There is a very hardcore folkie community out there, or there was then, and we noticed a young guy about 15 years old sitting in the front row with his parents. After the concert the head of the folk music society introduced us. This kid is an amazing fiddler, the guy said. He has his fiddle with him - maybe you can play a tune with him. His name is Mark O'Conner.
To be honest, I don't recall if I played along or it was just him and Marie but he was very good indeed. Mark of course went on to become the most in-demand fiddle player in Nashville and arguably the most famous fiddler in the folk world. He was pretty shy as I recall but in only a couple years he would go on to play with the great Stephane Grapelli, Chet Atkins and many others. I think he was instrumental (no pun intended!) in helping Marie get studio work in Nashville years later.
A couple years later Marie dumped me quite unceremoniously for Tony Rice, as I mentioned in the previous entry. She went on to experiment with jazz, playing for a time with the highly influential bassist Miroslav Vitous and then moved to Nashville where she met and played with the likes of Chet Atkins, Tammy Wynette, and others. She was the last playing partner of one of the original "outlaws" and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Mickey Newbury. If you search YouTube you will find an amazing video of them playing his famous "American Trilogy."
Something happened in Nashville though and Marie ended up living in Sedona, Arizona where she is today and enjoys a localized music career playing "Western" music - that is, cowboy type tunes. I have occasional contact with her and she always says our time together was the most pure fun she ever had playing. I sincerely appreciate our time together and we played before many thousands of people at dozens of festivals and concerts. It really taught me stage craft and the importance of putting on a professional and well-paced concert, plus what was involved with recording an album.
Back in Falmouth, I dove back into the local music scene and began to really push my guitar lessons. At one point in the early 1980s I was teaching 35 private students a week. I also was briefly involved with teaching at the Cape Cod Conservatory but when they demanded I "hand over" my private students to them or discontinue teaching on my own I left that association.
About that time I was asked to join a group of people, singers mostly, who all worked at the U.S. Geological Survey in Woods Hole. Their interest was 50s and early 60s rock n' roll and they called themselves The Geotones. Before long, the group grew to include sax, keys, bass, sometimes another guitar and singers numbering anywhere from 6 to 10! Although it was definitely a loose bunch with varying degrees of ability, it was the first time I was asked to do multi part arranging and finally all that music theory I learned in college was put to use!
We played mostly for free at various local functions but the most fun was playing every August for quite a few years at the finish line of the famous Falmouth Road Race. We set up on a flatbed trailer overlooking the huge crowd. It was the height of American domination of professional road racing and we met people like Bill Rodgers, Alberto Salazaar, and others. Tons of fun!
Tomorrow: as promised, the bizarre!
Peace & good music,