Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again...

I spent much of April through June preparing for many talks at many meetings, which involved 3 trips to the East Coast in one month. Great fun, but a bit draining.

To recharge, I just spent all of last week with my son at the wonderful Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, WA.

I first went to Fiddle Tunes back in 1985, and have been back many times since. This year I spent my mornings in a truly excellent swing fiddle workshop by Kevin Wimmer, afternoons in an exhilirating bandlab led by the Red Stick Ramblers, and evenings until real-late-thirty jamming with pals. After a week of this much fun, going back to work was actually kind of restful.

Besides spending many hours pushing an analog stick back and forth over an analog sound box, I spent a few hours recording some highlights with my new iPhone 3GS and my Flip Mino HD recorder. In past years, I've taken several bags of technology along with me to this festival. This year, it was mostly a bag of chargers for the items above, and a laptop to dump files to every night.

The 3GS came pretty darned close to being the One True Device last week. Besides tuning my fiddle, its built-in video recorder grabbed a lot of fine musical homework for me for the rest of the year. In previous festivals, I've recorded tons of audio. However, video is light-years better -- the 3GS let me record not only the music, but also the bow strokes, fiddle finger positions, guitar and banjo chords, body language, and smiles of the musicians. It would be pretty hard to go back to mere audio files alone after this.

It's also very nice to have the time and energy to blog again.