11 am, helped the electrician dig for a little while. We had a great conversation about John Prine and industrial electricity. It helps that my dad, before retirement, was that kind of electrician.

Aah, "the lonesome sigh of a train going by" as I lie here typing in my tent just before midnight...

This afternoon (Saturday) I practiced some backup to Jerusalem Ridge and went for a walk on Jerusalem Ridge. That got me thinking of Walking In Jerusalem.
Deer on Jerusalem Ridge Kentucky. Photo © Andrew D. Barron, 9/15/07
Lately I've been working with the lens fully zoomed. This spring, I began to learn more about the legendary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa who shot much of Ran with telephoto lenses for the wide shots.
[Researching now (September 17), it is sure interesting that this very shot contains echoes of the headstock on Arthur's mandolin.]
As long as you're steady, it seems compress the distances within the image somewhat. The foreground trees are much closer than the deer. Above, the focal length is 71.3mm, below 32.1mm. These focal lengths are fraction of what Kurosawa was using, so the effect is minimal.
Deer on Jerusalem Ridge Kentucky. Photo © Andrew D. Barron, 9/15/07
I stopped at this nice spot looking northwest.
Jerusalem Ridge Kentucky 9/15/07

Self portraits are really to document that I was there too. I often set the timer to get out of the 'I am taking a picture of myself' head space.
Andrew D. Barron on Jerusalem Ridge Kentucky 9/15/07
More with the zoom. I don't know what these are. Bullets, birds, maple tap? Focal length: 69.7mm.
Jerusalem Ridge Kentucky. Photo © Andrew D. Barron, 9/15/07
There was pretty little pond, where shortly after I stumbled upon a nice cabin and saw some wild turkeys.
Pond reflection, Jerusalem Ridge Kentucky. Photo © Andrew D. Barron, 9/15/07
Then, I became the wild turkey as I was caught trespassing. It seemed okay, but I was pretty nervous for a more than a few moments. You should have seen me wearing my big studio headphones tilted forward over my forehead, listening to late 60's Bill Monroe. ('Why those?' Well, sadly the tale involves a lawnmower and my absence from camp on day two.)

"You look lost son." That works. I feel pretty far from lost.
Looking west from Jerusalem Ridge Kentucky. Photo © Andrew D. Barron, 9/15/07
This Sunday marks one year since me, Randy Wilson and Kip first visited the Monroe home place. I have posted my articles for the Northern Nevada Bluegrass Association newsletter, published earlier this year. Reading those should help explain why I am here.

After the walk, I sang a few songs on the empty Jerusalem Ridge main stage then practiced more back up (this time to the The Dead March). In the middle there somewhere, a bluegrass band from Washington state "Catch and Release" came up and visited. Later, with Vermont volunteer Andy Berley, the three of us did a few loops around the property walking then had a nice steak dinner in Hartford.

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