Carter Brothers Fan Club Blog
“Are you all family or something? Is this a family reunion?”
Thus asked a tourist who wandered into the Hog’s Breath Saloon last night, upon seeing all the friends of the Carter Brothers -- who have flown in from around the country or biked from their homes in good 'ole Key West-- to spend this week with the band as per tradition. The joyous dancing, the sing-a-longs, the hugs, the laughter, the smiles and hoots from listening to great music well played, and the welcoming of new friends of the band into our group – I guess that would be enough to prompt someone to think we are all one big family.
And I guess, in a way, we are. We’re related, as it were, by the great music and friendship that the Carter Brothers Band represent. I supposed I am not alone in feeling that all my worries from "real life" seem to vanish when I am with fellow fans of the Carter Brothers listening to their unique fusion music.
Long-time fans and newcomers alike have been excited to see new bassist Adam Chaffins doing so well with the band, having learned 30+ songs in the last few weeks. He is a worthy successor to Ross Sermons, and his signature song “Cripple Creek” (that he sings lead vocals on) has gone over very well. Dann Sherrill is playing drums as he gears up to tour with the band more under the Compass Records partnership.
Wednesday night a bunch of us from around the country arrived and enjoyed a terrific performance by the band – one of the best in memory, nearly matching the January show at the Parrot that I blogged about previously. This time, we enjoyed one of the longest and most entertaining third sets in a long time, which included Red Rooster and Midnight Moonlight (though we are still waiting for Danny to sing the new, final verse of “Rooster”). More fans arrived from as far as Utah late Thursday!
Last night things got a little wild on the dance floor – but what else do you expect when the Carter Brothers get to playin’? There were a lot of pictures taken and not nearly enough effort to “destroy the evidence.” (Actually, it was all in good fun, just with an overdose of silliness.) Cindy Walker threw aside her cane and danced with abandon, channeling her inner Sally Galbraith who did the same last month. (We all miss Sally, a fan club stalwart, terribly as she is in New Jersey with family.)
Danny has taken to calling out two of the band’s highest energy and best loved covers – “Cry Love” and “Copperhead Road” – back to back to end the first set. (Usually one ends the first set and the other ends the second.) This approach has tested our stamina and prompted a lot of smiles … and perspiration! Gay Dougherty led us in dance for both of these tunes, and Emalyn Mercer got us all jumping around for “Jerusalem Moan” a few songs earlier in the first set. Around that time, local wedding planner and tightrope walker Carolyn Guarini modeled the band’s new CD for webcam viewers in a way that only she could!
Speaking of “Jerusalem Moan”, a bunch of us got to talking about the new version of “Moan” with Tim on the break. We learned that incorporating the old recordings of Vassar Clements with new playing and singing by Danny and Tim was quite an engineering challenge but worth the effort for sure. If you have not heard this version on the new CD “Road to Roosky” you must check it out!
During the second set we had a surprise appearance by Donna and Joel Nelson, who invaded the dance floor and revealed more of themselves than they probably realized. Joel is a local musician who had sat in earlier with the Californian band RST (which wrapped up ten days of playing the mid-shift from 5:30 to 9:30pm at the Hog’s Breath). Donna runs the island’s only toy store, Imagination Station, and is … an original!
When the third set wound down last night, it ended the only way it possibly could – with a reprise of “Copperhead Road” and our “Carter Brothers family” populating the dance floor one more time. We were perhaps a little weary by then – it was 135am and we had been dancing all night. (Special thanks to Joan Robbins (!), Cindy Butler, Cindy Walker, and Gail Hardy for getting Kevin May and me out on the floor so often. Boy, I do feel it this morning!)
When the final notes from Copperhead Road rang out, we were one big happy family for sure – and headed to the Green Parrot for an after-party that was one of the most enjoyable ever.
Stay tuned – the band plays at 10:15pm tonight and you can tune in via the HogCam on the web. And for those of you in Key West, you can join us at a “Friends of the Carter Brothers” picnic at Fort Zachary Taylor park beach starting at 11:30am on Saturday.