Monday, July 16, 2012

Back at CAAS

DH is president of the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society. We have a convention once a year. This past week was our 28th annual convention! It's so much more than the music. It's hard to explain. We had 1400 people there from around the world. There are a handful of us that have been to every one of them but we've also had so many people that come when they can, some every few years, some back after 10 years being unable to attend. I was told that if there was no music we'd have a ton of people anyway, but that's not true. The real draw is the fingerstyle guitar. We have 4 days of nonstop music, 3 stages, 2 workshop rooms, 3 vendor areas plus people playing guitars everywhere in the hotel. There are at least 70 performers that teach classes and play their own music.

Because DH is organizing it, he can have his own set! This was his Mark Pritcher and Friends set on Friday morning. It's actually the only set I watched during the whole show.

I couldn't do the registration without my gang of helpers!! They come from as far as Texas, Georgia, Florida and Ontario! They've helped us for many years and can do the job there as well as I can! I am in total debt to these friends!!
 The 4 days culminate in a big concert on Saturday night starting about 8pm. The line this year started at 4 o'clock. It's first come for seating and those waiting first were guaranteed 4th row seats. They don't get in til about 7:40pm but they make a party of it and it's so fun for them!

I don't get to listen to the music during the week but I get front row seating Saturday evening and I take my camera to try to get a flavor of the week as the performers come and go onstage.
Last year they presented us with Scotty Moore's guitar. The one he played on around the world. It got lost inbetween but then found and has alot of miles on it. The other claim to fame about the guitar is that he used it when he played with Elvis.
The condition that we got when DH was presented with the guitar was that it be used. So, during the week a couple of the guys go around and listen to the young players, looking for the one that is good enough to play the guitar Saturday evening. I was there when he told Josh Needs that it was his time. Of course, he didn't have a clue what this was about til we explained it. Josh only found out about us about 6 months ago, from youtube!! He investigated us and they contacted us and we told them if they came we'd put them up at the hotel. He and his parents flew over from Australia! He's 15 and is at the beginning of a career doing what he loves. He played a song he composed. It truly was a huge honor for him. His parents say they will have  an article in the paper about it when they get home!
 Then another honor on stage. The Buddy Holly foundation has guitars built for players they find that are encouraging young players and spreading the word of good music. They had a guitar built for Nokie Edwards. This guitar contains a fret from one of Buddy's own guitars. It's covered in a leather case and looks very nice. Nokie played with the Ventures in their hay day of music. Whenever I hear the theme from Hawaii 5 0 I just think of Nokie! Presenting the guitar was Duane Eddy. You never know who'll show up at CAAS!
 Here's DH, Mark, being MC for the evening. He wore a sport jacket, first time ever, to show off the pins he was wearing. Chet Atkins' side man, Paul Yandell passed away in December and part of the show was a tribute to him. Paul would have thought it was a big deal over nothing but he was such a good player, loyal to Chet and protected him and his image for over 25 years. The pins were a reminder of Paul..
 Some of the "big" players that normally play Saturday evening had to leave that morning already for tours so we found equally good players to play. Eddie Estes and Phil Hunt played a duo they felt honored Paul.
 Then Eddie Pennington and Paul Mosely. It was Paul's first time on Saturday evening and he was so excited. I was excited for him. They were awesome. These guys are all like family to us.
 I'd never heard Shane Adkins play. Remember, I do registration the whole time and keep things running smoothly. This guy can sing and is so funny.... I could have listened to him longer. I may try to slip into his set next year to hear a bit more.
He found out he was going to play that evening and had his wife drive up from Alabama with his favorite guitar because he was excited about playing and felt that he needed this guitar for it!
 The young guys....Brooks Robertson on the left has come about 8 years, first with his guitar teacher, Buster B Jones, but now on his own. He may move to Nashville from Oregon. On the right is Joe Robinson from Australia. He won Australia's got talent about 3  years ago and now is touring around the world. I'm not sure he's 20 yet. He was able to make it again this year. We're all glad to see these new young guys coming. That's been the goal of the society, to keep working til the young guys catch on!
 We had to have a story about Chet's music and here, from right to left, John Knowles who was there when Chet wrote this one song and told us how that happened, then Thom Bresh heard it and put his changes to how it was played, and finally Brooks Robertson with his tweak. The guys understand the music part but I enjoyed the people part of the story. I hope we have something like this each year at the show. Brooks never met Chet. He came just after Chet died so doesn't know those stories. We have to keep the human part going. It's more than the music.
 Because Paul Yandell also played with the Louvin Brothers back in the day....the guys pulled out those records and re created some of the music. I think they had more fun just portraying the guys from the 50s than we even did listening to them play.
 The highlight group this time consisted of Meagan Taylor, center, who is Chet's great niece. She picked up the guitar after he stopped and wishes she had asked him some music questions. He was always just Uncle Chester to her. Now she plays like him. On the right is Jason Coleman whose grandfather was Floyd Cramer. They did some music from back then, don't remember titles, but it was like hearing the original again. On the left is Ben Hall. He's making his way into the music business as well. He actually toured with the last Louvin Brother a year ago before he died. So he is making his way. We first knew Ben about 7? years ago when he won the guitar door prize. He came up to get his guitar and asked if he could play. Yeah, right, this young kid.....but Mark said, sure. He blew everyone away. That's when we knew we were seeing the beginning of something special. This guy can play guitar but, even better, he's a crooner. He's the whole real deal.

 And so it goes. I picked just one picture of the last song they always do with a bunch of guys on stage. I hope you can see the excitement they have when they all take turns taking a break and just having fun out there.
 So another CAAS is done. We're thinking ahead to next year. We probably will sign for 2014 and 2015 as well. We realized this year how much it means to people, musically and just collectively as family. I wouldn't have thought that earlier but we're finding that more and more people are coming to see music but also to meet "family" and get a boost of inspiration from each other.

So Chris is one of my helpers. She's up in the picture of my helpers. She's in the middle of the back row. She has an embroidery machine that's awesome! She also has a Tin Lizzie to machine quilt the quilts. She made a quilt for us to raffle that I forgot to photograph but was awesome. She decided to spoil me and made me a throw with these pictures she embroidered. How cool is that?!

I have an embroidery machine I got from DH's sister when she got a new one. We're still trying to make it work (have a part coming from was the project of the convention, all the guys trying to make it work...another story!!) and Chris is encouraging me to get into that more than I have. I'm just thankful for the help I got!
This afternoon I get to go through the boxes we brought back, organize them for storage and figure out my shopping list for next year so that I don't have to wonder what we'll need in supplies to put on CAAS 2013!!
Then by Wednesday I am loaded up and heading for Asheville to have my booth at the Southern Highland Craft show. I don't have alot of extra work to do this time in the evenings. I am planning to sleep!!
Until next week. Weave on as I just think about what I'd like to be weaving at the moment!!


LA said...

I'm so glad you had such a good time. You are one busy lady!!!

Linda said...

You and Mark didn't have shirts so you could match the rest of the helpers! Reading this makes me wish we had gone!

Bonnie said...

Glad you got everything done and it came together just fine. Looks like fun. Nice throw.

Tina J said...

Next year we really need to go!