Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Colors, Far-West in Eugene

We took a drive up Highway 5 late last week to attend the Far-West Folk Alliance Conferencee in Eugene, Oregon. It was the first time I'd attended the conference, which has to qualify as the friendliest and more practical of music conferences I've attended. With panels about presenting music to DJs, official shows featuring some of the best of the conferences' acoustic musicians, guerrilla showcases giving everyone an opportunity to demonstrate their chops and awards ceremonies honoring true masters of craft, I came away thoughtful, inspired and buoyed that the musical landscape remains diverse, passionate, viable and willing to support its own. I heard more fiddle music than I have all year, including being completely floored by the mastery of 'Best of the West' winners Laurie Lewis and Vivian and Phil Williams. Their awards concert was a big highlight.
While the Conference kept attendees busy from morning to well past midnight each day, I did have a chance to check out the local color, literally and figuratively. Eugene was rivaling the East Coast for its riot of Fall Colors while we were there and I had a moment to check out the thriving Saturday Market of Farmer's Market produce and local crafts. Likewise, we were hosted by some of my favorite people, Mieko & Christopher, who are also musicians if not conference attendees, and the living room typically had some acoustic instrument humming. Good times.
Radio also got into the mix. At the conference I chatted on-air with Neil during his Recovery Coast to Coast radio show, who was spinning recovery-related music from Far-West artists ("It's All Up to You" was the track selected from this songwriter), and met Portland DJ Diane Hunt of KBOO who featured 'Sunday Best' on her Folk Espresso morning show.

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