Last Saturday night The Mid North had the honour and privilege of supporting The Whitetop Mountaineers from West Virginia, at a gig in Dorrigo. The Whitetops were one of our favourite bands at the 2013 Dorrigo Bluegrass Festival, so needless to say, we were all pretty excited. But first we had to make our way up the mountain to Dorrigo, now this road is at the best of times, nail biting, with hairpin turns and gut wrenching sheer cliff drops, mix in some mist and incredibly low visibility and we have a serious white knuckle ride. But we made it, we emerged from the car straight into a cloud and marvelled at the extreme weather differences between the mountain and the Bellingen Valley.
The Mid North, were obviously loads of fun, breaking out a whole lot of new tunes to a very appreciative and intimate audience and then The Whitetops took the, ahem, floor.
The audience were transfixed as the band recounted the tales of their ancestors and their deep Appalachian roots, both Martha and Jackson were raised with every member of their families and extended families playing music, often on the front porch, often from a very young age. There is a deep richness, this tradition is seeped in their culture and history. To hear them play the banjo, fiddle, guitar, wow, their level of musicianship is gobsmacking.
And then we have the dancing, oh the dancing, a certain type of dancing known as flat footing or clogging it is again a traditional dance passed down through the generations, danced by everyone, young and old, male and female. I filmed a little so you can get an idea as to what this flatfooting business is, but let me tell you, it is so exciting, delightful and inspiring and yes I did buy Martha's Flatfooting for Beginners dvd. Watch out people!
It was a delightful evening, made especially wonderful by watching Poe and Ilo just take it all in, eyes wide open so attentive, absorbing all. Ilo ended up falling asleep on Scott's shoulder, lulled by the dulcet tones of Martha and Jackson.
The next day we returned to the mountain and caught up with them at a picnic and jam in a most magnificent and abundant garden. A very musical and delightful weekend.