Few words are needed for this blog post. Many of the pictures speak for themselves, so I'll let them, and then fill in a few thoughts at the end.
Once again, I am in love with this area. After a wonderful time at a local state park, we went to down town Mountain View with our instruments and set up under one of the many pavilions meant for music making. Within a short time we had a nice audience all around us. We played for a good 2 hours without a break, just one song to the next, whatever we wanted.
Music is so different here. It's difficult to explain why. We come from the Denver metro area, where there is a good bluegrass community, but the feel is night and day somehow. First, though there are many opportunities for jams and bluegrass entertainment, you have to seek it out. That particular type of music is not a natural part of the surroundings. Second, and this is where it is most difficult to describe... it is simply more friendly here.
There were times in the Colorado bluegrass scene where we were pushed forward because we had to get better or we'd not be taken seriously. Not sure we even got far enough to be taken seriously. Even now, we still have a lot of learning to do and development on our skills. That is a good thing, really. We needed that push and it has continued to pull us forward. Colorado's bluegrass community is competitive, the on-stage persona is often more edgy, and while certainly fun, it is rarely just plain let-loose-silly fun. Most of the musicians take themselves more seriously.
On a side note: the Gospel Bluegrass scene of Colorado has a very different atmosphere from the secular scene and we have found similar encouragement there, but you still must seek it, rather than have it all around you. It can be even harder to find than the secular scene.
Here the whole atmosphere is so relaxed. A guy was behind us trying to keep up with Sean on Rocky Top with wooden spoons, another guy sat back and enjoyed the music while whittling a piece of wood. They simply talked to us between songs, asking where we were from and welcoming us to Mountain View. I think they know they have something pretty special around here.
One more thing stands out. This is a dry county and you cannot buy alcohol here. I happen to not care one way or another, and really, I even enjoy the occasional glass of wine, but the type of musician looking for a party atmosphere will never think to come here, so you instead get just nice folks who love the music for the music, not to enhance the party. I don't doubt there is a section of the population who sneak out and bring in alcohol to get wild, but they are not the ones downtown. After a ridiculously annoying display of drunken behavior at a secular bluegrass show we attended a year or so ago, with drunks hanging on each other and dancing foolishly around my kids, it really is refreshing to have so much music on the streets and no party atmosphere to muck it up. Conversations are sincere, people are so very friendly, and everyone is encouraging.
I think we'll plan a at least month here next year. I'm collecting contacts to see if I can keep us busy in the area that long. They seem to enjoy us, even if our musical style is a bit more modern sounding with a bit of genre bouncing.
Those are my thoughts, anyway. I will probably always be a Colorado gal, and my western attitude runs very deep, but there are some truly wonderful people I've met in the states we've visited so far and I find the diversity very exiting! This area adds yet another texture, and a very lovely one.