Notes from the Road – Folk Alliance Day 1 Day 1 – February 20, 2008 Good first day. I got a decent night’s sleep and spent the morning finishing up my display items for the exhibit hall booth. After I registered (saw Bill & Eli Perras in line) I grabbed some lunch and met a couple of artists from other parts of the continent – one from NJ and one from Canada. Then I attended the first hour or so of the SE Region (SERFA) organizational meeting. The plans are to have an inaugural event late this year, probably in Atlanta (last I heard). There’s another meeting Friday morning so I’ll hear more then. Our old friend from South Florida, Betty Friedrichsen, was there (though she lives in NC now), as well as Gloria Holloway – Florida continues to be a well represented state in the Region. I know that Jean Hewitt (who I saw this morning at breakfast) will be at the meeting Friday. The “best represented” areas seem to be NC, VA and TN, though all but MS and LA had someone present. The goal of the Region is to foster awareness of the folk arts and lend support to venues, radio, artists, etc. Memphis was cold, clear and beautiful for the last couple of days, but it doesn’t matter much to me as I don’t get out of the hotel. This is fun, but a lot of work (hence the reason, or at least one of them, that Judy opted to stay home this year). Got my booth set up during the load-in around 3:30 p.m. and was all set for the opening party and exhibit hall preview from 5:00 – 6:30. I met a lot of great folks, as always, and enjoyed seeing old friends from other parts of the country that I don’t get to talk to face to face very often. Mom’s special recipe trail mix is the usual hit. I can tell that I’m out of shape – I tire out so early. I grabbed a light supper and headed back to the room for a couple of hours before practicing a bit for my showcase and venturing out to see a couple of other folks’ shows before mine. Tonight’s showcase was at 11:00 p.m. in the Concerts in Your Home room. I followed Will Maring and Robert Bowling who were excellent. I had a great crowd and a very enjoyable show – I guess all those mailers and the schedule on the outside of the Chex Mix paid off. It was nice to do a showcase without struggling with the effects of a bad chest cold like last year! I played “This Old House”, “Do You”, “Sinner’s Song”, “Break Some Stones”, “On the Other Side” and “Steam Train.” All were well received and I got a lot of great response – it felt good. I didn’t get to see many other acts, but I did catch a bit of Tom Kimmel’s show (he’s coming to Orlando to Leu Gardens this summer). I also heard a song or two from Jeff Talmadge who’s from Roswell, Ga., another songwriter I met a few years back. I stopped in to hear a couple of young bluegrass groups, but nothing that particularly caught my ear. I missed sets by a couple of my favorite folks, David LaMotte and Chuck Brodsky – I was just too tired. Slept in a little this morning and almost missed breakfast – it’s the only free meal here so it’s important to get it if you can! I don’t have any showcases today, so mostly I’m working the exhibit hall drumming up a crowd for my showcases tomorrow and Saturday. I have six showcases this year, just the right number I think. Some are only doing one or two and some are doing a dozen. I had too few last year (only three), but I think six is the right number to keep from wearing myself out and still have a chance of getting everyone I want to hear me to at least one show. I’m also a sponsor of the Folk Radio DJ’s reception which is today just before the Exhibit Hall opens up so I need to attend that as well. But after 6 p.m. today I’m on my own and can catch some of the music – looking forward to that. There’s a lot of acts here that I’ve never heard of before, so I’m going to try to catch what I can. I’ll let you know what catches my ear. ‘Til tomorrow!