I just had a wonderful weekend at the Loch Norman Highland Games near Charlotte North Carolina. The lineup on stage was Clandestine, Ed Miller with Jill Chambliss and Scooter Muse, and Brian McNeil. I never realized what an amazing voice Jill has until I heard her duet with Ed Miller, and I never realized what a great banjo player Scooter was although he usually plays guitar with Ed. Brian NcNeil played some very intense and beautiful music and sang some of my favorite songs, “the Yew Tree”, “Snows of France and Holland”, “No Gods”, and “Muir and the Master Builder”. I remember when I first heard “No Gods” and it really resonated with me. I feel it has a message of not being taken in by people who use the call of patriotism for their own ends, to avoid reducing a cultural history to a fairy tale.
The Clandestine sets went well I thought and the Higgins reeds I’ve been using in the A chanters have been performing well. In the solos I played a reed made by Jimmy McIntosh who has been so influential on so many pipers in his decades of teaching piobaireachd. Seconds in the March and Strathspey/Reel events and a third in the piobaireachd were nice results to get, especially since Kevin Dugas was in the contest and Robert Minnear played a great piobaireachd (and won that event).
I’m so far behind in my pipe making I can’t event think right now and losing the transmission in my minivan last Thursday meant I spent the first two days of this week obsessing on cars. Today I drove home the proud owner of a Honda Fit. This week I’m finishing up a batch of bellows and sending a D chanter for a friend here in NC. I’ll be working hard the rest of this week and then driving to Houston for the International Festival to play with Clandestine on Sunday.