I love discovering new singer-songwriters. Sometimes it takes me awhile to "discover" artists that others have known about for years but I still love hearing live acoustic music and this was one of those weekends. I was supposed to see one of my favorites on Saturday night as Nanci Griffith was scheduled to play the Big Top Chatuaqua in Bayfield. For those not familiar...the Big Top is a big tent at the base of the Mt Ashwabay Ski Hill just south of Bayfield where every summer for the past 25 years a group of volunteers as brought in a series of shows every weekend featuring both national acts like Johnny Cash, Joan Baez & John Prine...and regional and local acts as well. They have a house band called the Blue Canvas Orchestra which is a collection of talented musicians who call the area home. Griffith was supposed to be the final act of a week of singer-songwriters competing in workshops and a song writing contest. Unfortunatley she had to cancel at the last minute because of throat problems. This left the Big Top people in a quandry...finding a national replacement at the last minute was really not an option so they came to the decision to cancel the show and go dark. That's when the musicians of the Blue Canvas Orchestra and a singer-songwriter named John Smith who was in town to help with the contest decided to donate their time and talents and put on an impromtu show for 10 bucks. It was great! I had never heard of Smith who hails from the La Crosse area but he was fabulous...witty, entertaining and a bunch of excellent songs.
I had never seen or heard the BCO but they were also remarkable. Whether it was doing original stuff or top notch covers of everything from CSN to Paul Simon to the Eagles.
They were joined on stage by the two top finishers in the songwriting contest...two young ladies who played a couple of songs each and were very good. Earlier in the day while walking around Bayfield we stopped at a watering hole and heard another aspiring singer-songwriter named Sascha Mercedes. She is from Minneapolis and was so good I had to quote Billy Joel and say "what are you doing here". Picked up a couple of her cd's too. She has been descibed as a cross between Stevie Nicks and Janis Joplin....big voice...big songs...but just her and her guitar. I had never spent much time in that area but Lake Superior was beautiful and it was a great couple of days.
The schizoid Milwaukee Brewers continue their act of sweeping or being swept. After dropping three to LA they sweep the Pirates. I missed Saturday nights game but it sounds like it was a thriller.
Manny being Manny again. Ramirez was ejected from the game yesterday while arguing a strike 1 call while pinch-hitting in the 6th inning with the bases loaded. Classic.
The high school football season is underway. It sounds like DC Everest played well in their loss to Homestead. Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids both looked good. I saw Wausau East on Friday night and although they lost...they played better than last year and might have found a couple of young players that are ready to step up. Soph QB Cole Nelson had an excellent second half.
Songs of the Day- (from my I-Pod)
The Girl That I Knew Somewhere-Monkees (1967) A Mike Nesmith song recorded with Mickey singing lead because the producers thought Nesmith sounded too country. Here is a video with Mickey, Davy & Peter (no Mike) during their reunion tour.
A Girl Like You-Young Rascals (1967) blue-eyed soul from the streets of New York. Felix Cavileri and the Rascals were all over the radio in the mid-late 60's