I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

November 20, 2012 - 10:51 a.m.

And Informal Look at the NERFA Formals

I'm having trouble staying awake so this might not be the best time to write it but here' my musical review of NERFA. I am going to break it down into three classes, Formal Showcases, Quadcentrics & DJ showcase, and everything else.

I knew I wouldn't discover much at the Formal Showcases because of the 14 acts I was already familiar with 10 of them. Most of them played either the Budgiedome, On Your Radar, Christopher Street or some combination of them. Here's who played, I'll bold the ones new to me.

Molasses Creek
Greg Klyma
Honor Finnegan
Brother Sun
ilyAIMY
Carolyn Walters
The Tres Amigos
Gypsophilia

Connor Garvey
Zo Lewis
The Stray Birds
Ariana Gillis
Putnam Smith Trio

The only discovery was The Tres Amigos. Molasses Creek left absolutely no impression on me I had to check the program to see who they were. If I saw them again I'm sure I'd think it was for the first time. Carolyn Walters just didn't connect with me and all I can do while watching Gypsophilia was make unfavorable comparisons of them with Caravan of Thieves. I love Gypsy Swing but they didn't do much for me.

The Tres Amigos on the other hand were a blast. You knew something was different about them when they walked into the dining room in matching shirts. They are three young men in their early twenties from New York City who wear western duds and play music with a latin tinge without being latin. There's a touch of country. More than anything they reminded me of Moxy Frvous. In part it was their harmonies but much more it was their attitude. They were up there to have fun and they brought the audience along with them. Oh and one of them looks like a young Jian. I sat in front of them during the "On The Griddle" workshop and without anyone watching them they were totally unaffected young men that giggled, and joked, and had a great time. They looked like they were having fun because they were having fun. I'll see them again when they do On Your Radar and will try to catch them when I can.

I'll just say a few words about some of the people I already knew.

Greg has been playing the Budgiedome for ages. He's played on his own and he has backed other people up. I realized that I have underestimated him. He grew as an artist and I didn't catch it. He had me laughing out loud during his three songs and there is no higher praise for someone trying to be funny. Watching Jody signing his chicken song was worth the trip to NERFA by itself. The video for the song should just be Jody signing it. Forget helping the deaf and hard of hearing people. A good signer makes the show more enjoyable for everybody. It is really a form of interpretive dance. Jody is not a good signer, she's a great one.

But here's the thing. I don't want you to think it was about Jody. Greg was rockin' the Casbah. He's just plain funny and outlandish and can play that mandolin like it's nobody's business. I should be

I see Honor more than I see anyone else at NERFA for the very good reason that she is mini-Hagrid. Yes she is the one that rescued me from the cupboard under the stairs. I don't have to worry about if I like her musically because I like her personally though. I loved her musically before I got to know her personally. I have seen her perform many times but the best was NERFA. Tiny Life Honor knows how to be big on stage. She plays to the back row. Everything about her performance was big and when she was done she owned the audience. Well OK not owned. Lincoln freed the slaves. She's like the company store, we sold our soul to her.

ilyAIMY is by no means a new band. Heather just celebrated her tenth anniversary with them and she isn't an original. But they are just now emerging onto the folk scene and even though I'm not an early adopter of them, I have become possessive. They are one of my bands. I can kvell about them. So I'll kvell. They are not folk but they rock the folk world.

Zo Lewis has been a favorite of mine the longest, I first saw her in the 2000 FRFF emerging artists showcase. We voted for her. I've seen her countless times including in my living room. Somehow she seems to have slipped through the cracks of my musical circle. I loved hearing my friends laughing out loud when she was trying to be funny and feeling the joy of her music when she wasn't.

Ariana Gillis has been an obsession of mine since I first saw her the previous NERFA. She's a 21-year-old Canadian singer/songwriter who is brilliant and a natural performer. I was excited about seeing her on the big stage and everyone getting to know her. She's already pretty big in Canada but is still working on getting a following in the US. Then she was sabotaged by the sound. I couldn't make out the words to the songs and I know them. You couldn't hear the passion in her singing. I don't know if it affected her performance because I couldn't make it out well enough. It might have thrown her off or she might have been great and I just couldn't hear it. The people who hadn't seen her many times don't know this was a total aberration. I hope they give her another chance. If not they are going to miss out on someone special.

It looks like this is going to be more than one entry so I might as well stop here. The next edition I'll get to my discoveries at the rest of the NERFA.





Annoying People - September 03, 2016
This Play Was The Pits - September 02, 2016
Banking on Getting Better or Avoiding Katastrophe. - September 01, 2016
Unlike Gilligan I Got Off the Island - August 31, 2016
Call of the Wilder - August 30, 2016




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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. Horvendile November 20, 2012
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