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Flying Fingers And Lots Of Laughs At Coolwater Ranch

The “Guitarist of the Decade,” Adrian Legg, entertained a packed house at Coolwater Ranch Saturday evening. What motivates Robin Ralston to obtain such incredible world class musicians to come to the Ahwahnee area and afford us a close and personal experience with them?

Flying fingers on his guitar and such a unique style of tickling out key changes created music that kept the audience spellbound. His ability to share the story of how the song came into this world, along with his one-of-a-kind sense of humor and his passion, kept everyone under his spell the entire evening.

Adrian Legg and Robin Ralston “exchanging laughs or some such rubbish” as Adrian would say. Photo by Debra Sutherland

Adrian Legg and Robin Ralston

I was not familiar with Adrian Legg’s music but was intrigued when I saw him described in his bio in Audio magazine as a “kind of cross between Robert Fripp and Garrison Keillor.” I LOVE Robert Fripp, so now I was really getting excited to see him, but I sure didn’t know what that quote really meant.

I met Adrian Legg before the concert while he was out working on his rental car in the parking lot. The “maintenance needed” light was constantly on, and he was getting error messages that the airbag was disabled. He had the hood up and was peering underneath.

I asked if he needed help and he quipped that with all of those electronic messages going on in the car, he thought he’d better at least check the oil. I was smiling inside but trying not to laugh out loud, not knowing this gentleman. It turns out that his sense of humor was a key component to his ability to entertain the crowd that night.

This was not Adrian Legg’s first concert at Coolwater Ranch; he first played there back in 2006. I asked our host Robin Ralston how she became acquainted with Adrian’s music, and she shared that she had been captivated not only by his music, but by his incredible wit and gift for storytelling. She told me that Adrian’s “Tiddles the Cat” is one of her favorites, and that his “gift of extraordinary wit and humor is the real icing on the cake for a musician with such distinct and rare talent.”

Just about every song had an introduction, with Adrian telling the story of what inspired him to write it, and these were not your normal stories. Who would have thought that a ballet teacher, a change in the location of her class, and subsequent retirement, would inspire a song? You have got to hear him tell it though. . . .

My favorite song of the night was Chicken Licken’s Last Ride. Adrian told us the background of the wayward chicken, who was top chicken in the flock and a good layer, and how she ventured a little too far from the coop and regretfully became part of a fox’s meal. His blazing fast fingers were incredible, but when I closed my eyes, it sounded like a chicken talking and going about its business. You can catch a video of him performing this song here.

Midway through the concert, Adrian took a break, and we visited with neighbors and friends, and met some new friends. Then we were back to being entertained by those fingers – picking so fast it was hard to follow them. My toes were tapping along with the music and it all went by much too quickly.

For more information on Adrian Legg, please visit his website, which includes his music and instructional DVD’s on guitar playing, along with his upcoming tour dates. adrianlegg.com

Robin RalstonIt has been 9 years since Robin put on her first concert at Coolwater Ranch. When asked what motivates her to bring such amazing talent to our local area, she said “I am motivated by my love for live music and my deepest respect for solo artists who can hold an audience by the sheer merits of their world class talent.”

I think the concerts at Coolwater Ranch are one of the best kept secrets in our mountain area, but they don’t need to be. You can check out the upcoming concerts at Coolwater Ranch at their website coolwaterconcerts.com The next concert is Mar. 23 with Michael Chapdelaine.

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