Friday, June 09, 2006

Don Ross Cannington Guitar Weekend Summer 2006 - Day 1 Friday June 9th.

The quaint little burg of Cannington Ontario, home to one of Canada's most famous Fingerstyle guitarists, Don Ross, is 360km and 5 hours away from my house(close by most standards). I took the day off and left around 10:00am and geocached on the way up (that weird thing I do with the GPS sats and the tupperware in the woods eh?).
Trouble was, it was raining, and the woods were wet, and my jeans and t-shirt and hiking shoes did not cut it. I was soaked on the first attempt, a small 1.4km round tripper down an abandoned wheel-rut road with wet hip-high grass. After that it was like, "Who cares., I can't get any more soaked than this!". I set the GPSMap to an 800m radius around the car so if I saw a geocache on the display, I'd know it was close and just turn off the highway and have a look. I must have done about 10 or 12, most in the pouring rain (found them all though, including a few tricky ones with previous no finds right before me).
I stopped for a Quizno Black Angus in some small town off highway seven and was cogniscant of the sound my wet socks were making in my shoes and the swamp trail I was leaving behind, so when I got back in the car, I went barefoot and tried to dry them out.

It's liberating to drive barefoot! But how was I going to dry my socks? Something came to mind and I hung both of them out of the car and slammed the door on them so they could billow out behind me outside on the drivers side and get dried by the 100km per hour winds! But then it started pouring rain and they just got wetter so I pulled them back in and laid them over the car vents (which stunk a bit). Good thing I brought three pairs. The next few geocaches I pulled the still wet socks back on for the hike and off again for the car. When I made it to Cannington, I walked in with bare feet and no one noticed.

Here are some Flickr pics from the weekend (most of which appear in these blog entries)

First night is Pizza night (home-made gourmet style this time! Yummy!), get to know ya and song circle! This years Musical Guest is Andy Mckee from Kansas, USA, an amazing fingerstyle guy who plays a Harp guitar sometimes (see attached pic of Don playing it). We passed it around, it's a weird instrument. It has a regular 6 string neck and an additional 6 'low' strings (although the last harp string is higher than the low E on a guitar in standard tuning). People played a ton of great tunes, mostly originals and we stayed up til about midnight (went to bed early for a change) so we could get a fresh start on the day. There's people here from the US( New York, Minnesota) and then the rest from Southern Ontario. Everyone swapped guitar stories and we all jammed a bit (which is hard in a room full of guitarists who all for the most part favour open or alternate tuning..
"Hey, what are you in?"
"Oh, I'm in CGCF#AD, just a sec" (finds tuner)
(sound of string being de-tuned) **** POINK!!!! **** "Oww! my eye!"
"Anyone got a spare G string?" (some of these guys have string endorsements eh?).

I brought my Mini-DV video cam and when Don and Andy played some requests, I rolled tape. It was pretty low light but it should turn out fine. Andy played a great tune by some friend of his in Japan. I have to learn it! Andy was a big reason I came to this shin-dig (but hey, that Don guy is pretty good too, along with that Brooke girl that lives there for some reason too, so, it's all good!). Don played Robot Monster (I'm gonna link to the song samples where I can) on his baritone, which is always cool to see from 2 feet away, and he explained some stuff about the tune afterwards. I wanted to hear Andy play "Africa", his absolutely masterful arrangement of the 80's Toto tune on his Dreamcatcher CD and it was funny because Don had handed him the baritone after he finished(Andy wanted to see it I guess, and he was kind of plunking on it while Don talked) and Don said to him "Why don't you try it on the baritone?"
And so..
He did.. That baritone is like playing with barbed wire strings (without the pointy bits of course). It has 5 wound strings. It's like trying to jog with dumb-bells on your feet. But he did it! After the first 8 measures he kinda laughed and said "This is hard!" but he did the whole thing! (that is another tune I have to get under my belt, he has tab for it). That was hillarious! He does a lot of one-handed stuff as he knocks the side of the guitar to keep the synchopated drum beat going. It's pretty hard to duplicate. He's gonna show us how to play it tomorrow.

At midnight it was off to my accommodations in the nearby Adam's Family Mansion, where I stayed up talking to the fascinating home owner until 2:00am or so about everything from Paganism, and the Davinci code, to what it's like to coat yourself in Woad. (hehehehehe - gotta love this town!)..

I'm already looking forward to the yummy food... More details tomorrow!

1 comment:

Tripper said...

Sounds like you had a blast (again). Looking forward to day 2's update blog.

Just a thought... Why not post a link to a site (like where we can check out all the pics?