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"The Dancer"

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I never got beyond my first post on this blog about the Carter Brothers March performances in Key West.  In part, this was due to a freak accident where I cut one of my fingers – the kind of accident that could only happen in Key West.  It made typing hard.  Another factor was I was just having too much fun to sit down and write about what a fun week it was.  But I was alert enough to make a list of my top memories that week, so I could post a week-in-summary before our heroes and their faithful fans reassembled in June. 

I suppose the best way to do this in an orderly and not overwhelming manner is to summarize the top ten memories from another unforgettable week.

  1. Shoe Burnin’ – Stories of the Southern Soul.  Shari Smith’s masterpiece performance about Southern culture, or as she says, “soul,” featured music by some of Key West’s great local and visiting artists (including our own Tim Carter), and poignant as well as funny spoken word numbers.  It took place at the impressive Studios at Key West before a packed house including many Carter Brothers fans, and was a triumph for everyone involved.  People whom I was not sure would like it were raving about it for the rest of the week.  For my part, I thought it was super.   Shari at Hog compress                                                        
  2. Pignic.  For what I believe was the eighth time over the last seven years, we had a “Friends of the Carter Brothers” picnic which one of our youngest fans renamed a “pignic” – and who could argue with Utah-based fan and chef extraordinaire Dave Stephens cooking.  Thanks to everyone who pitched in, whether bringing side dishes or cooking supplies, or volunteering to clean up.  And thanks also to the park rangers, who were as accommodating as they always are.                                
  3. The Dancer.  Anyone who was there that week knows what I mean.  A guy in wheelchair with just stumps for legs came for 2 or 3 nights and lit up the dance floor multiple times with energy and joyfulness that touched everyone.                                                                                               
  4. A New Fan and Friend.  Super-fan Gail Hardy had mentioned some friends in upstate New York where she is from, and where I went to school, and that they liked the Carter Brothers.  Well, on this trip one of those friends, the charming Brookley Spanbauer, joined us for the last few nights.  Her fun-loving manner and her energy on the dance floor made a special week that much more special.                                                                                                                                     The Dancer compress
  5. Appearances on the dance floor.  How fun to have noted night owl Candace Estep show up Thursday night for a few beers and dances, and also to have Brenda Donnelly and Deborah Moore turn up on the last night and show off some moves!                                                                       
  6. After Party.  For several nights in a row, the after-parties centered on consuming vast amounts of pizza at Paradise Pizza rather than beers at places like the Green Parrot.  Musicians and fans gathered each night around a big round table and traded stories while infomercials and made for TV (i.e., bad) movies played on TVs above us.  Who says you need drinks to enjoy the Carter Brothers and Key West?                                                                                                              
  7. The crowds.  Except for one night, the crowds were big throughout the week (at least until the band finished their extra long first set around midnight).  People spilling into the deep recesses of the parking lot danced and swayed and sang along for hours each night.                                                                                                                                                                                                       
  8. The encore.  For the first time ever when playing in Key West – when they do a four-hour shift ending at 2am – the Carter Brothers were coaxed by a super-charged up crowd to play an encore after they finished what was to be their last song.  I believe it was Glendale Train, and everyone (including yours truly) went bananas.danny and dann compress                                                                                                                           
  9. Music Lovers.  The ratio of music lovers to drunk fools who showed up at the Hog’s Breath each night was way on the right side of the bell curve for the week.  That included people who travelled to Key West to listen to our heroes, musicians who were in town for the Shoe Burnin’ event, or just folks wandering in on a whim.  We sold lots of CDs and I’ll bet one of those music-lovers is listening to one as I write these words.                                                                                                           
  10. Tribute.  Shari Smith of Shoe Burnin’ fame wrote a moving tribute to the support she received from Carter Brothers' fans on our Facebook page.  It read: "I want to thank the Carter Brothers Fan Club for your support of the Shoe Burnin' Show.  There is no doubt in my mind that it would not have been the success it was without y'all.  I thought a lot about this, how and why everything worked.  I think it is your participatory nature.  You do not sit and listen to anything.  You become part of it, let it wash over you and pull you in.  You dance, you sing, you hold your hands in cymbal runs.  And you did the same for us.  You laughed and cried and became as much a part of the show as the cast.  If there wer words to adequately thank you for that I would write them but they don't exist.  At least, not the ones that would tell you what you did for my heart.  Big love, Carter Brothers Fans.  I got some big love for y'all."  

Of course there was all the fun of celebrating the engagement of super-fans Elisabeth Morkaut and Darrin van Houten, though this was a focus of the only blog I previously published on the week.

deborah and gail compressWell, team, feel free to add your memories on the comments section of this blog, or on the Fan Club Facebook page – and then get ready for the performances next week, especially as they will involve Ross Sermons playing with Danny and Tim for the first time in Key West since he moved to Tasmania a few years back.  It will be a special week for sure.  Tune in  on the webcam if you can’t join us in person.

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