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Feels like home to me
Feels like home to me
Feels like I’m on my way back where I belong….
Randy Newman

It’s been almost 48 hours since I arrived here in Montreat, NC for SERFA 2013 (the South Eastern Regional Folk Alliance conference). Driving the three plus hours from Raleigh Durham gave me lots of time to listen to music and think about why I come to these things. Of course, there’s the schmoozing and the chance to play some of my music for people who’ve never heard of me.  In the old days, I would attend these conferences and plan and strategize.  Who do I need to meet who can help me? Who do I need to convince that I am fabulous?  But I’m glad to say I’ve come around to something infinitely more important. The point of this isn’t to make a thousand superficial contacts, but a few significant ones.  This music scene is all about community and connection.  And a shared love of the power of songs, of course.  And I don’t know that there is any group of musicians who are more plugged into this than folk musicians. Earnest, passionate and supportive of each other, this is a community that I’m proud to belong to. When you hear the term “folk” music, I think the general population tends to picture a hippie activist songwriter, strumming on his or her acoustic guitar.  Certainly that style of songwriting is well represented here. But I also hear other styles and genres being played, and it’s been a blast so far being a part of this.

The location is this amazing stone castle-like hotel nestled in the green mountains nearby to Ashville.  There is a lake (called Susan Lake! – Hah!) that waterfalls into a little stream at the base of the hotel.  Most windows are open and none of them have screens on them so you hear the rush of water at all times, and right now, I hear a fiddler warming up in his or her room.  Pretty cool, huh?

SERFA 2013 hotel room

The view from my window

I’ve been enjoying some wonderful workshops – I actually taught one myself yesterday and found myself writing notes on a blackboard with chalk in hand. Feels like an appropriate way to teach an old craft like songwriting.  It’s old school, and I love it.  It feels like home to me.  And I’m so glad to be back where I belong.

SERFA 2013 Blackboard

The blackboard from my seminar

I also played some showcases, but the best part is what happened after everything was done. A bunch of us sat around trading songs which is why I’m up so late every night.  Lots of very cool songwriters. It’s small and intimate, and I’m actually getting to know people….

Just a few of the musicians I’ve enjoyed so far….Check em out!

Greg Trafidlo, Tony Denikos, Claudia Nygaard, Greg Horne, RJ Cowdery, Camela Widad, Dylan Sneed, Beggar’s Ride, The Billy Jonas Band, Rob Lytle, Mike Vial,  Caroline Aiken

I’m looking forward to more great music tonight  – xo S