Monday, October 6, 2014

(Travelin' With The Red Dirt Road Dogs)

                                                            Dennis and
Brenda Kippa

Yes, friends, you read that headline right. Sometimes the concert will
bring itself right into our homes.
This is a fairly new capability, but our Red Dirt crystal ball tells
us that one day this will just be another choice we can make in
deciding how to experience the music we want to hear.

With a nod to the powerhouse that is Texas weather, we recently found
ourselves canceled out of a concert for the second time in less than
thirty days. Not willing to be left undone again, Road Dog One (that's
Dennis) began a tour through the websites of the bands we like.  To
our surprise, he discovered that The Band Of Heathens was having a web
concert, and it was due to begin in just a few minutes.

You haven't heard us talk about the Band of Heathens... yet. We are
anxiously awaiting their concert in Dallas later this month; our full
report will follow that event.  So far, we had only seen them in short
clips of one or two songs - aboard a cruise ship, in clubs, etc. -
via U-Tube online. We noticed a joyful sense of experimentation, yet a
clearly well-oiled package of professional musicianship that made us
want to be in the audience at the earliest possible opportunity. Every
time we saw a clip of their performance, we wanted to see more. Now we
were seeing that a whole concert was here for the taking … and the
great sum of five dollars. What's not to love about this?

Road Dog One did his magic with the cords, plugs, inputs & outputs,
and we were ready to be a part of the audience with one or two minutes
to spare.

The scene was a club in Berkley, California. On the down side, the
whole event was shot with only one camera, fixed in a long-range
position. This made it impossible to experience any close-ups, or to
even be certain about exactly which person was singing at times. That
is the end of the down side report,  because everything else was
concert perfection. This band's trademark concert style of
improvisation and extended versions of their songs keeps their
audience in a constant state of excitement and expectation. Just when
a song seems to be coming to it's end, the band launches into a
thrilling transitional jam to tie it to another of their songs to
create a once-in-a-lifetime medley. Judging by the body language
between the band members, it seems apparent that whoever is “in
charge” of a song is the one that all of the others watch closely.
This person takes the song where he wants it to go and the others
follow along with what is needed. Many bands try to do this; not so
many can pull it off and make it look easy.

We realized that we were receiving audio that was unaltered by first
going through the venue's sound system, which made a huge difference.
For this, we give our full appreciation to the audio technician who
was in charge of the sound board. Clearly, this person knew how to
process the sounds, and through the wonder of digital output and this
technician's talent, we were on the receiving end of a truly unique
sound experience.

The Band of Heathens is another of the amazing Austin-based music
marvels. It's made up of founding members Ed Jourdi and Gordi Quist,
both of whom are expert at vocals, guitar and harmonica, and Ed Jourdi
also shines on keyboards when the occasion warrants. The two of them
play off each other, taking each song into new territory with almost
every delivery. What sounds like straight-up rock or country one time
might sound like gospel the next time they play it. The band is
rounded out by Trevor Nealon on keyboards and Richard Millsap on
drums. In the opinion of Road Dog Two (that's me, Brenda), it's the
keyboards that often take this band into the stratosphere. All of
their songs are original, and these guys really know how to put a song
together. We won't be a bit surprised when some of their songs get
picked up by other musicians in a bid to grab the glow for themselves
(it probably won't work, though; perfection shouldn't be messed with).

What a great treat it was to stumble upon this web concert! As the
result of having several things go “wrong”, we are reminded that the
finest jewels of experience are sometimes found hidden behind or
underneath the remains of what once looked like a lost evening.

Watch for more on the Band Of Heathens later this month or early next
year. Meanwhile, listen to Americana music for yourself, and enjoy!

Dennis and Brenda Kippa

Surprises. People either like them or they don't like them. Since
we've been following the band Uncle Lucius around, we've decided that
we love surprises. There's always some sort of great surprise at a
show that features Uncle Lucius.

Recently, we reported on a Lucius concert in which the biggest
surprise was the excellence of the opening act, Folk Family Revival.
They were wonderful!

Now we have a similar surprise to report from their most recent
concert. But first, we have a few other surprises to tell you about;
all were connected to this one event.

Taking place on Saturday, February 1st, the best surprise might have
been the one that awaited the band itself. Uncle Lucius was new to Ben
Wheeler; they had never played there before. Not knowing what to
expect, maybe they thought they would see some of their regular fans
who almost always show up when they play at Stanley's in Tyler. But
Moore's in Ben Wheeler is a larger venue than Stanley's, and it's a
"hidden" jewel to those who have not yet found it, so maybe Lucius
thought they'd find a smaller-than-usual crowd.

So the surprise for Lucius must have been that after navigating under
darkened skies, down lightly-traveled roads, to a spot in the middle
of nowhere, they found a full house waiting for them! How does this
happen? We'll tell you soon enough.

To us, the mood seemed electric. We noticed the super-charged
chemistry between the band members, and it spilled over to the
audience. The dance floor stayed full until it became impossible to
move; people filled it shoulder-to-shoulder, standing side by side
after that. Clearly, something special was going on. Uncle Lucius took
the opportunity to introduce some of the new music from their next CD,
which is currently in the works. If those songs are representative of
the whole next CD, it seems certain that they've stepped up to the
challenge of their last CD, the acclaimed "And You Are Me", which was
released in 2012 . And why wouldn't it? These guys are the real deal.
Just as their live performances keep getting better and better, how
could their new music be anything less than awesome? For us, it was a
truly joyful thing to see so many new faces experiencing this band for
the first time.

So... how did this happen? That's the next surprise. You may recall
that anything that happens at Ben Wheeler is probably our favorite
place to be on any given night. And if it's at Moore's Store, as most
events in Ben Wheeler are, then it's because of the efforts of one
Martha Thorne. If you met Martha at any of the places you shop, you
wouldn't guess that she is the energy behind this great venue.

 Martha blends into her surroundings and becomes a part of whoever and
whatever is there. Her natural love of people is plain, simple, and
real. So is her love of music and those who play it. She can spot the
bands that people want to hear, and she knows what to do to make
things happen. If a full house of happy people assemble to hear a band
that Martha has told them about, it's because they trust her judgment.
And more and more frequently, if a great band accepts an engagement,
finds it's way to Ben Wheeler, and finds a full house waiting, it's
also because of Martha. It's a fine surprise, every time.

We arrive now at the last surprise this week, which we mentioned at
the beginning of this report. We were happy to once again find that
the stage was warmed for Uncle Lucius by an amazing band that we had
not seen before.

Calling Tyler their home, Stefan Cotter and the Rastabillys blazed
onto the stage and captured everyone who was there in the space of one
heartbeat.  I don't know the names for different guitars, but the one
Stefan Cotter plays is like the ones I remember from 'way back. It's a
big one, like Chuck Berry was famous for doing his duck walk with, or
like B. B. King played. (See? I told you long ago that our references
are.... well, "vintage"). If anyone under the age of a half-century
wants to know what kind of guitar I'm talking about, I can't help you.
But what I want to tell you is that Stefan Cotter played as if this
giant guitar was an extension of his own arm and hand; where blood and
bones stopped and guitar started was impossible to discern.

Stefan and the three other band members (drums, bongos and bass
guitar) brought cheers with two killer sets, mostly of their own
songs. Their sound might be called a mix of Red Dirt Americana,
Louisiana hoedown, and Texas rockabilly, with a generous splat of
reggae in there, too. During their short break, the three other ladies
in our group went out to the smoking porch and found that they had the
whole band to themselves for a few minutes. (Drat! I didn't go!)
Asking the musicians how to refer to their unusual mix of styles, our
girls reported that Stefan replied that they had a hard time naming
it. Determined to nail it down,  the band members laughingly came up
with "rastabilly", and their name was born.  We challenge you to find
a more unique sound, and we promise you'll enjoy yourself if you go
see these guys.

We have an invitation for you. We've heard from several of you who say
you read this column and might like to go see a band sometime. Here's
your chance!

Uncle Lucius returns to our area again this month, on Thursday, the
20th, at The Levy in Longview. This is a venue that we are not
familiar with,  but band members tell us that Lucius has played there
before. If you would like to join your faithful Road Dogs at this
concert, please contact us at 903-769-9043. We can pick a place to
meet or follow each other over to the venue.... what say you? We can
guarantee nothing but a good time and great music. We'll be waiting by
the phone for your call.

If this event is not convenient, maybe we can zero in on a different one,
Meanwhile, whatever you do, put on some music and... enjoy!

Dennis and Brenda Kippa

Your faithful Redneck Road Dogs haven't been running up and down the
back roads of our area as much as usual lately. While we have been
able to catch a few good shows recently (we'll find time to tell you
about some of them soon), the main thing that wiped the concert slates
clean was that just  about all of our favorites disappeared for about
a week or two. They all stopped what they were doing and followed each
other up to Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

The occasion was the annual Americana and Texas Music and Ski
Festival. Now in it's 29th year, it's said to be the world's largest
ski trip. To music fans, though, it is a gathering of everyone who is
anyone in the field of Texas and Americana Music. It sells out every
year as fans flood the ski resort and prepare for six days of non-stop
concerts, with three official venues this year, plus countless areas
where musicians gather to hold impromptu jam sessions when they are
not scheduled to perform.

Think of it! This year's event showcased 40 (forty!) of our favorite
bands. One thing we have learned in our time wearing our “music
reviewer”' hats is that music players are also music fans. Once in
awhile, we get the opportunity to speak with band members after their
performances. When that happens, the conversation almost always goes
to the subject of other bands. They all have their new favorites, just
like we do. So you can imagine the lively times that occur when all of
these talented people actually get together. It must really be
something to behold.

The reason I'm telling you all of this is that this year's event –
held for the six days that began on January 5th – was broadcast via
the internet. For the total princely sum of $15.00 per computer (which
meant $7.50 for each road dog), we were able to watch all of the live
events, each evening. The most difficult part for us was having to
choose between the three stages, because each one held three or four
concerts each evening. In addition, during the daytime, certain events
were rebroadcast from the prior evening.

This extraordinary string of performances gave us the opportunity to
see Lincoln Durham as the first event on the first night. Having
missed a scheduled Durham concert a few weeks ago, we were delighted
to get to see his raw and gritty fare. As one of the more unusual
songwriters out there, he began his second set with “My music is not
for happy people. I'm willing to admit that. So just take your meds
and let's get on with it”. His favored instrument was the dobro, but
at one point he brought out a big cigar box, all taped together with a
long pipe attached, with one large string affixed to it all. He
explained, “It's important to know this is not supposed to sound good,
but we'll get through it”.  He wore a mustache that was so exaggerated
that sometimes his constant smile seemed to belong to it, rather than
to his face in general. He ended his show with “It's an honor to come
out and do this stupid little show that I do, and I thank each and
every one of you”.

Another favorite songwriter was Will Hoge. He came to the stage
looking every inch like a Bruce Springsteen look-alike, both in what
he was wearing and the way he stood and delivered his amazing songs.
His songs have been covered by several other artists, which made some
of them sound very familiar. However, we both loved his voice and
couldn't imagine that anyone has done better with them than he does.

One event that we especially enjoyed was a concert by three
songwriters: Dale Dillon, Hayes Carll and Paul Thorn. They seemed to
really enjoy being together onstage, performing their own and each
others' songs, while keeping the audience fully entertained with their
easy banter. On another night, a tribute to Dale Dillon was held.
About ten artists performed one of Dillon's songs each, and added a
few words about their times with him. At the end of the performances,
Dale Dillon delivered a very moving song and a heartfelt thank-you. He
added that Lee Ann Womack's version of one of his songs drove him to
tears that were impossible to conceal.  I confess that her beautiful
treatment did the same thing to me.

We cannot bring this too-long but also all-too-brief accounting to a
close without mentioning four of our all-time favorites in this
Americana field of talented musicians. The great Uncle Lucius
delivered two amazing concerts. As always, we simply cannot say enough
about these guys. Their concerts came on the second and third nights
of the MusicFest, and by that point the crowds were rowdy and
well-sauced, thanks to the beer and whiskey sponsors of all events.
Still, a hush came over them as Lucius delivered their music,
especially the beautiful “Keep The Wolves Away”.

The other three bands that we have reviewed in previous articles – The
Statesboro Revue, Midnight River Choir and Shinyribs – also left their
audiences slack-jawed at times and just plain rowdy-happy at other
times. Nobody keeps an audience involved with the show better than
Stewart Mann of The Statesboro Revue.   As soon as their show was
over, they were packed and off on their European tour, which we have
been following on their Facebook page. They are bringing their amazing
show to very excited audiences in Germany, Spain, France and Belgium.
We are thrilled for those guys.

Okay, everyone, there's only so much space our generous newspaper
editors will allow us, even though they've never cut us yet. As you
can surely tell, we love having the opportunity to tell you about
these hardworking singers and songwriters. We can never stop being
amazed at the miles they travel, the lonely roads they see, and the
sometimes scant audiences that receive them. Yet we absolutely never
see any of them greet an audience with anything less than happy
appreciation. It is a special breed of God's children that are called
to do this work, we believe. Their dedication to their craft inspires
us every time. Your faithful road dogs will keep running up and down
the roads chasing after them and bringing back their stories as long
as we can in hopes that you will be touched by them the way we have
been. Enjoy!

                                             KICKING IT UP A NOTCH WITH SHINYRIBS

                                              Travelin'  With The Red
Neck Road Dogs
                                                        Dennis and Brenda Kippa

When we get a chance to attend a concert by someone we've seen before
and really enjoyed, we feel especially fortunate. Most of the bands we
have told you about travel a huge circuit, which means they don't get
to our area very often. When we find out that one of our favorites are
booked at a location that's within our reach, we have a knee-jerk
reaction that always culminates with tickets in hand. By the time the
date arrives, we have gone over the prior performance(s) many times in
our heads. We can't wait to see everything we have loved, just like
before. Of course the first concert is never really duplicated, and I
suppose that the only thing that ought to be surprising about that is
the fact that it surprises us every time it happens.

Recently, we jumped in the car for a trip to Dallas, which is a trip I
drove every single day for a very long time. Now, it seems like a
journey where we ought to pack sandwiches and check to see if all
insurance is paid up before we back away from the house. The fact that
it goes by quickly doesn't lessen the feeling that we're someplace
far, far away when we get there. Maybe that's as it should be when the
occasion is our second concert by Shinyribs. If you've been reading
this column for awhile, maybe you remember that I likened the first
Shinyribs concert to jumping down the rabbit hole, because our
findings were much like what Alice found. That time, we drove over
four hours to get there, then spent the evening slack-jawed, sitting
on folding chairs side-by-side with a college crowd who adored the

We didn't expect any less of a show this time, and frankly we didn't
know if we could take it if it were any more of a show. But it was...
and we did. They upped the game by the addition of the "horns" that
sometimes play for Uncle Lucius. Tiger Daniel Anaya on trumpet and
Mark Wilson on sax are the Tijuana TrainWreck, and their antics, along
with the craziness between Kevin Russell (lead vocals) and Winfield
Cheek (keys) and the other band members, made it a riot onstage. What
we couldn't have expected was the mix of attitudes of those watching
the show from the same table where we were sitting. Love and War in
Plano was the venue; it wasn't our first time to be there. Of all the
places your road dogs haunt, this place offers the least amout of
consideration to one's behinds; that is to say, the bench-type seats
(with picnic tables) are narrow and hard. On this night, we were
packed in like sardines, which may not have been as noticeable if
everyone were enjoying the festivities as much as we were. However,
sitting across from us were two ladies who came for reasons
unapparent, and although one seemed to be tapping a toe now and then,
the other was downright miserable. After awhile, her scowl got the
better of her friend, and they left. On the other side of us was a
young lady and her parents. The parents had clearly been dragged there
because of their love for their daughter, but their confusion was
profound and I felt sympathy for their situation, even though the
father offered a little smile now and then. I think the young lady was
a huge fan, but her parents had a ways to go in understanding what
Shinnyribs was all about.

The grand finale of the show was "Poor People's Store", which was one
of the songs that we (fooloshly) tried to sing along with at the last
concert. We could tell that there was to be no mercy shown by the band
toward anyone who seemed to think they could keep up; by now the band
was on a roll. Just when we were wondering if we going to be able to
survive the fun, Mr. Ribs (Kevin Russell) jumped down off the stage
and began to dance - in his own, no-bones kind of way - with everyone
on the dancefloor.  A conga line quickly formed, and that's when the
horn players - who were still playing their music  jumped down and
joined the line, prancing along and moving their horns left and right
like an animated toy box. The line got longer and longer, and snaked
in and around the tables, until it was too long to maneuver anymore
and all participants were wasted. It was a performance just like and
nothing like the first one, both at the same time. Bravo!

                        THE  GEM THAT'S BEEN RIGHT UNDER OUR NOSE
                                Stayin' Close With The Redneck Road Dogs
                                           Dennis and Brenda Kippa

We've been running up and down the roads of East Texas and into Dallas
a little more than usual lately. So much, in fact, that we haven't
paused to tell you about it.

In trying to decide where to start so we could catch up telling you
about all of the great bands we've been hearing, it occurred to us
that we've overlooked someone that's right close by. We hate when we
do this!

Anyway, to give you a bit of backstory, we'll remind you that we spend
our Saturdays over at the Lindale Care Center, calling the Bingo games
for the great people who live there. It's one of the best highlights
of our week, and it starts out with an hour or so where we share
whatever baked goodies we've made the day before, while we all listen
to a couple of musicians who come every week just to sing to the
residents. We profiled one of these musicians several months ago.
("The Troubadore Wears A Derby Hat").

Now it's time to tell you about the other one, with our apologies for
not doing so sooner.

Royce James is a guy who loves music. His passion for it seems very
familiar to us; he loves music for it's own sake. The difference
between him and the two of us is that he has applied himself over the
years and has become a very accomplished mandolin player. Neither one
of us ever did that. Well, Brenda tried for a couple of years and
could pick out a few tunes, but then she dropped it because she knew
she could never begin to match her brother's God-given talents.
Dennis, on the other hand, never even tried, but he has an ear for it;
he could almost judge the Idol competitions, that's how good he is.

Another thing we both have in common with Royce James is that all
three of us put the necessary dedication into our careers until we
reached retirement age and were able to reassess our lives.The beauty
of Royce James is that he never stopped playing, all those years.
While he got up every day for some 35 years and put on his "banker
hat", he knew all along that in his heart, he was a mandolin player.

It really was just that simple: he was a mandolin player. Now, between
me and you, he is also a singer, but he doesn't sing as much as he
plays. And the thing about his playing is that he isn't chasing
stardom or a big bag of money. In fact, most of the time he plays for
no money at all; the money is not what it's about for him. It's about
getting to play, about hearing his mandolin as it interacts with other
instruments, and about entertaining people.

In addition to hearing Royce every week at the Care Center, we've also
been able to catch him when he plays at festivals; the Edom Arts
Festival comes to mind. And most recently, we saw him at The Forge in
Ben Wheeler. We've been to this venue once before, and loved it. You
already know that we love everything about Ben Wheeler,  with their
other venue - Moore's Store - possibly being our very favorite place
to go. But a close second place goes to The Forge, which is much like
Moore's, only smaller and slightly more quiet. Royce was on hand at
The Forge to accompany Rick Babb and Paula McClannahan. Royce has
often played along with Rick Babb, but one thing or another kept
getting in the way of our seeing them. It was very fortunate for us
that we finally got out to see them on a night when they had Paula
McClannahan with them. Paula has only recently joined Rick's show, and
her stand-up bass adds one of my favorite instruments to the stage.
What a great show it was! The Forge had a full house for their show,
and everyone who was there, stayed there, until the band packed it in
to leave.  I would be remiss if I failed to mention that Rick Babb did
a fine job in showcasing his songwriting and his vocal interpretation
of the songs he has written. His easygoing manner with the crowd made
it impossible to have anything other than a great time. Rick's CD is
available on-line and at his shows.

Is there anyone out there who long ago put their talents on hold? If
you did, how about considering dusting off that passion for another

                                        YOUR WILDEST IMAGINATION – PART 2

                                              Travelin'  With The Red
Neck Road Dogs
                                                                 Brenda Kippa

For those of you who read last week's column and wonder what happened
on the big day of our friend's vision, here's the rest of the story.

The reality? Oh my goodness, it's difficult to settle on only a thing
or two that might convey the mood of the day. First, the weather
couldn't have been more perfect, and the food included every wonderful
morsel imagineable. But the most lasting impression – other than the
band's performance – was witnessing the relationships of the families
in attendance. Clearly, these were children who were being encouraged
to be who they are, which is often not the case out in public. The
little ones who took the stage were truly a delight, as was our host,
who dressed up in costume and delivered a hilarious version of a
character on kids' TV. God was always in evidence, all day.

When Uncle Lucius took the stage, it was a humbled and happy Kevin
Galloway that we saw. And all other members seemed very touched, too.
After all, the hope is that this will become an annual event, with the
public being invited in all future years. These are the musicians that
deserve to represent this huge group of people. The fans of Uncle
Lucius “get it” - the band's message in a new song “No Time Flat”
tells their view clearly. (Everything can change in no time flat.)
These are times of unease in so many ways; any newscast that tells the
truth gives these 30-somethings plenty to worry about. And worry about
it they surely do, but when they listen to Uncle Lucius, what comes to
them is a spirit of hope. The other lasting vision I walked away with
was the sing-along passion of the couples as they shared this music
that they so love. And make no  mistake: even though we are of a
different generation, we love this band and their message with the
same intensity.

What comes through in a concert with Uncle Lucius on the stage is a
willingness to deliver a lyric according to their own inner guidance,
and a determination to see that it is received. We've seen many
exciting bands perform with magical flair and driving deliveries.
Nothing could be faulted, and we've left many a venue wanting to find
out how to see a band again as quickly as possible. And – as you will
discover when I reveal our three favorite CDs of the current year in
an upcoming column – you will not always find an Uncle Lucius CD in my
car's player. So what is it that truly sets these musicians apart and
above the rest? The answer is found on the faces and in the hearts of
their fans. I'm convinced that it's because Lucius succeeds in sharing
what drives them. Without preaching a word or asking their audience to
think or do anything, they manage to uplift them and impart a desire
to be the best human being that it is possible for them to be.

I had the honor of speaking with Kevin Galloway's lovely mother for
several minutes. She confirmed what I suspected: she made sure her boy
was in church when he was supposed to be. What shouldn't have
surprised me, but it did, was that for awhile they thought Kevin might
go into the ministry rather than banking, which is where he began
after his school years. His booming voice easily shows that he could
have been well suited for it. But then again, he did go into the
ministry, didn't he? In brief moments with Kevin's father, I saw the
pride and respect that's so evident. Clearly, Kevin Galloway
understands the sacrifices that have been made on his behalf, and he
takes his mission seriously. He and other band members know that in
the proper hands, music is a force for good on the world; it can
literally heal. I am proof of this, and so are many others, I am sure.

This event gave me my first opportunity to speak briefly with Mike
Carpenter, the band's lead guitar player. He is the only married
member of the group, and this week will mark the one-month birthday of
his first child. One mention of that little girl caused him to display
a wrap-around smile, and his words were those of a totally besotted
father. Beautiful!

We have never seen Kevin smile as much as he did at this event. And I
wish I could paint you a picture of Jon Grossman's smile, which was
all that could be seen below his curly mop of hair as he attacked the
keys in a double-jointed, herky-jerky way that always astounds us. As
someone who could have been taken by a heart aneurysm at the tender
age of 29, he has much to smile about.

I'm still waiting for my chance to speak with Josh Greco, the amazing
drummer for Lucius. What little patch of marvelousness lurks under
that awesome head of hair? And the newest member of the group, Nigel
Frye, is the bass player who took on the vacancy created when Hal
Vorpahl decided to stop touring and begin a new venture (Hal is still
very involved, as one of the key writers of fine music for Lucius).
Although Nigel entered with a quiet step, we've noticed that he
becomes more animated with every performance; one day we fully expect
to find that the first layer of his persona has been peeled back. What
will then burst through?

Providing the music prior to the arrival of Uncle Lucius was the
Jeremy Peyton Band. They turned in a totally satisfing set, including
their new release “Friends With Benefits”, which is fast gaining
airtime on local and regional country radio stations. This band is
rising in popularity, as evidenced by the fact that they had another
gig to go to later in the evening. The only disappointment in their
set occurred through no fault of their own. A well-meaning but
ill-advised friend came onstage to coax more approval from the
audience than had been given, causing a bit of a  cloud for a few
moments. This kind of audience-berating is almost certain to bring on
the opposite of what is hoped for, no matter how well intentioned the
purpetrator is. Regardless, the Jeremy Peyton Band was an enjoyable
part of the mix of the day.

This is a snapshot of our friend's vision and how it was turned into
reality. How many of us have an outlandish idea that we will never
really act on? Largely because of the inspiration provided by their
favorite band, our friend decided to act on his idea before it
evaporated, which could have happened in no time flat. Instead, over
200 friends and their children enjoyed a day that will never be
forgotten. With a little luck (and a lot of planning), it just might
happen again next year and the year after that.

A video of the whole day was being made by Van Scott Folger, the same
filmmaker who was largely  responsible for Uncle Lucius' two popular
music videos. Maybe this will turn into the event that defines this
generation and their hopes for the future. Sounds good to us!

                                                    YOUR WILDEST IMAGINATION

                                              Travelin'  With The Red
Neck Road Dogs
                                                                 Brenda Kippa

Suppose for a moment that you are lost in thought, dreaming up the
ultimate party that you could host. All of your favorite people would
be there, right?  Great food, good music.... everything that you
really love and want to share. If your dream party was an outdoor
event, perfect weather would be a must. Okay, check that..... no
problem there.... this is a dream, after all. It would cost a fortune
and it would require the help of lots of people to take care of all
the details.  Again, no problem.... it's a dream; all things are
possible in dreams.. Ah, yes.... you could really dream up a great
party.... and then you put it aside. We can't live in our dreams, can

We have a friend who dreamed up a party. It was a great idea; much
like the party I might dream up for myself. In his dream, all of his
favorite people would be there, and they would all bring their
children and their favorite famiy members. People who liked to play
guitar or some other instrument would bring it along, and all would-be
singers could show  off their best moves with karaoke. There would be
games of all kinds, for every age group, and a jump house for the
littler ones. Food would be brought by everyone, for a giant communal
buffet, and several large grills would be in constant service, turning
out all manner of delicious fare. Maybe even a pit or two for a whole
hog or two..... he spared nothing in his dream. And to top it all off,
he would bring in his favorite band, so that everyone could enjoy
their music in the same way that he and his family enjoyed it. Ah....
yes, it would be wonderful... what a great dream! Now, this is where
our friend sets himself apart from other dreamers. First of all, his
dream wouldn't go away; it was more of a vision after a while, rather
than a dream. He could see it all so clearly. And when he made his
decision to follow his dream, it seemed like the most natural thing in
the world to do. Why was this the case?  It's all quite simple,
really. All of his inspiration was witten in the songs of the
aforementioned favorite band.  And who was this band? It was the great
Uncle Lucius, of course.

Even though my husband and fellow road dog – Dennis by name; you all
know him better than you know me - and I have written about Uncle
Lucius since the very beginning of this column. There was much that we
didn't know about the band and it's members. Because the event was
attended by the parents and other family members of Kevin Galloway,
the band's lead vocalist, I was able to come away some new insights.

Returning to the story about our friend's vision (for those who want
to follow their own vision), the first thing he did was set up a
facebook page that could only be accessed by those he had assembled to
help him. We were priviledged to be among the 11 people he chose.
Charged with thinking of and carrying out everything that might be
necessary, we all used facebook and a few in-person meetings to get a
grasp of the task at hand. For our part, Dennis was the one who stayed
plugged in to the facebook page and the discussions that were going
on. On the larger picture, our host paid the band's fee, which was an
awesome gift to his friends who were invited. He also secured the site
for the event, which was a lovely 15-acre, beautifully manicured
homesite belonging to a longtime friend (can you imagine lending your
property for such an event? This was a testament to a great friendship
and a huge faith).Yours truly was happy to be able to come up with
what turned out to be a rather lengthy invitation. Dennis also
acquired the two-way radios that would be needed for security, and
together we took care of a long list of disposable products and the
purchase of a guitar that would be autographed and used for a raffle.
Others who were younger, stronger and somewhat more financially
capable, paid for hotel rooms for the band and other guests, t-shirts
to commemorate the event, rental of tents, chairs, tables,
porta-potties, a bounce house, etc. Those who had carpentry skills
built a large stage, and the electricians (of which our dreamer and
host was one) erected extra lighting and all things electrical,
including strand after strand of festive clear lights to provide the
soft lighting and happy transition once darkness fell. Still others
donated beautiful works of art and other items for the raffle. And
there you have it, a short version of how to turn a vision into

Stay tuned: next week, we'll tell you what happened.