WE HAD A BALL!
The Logger’s Jamboree Wood Chopper’s Ball of 2012 was held in the usual place, that being the North Fork Recreation Center, but the entertainment this year had some pleasant surprises.The music got off to a late start, beginning at 7:00 instead of the advertised 6:00. If you had not read about it on SierraNewsOnline.com or in the Sierra Star or seen a poster prior to the event you might not have been aware of the impressive line-up of bands, some coming from many miles away, who were packed into the evening and filled the air with unique song stylings.
The names of the bands alone was a hint of the variety of sounds to be expected. The evening started with Mo’s Blue Groove and then followed Licorice Pimps, Poor Man’s Poison, and lastly our own local favorite, Good Medicine.
As their name suggests, Mo’s Blue Groove was a tight little blues band with the flavor of New Orleans. The rhythms were foot-tapping and Mo’s gravel tinged voice added just the right texture to the lyrics.(Photo by Eric Platzek).
Next up was Licorice Pimps. Most of these musicians traveled from the valley area to entertain us. With the first song the crowd was enticed onto the dance floor. These guys were having a good time up on the stage and it just felt right to join in on the dance floor. Accomplished musicians all, they put out the dance tunes that kept the crowd happy and begging for more. Aside from a couple of unfortunate slips of an expletive inappropriate for young ears, the band was a real winner from start to finish.
Now I want to try to describe the next unusual form of entertainment we were treated to. You may typically want to associate fire dancers with the tropics and grass skirts.but Mana Fire was just right for our evening under the stars. The group, made up 4 women and 2 men, was dressed in logger’s plaid shirts some wearing boots, some with bare feet. They handled the torches and hoops and axes with precision and grace; their footwork was a treat to watch.
You have to be impressed by the amount of practice and concentration it must take to get good at handling various pieces of hardware that are flaming away. Their choice of popular songs from the radio was just the right background for their considerable athletic talents. I’m eager to watch them perform at local events in the future.
Back to the bands. Although the hour was getting late, the enthusiasm on stage and off never waivered. Poor Man’s Poison was up next. This group doesn’t fall into a specific genre; they say their music can best be described as “Americana” with bluegrass leanings. Their original tunes spoke to the heart and were richly musical; their voices blended beautifully, the addition of a mandolin and stand-up bass fiddle added a richness I just ate up!
Kudos to Good Medicine for finishing off the night in style! It is not possible to like a band more than Good Medicine. They add their own style and spin to covers. Their original tunes are strong and memorable. It must be said also that the group as a whole has mellowed and refined their music with time, each member adding impressive depth.
The only improvement that is needed is finding a way to get sound checks working more smoothly if The Wood Chopper’s Ball plans to offer multiple music groups for future Jamborees, and I hope they do. The night was pleasantly all about music, community, and having a good time.
Editor’s note: Everyone in North Fork and all who attended the Woodchoppers Ball wish to give major props to Winston Damme and his amazing wife Janet. Winston is a sound master and had his hands full with the challenges of all the different bands. He makes everyone sound awesome! And Janet is stage manager extraordinaire, keeping set changes on track and running smoothly. Any time these two are on the job, any show is going to be the very best it can be!