V.14 : The Last Show

October 25th to 28th

Location: Tok, Alaska

audio tracks:
Shenandoah : Traditional
Live at Tok Highschool

various live jam clips

The storm is just trailing off as I leave Willow. I go to Meads and wait there a few hours to let the plows work, then head up the highway, past Matanuska glacier, and into the interior. Its a long hard slow drive in the aftermath of the storm, but I finally hit clear road as I near Tok and pull in behind a closed gas station to sleep.

The next day I teach the music classes at the Highschool. Then I get ready for the concert that night. It's a benefit for the chorus travel fund. I really want to try a couple tunes together, so I pick some esay tunes to open and close with, and we get down to it. Its a good show, though I am getting tired, I'm also in my stride at this point, and roll right along. After the show is officially over, I'm still playing for the people who came up to buy CDs, asking if I could play this or that. Jeremy, the music teacher, told me people were complaining that my show was too good. Essentially, there's been a show a month ago at $20 a ticket with lots of promo and a "known recording artist" and they thought my show was a lot better, yet it was only a $2-$3 donation to the chorus and wasn't hyped as a big deal. I had tried to get the local Alaskan promoters to arrange a concert series when I knew I was coming up for the fair, but because I'm not a "known artist" in the industry mags, they "couldn't help me." I'm used to this, but I didn't know how to explain it to the people in Tok.

That night I go back to the Off-The-Road-House. They said I should come back and jam. Helga plays piano and sings, and invited a local guitar player over friday night and we have a good one. Late at night Helga and I stay up just singing. Though I love the dulci, I have always been a singer first and foremost. Its good to let the dulci rest and just focus on singing again. When we're jamming, here or back in Willow or Eagle, we just play the songs we know. That's what its about, not struggling with songs we don't know trying to do originals, but finding the common ground in American folkmusic where we can relax and play. It also means I just can't share it with you, unless that common ground happens to be some traditional tunes at some point. But fact is, a lot of the time we are playing real American folkmusic, like the Beatles. And while it's legal (I think) to have a good time jamming the Beatles in the privacy of your own home with a couple friends; I don't think I can put it out on the net. And It really doesn't matter what the music is as I am showing us jamming, and the actual song we are playing isn't important. But if I show you a whole song, it is. So unless I can ever afford to pay whatever it costs to show you those jams, well, you'll just have to "imagine" it!

In the morning it's snowing lightly, but the satellite picture on the internet shows its really a layer of thin clouds and flurries streched between two major storms. I spent a lot of time looking at satellite pictures and weather reports, watching for the window I can use to carry me through to the next safe harbor. Its a real art, developed by years of sailing and travelling, and serious study of books and the sky. This one looks like a narrow, marginal, but real window. Soon I am on the road and headed for the border, leaping into the big push down the Alcan.

Though I have a long road ahead before it's really done, it's still the end of the Alaska tour. This has been the last show and the last jam for this year, AK2K. I head into a narrow gap in the closing jaws of winter and leave Alaska behind, one more time.

Or maybe this is just the beginning of the long road back.