Kerrville 2005: Looong ramblings about this year’s festival

Several of you wrote me in May to ask if I’d be doing this again, so I will. Gratifying to know someone’s actually reading. But the thing I need to make abundandly clear is that these are MY thoughts about what I experienced. Please don’t write me to say “hey, you didn’t mention the cool circle at (fill in the blank) on Tuesday night.” Because if I wasn’t there, I’m not gonna write about it. However, if I misspell or simply MISS a name, feel free to write me and fill in the blanks…

Lastly, a disclaimer. Ask anyone who goes to Kerrville every year, and they’ll tell you that it’s virtually certain that each year you’ll meet somebody new you never met before. Some of these folks you “meet” are actually established artists who’ve been around for years, but for some reason, your paths have never crossed.

I call these moments my “Columbus moments.” Because, even though Columbus really didn’t “discover” anything, it was at least new to him. Sure, there’s a little hubris in this, but it’s also the way it feels to me. If it’s new a discovery for ME, that’s why I write about it. And, since I know lots of you enjoy discovering new folks too, that’s just and added reason to write. So basically, if you already know some of the folks that I’m just now “discovering,” then just enjoy my new enjoyment rather than waste your time writing me about it.

Finally, before we begin, if you’re interested in catching up on last year’s thoughts first, you can find them here. If you have no idea what Kerrville is, you might want tostart herefor some ideas from the Breadman’s site.Neil Eckstein put togethera really great video in 2004 that you can download. (But it’s a HUGE file…) I’ll mention several camps in this post, and there’s an ancient and much revered mapfrom the arvchives of the Campnashbill what will help you see where everything is…usually.

Day One (Thursday)
Picked up
Jay Mankita on my way through Austin. Jay had spent the night with Rona (?) and she wasn’t coming out to the ranch until later, so I gave him a ride in the Prius. It was great to catch up with Jay. We talked about
families, music, religion, etc. Talked about the perils of long-term debt. Please keep Jay and his girlfriend, Susan, in your thoughts and prayers these next few days. He actually had to leave the ranch on Wednesday, because he got a call that Susan’s has experienced some problems with her pregnancy. Let’s hope it all turns out OK…

It was easy to drop Jay off, since he always camps at Camp Nashville, which is right next to where I always camp: Camp NashBILL.Bill Nashwas the first person to ever invite me to come to Kerrville. And over the years, it’s been a great honor to be associated with his camp. Even when I’m not….er….camping. Yes, that’s right, I was actually a hotel wimp this year. Found a cheap rate for $200/week, and so I didn’t even go through the
charade of putting up a tent. Figured someone else could use the space.

Sure enough, there were a LOT of Nashbillians out this year: Bill, Weird Harold, Paul Brown (who brought Terri and eventually Terri’s son, Brian…), Tom Noe, Linda Silas. Teresa and Paul both put up their own canopies this year, and so “Greater Camp Nashbill” was born. A couple of years ago, our camp picked up some other members by virtue of an email list that Paul and I are a part of. It’s broadened our reach and made us
intrastate. So, Melanie came from Baltimore. Kellie came from Milwakee. Judi drove out from Austin. And Teresa brought some friends named Tina and David. Ross and Sharon made it out the second week, just before I left! So, didn’t get to spend much time. Tom Noe put up his telescope. We missed Steve “Iron Butt” McGraw.
(Hurry back, Steve…)

Melanie wrote up her own reflections on this year’s festival, and I thought you might like to read them too.

The other great thing this year? No teepees in the lower meadow. Won’t complain about them now, but damn glad they were gone.

With the expanded land area of greater camp Nashbill, came other new features. Like Kerrsidillias. Teresa and Melanie made them one night (at least one night that I know of…) for all the musicians that came by. Nothing like free Quesadillas with your music.

It was great to get there Thursday, after all traditional camps had already been set-up. And, as I learned the hard way a couple of years ago, it’s great to leave before the last day, so that the illusion of permanence is not shattered by the reality of the tear down.
I like to imagine that after I leave, everybody just stays out there all year…. Winking It’s a comforting delusion, somehow.

And so it was great to see dozens of friendly faces, saying “hey” as Jay and I got in Thursday.

This year, I made the decision not to run from song circle to song circle, like a chicken with my head cut off. In year’s past, I’ve done that, and it’s made for some really crazy, and not very fulfilling, nights. You can make yourself sick with
the feeling that you’re missing something crucial in some circle “just over there.” And you’re probably right, actually. But it’s also probably true that by the time you get there, the water will already be under the bridge.
So, I decided early on that I’d just park one or two places each night, and let it be what it will be. And I have to say, that was very GOOD decision.

First night, I played a couple of rounds at Nashbill before making my way up to Kamp Kantagree. This was one of my two favorite places to play this festival. That’s the camp whereSteve Brooks, Joe and Bev Angel, Austin Kessler, Jenny Reynolds and Kerry Polk, and many others hang out. Juliet Wyers showed up later in the week, along with Todd and Meg Hoke. Jeez…..a bunch of good friends camp here. Todd and Meg will soon be moving to Asheville. We’d planned to sit in a circle one last time before he left, but somehow it didn’t happen. (sigh…)

At about 2 am, I got into a circle with Steve, Ken Gaines, Andrew McKnight, and Butch Morgan. It was a nice, small group, and we kept it going until about 4:30

Day Two (Friday)
Back at camp by about 10 am for the Rouse Breakfast. One of the great sorrows hanging over the entire festival this year was
the death of Bruce Rouse. So, this first breakfast morning was a little awkward in a number of ways. It felt to me that everyone felt Bruce’s absence. It was a big hole, and there’s no way to fill it.

As usual, a lot of the New Folk Finalists were camping with them: Erik Balkey, Beth Wood, Rob Hinkal, David Morreale, Liz Carlise, Dave Stoddard, Mike Morris, Amy Martin, and probably a bunch more I am forgetting. (If you’d like to remind me of who all was else there, email me….)

Friday at Ballad Tree, Jonathan Byrd was the host, and he did an amazing new song, called “The Cocaine Kid.” I can’t even really describe it to you lyrically, except to say that it was a amazing and was sort one huge metaphor about the Bush presidency and the present day.Greg Klyma was SOMEHOW able to memorize all the words and sing along with him. I’m not sure which was more amazing….the Jonathan wrote it, or that Greg memorized all those words.

After Ballad Tree, I stopped by Camp Dallas, or whatever they’re calling it these days. Played a little background music while dinner was being prepared. Great to see all my friends there: Jim, Lana, Stephanie, Jason, and Anthony.

Friday night, was back at Kamp Kantagree. Apparently, it’s so named because the members can’t agree on just about anything, including how you spell “Kamp Kantagree.” The circle that night included Steve Brooks ,Andrew McKnight, Mike Morris(and his friend, an incredible fiddle player named Heather Mike…),Dave Stoddard, Rob Hinkal , Carrie Colvin, and ???. (name missing…)

Day Three (Saturday)
A much larger crowd at the Rouse Breakfast. Lindsey Lee, Bruce’s son-in-law, assumed the role of emcee each morning, and did a GREAT job. He’s posted some pictures of that first weekend’s breakfasts
here. I’m sure he’ll probably post more later, and I’ll keep you posted if he does….

Noon brought the first of the two New Folk rounds. I’ll post my thoughts about New Folk here, even though it’s a Saturday/Sunday event. As happens every year, there was a very good crop of finalists. The winners were: Dave Stoddard, Erik Balkey, Beth Wood , Jack Harris, Randy Browning, and Andy Corwin. I got a HUGE whoppin’ headache about halfway through this first round, and found my way back over to the Rouse’s Camp, where I was aided by Nancy Hafner and the miracle of Aleve. So, I actually missed all of Randy and Jack’s sets (they were back-to-back). As it was, I’m proud to say I picked three out of six of the winners this year…up from last year’s abismal one out of six….but down from my alltime high of 5 of 6 a few years back.

I was REALLY pleased that Erik Balkey won. He’s such a good guy, works hard, and writes good songs. He deserved it…but I thought that last year too. I was supposed to give him a ride to Dallas yesterday, so he could attend a friend’s wedding, but he couldn’t get a return flight back in time for his New Folk slot on Sunday.
Showed me a lot about him, though, that he worked hard to try to still honor his committment to his friend. Also glad to see
Beth Wood win. She’s living in the Dallas area, and she and I were also finalists at a the Fifth Street Festival in Fort Worth last Fall. Does anybody else think that Beth’s voice is a wonderful combination
of Shawn Colvin and Susan Werner? I hear that lot
when I listen to her new CD.

Another real Columbus moment was Dave Stoddard, and it was great to get to know him a little. He’s got fantastic songs, that are funny and smart. Reminds me of a cross between Randy Newman’s humor and Cliff Eberhardt’s voice and guitar. But his songs are all his own, and they are damn good. Among the crowd that I was sitting around, he was the hands-down favorite to be a finalist. I was hanging out with him just before the announcement Sunday night, and I think he was still a little surprised, even though a lot of folks were telling him he was probably a winner. I’d not met Andy Corwin before, but it was great to hear his fun songs. His song about cowboys and ballerinas is actually moreautobiographical than you’d think. The other interesting thing I just now noticed while surfing is that Andy has really good taste when it comes to website design. Winking

From whatJohn William Davis told me, four of six of these finalists were unanimous. If that’s true, that’s pretty amazing. Every year, there are a lot of folks who don’t win, but who have some really fine music worth paying attention to. Among them this year, and in no particular order:

Dave Murphy: I really liked his song about the Chesapeak. I thought it was well written. And I like a lot of his other
stuff.

Justin Roth: Thought the man was a shoe-in. Shows you what I know. GREAT guitar player and performer.

Mike Morris: Good God, this man makes me tired, watching him play!!! He’s got amazing technique, and really powerful lyrics….just try to keep up. Enjoyed hearing more of him at several circles.

Rob Hinkal: Ditto for him. Great player and great lyrics. Enjoyed being with him around song circles too.

Karen Mal: Thought this woman was shoe-in too. Just don’t get it. She’s a fantastic musician, and I loved her song about being three. Around campfires she was paying a beautiful song about a sailor and the sea too.

Michael Bowers: I met Michael on my very first trip to Kerrville, around Bill’s campfire. One of the song he played that night, “Jackson Marvin Beauragard,” was his New Folk song this year. I LOVE that song. Michael’s a great guy, and just happens to now be married to great songwriter named Siobhan Quinn.

Dave Morreale: I loved his stuff, especially his song about angels and the dirt. Dave’s a real nice guy and was also a finalist last year. He’s recently married and he and his wife are looking for a good house in Baltimore, if you know of any. Enjoyed playing with him around campfires.

Gary Serber: If you liked Michael Hedges, you’ll love Gary Serber. He was absolutely amazing, and had the tough task of following perhaps one of the worst performances in New Folk history. This may sound harsh, and I don’t like to be harsh, but it was BAAAD….not song-wise, but attitude and stage-presence. I won’t mention the guy’s name, but it was horrible.
So, Gary got to follow this overly chatty guy, and just came about and started playing away. I saw people leaning in from where ever they were seated, to get a glimpse of his technique. I also later overheard the folks at the CD table saying that they’d sold of out Gary’s CDs. I think a lot of people wondered if an instrumentalist could win or not.
The fact that he didn’t probably doesn’t answer the question defitively, but he’s an amazing talent.

Saturday night’s show was cut short, due to rain.Freebo and Jim Photoglo did a nice set, and it was great to hear how they sound together. They’ve been doing a lot of touring together.Eric Schwartz had the crowd in stiches, per usual. But then, he slowed it down and played a beautiful song that he’d written for a time when his mother had been sick, and finally finished this year, inspired by Rachel Bissex and her story.

And right after he got done playing that song, in the midst of his next one, the sky started crying. It was a moment, for those paying attention. Most everyone called it a night, and there were not many circles. I crashed and slept an unheard of eight
and a half hours!!! Shouldn’t be allowed…

Day Four (Sunday)
Back at the Rouse’s for breakfast again. This day, May 29th, was
Dennise’s and my 12th Wedding Anniversary. So, I took some personal liberty, and called her on the phone, just before I played at the breakfast. Everyone yelled out a happy anniversary to her, and I played a song I wrote for our ten-year anniversary. Interestingly, Dave Stoddard and I figured up that he and his wife were also married on the same day. That’s right…not just DATE, but DAY. (They got hitched in the am, we in the pm…)
Dave held the phone while I played over the line for Dennise. I know she hated not being able to come this year, but maybe she’ll make it again next year. The
new judge job has been pretty busy for her.

Sunday-day brought more New Folk greatness. But I wrote about that a few paragraphs back. Sunday afternoon, there was a HUGE storm. I rode it out at my favorite storm-shelter camp: Camp Coho. Coho is a great place to ride out a storm, because you can usually see it coming long before it gets there. You can watch it move across the pasture, just beyond the festival grounds, and see the rain sweep in.Two of three Malvini were there (Gina Forsythe had not yet arrived…) Michael, Kendra, Woody, Joyce, Alan, Gary, and all the other usual Cohoites were there. Jonathan Byrd also showed up. Stashed my guitar in the cab of Nick Annis’ new camper, parked next to Coho.

After the storm, I went across Sudden Creek to see how the Nashbillians had fared. Interestingly, there was not much water in Sudden Creek, but there was a RIVER of water flowing down the road. People were putting flip-flops in, because they float, and having races. The water must have been ten inches deep at one point. Later in the week (Tuesday?) somebody came and put some gravel down, so the road wouldn’t totaly wash out.

Before the storm, I’d been up at Ballad Tree, and played “The Don’t Shop,” with both Freebo, and Karl Werne from the great group “Big Wide Grin” sitting in. I’ll count “BWG” as my own personal favorite Columbus moment this festival. They were awesome. Great three-part harmonies and fun and meaningful songs. Karl was telling me what a great time they’d all had at the festival. It was mutual for everyone else.

Because of the storms, mainstage got started a little late. My own personal highlight of the evening was to see my very good friend, Bill Nash, accompanying Josh White Jr. It was a great moment, and Bill did a fantastic job on both guitar and vocals.

Sunday night, I went to Singkerrnicity. It was a great circle.David LamotteandAnnie Wenzwere there. So were camp regulars like Megan McLaughlin, Joyce Woodson, and Jim Savarino. As the evening went on, the Singkerrnicity folks had a really funny coronation ceremony for Andy Corwin, when he arrived back at camp. Made him a customized ballerina tiara….which is only REALLY funny if you heard his New Folk entry. Later, Randy Browning, another New Folk Winner, also stopped by for a time. There were many others there too….it was a pretty big circle, and I called it a night early, because of what was on schedule for the next morning.

Day Five (Monday)
Monday was Memorial Day in the truest sense at Kerrville. In the morning, there was a three-hour tribute to
Bruce Rouseat the Threadgill stage The evening brought a tribute to Rachel Bissexon the mainstage. It was appropriate that it worked out that way, because Bruce was king of the mornings, and Rachel was queen of the late-night song circles.

Bruce’s family asked me to be a co-host for this event, with Bruce’s son-in-law, Lindsey Lee. I have to say, it was a great honor to be part of it. Basically, it was one long Rouse House Bagel Breakfast. A whos-who of performers got up early, and played one song each in honor of Bruce. In between, Lindsey and myself did our best to emcee. I’m sure there will eventually be some pictures of this event posted somewhere, so check back here to find an updated link. There were far too many great moments to catalogue them all. However, I was particularly touched by Eric Schwartz’s “Phone call from Bruce,” which was truly a “you had to be there” moment.

As some of you will remember, I read some poems at Bruce’s Memorial service. If you’re interested, you can find my comments about that service here. At his Kerrville concert, I re-read the one called “Life Goes On,” by Joyce Grenfell.

“If I should go before the rest of you
Break not a flower
Nor inscribe a stone
Nor when I am gone
Speak in a Sunday voice
But be the usual selves
That I have known
Weep if you must
Parting is hell
But life goes on
So …. sing as well
Joyce Grenfell 1910-1979”

After that, I played “I Will Sing,” and the crowd sang along.

Many, many artist spoke of the kindness of Bruce and Liz through the years. It seemed to be a really healing event for everyone.
I know the family is extremely greatful that Kerrville (Dalis, et al) made it possible for it to happen.

At Ballad Tree that day, I continued the Memorial Day theme in my own way, with some personal remembrances of Rachel Bissex.
I told the story of how, when Rachel was through town a few years ago, she came into the studio where I was recording my still-as-yet-unreleased second CD. She put down some background vocals for two songs. In return, I lent her a sound system for a gig she had in Fort Worth, and was her roadie that night. It was big couple of weeks for Rachel. She had several important gigs that week in Texas.

When we got to the studio, it turns out that the recording engineer had a cold….only he hadn’t told anyone. Turns out, Rachel ended up getting his cold. She could have been really pissed at me for that. I would have been. But she was generous and gracious to a fault. And nobody who knows her would be surprised by that. So, in honor of Rachel, and having told that story of her generosity, I played “Free My Hands,” one of the two songs she sang background on for me.

That night was a memorial concert in her honor, which was a whos who of her good musican friends. TheMalvina’sopened, with a great original version of “Starting Over.”Annie Wenz, Mare Lennon and Amelia Spicer did a great “Dancing with My Mother .”
The big voice of Stephanie Corby was perfect for “
Oh Jackson.”Carrie Cooper led a great version of “Royal Blues.” There were many other highpoints of the show, too many to mention….it was all REAL good.Tom PR had told me that morning, at Bruce’s event, that everyone was pretty nervous about the show. They were worried about doing well, but more than that they were worried about even being able to make it through the songs. They had lyric sheets printed out, and had even assigned back up singers, in case somebody couldn’t make it through a song. I told Tom not to worry about it too much, because here’s the thing: if you can make it through something like that WITHOUT breaking up a little, what does THAT say?!! The emotion was just a natural response to how everyone was feeling. So, when voices broke a little, all it did was remind us of how all our hearts were a little broken too.

Kristen Dewitt did led an amazing verison of “Here Now,” with the entire group of performers behind her, singing the chorus. Her performance was incredible, and I know it was hard on her, but she sang with a STRONG voice…in fact, that’s what I remember thinking at the time…”Wow, she’s a strong woman up there…” Didn’t get the chance to tell her that later.

So, “Here Now” was an incredibly life-affirming song, and I though the show had ended on a high, hopeful note. In fact, I thought the show was over. But then, Eric Schwartz and some others took the stage, and did “In White Light.” And I, and just about everyone else there in the whole theater, lost it. I found myself in the midst of a surprising river of tears. As I wrote after Rachel died, this was the song that really got me after her death. How Eric made it through that song, I will never know….especially the last verse.
I saw him right afterwards, and asked him how he did it, and he really didn’t have an answer.

About 2/3rds of the crowd left the theater after this. I confess, I did too. I didn’t hear a word of Modern Man, or anything else from the stage that night.

As I mentioned before, there is a CD in the works to honor Rachel and to help provide for the education of her two kids. They were both there Monday night, and I got a chance to meet both of them briefly, and tell them what everyone else was, I am sure, telling them, “Your Mom was a wonderful person….”

If you’d like to get a copy of the CD, please go here. I hope you’ll order one here, not only to help out her kids, but also because it will surely be filled with great, great music.

That night, I found myself back at Singkerrnicity. A great song circle there. Adam and Kris were there, along with Andrew McKnight. Later Juliet Wyers stopped by, as did Sean Altman. But, I have to confess that I was pretty worn out from the long day.

When the circle started to break up, I decided to head to bed. On the way out of the ranch, I passed a great road circle. I THINK it was that night, anyway. I THINK it was Tom PR, Ellis Paul, Vance Gilbert, and Big Wide Grin. But it might have been another night….it’s all starting to run together. I knew I needed sleep when I found myself telling people that “I only ate three hours last night.” So, I said “hi” briefly at Kantagree, and headed in to bed after a LOONG day.

Day Six (Tuesday)
I slept until noon the next day. Yes, that’s right, noon. It’s one of the prime advantages of having a hotel room. You close those blinds, and you can sleep as long as you want. Did a little laundry. Played some solitare. Watched a little TV. Slept a little more. You can try and make me feel as guilty about it as you want, but the great feeling of good sleep far outweighs my feelings of guilt.

The show that night featured Tret Fure, Rachel Garlin, Joe Jencks, and John Davis Williams. They have the commonality of having all been winners at the South Florida Folk Festival. Tret and Rachel were winners back in 2004, when I was also a finalist. That’s when I first met both of them. It was a great show. I’d never heard Joe before, and was nice to get to know his music. Of course, John William brought the house down “The Yankees are Coming” song.

That night, I started out at NashBILL, with Bill, Juliet Wyers, David Morreale, and Kathy Hussey. Kathy was another Columbus moment for me this year. Somehow, I had missed her New Folk win a couple of years ago. (I’m pretty sure it was while we were on our ten-year anniversary trip…). Man! I love her songs! I love the way the plays a guitar too….really nice technique. Great to get to know her.

After a while, I wandered over to NashVILLE, just next door, where another nice circle was underway. There was nice group there, including Peter Yarrow, Steve Seskin, Ellen Bukstel, Richard Berrman, Dave Morreale, Jay Makita, and Green. We played around a couple of times. And because Peter Yarrow was there, I made a point to play “Purple Land.” When the circle broke, up, he very kindly came over to say he’d liked it quite a bit. The circle actually broke up because yet another big storm was on the way.

I made it back to town just before it hit town. In town, we got HUGE winds, torrential rains, and hail that came in at a 45 degree angle. I have to confess, I have NEVER seen hail fly out of the sky like that….it was like someone was throwing it at the side of my car. It hailed for ten minutes. I assumed that the storm was also pelting the ranch, but the next day everyone swore it hadn’t hailed there at all. Guess the Gods of Kerr were taking their revenge on this hotel slacker.

Day Seven (Wednesday)
I mainly stayed through Wednesday to see the
Malvina’s that night. They shared the stage with Carla Ulbrich, who was her usual funny, entertaining self. I thought the Malvina’s show was GREAT. I heard some folks complaining that the sound from their one omni-mic in the middle of the stage didn’t carry very well. From where I was sitting, it was not a problem. To me, they had GREAT energy and stage presence, and the one mic added to the energy of the night. I’m so very proud of them!!! I can remember back a few years ago, when Lisa Markely and Beth Cahill both came to the Starbucks Songwriter group we used to have. Beth also played mando on my first CD. So, it’s wonderful to see them doing so well.

The great thing about their act is that each of them is a very different songwriter. So, they get this amazing blend of songs to perform that keeps you guessing and interested.

That night, I started out at “Camp Jews Don’t Camp,” to say “hey” to Ellen Bukstel and the Breadman. Jeez, did I miss them last year!! I played “Ember Afterglow” for them, which is a song I wrote after the SFFF in 2004. During that festival, I had hung out each night at their campfire there, or as I liked to call it the “Camp Jews Don’t Camp” home office. So, now at the Kerrville branch, a year and half later, I played them the song. It was inspired by that visit to South Florida, but it’s also a song that’s really about Kerrville, and anywhere that has great song circles.

Ellen was there, along with Kathy Hussey, Rachel Garlin, some woman whose name I don’t recall, and a killer guitar player who just sort of wandered out of nowhere. (He said he lives in Dallas, but is from Canada…)

Since it was my last night, I did a little wandering, and ended up back at Singkerrnicity again. There was another GREAT circle, including Erik Balkey, Kathy Hussey, David Morreale, Steve Brooks, Dave Stoddard, Andy Corwin, Mike Morris, along with his
friend named Heather Mike. (That’s right, Heather Mike, and Mike…), and Jim Savarino. It was a great circle. And since so many folks were there, it gave me a chance to tell everyone goodbye before I left the next morning.

I wandered by Coho, but all the lights were already out. Somehow, I didn’t manage to get by Coho and play at all. I’m not quite sure how that happened….although I did end up there for dinner a couple of nights, and played a few songs then. Had a similar conversations with Lisa Markely and Carrie Cooper, at differing moments during the week, in which we wondered how it is we see each other more at the ranch than we do back at home…go figure. I also didn’t get the chance to play at Camp Stupid this year. Again, not quite sure how that happened either! As I passed Stupid, on my way out the gate that night, I saw that Amelia Spicer, Justin Roth, Stephanie Corby,Cyd Cassone, Johnsmith, and Ken Gaines were having a GREAT circle all to themselves.

I love leaving the ranch with that kind of last glimpse. It helps me with the thought that all those folks just sort of stay there, until the next time I see them again.

KerrCoda:
Got home safely on Thursday afternoon. Took the backroads home, which took me past
Enchanted Rock, and within shouting distance ofMason, Texas, where I once lived for a year. As per the Breadman’s sacred instructions, I still have my wrist band on and have gotten several funny looks about it. Not that I care.

One thing that kept my Kerrville buzz going was a picnic with the Dallas Songwriter’s Association on Saturday. Just a day after I got back, Maria and I drove out to Rancho Frijole in East Texas (near Wills Point) for an afternoon of food and music. The place was started by Kerrville fan, Lyn Been. And she’s really putting together a really nice little place, that would be perfect for a small, perhaps more regional festival. It was nice to meet everyone. I’m embarrassed to say that although I’ve been a member for several years, this was the first DSA event I’ve ever attended. But it was a nice “Coda” to my Kerrville experience.

Now, as I finally finish this blog entry, the last week of the festival is beginning. I know that in my head. But in my heart, I like to live with my comfortable delusion that everyone else is still down there. All the Nashbillians are there, with lit votive candles, and Kerrsidillias. Coho is there, waiting out the next big storm. Breadman is passing out a new loaf….honey wheat, I think. Singkerrnicity is still greeting Andy Corwin like a conquering King (or at least Princess…). Every morning, the Rouse family is giving me fresh coffee, and Ronnie Cox is still offering for anyone who wants to play his gorgeous guitar. All the great songwriters at Kantagree are gathering for a mid-afternoon circle. The Camp Dallas friends are giving me more free beer than I deserve. And Stupid? Well, Stupid is still stupid. And it wouldn’t be the same without them.

My wrist band is still on my wrist. But all of this is there, in my heart. And that’s right where I like to keep it.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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