Tuesday, January 14, 2014

She Plays A Washboard And A Saw

 

This is Bonnie Paine. I'm now her biggest fan.

She is lead vocalist in a Colorado band called Elephant Revival. Bonnie also bangs on a washboard. And get this, she plugs it into an amp! Have you ever seen anyone play a saw? She sits on a stool, and with a bow, slides it back and forth on the saw creating the sound of a sweet shooting star, a soft whistle fading off into the night.

There's a music scene in Colorado, a gathering of skilled and talented musicians who play folk and bluegrass. Mountain music, that stirs something in me like no other music does. It's lively, true and sweet. I'm a hillbilly at heart, and the sound of a banjo makes me smile and I'm immediately transported to a front porch in the Appalachians, tapping my toes, shuffling my feet, clogging from here to there. It makes me think of my mother dancing in our kitchen. It reminds me of when I was growing up, and my dad would play songs like Shady Grove or Big Rock Candy Mountain on his banjo, filling our house with the twang and clink of steel finger picks against the strings.

We had tickets to see the one and only Gregory Alan Isakov in concert in Fort Collins on Saturday night. He's one of the best singer-songwriter's around. A wandering poet in his newsboy cap who sings old timey songs that bring tears to my eyes. Then there's Jeb, his fiddle player who will keep you in a trance with his finesse and energy.

What a nice surprise when we see his friend Bonnie take the stage. A dark haired angel, shy and gracious, wearing long johns under her pretty blue hillbilly dress. And then the best part, we watch her plug in her washboard. I think to myself, 'this is gonna be good!' She wears leather driving gloves with steel banjo picks sewn onto them as she runs her hands up and down the wavy metal ridges of the board, the sound is gypsy-like, a tambourine shaking sound of a hundred silver bangles.

We're home now and I've been playing Isakov's album, The Weatherman, over and over again. I've listened to these songs many times before, but now I hear Bonnie brushing her washboard and that musical saw sounds familiar, like a Pine Warbler in the mountain towns of Colorado.

If anyone knows where I can find a used washboard, I'd appreciate it kindly.

 

14 comments:

  1. I am blown away by people's creativity....I have heard saw played but not by young folks...we were at an Elk's lodge dinner and a very ancient man was playing the saw....I thought I was in a very different era...smilingly xx

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    1. Oh, I bet that was wonderful to see him play! Yes, back in time.
      Old timey music is my favorite and I'm glad to see the kids are keeping it alive!

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  2. I really like Elephant Revival! Love the washboard too!

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    1. I like this band. But, I loooove her! And her washboard. And she sounds like a bird on an Appalachian hillside. Reverberating...

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  3. Oh wow! What talent she and they have. Their creativity is off the charts!

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    1. I know, it's true. These are a creative bunch, musical talent galore.

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  4. That is, by far, the best music review I have ever read. Just reading your words put me right there on that porch in the Appalachians with you! I love, love folk and bluegrass! (Jerry Garcia and David Grisman are my favorite combination.)

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    1. Oh yes! I've heard those two together. Fantastic duo!
      Thanks for the enthusiasm, Sagey.

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  5. This is so cool and different! - Tasha xxx

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    1. Exactly what I thought, Tasha? Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. this type of music runs through my blood and my bones….
    i feel so connected when i listen.

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    1. You and I are the same.
      Do you have an old washboard lying around the pencilfox acres that I can bang around on when I come to visit? Or do I have to bring my own. Ha!
      xo

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  7. http://www.ebay.de/sch/i.html?_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.TR10.TRC2.A0.Xwaschbrett&_nkw=waschbrett&_sacat=0&_from=R40

    ebay.de search for "Waschbrett"

    a lot of different ones are aviable.

    Hope I helped a bit...

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    1. Well, thank you Lily!
      My husband got the hint. I've got a washboard on the way!
      You thoughtful thing.
      Be on the lookout for mail!

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