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  • Writer's pictureJerry Rabushka

Rolla, and then Maplewood

The band's show in Rolla was fun, but HOT. Like 104 degrees outside hot. We played at the Public House Brewing, and those folks are really awesome. Plus their beer is getting around more, if you're into microbrewery, try it. I don't drink beer but people who do like what they've got!

Thanks to Ellen Saracini joining the band we've been able to revive a few songs for female vocalist, so it was the first performances of Good Times Comin' Round and Letter From Liberia in quite awhile. LFL seems like it's hard for some folks to sing, I had a few former band members that didn't love singing it but Ellen's got it nailed. It's kind of a gospel/South African sound mixed together. I'd hang at the PBH a lot, I think, if it was closer.

Next for me is a Stone Spiral show, and I'm trying to bring out some "nemesis rags," i.e. rags that are challenging and refuse to be learned. One is "Buzzer" by May Aufderheide, and I have it pretty buzzed up for now. "Don't Jazz Me - I'm Music" by James Scott is one from the end of his career, and you can sort of hear a "farewell to ragtime" in it, I think. I really like it and I've performed it a few times, so out it comes. It jumps octaves a lot, and has a cool drawn-out syncopation that I've not come across in any other rag.And finally "Fontella Rag" by Ethyl Smith; she lived in St. Louis and she's got two rags to her credit. There's a passage in it that just eludes me but it's finally coming together. Plus she does a nice job of brining elements from one strain into another, which you don't see that often. So then you get to where you can play all this, and it's like "why was that so hard?" It just takes more practice than you think.

As a play director - and that's where this is suddenly going - I wondered at actors who didn't know a line or ten for a show and then... didn't know it the next, and at the end of the run had boffed it up all six times. Who does that? Not any performer who cares for their craft. So anyway I've learned that basically if you don't know it, you need more practice and that's about what it needs. But some pieces are beyond your capability at a certain time, perhaps. I don't need to dive into Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerti tomorrow.

We have one guy in Rolla named Dave who's a super fan... he was so excited to see us! It's cool to have folks that really love what you do. Yep I know some bands have millions of those, but you have what you have, and you need to appreciate everyone. So Dave, we appreciate you. And Josh and Josh and Layne and Jason and Dirk and Colin and everyone else at PHB, thanks for having us & bein' cool.

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