I just got back yesterday from my trip to Asheville where I hung out for 5 days with my absolutely fabulous fiddle pal Beanie Odell.
My first day there was warm and we headed out of town to a lovely trail along the French Broad river, where we hiked to a perfect swimming hole. Really. River swimming isn’t something I really get to do in Tucson; floating a bit with the current while watching the fish below in the very clear water was sublime.
Here’s a heron I saw on the way back:
We played a fair amount of tunes, and talked about tunes, and listened to tunes. And there was lots of Boggle, the nerdy and addictive word game for those of us who don’t have the patience or brains for Scrabble. Beanie, as it turns out, is a Boggle champ and the best I could do was come within a ten point margin of her consistently super-high scores.
But a big chunk of time we spent listening to tunes while painting Beanie’s coffee table– she’d found a discarded antique pine table, and re-planed and sanded it, and drew (freehand!!) a symetrical paisely design on top. Beanie started to paint it before I arrived, and wasn’t happy with the colors she’d picked out. Here’s the table as we started to “audition” different color combinations to improve her design:
And here you can see the “new” red and green on the right (they are darker) versus the old colors, which are lighter:
Here’s Beanie doing the brown outline on the big paisley shapes; what a pro! Painting this thing, and mixing up the colors just right, took hours. Good thing there was a nearly complete Irish fiddle digital archive in the house!
Working at a task while listening to tunes is a great way to get them in your head. We both managed to learn the 5 part jig Helvic Head as played by Fisherstreet on their 1991 recording Out in the Night.
Here’s the finished tabletop…
…and here we both are with our painting handiwork.
All it needs is a coat of shellac, and it will be ready for a circle of musicians and some good craic!
I’m already looking forward to my next trip to Asheville. I already miss having someone around who really gets the spirit of Irish music.