Thursday, December 21, 2006


Merry Christmas!

 Okay, we're not on the road, yet; but, by golly, we're in the driveway, headed for the curb!

Of course, we thought we'd be spending Christmas somewhere around Nashville and Atlanta with our kids. Since that hasn't happened, we're in yuletide limbo, shuffling boxes from one half-empty room to another, a few strings of blinking colored lights hastily slung around the windows.

The accumulation of 12 years' stuff is a lot to sort through, and each item becomes a decision of great portent. What must we have with us? What is worth storing?  What is worth an attempt to sell it?  What should be sown?  What simply discarded?  We are daily mindful of the parable of the rich man who built another barn to hold his burgeoning goods.  How much of our ever-shortening life is any of these things worth?  And, is it pure vegtable shortening?  Time for a cookie.

We promise to let you all know when we finally break free of the ice pack and can go with the floe.  We are aching to get back to the music and only the music.  We miss seeing you all!  Please let us know how you're doing.

Oh, and the best of New Years to you!



Saturday, December 16, 2006

MWT Eye Witness Report

Both Whitt's eye surgeries went well (cataracts). Thanks to all of you for your prayers, thoughts, & emails!  We don't deny Dr. Robert Currier's formidable skills, but we know that prayers make the difference in any situation. (Being a man of faith, so does kindly "Doctor Bob.")  When anything goes perfectly, with no "complications," we are reminded that "every good & perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning."

Even though Whitt was "way too conscious" for the second operation, he survived and is now officially "glasses free" for driving. (He may still need some cheaters for reading fine print.) so he's lost weight, shaved off his facial hair, and tossed the glasses...He swears he's not going into the witness protection program; but, at the very least we need new photos and caricatures!

We still have some follow-up visits to the doctor, so we'll be around a while longer. (Michigan is wondering, "Will they ever leave?" Well, Michigan can just wait and see like the rest of us!)

We want to wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Since our nest is empty and our chicks scattered to the four winds, we won't be with family this year (sniff-sniff). We hope to be out doing an early version of caroling or wassailing--maybe waddling--whatever, on Thanksgiving Day.

We all have so much to be thankful for.  Let's not forget to express it and let everyone know "from whom all blessings flow"!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Whitt & Judy

Thursday, October 19, 2006

MWT Goes Down Below

What do you call someone who brings their camera to an event, then forgets to use it?
Well, keep it to yourself...We feel bad enough as it is.

So in your mind's eye (probably faster to download) picture an intimate, cozy space with blue lights, and an evening that opened with the beautiful voices of Maggie Ferguson and Denise Marie Stein or "Foxfire". (Maggie plays guitar and writes cool songs, which she sings with Denise harmonizing and playing autoharp and hammered dulcimer.)

Then, they're joined onstage by Dennis Kingsbury, an expert songwriter and instrumentalist.  (He also sets everything up, runs the sound, and records the video. He gave us a copy while we were still packing up!)

Then comes Leonardo, who plays Delta blues. Yeah, but he knows the history down to whose lick and style is which, and plays his guitar upside-down and backwards! Seriously...this guy plays a regularly-strung guitar left-handed, which bent our minds considerably, especially since he's right-handed!

We finished off the evening (more than a figure of speech) and got a very flattering "standing O" (ovation-have to be specific, nowadays) from one guy down front. An evening like that makes it all worthwhile-the packing, the driving, the loading in, the waiting to perform...That and the big folk music bucks, of course (LOL, as the kids say).

Well, that's "Live from the Living Room" at the Blue Note in Pontiac. These are warm, real folks who always make us feel at home. they work hard to put together a great evening out for fans of acoustic music. Check it out if you're anywhere near Pontiac on a Friday evening. (Right now, of course, the streets are all torn up, so there's a little block-circling involved, but it's worth it!)

Next morning bright and early (okay, early, anyway) we were at the Royal Oak Farmer's Market. the market's in a huge building full of beautiful produce, flowers, and about 4000 folks streaming past. In the city, you get that exciting cross section of ethnic groups--the highlight being an older Russian gentleman (who spoke no english), who came up and began some lively folk tune in Russian. The second time it happened Whitt was able to play accompaniment, and even managed to yell "Hey!" at the appropriate times. The third time he "shared," we were in the middle of a song, so it was a bit distracting for him, but he made it through the entire song despite having to sing over us! Nostrovya!

Our heartfelt thanks to Ellen and Bob doster of the Motor City Side Strokers,  (formerly "Death By Accordion") who were wonderful hosts and helped us get moved in and set up, even though they had a gig in Saginaw that evening. The best part of folk music is the folks!



Tuesday, October 3, 2006

A Crow, a Queen and a quick crowd!

September sped by with us up to our necks in packing boxes and unfinished projects, but we made it out to a few events...and we’re really glad we did. (All work and no play makes Whitt and Judy not only dull, but rather irritable, it turns out!  What does that mean?  Nothing, Honey!))


We were honored to be part of the The White Crow Conservatory of Music’s premier season in Saginaw. What a beautiful place!  “Old church” is a bit of a misnomer. It’s actually a huge brick edifice with room for a coffee shop, concert hall, kitchen, classrooms, and recording studio. There’s also a very special music store featuring handcrafted one-of-a-kind instruments. 



 Some of the rare and collectable instruments festoon the alcoves of the concert hall. (“Festoon”...How often do we get to say that?)






Susan and Zig are the owners and gracious  hosts.   Toocute

    Their hospitality was the best, and we really enjoy their company. 






When you get to "The Crow" check out the tables signed by visiting performers.



Featuring local and nationally-known acts, they have lots going on there.  Check out




We were part of the merry seaworthy troupe who braved the mighty Au Sable River one beautiful Thursday.  Boarding the Au Sable River Queen in Oscoda,    we set paddle on a “three hour tour”... Yeah, we were thinking the same thing you are!




Two hours of live music and then we docked for one of the most sumptuous potlucks we’ve ever attended! (That’s saying something!).





Thanks to Jeff and Toni Felmlee (The Rutabagas) for organizing and pulling it off.  They also produce the Oscoda Summer Music Series, and, a while back, led the only square dance lessons in the whole area.  If it weren’t for this couple, a lot less would happen around here! 


We finished out the month with a return engagement at The Great Northern Music Hall in Howard City, a wonderful

  place to  play!                                                                     Ghostbass                                                              

Lights, a sound man (Thanks, Nate!), and a real stage!   






Good folks, and our kind of audience—a little weird, and quick on the uptake! Here's some of their faces now...



 Natethesoundmanintheback  FuncoupleThepeanutgallery



 Visit for the complete line-up of what goes on there.


October has us headed to the Detroit area for a few days...Watch this space for a full report!  (Okay, come back to it later.  Really.  Don’t just sit there and wait...)



Wednesday, September 20, 2006

So, Soo Us!

This is, as usual for us, late; so, in essence that makes it right on time! If you buy that logic, we're expecting a shipment of snow we think you'd like--and we ship UP-S!

                                         We had the privilege of playing at

                                      the 34th Sault Summer Arts Festival,

(held on the grounds of the beautiful "River of Time" Museum) and (unlike last year's "fires of Hades" weather) it was slighly overcast and very comfortable.


 Tearing ourselves away from the amazing array of hand crafted art, we performed twice that afternoon to the expert sound engineering of             



Taylor Brugman of Lake Street Studio, who always seems to be having more fun than the usual audio engineer.  Maybe it's 'cause he's totally immersed in several really cool projects all at once.  Check out one of them at


Between performances we made some friends and snacked royally from the gourmet buffet provided by 

       Simon Couvier                                                             SuperSimon

(the lady who, against all odds, fills the stage with talent all day every year) and we even sneaked away to play tourist at the Soo Locks.


The only way to get a picture of the whole deal for you, was to show you the one in the visitor's center, with Judy's guitar player in front. 


Great Day!  Our thanks especially to Jean JonesJeanatherpost who makes the event happen every year, and shares her lovely home on Lake Superior, her lovely husband, Chuck, and her paper-pickin' dog, Bart, with us.  

On our way home, we had to stop and let Judy satisfy her lust for world domination with a little stroll on the "Mini-Mac".


If you're up that way next Aug 1st, be sure to enjoy this event.  There'll be so much going on you'll want to make a day of it!




Friday, July 21, 2006

Happily ever Evart

You're enjoying the sweltering heat and humidity and thinking what a great day this would be to just sit in your car with the windows up and lose a few pounds, when your eyes are drawn to the spectre of a person wheeling a piano skeleton in a chopped and channeled baby stroller.  Then another.  Here's one in a specially designed body bag.  What the....?

Is it a macabre funeral?  A mass interment of keyless clavinets?  Oh, the pianity!

Nope.  None of the above.  It's a dulcimer festival, one of the grandest in the land in Evart, MI. And, we're not talking simple mountain dulcimers, here.  These are hammered dulcimers, and, judging from the cascades of shimmering glissandoes we hear, it's not just the instruments that are hammered.

The instrument originated in Persia (now Iran, widely known for their great ideas) and is actually the predecessor of the piano we know and Liberace today.  You will get to hear them played 'til 2 or 3 in the morning, most nights, an experience which can only be described as...relentless.  These folks have stamina!

Friday and Saturday evening there's a tradition of asssembling all hammered dulcimer players on stage for a pre-show event.  With the heat, no records were set in '06, but there were 175 of them plinking away magically and simultaneously Saturday night.

We arrived Thursday, set up our cabin-like tent in the heat of the day (bad, dripping idea), and were off to our first workshop. The workshops are all done by volunteers and range from the expected dulcimer-related to acoustic instrument playing and accompaniment of all kinds. We teach one called "The Laundry Lesson" on how to use the washtub and washboard as bass & rhythm, various construction tips, and where to find the best components. Whitt also teaches a primer in "Humorous Songwriting." Hilarity ensues, especially when we get to the "Hey-li-dee-li-dee" verses spontaneously voiced by class members.

Friday night we were one of the featured acts on the main stage. One of the best audiences ever--attentive and quick!

Saturday we jammed around the grounds, most notably with The Uke Bros (whom you can find in myspacemusic under "Uke Bro's".  Note the apostrophe...hung us up for quite a while.  Stoopid compooters!

You must have a dulcimer in your group to make it on stage Saturday night, so we didn't perform; but it's quite a spectacle!  If you haven't seen the (in)famous Bill Robinson play the HD marching-band style, you should; so, here's a picture...



We also shared some time with The Fabulous Heftones.  When you find yourself in Lansing on a Saturday evening, catch them at Altu's Ethiopian restaurant. Great food adds to the Heftone experience in an intimate, non-amplified environment.


 Except for the food stands, the vendors are all inside for this event, in well-ventilated buildings.  We found a good ol' Shubb metal capo for Judy's mandolin, to replace the exploding plastic Dunlop model that recently wounded Whitt.  When we find a crappy product you should never ever buy, we like to share the news.

More workshops and grueling heat later, we wound up Sunday morning with the biggest crowd in recent history for the Sunday gospel sing, and shared our particular brand of Gospel music.  Here's a picture of part of the crowd (who were just too spread out to get them all in) waving to you-all. (Because of the heat many of them sat outside the grandstands where they could catch a breeze.)


This is a fun festival, well organized, and very reasonable.  Three bucks covers admission to the whole thing, and camping is just $15 a night--quite inexpensive if you're an RV-er.  (RV-ist?)  Maybe we'll see you there next year!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Nor-East'r Music & Arts Festival

We were able to make it to the festival on Saturday this year, just in time to get to hear old friend (and owner of Joel's Guitar Shop) Joel Choate welcome the morning hours with some great picking, both country and rock, and all by his lonesome for a change!  You ought to hear his rendition of Neil Young's "Harvest Moon".  This photo shows some of the hard work someone did decorating the unfortunately-named "2nd Stage."


We really enjoyed everyone we heard. 

A new treat, "Wandrin' Wheel," found Dennis Kingsbury (who puts on "Live from the Living Room" in Pontiac with partner Maggie Ferguson) playing his hot mandolin &, shock & awe, the bass! In addition to singing a killer original of his, he did a great job of backing Joel Palmer & Jeff Royer who shared original songs with considerable musical expertise.



Having missed Jan Sygit at other events, we were thrilled to finally get to hear her. Wonderful voice, wa-ay too mature for this young gal! She had a couple of skilled guys backing her, and she held her own on the guitar & banjo. Another one to watch!

Dan Hazlett did his usual skillful & tasty picking and singing, though we had to leave halfway through to catch Jo Serrapere & The Willie Dunns whom we had never heard.  (Dan said he understood). Jo has one of those smooth voices that can sing anything!

We got to see Jan Krist for the first time as well. Her "Alternate Universe" was a whole lot of fun (and she has others!)...very nice, very smart.

We were surprised to find Nic Gareiss (the hot then-15-year-old foot percussionist/dancer of the now defunct "Hoolie") in a new group of young folks called Freshwater. These guys are already good and have lots of potential. Keep an ear open for them.

Annie & Rod Capps were quite competent.  He's an excellent guitarist, and she has a yummy voice and winning stage presence.

The Salt Miners were just so much fun and so good musically, we will definitely look for these guys again!...Lots of energy, talent, & humor, which we find we kind of like.

We bumped into Paul & Angela Wieske, who produce the Backroads Concert Series in Alpena, and were blessed to be invited to dinner at their campsite. We won't make you jealous(or hungry) by telling you the meal we sampled.  Okay, maybe we will...Hummus, tabouli, shishkebabs, fresh fruit salad--gourmet coffee--it was wonderful hospitality, and we are really grateful to them for including us!

We found Joel's (and Laurie's) campsite, and, being axeless, Whitt played Joel's new Martin while we swapped songs.  Turned into one of the highlights of the whole experience as Joel pulled song after song out of his mental vault that we had never heard before.

Seth Bernard & Daisy May just get better & better.  So young...not fair.    

The night was topped off with the ever fine "Steppin' In It" with Rachel Davis steppin' in for a few with a rich 30s & 40s sound.  Didn't find out if she's related to lead singer Josh, or not; but, man, can she cook it! One of the guys from The Salt Miners joined her for the synchopated counter-melody on "It's a Sin To Tell A Lie" and genuine joy ensued.

This festival is really growing up.  There were a LOT of improvements and things are running more smoothly.  (Although, sound is still a problem--important for a music fest!) You sure can't beat the price if you're able to get your tickets locally and in advance! Also this year they featured ALL Michigan artists, which we, of course, think is really groovy.  ( archaic term meaning def or phat, we are told.)

You can look 'em up at

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Palm Sunday Concert SRO

We had a wonderful time Palm Sunday at the Pleasant Valley (Free Methodist) Church, and, as our headline states, it was packed!  Pastor Mitch Vader said they will try to find a larger facility to accomodate next year's crowd. We opened the evening, so we got to relax and enjoy all of the other 12 performances.

The highlight of the evening for Whitt was getting Brother Ed to help everyone clap on the backbeat on our first song, "Sent."  About 70% of the crowd accomplished it, with 20% insisting on the downbeat, and 10% covering both.  All God's children do have rhythm, it seems; however, not all can be led!

There was a beautiful spirit about the entire event--joyful and worshipful--and Gloria Lynne is to be congratulated on putting the program together and the graceful way she dealt with the inevitable last-minute surprises.  We didn't get the name of the two ladies from the church who put on the fabulous snack and dessert buffet, but they did a terrific job, as well!  (burp)

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Reports of Our Demise are Greatly Exaggerated!

You may have noticed a dramatic falling off our appearances as of assured (or be forewarned), we'll be back!

Whitt has been "laid up" with the culmination of some old and new injuries to his "backal" area.  X-rays revealed a couple of compression fractures, some pinched nerves, and the old TV remote we've been missing. Needless to say, he has been in some pain (and, even more irritating, changed the channel everytime he rolled over) so playing the guitar was almost impossible.

He is, however, slowly on the mend, and we are looking forward to getting out and wreaking our own particular brand of havoc on the listening public.

This very Saturday evening (the 21st) we plan to participate in one of Doc Bungard's Family Hoedowns, now being held at North Woods Art Gallery & Coffee House.  (It only lasts from 7 pm 'til 10 pm, because you just can't keep a good hoedown for very long.) Hope to see you all there!