After the introductions (including announcing the next two Gathering dates), we got right into our Open Mic party. Perhaps the best we’ve ever seen – I think every new attendee played for the group! The following photos are by our own CHGP (Certified Harp Guitar Photographer) Chuck Thompson.
Andy Wahlberg led it off, playing one of his instrumentals on a borrowed brand new creation by fellow Floridian Bill Martin. It’s a prototype “Reverse Tension” (patented!) harp guitar – something Andy convinced Bill to try and bring to our event. It made quite a splash, and I’m hoping we hear more on it in the future.
The whole Gooderman family attended their first Gathering! Young Derek has the bug bad – he brought three instruments: this early Holloway, and two custom Tonedevil creations. His dad John played guitar and sang some serious lead vocals; he was surely in some Classic Rock bands in his own youth as the guy had some pipes!
My brother Mark (on his New Dyer with his wife Barb on drum) surprised me with the surprisingly dark, angry song “Prayer in C” by a duo called Lilly Wood and the Prick (for real). Yes, Mark admitted which duo member he was playing.
Ed Dowling has been coming with his wife Sally to our Gatherings for many years – I don’t know if I could take an HGG without them. And Ed always has one of his strange custom harp guitars (or two) with him (this is his Tonedevil steel string “arch guitar”). But Ed, a great musician, has never been brave enough to play for us…until this year! He dazzled us with fantastic bottleneck, thumping away on the subs. Once he had a taste, we couldn’t shut him up! He had to come back and play some cool slack key-style on his other nylon-string Worland arch guitar!
Tony Barnard, my Guest Blogger, who came all the way from London for his Gathering…even without an instrument! Here he plays on a New Dyer borrowed from Stephen Bennett.
Attending his first-ever Gathering with his wife Dana, John Riley is an old pen pal of mine, being something of a harp guitar collector himself (he showed up with almost half a dozen!). This is his incredible 1920s Coulter 12-strings on the neck HG that he restored himself. It sounded great, as did he – playing and singing. A great entertainer and a great guy.
This was surely our biggest year for Newbies! Though Dan Schwartz (on his beautiful Hoffman HG) was automatically family – he not only went through the Milwaukee John Stropes course with Frank Doucette, he was on a Narada CD compilation with Stephen Bennett! That was on 6-string, of which he is a master (also lap steel Weissenborn guitar). In short order, he’s become a harp guitar master as well. And he’s a sweetheart, as good as they come.
Mark Farley is a serious student of the early romantic harp guitar repertoire, but like Pete, prefers to play it on the “wrong” instrument, in this case a modern nylon string harp guitar with super-trebles and many more sub-basses than were common back in the day of Regondi, a 2-bass (8-string guitar) virtuoso, who’s impressive piece Mark played.
Next: Saturday Morning Events!