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May 2000 Musings: California, the Tour of the Roses

Where to begin? It’s been a month of great abundance in all facets of my life, from putting the final touches on Leaving Fort Knox, to touring in California, to hosting an incredible old-time jam at my house. I’ve struggled for the past week, since I returned from my tour, with editing my thoughts down to manageable size, and each day just brings more to share with you. Argh.

Leaving Fort Knox, my new CD, is now in the manufacturing stage, due to arrive in my hands on June 15. If you’re not already on my email list, send an email to mollygee(at sign) for immediate alert upon its arrival. You can also mail in orders now to get your copy shipped the moment it gets here: $15 + $2 shipping (or $3 for first class)[old rates-no longer applicable], to Molly Gamblin Music, PO Box 4005, Ashfield, MA 01330. Full information on the CD will be posted to the site shortly after its release.

California surpassed all my expectations. I’d never been there this late in the season, and my timing coincided with the blooming of the roses. Ah, the visual and olfactory delights. The expression “take time to smell the roses” took on new meaning as I ambled with friends through the old-fashioned rose gardens in the Descanso Gardens of La Crescenta, pausing at each successive bush to plunge my face into the petals and drink in scents ranging from citrus to spice, and hues from reds to pinks to yellows.

My concerts ranged from an opening for Ferron in a sold out concert at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, to the intimacy of house concerts in LA, Santa Cruz, and Oakland. Before my concert at Cal Tech in Pasadena, I spent a blissful hour playing banjo in the most beautiful “green room” of my career, in the walled garden outside Dabney Hall. Scott Tegarden at the American River Folk Society treated me to extraordinarily full, sweet sound from a tiny PA. A surprise treat after my Davis concert was jamming on old-time tunes with guitarist and banjo player Ray Frank. Always amazing to me is the huge contrast in geographical regions around California – reminiscent of Brasil (where I lived for a year) in that way, as well as in climate/flora in the southern regions. The variety of populations is just as startling. But kids are kids, and I delighted in sharing my songs and traditional banjo tunes with city kids in a small school in LA, and two days later with mountain kids at Creekside School in the tiny gold-mining town of Georgetown.

I timed my visit to Santa Cruz to do radio interviews on KZSC with Clytia Fuller, and on KAZU in nearby Pacific Grove with J.T. Mason. Clytia drove down to Pacific Grove with me. What a trip to be in the studio with her and J.T. and Robin Roberts all playing off each other! I spent time with Rose Moonwater, also known fondly as my webmaster extraordinaire, brainstorming future ideas for my site. I luxuriated in the sun, deepened connections with good friends, got my feet in the ocean at Seabright Beach. Fishing boats dotted the bay; we watched pelicans flap and soar and dive, their long bills piercing the waves. I walked barefoot in the warm sand and played chicken with the incoming tide till the cold waves soaked the hem of my dress.

I’ve been exploring lately the concept of the laws of attraction and deliberate creation, understanding that whatever I put my attention on, I will attract to myself. I’ve been practicing focusing my intentions as clearly as I can and watching the universe manifest my thoughts. Of course, this involves enormous personal responsibility, since the energy responds to focus with no differentiation between desire and fear. So I try to appreciate the universe’s ability to deliver a perfect creation, and laugh at myself when the results are not what I wanted. It’s a great instant feedback system.

My wildest manifestation this month, just after I returned from tour, and amidst the chaos of the end of the school year and major house construction, was a farewell old-time jam for fiddler Earl White and guitarist Wendy Robinson, who are leaving the Pioneer Valley to go on the road. At one point I did a count, we had 7 fiddles, 3 guitars, 2 banjos and a bass all playing at once. What an orgy of old-time tunes. The next morning was a tiny jam of equal pleasure, Rani Arbo and June Drucker and myself, trading off on fiddle and guitar and banjo. A day later, fiddle tunes are still rolling around in my head, the rhythm still setting my pace.

Guess that’s it for now. Drop me a note in the Guestbook [sorry…no longer available], come say hi at a concert!

Warmly, Lui
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Lui Collins
137 Main Street Apt C
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370

Posted in Musings

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