We may seem like a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants family, trying and doing different things all the time. However, our field trips have become kind of routine, always revolving around history, being active, and the outdoors. We hardly do anything to explore music.
Naturally, our son loves pop music and he fancies himself a dance star. It’s not unusual to lose track of him and discover he’s been listening to the radio in the bathroom for 30 minutes dancing in front of the mirror. Jason Derullo, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, if they’re on the Top 40, P listens to it.
It was time for him to see a little live music and listen to new types of music. And then I found myself in a happy and serendipitous moment; a friend was set to perform at a family-friendly venue. I haven’t been able to see him live in years. It was time for me to see live music again as well.
The night of the show, we had a little extra, embarrassing field trip, involving an alley, trying to get into Luna Café, but we figured it out. We ordered something to keep our hands busy while we listened to music and settled in for some live music with fresh coffee (for me) and cupcake (for P) in hand. We weren’t the only families in the coffee shop. A snarl of younger kids played up and down the length of the coffee shop while parents visited and musicians set up.
The opening musician, Brent Filchlin and his band were moving around the front of the café, tuning instruments, discussing musical details (I’d guess) and generally getting things ready. Perfect timing for a field trip.
We talked about the musicians as they tuned their instruments, evaluated where the lights were set up, and speculated on what all the equipment was. Were those speakers or amps? Why do they put the lights where they block your view? What types of instruments are they going to play? From the looks of it, a piccolo, banjo, ukulele, and guitars of all kinds. Whoa. The carefully stacked guitar cases look like an artistic musical pyramid! They use an iPad for sound and lights now?
Then they started playing. One performer said he was playing a Gibson mandolin cello from 1913. I didn’t know there was such a thing.
I leaned over and asked P to listen for lyrics and the sounds of the instruments while he listened to the music.
“Is that blues music?” He asked me. Then, “Is this the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald?” He was in the right genre. This was beautiful bluegrass.
They did some banjo picking, added harmonizing.
P leaned back to whisper, “I like that guy’s singing.” I did, too. He was singing a song, Shady Grove, that brought me back to childhood nights listening to bluegrass with my parents at UWGB’s Blue Whale coffee house.
Before we knew it, they were done and our friend Kurt Gunn started setting up. It was finally start time.
Kurt describes his music as “Folk-n-Roll”. It was definitely a switch from the opening band. His unrushed, casual storytelling between songs is second only to his music. I love hearing the stories behind the songs and behind the scenes of his life.
P liked the “Bullfighter song”, of course. I leaned in for the Bixby letter song, Abraham.
At about 8:30 I could see P getting tired, just three songs into Kurt’s set. We stayed for two more songs and then snuck out between songs.
Truthfully, I may have arranged this musical field trip more because I wanted to see a favorite artist than to broaden our son’s musical experience. So what if my motives were selfish? I got to see Kurt perform, P got to hear two different types of music in one night, and P got to feel live music.