Monday, October 15, 2007

You Never Know Until You Try

Last Thursday night I did a wonderful thing, something I am embarrassed to admit I had not done before.

I went rollerskating with my kids.

We had a blast. My daughter's school put the party together, but we quickly got my son onto the floor as well. We all agreed it was quite miraculous that I didn't fall, which is good news considering my next endeavor.

And so yesterday with a help of a friend I bought a pair of used ski boots, to go with the skis that now-NC resident SoUncreative willed to me on her way South.

I never have been athletic, but to enjoy these kinds of activities, you don't have to be. You just have to be willing to learn, take a few falls, and accept that some folks will make fun of you. Since I'm plenty used to all three it was high time I got moving and took the plunge.

My friend and I were perusing the ski equipment in the "used" tent. Some of the skis were marked as high as $6,000. It seems odd for something you only do a few months of the year, but I can see how someone might spend the money on skis when someone else might put that same amount into a new Gibson mandolin (or half a Collings mandolin).

I've tried a few new things in the last year, and it seems I'm in line to try a few more. It's really all about fear. Fear is a draining, useless trap. At worst, it's a lame excuse. I'm not looking forward to riding the ski lifts, but there's really only one way to get to the bottom of the mountain, and that's from the top.

I have a similar fear about playing tunes with folks. In a couple weeks a good friend is hosting a gathering of serious trad musicians, and I will be there, chili and guitar in hand and voice at the ready. These are seasoned musicians but he's generously extended the invitation and so I'll be there. I'm sure I will learn a lot, make a new friend or two, and have fun.

At IBMA this year, I felt horribly guilty sitting in on Pete Wernick's Flexigrass set on the Roots and Branches stage. He had offered to help me launch a slow jam; I put it out to the folks at IBMA and as the year rolled on I did not vigilantly follow up. That's all changed now. There's no reason we can't grab one of the suites off the second level for a couple guided slow-jams next year.

When I sat down at the computer this evening I was thinking about my day yesterday. The friend I was with had mentioned he'd forgotten his pentatonic scales, and so I picked up my mando and was playing through them. And instantly I was playing Darling Corey, which is about as simple an old tune as you can find. A fine gritty killing song, it's all on a pentatonic scale.

And really easy to learn, fast, like in a group you've never played with before, or just one other person you barely know.

Sometimes something you thought was so difficult to overcome is suddenly a little stone in the path, behind you.

Here's a fairly traditional version of Darling Corey with a band Tara Nevins pulled together for her solo project some years ago. It's very very good, but I really was curious about Bruce Hornsby's version of the same old, old tune from his album, Intersections. But at least I know it's out there when I'm ready to give it a listen.


At October 16, 2007 8:02 AM, Blogger DrDon said...

I don't play the mandolin but I noodle around on the guitar. Still, I like musical instruments and think mandolins are cool looking. So, could you will me yours so I can have it when you kill yourself skiing?

At October 16, 2007 8:33 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Well, let's see. The mando I'm currently using actually is destined for Son of Mando, because my aim is that by the time I'm actually skiing well enough to go fast enough to kill myself, I'll be a better mando player and therefore entitled to a better mando. So if you play your cards right, and I pull a Sonny Bono, you might end up with a nice Gibson or something.

At October 17, 2007 7:53 AM, Blogger DrDon said...


At October 17, 2007 9:00 PM, Anonymous piepiepie said...

Pull a Sonny Bono--bwahahahahaha! Oh, that's terrible. And hilarious.


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