Archive for August, 2011

More From the Bluegrass Jam Session In Effingham, Illinois

More info about Saturday night in Effingham.  I have the original post below.

Banjo Player From Achen Back String Band (Neoga, IL.) At Bluegrass Jam Session In Effingham, Illinois

I did not get to the jam session till after 6 pm.  I was able to listen to two more bands.  Achen Back String Band was the first band and the Flat Mountain Band was the second band.  Both were good.  Everyone enjoyed the music and the bands had  a great time playing.  There was a lot of toe tapping going on while both of the bands played.

Flat Mountain Band From Olney, IL. Playing At Effingham, Illinois

For more on the jam session see post below. 

My Flower Child Sister

My sister has a green thumb and everyone who knows her gets to enjoy it.  Every year she has a large area of the backyard tilled and plants zinnias.  It is with great anticipation she watches and waters the plants as they grow.

Then when they start producing flowers both she and everyone she knows starts having fun.  She will pick the zinnias and put them in vases to give to people.  She will hand out twenty or more vases some days.

I go to the doctor, dentist and other places and am greeted with a smile and several vases to bring back to my sister.  People keep the jars that she collects and fills with flowers.  They give them back to her to knowing that she will be back again with more zinnias. 

Sometimes it can be a little annoying when we travel as a family to a family gathering.  I alway will have to make room for the boxes of flowers she brings along to hand out.  Then I see the smiles on people’s faces and know she has made their day.

So, I want to help my sister to make your day.  A flower from my sister to you.  So anytime you need a little lift in your day, you can come back here and get a flower from my sisters garden of zinnias.

A Zinnia For You From My Sister's Garden

Strings Attached Band – Great Bluegrass Music

Last night was a night of some great music.  Taking to the road I headed to Effingham, IL. to listen to some great bluegrass musicians.  There were several bands playing throughout the day.  From 1 pm till 9 pm bands were around the courthouse lawn playing and there were some on the stage also. Chesnut Family Music store in Effingham  put the jam session together and did a great job.  My cousin Melody Freeman was playing in the “Strings Attached” band, so that was the reason for the trip.  She did a fantastic job, as did the other musicians.

“Strings Attached” Band at Effingham, Illinois – Presented by Chesnut Music Store

Great music is an understatement.  People travel to Chicago for this quality music and it was right here in Central Illinois.

To give you an idea how good the music was, Melody (Staff) Freeman won the Illinois State Fiddle Competition one year.  She also won the State Fair Fiddle Contest one year.  She has played with numerous bands and gets calls to play when bands need a great fiddle player.  She enjoys playing the organ for her church and leads their music worship service.  She also has played with the house band at Nashville North in Taylorville, IL.  Melody will also play with various people at The Grand Levee at the Old State Capitol in Vandalia.  Dates will be Sept. 23rd from 4:30-6:00 pm and Sept. 24th from 4:30-8:00 pm.  On December 10th Melody will be playing at Greenup, IL. with Tony Booth.  Tony won band of the year three years from the Academy of Country Music.  He also was involved with the Buck Owens and Hee- Haw TV shows.   Melody plays twelve instruments and teaches music to around 50 students each week.  Her Dad owned “Staff’s Music Store” in Vandalia, IL for many years.

The banjo player, Gratton Toliver won the Illinois State Banjo Contest three years.  He also won the Missouri contest two years.  Gratton plays six instruments including playing ragtime piano.  He also has given banjo lessons for over 20 years.

Marylynne Toliver the bass fiddle player is quite talented also.  She also plays the rhythm guitar.  You can tell she really enjoys what she does and brings much to the group.  She and Gratton make a great team.

Marty Williamson plays the guitar for the group.  Marty has developed into quite a musician himself.  He also plays for a Chicago based band called “Hello Dave”.  Visit their website to hear some great music.  Marty enjoys playing a variety of music and plays solo for many venues.  When back in the Effingham area he also teaches 30-40 music students.

These musicians also play Civil War Era music at reenactments.  That band is called the “Salt Creek String Band”.  Gratton plays the claw hammer during these sessions.  They dress in clothing from that era.  They will be playing as this group in Princeton, IN. Sept 10th for the 4th annual Civil War Days.   They will play for the dance or ball for the soldiers and their partners.  All the music will be from prior to 1865.  Playing at this Reenactment will be Melody Freeman, Phil Freeman, Gratton Toliver and Marylynne Toliver.  They will play from 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm.

If you ever get a chance to hear this group, don’t pass it up.  A night of enjoyment will be yours.

Asian Carp on Banks of Sangamon River

The Sangamon River has been low for a few weeks.  There are islands in the middle of the river with green grass and the sloping banks are green with life.  It is pretty in some ways to see the river in this condition.  As you drive over the bridge by the dam on Lake Decatur, the view is different from seen on a normal daily commute.

Low Head Dam on Sangamon River

Taking a walk along the banks you see a different story.  Fish decaying on the banks.  A stark contrast from what the commuter sees from a distance.

Decaying Asian Carp on Sangamon River Bank

It is a part of life.  Yes, some go to waste, but many became daily meals for the wildlife along the river.

Asain Carp on Sangamon River

When massive amounts of fish die like this there is a stench that accompanies it.  It is part of the process of life.  These fish are not wasted, but become fertilizer for all that grow along the river.

Asian Carp Along Sangamon River

Soon the fish will disappear as will the green islands and banks that are a treat to view.  Cycles in nature are what keep it going.  Soon there will be people once again fishing along the Sangamon.

Asian Carp Not Washed Down River

I guess you can call this a different twist to a Fish Story.