Notes from the Road – Cracker House Concert @ Tisa & Raven’s I headed to Jacksonville Friday, March 13th, for a house concert hosted by Tisa Noble and her beau, Raven Stands Alone. If you’ve frequented the Florida festival circuit you’ve often seen Raven, sometimes in Native American garb, ably backing various performers on the flute. About a year ago, shortly after the Will McLean festival he managed to capture the lovely Tisa’s heart and she soon moved to Jacksonville to be with him. The have a lovely house in a quaint neighborhood a little Southwest of downtown Jacksonville. I’m spending the weekend with Lis and Lon Williamson at their Gatorbone encampment near Keystone heights, so I went there first to drop off my camper, say hello and settle in, then headed on to Jacksonville up Highway 21 early enough to beat most of the rush hour traffic. Most – I caught a particularly clogged part right where 21 hits I-295 and that took about 15 minutes to creep through. Other than that, smooth sailing. I had not been to Tisa & Raven’s before and this is a new house concert series, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was in for a real treat. Though the house is quite small, they have a large covered wood desk on the back which adjoins the long, double wide driveway along the side of the house. It was immediately obvious that this is where they spend all of their time. There’s counter space, Raven’s prized stainless steel grill, a refrigerator that stays fully stocked, couches, chairs, tables, plants – the works. Very homey and inviting. In fact, Raven allowed as how their friends sometimes drop by the house, find them not at home and hang out on the deck anyway – it’s that kind of place. The perfect place for some food, friends and acoustic music. We had reservations for about 40 and given the arrangement of the deck, etc. I didn’t need to set any sound amplification. Totally acoustic, just the way I like it! Folks started filtering in around 7 p.m. for a little pot luck, treats from Raven’s grill, etc. We soon had a full house and at around 8:20 Raven commanded silence to start the music. What a GREAT crowd! Listeners, as you always want at a house concert, and enthusiastic. There was an old friend I had not seen in over 10 years, Wilbur Wood, who brought a party of 4 all the way up from the Gainesville area. Ron Johnson was also in attendance and brought a buddy along. There were a few others I recognized from the festivals or the Jacksonville area, but for the most part the rest of the gathering were folks new to me – also something I love! I played for a little over an hour and included, as one always should, a couple of requests by the hostess, Tisa – Mournful Eyes and Colors, her favorites. I also had a request from my old pal Wilbur for one of my more obscure tunes – an off beat little humorous number titled Port-O-Let which recounts the meeting of one’s true love in the most unlikely of places. I closed up the program with Steam Train and yielded the stage to a fervent jam session lead by Ron Johnson – Rock On!! There was a young 13 year old there playing fiddle that I was particularly impressed with – I’ve got her name written down somewhere, but Raven will pipe in here and fill it in. She’ll be one we’ll be seeing on the festival stages soon. What a terrific night. Thanks so much to Raven & Tisa for inviting me in and I’m looking forward to staying in touch with all the new friends I made. Watch for the next show in the Cracker House Concert series – it’s going to be a great series that will grow stronger and stronger!