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Date this web site was last edited:  12/06/2015






Past Pickin' Parties

(Newest to Oldest Order)

Quick Look at Pictures:  06/09  12/0811/08,  09/0805/0812/0709/07, 12/06, 06/06, 01/06, 10/05, 05/05,  8/04, 5/04, 3/04, 1/04, 12/03, 10/03, 9/03, 8/03, 5/03, 12/02, 11/02, 10/02, 9/02, 4/02, 1/02, 12/01, 9/01, 5/01, 3/01, 1/01, 12/00, 9/00, 6/00

Pickin' Party #76 - Sat, December 8th, 2012 (pictures)
Guest Picker - Terry Efaw
"Merry Christmas, Palmer"

This year's Christmas Pickin' Party was an emotional uplift for your club organizer, Palmer Moore, in that over the years with the loss of Billy Tustin (personal friend of Chet's,) and the fact that JD Norman recently got brain cancer, and the natural (understandable) ebbing of interest from a lot of the original OFGC membership - the club has lost a lot of it's focus on the reason we are a club - Chet Atkins.  Now, I'm not complaining as we've picked up a number of new playing membership and a ton of enthusiastic audience - however, the fact remains that Chet "had" become a bit less than the total center of our consorted playing and enjoying efforts.  

Well, that all changed at last Saturday's Christmas Pickin' Party!  I had sent out an appeal to the "charter membership" to attend the event - and, did they ever show up:  Dave Sullivan (Hillard,)  Dan Collins (Ashley,)  Jim Lafferty (Springfield,)  Gerry Hyland (Springfield,)  Jeff Barker (Columbus,) Bill Esch (couldn't come Sat, but came on Tues,) Chris Vickers (co-founder of OFGC - Troy,) and local Chet icon, Terry Efaw, came to be our Guest Picker.  Other players in attendance, were Tom Mathys (Marion,) Dave Martin (Dayton,) Steve Brickles (Pomeroy,) Harley McCabe (Springfield,) Rex Eberle (Columbus,) Carlos Chang (Columbus,) and Travis Vickers (son of Chris - Troy,) Don VanMeter (Columbus,) and another local Columbus guitar icon, Chaz Mechenbier.  They didn't all play, but with those that did - not a bad picker in the whole lot - and, Chet was alive the whole day!

Like I've been writing in my recent club eNewsletters, the big difference between our Pickin' Parties when we first started is the regular attending audience that just comes to listen to our music.  And, they like to BRING FOOD.  Headed up by two wives of pickers, Helen Mathys and Zaron VanMeter, they bring and coordinate a full course dinner for our culinary discression and enjoyment - with LOTS of desserts.  I've got to tell you that it's a lot nicer being able to pick pretty much all day on a full belly rather than worrying about running out to grab a sandwich or a piece of pizza.  Thanks, folks, for making our Pickin' Parties a lot more fun.

We don't dwell on Guest Pickers, anymore, like we used to.  Instead, we promote separate concerts at the McConnell Arts Center to enjoy our special guests.  And, when they do come to a Pickin' Party - they play a short 20 - 30 minute set in order to not shift our focus on having the other attending "pickers" share and enjoy our mutual admiration of Chet's finger style guitar.  However, I've got to tell you that it's really enjoyable to listen to the "good guys (and, gals)" play our genre of music as well as they do.  

At the Christmas Party local icon, Terry Efaw, showed us why he won the second of only two National Chet Atkins Pickin' Contests back when he was a teenager.  Right after lunch he played several tracks off his newest CD entitled "Hometown Christmas Eve" - plus, a few requests.  Professionally, Terry doesn't get to show off his "Chet chops" as much as he would like to, so this performance was as enjoyable for him as it was for us.  

All in all - the whole day was "Merry Christmas, Palmer!"  Thanks so much to everybody that made it a very special day for your club organizer.

Pickin' Party #50 - Sat, October 13th, 2010 (pictures)

In October 2010 we started having regularly scheduled Pickin' Parties (the second Sat of each month - 10 am til 4 pm) at the McConnell Arts Center in Worthington, Ohio - usually without Guest Pickers.  From time to time we will be posting a review of some of the more memorable Parties when pictures are available.

Pickin' Party #49 - Sat, June 13th, 2009 (pictures)
Guest Pickers - Richard Smith and Michael Chapdelaine
"Nothing but Brilliance"

Over 65 members and guests came out on a beautiful June day to enjoy some of the finest finger style guitar music on earth.  We had already planned on Richard Smith coming to be our Guest Picker for this Party when Ted Kerr, owner of Uptown Strings in Westerville, Ohio, called to ask me if I would advertise the fact that another great finger style guitarist and Winfield winner, Michael Chapdelaine, was going to be in Columbus this same weekend.  Of course I did, but I also sent a quick email/request to Mr. Chapdelaine to see if he would come open for Richard - which he did.  And, are we ever lucky he did.  He was magnificent!.

Michael is a classically trained professional guitarist who still performs classical venues, however, in addition, he has found a passion for finger style acoustic, as well.  And, he displayed this new passion to us with a wonderful set of standard and detuned cover tunes and several of his own compositions.  Besides being a brilliant musician - he was extremely entertaining - and, FUNNY...  We were so fortunate that Michael came to help out with this Party.  Thanks, Michael..

"Why do you have Richard Smith come play for us so much, Palmer?"  is a question I get asked quite a bit.  Well, it's a rather easy answer:  Because he will come!  Hands down Richard is the best finger style guitarist that will come and play for us - within our budget.  Besides, (in my humble opinion) he's one of the top three guitar players in the world - who, that has ever attempted to play the guitar, would not want to hear the "best" for only $10 bucks - no matter how many times he comes to play for us?  Mr. Smith plays classical, jazz, Chet, Merle, Jerry, standards, country - and, he seems to be able to continue to add breadth to his incredible playing all the time.  And, he is adding more wonderfully practiced vocals to his repertoire. 

What an incredible afternoon of guitar music.  

Pickin' Party #48 - Sat, Dec 27th, 2008 (pictures)
Ray "Jingle Bell Rock" Cummins

I can't say I wasn't a little disappointed that only 40 or so folks showed up to hear one of the best Chet style guitarists play - however, those that did show were rewarded with some unbelievable music - and, a bunch of great cookies..  Ray's only problem is that he makes it looks so darned easy that the casual observer might be lured into thinking that there's not much going on.  When, in fact, they are actually watching some of the most brilliant Chet style guitar playing on the planet.  I'll even go so far to suggest that one would be hard pressed to find that quality of finger style guitar playing anywhere else on this wonderful planet of ours.

The afternoon was opened up with a really nice set by local guitar whiz, Chaz Mechenbier.  Chaz is noted for his "rock", jazz and "stand up entertainer" prowess, but give he did spend a couple years on the road with Jerry Reed and give him a reason to bone up on some finger style tunes and he'll outright knock you off yer chairs.  Which he did - leaving the crowd with their jaws dropped.  He's a good n' - and, I think we'll keep him.  (lol)

Ray then took center stage.  Ray still plays a few of his very popular (usually by request) gospel numbers with his "backing tracks,"  but the vast majority of his program was all secular with a fine keyboard player by the name of Danny Burton.  One smooooth Chet tune right after another.  He just makes it look soooo easy that we tend to be fooled into thinking it is..  Foolish thoughts..  IT ISN'T!!!  Ray is the best.

We, then, formed our usual "circle of horror" and had a great club jam, and played right up til 7 pm.  Great time had by all.  

Pickin' Party #47 - Sat, Nov 22nd, 2008  (pictures)
Matinee Concert
Richard Smith & The Hot Club of Nashville

What can I say - this was the most amazing musical experience that we have ever seen in Ohio.  Richard Smith led off with a full hour solo set that was proof positive that this world class musician never stops progressing his art.  He just never seems satisfied with how he plays his tunes and continually adds breadth and wisdom to each of his arrangements of standards, classical, Chet and jazz.  He's simply incredible.

The Hot Club of Nashville - with Stewart Duncan, fiddle - Pat Bergeson, guitar/harmonica - Charlie Chadwick, bass & Jimmy G, drums - came on with a big bang full of amazing swing.  Obviously borrowing the legacy of Django Reinhardt and Stephan Grapelli - these boys put fire in every tune. It was over all too soon.  

Pickin' Party #46 - Sat, Sept 20th, 2008 (pictures)
No Guest Picker - "Just Pickin' ' Grinnin"
Guest of Honor - Chris Vickers

We thought we'd try a "regional" Pickin' Party over in the Western part of Ohio.  OFGC member, JR Smith, arranged access to the Coming Together Center in Dayton, Ohio through it's very personable pastor, Ken Shively - a true gentleman and a bundle of energy.  It was a perfect place to hold a Party.

Even though we didn't have a large attendance, those of us that did come had a great time pickin' and grinin'.  Players Alan Yeoman and Pete Peel from southern Ohio, Jim Lafferty and his buddy Jerry Hyland from Springfield, Phil Morones from Tipp City, our Guest of Honor, Chris Vickers from Troy, JR Smith from Centerville - and, Carroll Estep who seemed more excited than a kid in a candy store.  (I love to see folks that are really happy that we are keeping this club alive - it makes all the work worth it.  Thanks, Carroll!)

The pictures above are kinda fuzzy, but thanks to Larry Baker and Linda Wagner for coming and taking them.  There were a few other "listeners" that came, but I was too busy pickin' to get their names.  A fun day was had by all attendees.

Pickin' Party #45 - Sat, May 24th, 2008 (pictures)
Guest Picker(s) - Thom Bresh & Audie Wykle

What a wonderful day it was.  Thom Bresh was our highest profile Guest Picker, yet - and, our membership came out in droves to support his Concert.  And, nobody left dissatisfied.  He was simply brilliant:  guitarist, singer, song writer, comedian, impressionist, and story teller.  Boy, did he had some wonderful stories about his relationship with our club heroes Chet, Jerry and his dad, Merle Travis...  

Thom is the son of legendary Merle Travis and even after all the years of performing, he still treats his audiences to a slug of "Travis" pickin' and singin'.  However, he doesn't dwell on it.  He's got a ton of music he has written, himself - and, wasn't afraid of sharing it with this very enthusiastic crowd.  He told stories in between tunes, explained licks on his guitar - cracking everybody up with his impressions and crazy antics.  WHAT A SHOW!!!!

Our thanks to Audie Wykle for leading off for Thom with a set of very well practiced finger style tunes.  JD Norman provided his expert accompaniment.  

Pickin' Party #44 - Sat, Dec 29th, 2007 (pictures)
Guest Picker(s) - John McClellan, Tim Thompson, Roger Hoard

All three of our Guest Pickers were virtually unknown to our club membership, however we turned out in record numbers to hear John McClellan, Tim Thompson and Roger Hoard.  And, we were not disappointed - they were all amazing.  The true substance of a "club" is to gather, enjoy and support an "art form" - not just a select few artists.  The many folks that were in attendance this Saturday (many driving 100s of miles) were doing exactly that - and, none went home regretting the trip.  One new member that found us in the Weekender section of the Columbus Dispatch sat through all the concerts and the entire club jam (that's around 8 hours of sitting), and on his way out the door the only thing he said was,  "Welp, I better go home and practice."

John McClellan is an accomplished classical guitarist and teacher, however his notoriety has been gained through authoring the recent Chet Atkins tablature books "Chet Atkins: In Three Dimensions".  These tab books have found there way to just about every basement where us Chet wanna bees hang onto every stroke Chet ever put on the guitar.  John brought a Gretch Nashville Classic electric guitar with him and played it very well.  However, he simply devoured classical tunes like Mayan Dance, as Chet played it on his Caribbean Guitar album.

John's road companion and "color man", Tim Thompson, was as we expected - a single line master whiz bang guitarist - that complimented John's playing very well.  Yet, he played some tunes solo with amazing personal flare - with a touch of humor.  His arrangement of The Flintstones brought the house down.

Not demeaning the talents of our main Guest Pickers at all, however the biggest surprise of the day was the amazing talents of local Ohioan, Roger Hoard.  Not only did he blow us away with his extremely CLEAN execution of many Chet/Reed tunes on electric nylon, acoustic and steel stringed electric guitars - he performed a few very tasteful originals, as well.  This man not only deserves to come back as our main Guest Picker sometime soon - Dr. Pritcher should take a strong look at this dude for Main Stage at CAAS!  

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fun we had sittin' in the "circle of horror" after the concert.  This is where us "less than professional" pickers form a circle of amps and, in turn, get to pick a solo or lead a "jam."  To some of us this is the essence and the most fun part of each Pickin' Party.  Daren Lewis, Alan Yeoman, Pete Peel, Chris Vickers, Bob Henthorne, Jim Lafferty, Rod Brown, Dan Collins, Tom Mathys and myself spent over 3 hours pickin' and grinnin' some old goodies.  Lots of fun had by all.

Palmer Moore - Organizer 

Pickin' Party #43 - Sat, Sept 6th, 2007 (pictures)
Guest Picker - Robert Anderson

What a disappointment with such a meager attendance to hear one of the true Chet pickers - Robert Anderson.  However, he stepped up on stage and played his heart out for the fortunate few that did manage to find time to come support the club.  

JD Norman and Tom Mathys opened for Robert with a quick set of standard tunes.  Both of these boys have been playing in bands for many many years - and, it shows up in their ability to keep folks right on the edge of their seats wherever they play.  

Pickin' Party #42 - Sat, March 10th, 2007 (sorry, no pics)
Guest Picker - Richard Smith

Unbelievable Pickin' Party - Richard Smith was above and beyond anything we've seen from him so far - two hour long solo concert and then he joined us in the "circle" for another hour - whatever tune anybody started - he provided some brilliant overtures.  

The day was started by an opening set by Mr. Smoooooth, Pete Cavano who had driven down from Cleveland to share his extraordinary guitar prowess with us.  Pete is not old - well, not as old as most of us in OFGC - but, he's way too old to still find his guitar career exciting enough to continue to grow as a player.  However, he does - and, it doesn't go un-noticed.. His arrangements and artistry are still reaching new heights after all these years.  We are so blessed to have Mr. Smooooth in our club.  

Richard Smith - what can I say that I haven't already said before.  In my mind, he is one of the three finest finger style guitarists in the world - if not the best.  And he proved it once again on this visit.  It has been a treat to hear Richard play with his lovely talented cellist wife, Julie - or, the incredibly talented guitarist, Pat Bergeson - however, the only way to see his true genius is to hear him play SOLO!!!  And, he did - FOR TWO SOLID HOURS!!!  

Then, after we set us and started our well organized "pickin' in the circle" jam - Richard joined us for another hour of pure pleasure.  It's one thing hearing Sir Richard play his incredible solos, but it's an entirely other extreme pleasure having him chime in on one of your tunes.  (Just about when you think you "got it" - he lays down some "world class" licks just to let us know - there is a difference.  

Pickin' Party #41 - Sat, Dec 2nd, 2006   (pictures)
Annual Christmas Pickin' Party - Audie Wykle "Special Member Appearance"

What a wonderful time we had at our Annual Christmas Pickin' Party yesterday.  We had about 35 in attendance to a Party without our usual visiting Guest Picker.  Instead, we featured one of our own members on-stage - the very accomplished, Audie Wykle - and, surrounded him with a number of other extremely talented members.  We started the on-stage portion of the Party with the 2006 National Thumbpicker Contest winner, David Duncan accompanied by JD Norman.  Dave has been playing guitar for a long time, but he just seems to be getting better and better - you just can't find a more timely "thumb."

Tuesday Night Club Jam regular, Frank Lefebre, then played a few very well practiced Christmas carols solo on Audie Wykle's nylon electric made by Mel McCullough.  Frank has an uncanny ability to "step up" when it comes to performance.  

Then, Audie Wykle came on-stage for our Special Member Performance - with JD Norman as accompaniment. Audie is the best kept secret in Ohio - he wowed us for an hour with his very up-tempo thumb style tunes.  He acknowledges that he "doesn't play them just like Chet" - but, he dazzles the listener with his "likeness" to Chet.  

JD Norman stayed up on-stage to play a flawless version of Chet's "East Tennessee Christmas," "White Christmas" and "San Antonio Stroll" and yours truly put forth an attempt at Ray Cummins arrangement of "Jingle Bell Rock".

The very capable Chris Vickers then came up and played a number of old thumb pickin' tunes on his Gibson Country Gentleman pictured in our club logo above.  It's always nice to see and hear my club co-founder play.  

The on-stage portion of our Christmas Party was closed by two of our professional guitarists in the club - Chaz Mechenbier and Bob Cox...  The boys do know how to play them guitars. 

We then formed the "circle of horror" with 10 guitarists sitting "in the round"...  Four more hours of pure guitar musical bliss...  Lot's of cookies and refreshments....  A great time was had by all...

Palmer Moore - Organizer

Pickin' Party #40 - Sat, Sept 9th, 2006
with Guest Picker Richard Kiser

I'll lay odds that there weren't more than a few places in the world that folks could have gone to this day to hear the level of thumb pickin' fingerstyle guitar playing that was played this day right here in Columbus, Ohio - all for just $10 bucks!  Besides being a first rate solo guitar player - he had a warm and humorous stage presence that portrayed his many years in show business.  However, I'm getting a little out of sequence - more on Richard, later.

First off, I'd like to thank my 18 year old son, Clayton, for getting up early this morning to help me drag all our sound equipment and refreshments over to the Griswold Center at SEVEN AM to set up the facilities for the folks that would be arriving at 11.  Not many teenagers would submit to that humiliation that early in the morning.  (Must be he owes me money... (lol)

At noon our good friend, wonderfully talented guitar player, annual CAAS main stage performer, and long time OFGC member, Pete Cavano, played an opening set of brilliantly arranged songs that Pete plays with the smoothest of execution.  Pete spends over 2 hours driving all the way down from Cleveland to offer up his incredible talents for free - and, leaves mid afternoon to get back home in time for his Sat evening gig.  Pete is never a flashy or speedy player, however he arranges and plays familiar standards with a flare for thumb style bass lines leaning slightly into jazz.  As such, his rendition of Jitterbug Waltz (played in E) sent chills through the crowd of Chet style players used to playing it in D... Our thanks to Pete for, again, coming all the way down from Cleveland to add such a nice touch of class to our Party.  (His incredible talent is only superceded by the size of his heart.)

Then, we surprised those lucky enough to be in attendance with a little guitar history lesson about an icon that lives right here in Columbus - Billy Tustin:

Charter OFGC member Dave "Sully" Sullivan is a compulsive collector of all things "guitar" (books, mags, tabs, articles, albums, etc) - however, a very organized one.  Unlike most "collectors", Dave does, in fact, read those old mags and such in his "library" (of sorts (lol) and he happened to run across an article in an old Frets magazine that John Knowles wrote about an interview he gave the late jazz phenomenon and pseudo adopted son of Chet Atkins, Lenny Breau.  (Chet really loved Lenny and his incredible talents - "borrowing" many techniques from the young genius.)  

During the interview John assumed that Lenny learned how to play country from his dad and mom, Lone and Betty Cody - a traveling country group, and his jazz from a few of their guitar players though the years that knew "big chords".  "But," he continued, "Where did you learn how to play like Chet Atkins?"  Lenny quickly replied, "There was this Billy Tustin that played with my mom and dad at a radio station in Wheeling, West Virginia when I was young that played just like Chet."

Mr. Knowles followed up with, "So, you are saying that this Billy Tustin taught you to thumb pick like Chet Atkins."  "Yes," Lenny added, "He knew Chet Atkins and took lessons from him or something.  He could play just like Chet.  He spent a lot of time with me teaching me." (This is all paraphrased from my recollection of what Sully read me.)

Well, it didn't take Sully long to get me on the phone,  "Palmer, is this OUR BILLY TUSTIN??"  I had no idea, so I gave Billy a quick phone call.  "Hey, Billy did you teach Lenny Breau how to play Chet style?"  "Who's Lenny Breau?" he replied.  "One of the finest jazz guitarists that ever lived.  He was Betty and Lone Cody's son.  He claims that you taught him when you played with his mom and dad down in West Va."    "Well, yea, I played with them on radio down there in the 50's, but I don't think I knew their son," as he attempted to remember, "However, there was this annoying little guy hanging around all the time."   

I fell on the floor in laughter.  Here was one of the finest jazz guitarists of all times remember this icon of Chet style teaching him how to play as a youth - and, from the icons perspective the young genius was "an annoying little guy."  (lol)  Folks, we have an icon of thumb pickin' fingerstyle guitar living right here in Columbus, Ohio.

Well, back to the Pickin' Party - we then brought Billy Tustin up on stage to play a couple old Chet tunes for the amazed audience.  His likeness to Chet was uncanny.

Richard Kiser then gave us an hour and a half concert that was simply wonderful.  Though he is considered to be one of the finest gospel guitarists, which he surely is, he played all kinds of tunes along with a plethora of gospel tunes - mostly requested.   Besides a natural talent for playing guitar, he has a gentle yet confident stage presence with a very pleasant demeanor between tunes.  

He played three guitars: a Samik acoustic, Godin nylon electric, and a beautiful "Robert Anderson" signature Wallace electric.  He played all of them exceptionally well.  

Sorry that I wasn't able to take any pictures, however if any of you that attended took any - please forward to me and I will post them here.

Palmer Moore - Organizer, OFGC

Pickin' Party #39 - Sat, June 3rd, 2006 (pictures)
with Guest Pickers Richard Smith and Pat Bergeson

The day started out wonderfully with a reunion of a duo, Terry Efaw and Craig Goodwin, that had been a mainstay in the Columbus music scene a few years ago.  It was immediately obvious why these two guys had such a following - smooth thumb style guitar of Efaw followed by interludes of Dickie Betts inspired single note leads from the graceful Goodwin.  Thanks, fellas.

Then, Richard Smith and Pat Bergeson took center stage to prove why the rest of us are basically still practicing - they were awesome....  Country, classical, standards, jazz - whatever anybody in the audience requested - they played.   And, all with world class flare.  Why more people didn't come out to see this level of talent is beyond me.

The "pickin' in the circle" segment, also, went extremely well.  Of note, Bruce Mock drove all the way in from Indy to play his nylon strings for us, and Bob Cox and Sully Sullivan hung around for the whole 4 hour segment.  Several other fine guitarists were in the "circle" as well.  Thanks to all who helped make this another successful Pickin' Party.

Pickin' Party #38 - Sat, April 22nd, 2006 (pictures)
with Guest Pickers Robert Anderson and Bob Saxton

The $3 a gallon gas prices kept the attendance rather slim, however those that ventured out witnessed some wonderful thumb picking.  Bob Saxton came up onstage first and proved that he hasn't lost a chop.  His wonderful understanding of the fret board continues to amaze even the novice guitar player, and his humor adds so much to his performance.  Bob's hour pretty much was "by request only" - and, he was never stumped...

Robert Anderson has been coming up to play for us for 4 or 5 years, now, and he has matured into one of the finest Chet pickers around.  He's always been able to play the tunes and it's obvious that he's practiced his art.  However, with all the concerts he has been playing the last few years he now plays with all the confidence of the "big guns" in the business which brings a whole new performance for us to enjoy.  Playing his great sounding signature Wallace guitars, he dazzled the audience with almost two hours of intricately played thumb style tunes (mostly Chet) with a few of his own very well written originals thrown in.  What a pleasure to listen to somebody play Chet's tunes just about like he played them....  

After the concert several folks went upstairs at the Griswold Center for a special 2 hour Workshop with Robert Anderson and a few of us remained downstairs and sat in the "circle of horror" - which was wonderful.  A special thanks to Pete Cavano and Frank Warren for driving all the way down from up in and near Cleveland and stay to play in the "circle" with JD Norman, Tom Mathys and myself.  Great jammin' was heard by several other lucky observers that hung around.

It's always a pleasure to see new faces, and we had a few at this Pickin' Party.  Thanks to them and everybody else that weren't intimidated by the high gas prices to come out to the Pickin' Party. 

Palmer Moore - OFGC Organizer

Pickin' Party #37 - Sat, January 21st, 2006 (pictures)
with Guest Picker - Kenny Poole (Hall of Fame Induction) (Kenny's bio)

(video 1)  (video 2) (video 3)

This was simply the most wonderful afternoon of music we have ever had here at an OFGC Pickin' Party!  We've had hot, great, awesome music from some of the best finger style guitar players in the world come play for us.  But, this was....... wonderful.  A room full of love for a man who we claim to be the finest finger style jazz guitar player in the world - Kenny Poole.

The whole afternoon was filled with mixed emotions as on one hand we were overjoyed listening to some of Ohio's best guitarists "play" tribute to one of their icons of guitar - and, in every breath, we couldn't help be saddened that with Kenny's "terminal cancer" status, that this may very well be the last time many of them would ever hear Kenny play, again. However, Kenny made sure we kept the mood upbeat - and, he made it evidently clear that HE WAS THERE TO PLAY - not to cry.

And, play he did....  But, not before several of his friends-fans-musicians got up and formed little jam groups and "played" a tribute to him and his legacy:  Tim Cummiskey, Todd Collis, Chaz Mechenbier, Pete Cary, Pete Cavano, Mike McGannon, Colin Latarski, Bret Burleson, Audie Wykle and Lonnie Coots all played in various and assorted combinations.  Thanks guys - it was an awesome experience for us - and, a great treat for Kenny, as well.

Kenny Poole then played two of the most brilliant sets that anybody in attendance had ever heard him play - had ever heard ANYBODY play.  Appropriate words do not come from my keyboard to properly define what this man can do on the fret board - it is beyond my abilities to explain.  But, even to my untrained ears I can see that the man has NOTHING planned out ahead of time - EVERYTHING he plays is brilliantly arranged "on the fly" and never duplicated throughout any given tune.  I'm also quite sure that he doesn't think about "chords" when he is creating his music in "real-time", but rather playing a melody line from his vast memory bank - and, then laying down a bass line and harmonies over that melody at the same time.. I doubt that he could tell you what "chord he just played" because I'm sure they aren't chords to him - they are "feelings"... Gorgeous deep feelings as he lives each tune he plays.... 

In between sets we had a little surprise for Kenny as we inducted him into our little OFGC Hall of Fame - "For a lifetime of fingerstyle jazz guitar.  Without equal - without compromise."  He was very pleased with the honor - and, several of his friends were in attendance and several more that couldn't be there sent congratulations messages for him to read.

All in all it was a wonderful afternoon of love and music.  I guess I could sum it up as a glad and sad day..  Extremely glad - and, mildly sad..  

(Click here to see a little what Kenny played) 

Palmer Moore - OFGC Club Organizer

Pickin' Party #36 - Sat, November 19th, 2005  
with Guest Pickers Richard & Julie Smith - Gary 

I truly apologize for not getting a review of this wonderful Pickin' Party done up..  We will, soon.

Pickin' Party #35 - Sat, October 1st, 2005 (pictures)
with Guest Pickers - Paul Moseley (& Dave Duncan) - Jim Volk

I've been wanting Jim Volk to come play for the club every since I first heard him play a few years ago - especially for the old die hard thumb picking fans.  I just knew that they would somehow find pleasure in hearing where "else" thumb and finger style guitar can go - and, they did.  He plays an acoustic guitar with aggression, however with subtleties that sometimes defy logic.  The knowledgeable listener just can't sit there during his performance and presume they can know where he is going.  Because every tune he plays is a trip that only he knows where "we" are going - and, I swear sometimes - even he doesn't really know where we are going.  But, we always get there - and, with much joy and admiration of the man's talent, humor, and musical taste.  Several people came up to me after his performance and asked me how they could find out where he plays.  Hey, "www.jimvolk.com".....

To an embarrassingly small audience, Paul Moseley then showed us why he is considered by many to be one of the top attractions at the annual Chet Atkins Appreciation Society convention.  His smooooth steady beat thumb is one of the best in the business and the tone he got out of his new Nashville Classic Gretsch guitar was unbelievably beautiful.  So reminiscent of "our" hero, Chet Atkins.  He, ably accompanied by our good friend and club member, Dave Duncan, pumped out some classic thumb pickin' tunes like Nine Pound Hammer, I Am a Pilgrim, Bells of St Mary, Back Up and Push, and many more.  It was such a treat for all us wanna be thumb pickers to sit there and listen to the absolute mastery of this style of guitar playing.  Paul was magnificent.

He, then, grabbed Dave Sullivan's Kirk Sand nylon stringed guitar and invited one of his traveling companions and singer, Dena Ashley, to come up and sing a few tunes with him.  She and he are part of a gospel band back in Western Kentucky and she knocked our socks off with her beautiful voice.  (Wadn't to hard to look at, either... Her husband Lucky er Gerry just sat in the back with a little smile on his face.  (lol)

Dave Duncan then took a break and JD Norman came up onstage to rip a few tunes off with Paul.  (Those two should cut an album...)  Great up tempo music.

We then formed a big circle and all us spectators had a chance to pick a tune.  This is always a lot of fun.  A special thanks to Chuck Henley for coming and bring a couple buddies all the way from Michigan.  And, for Bruce Mock for driving all the way in from Indianapolis.  

Pickin' Party #34 - Sat, May 14th, 2005  (pictures)
"Poole Party - All Jazz"
with Guest Pickers - Kenny Poole - Stan Smith & Paul Brown

I know it seems like a diversion from our finger style guitar club charter to feature jazz at one of our Pickin' Parties every now and then.  But, it's not really..  Even though our club hero's (Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, and Jerry Reed) were primarily "thumb pickers" - they were greatly influenced by the jazz greats: Django Reinhardt, Johnny Smith, Joe Pass, and many others, etc.  And, it is very useful to have an all jazz Party occasionally to keep this style fresh in our minds - and, hopefully into our playing.

Two of Columbus' best jazz guitarists, Stan Smith and Paul Brown, opened the afternoon with a set of brilliant music that they have put together as a duo over the past two years. Paul has become one of the country's best jazz fusion guitarists with an "in-yer-face" "take-no-prisoners" aggressive style - where Stan has a more laid back standard approach to his jazz music which works very nicely with Paul's.  However, standard jazz is not what they play - rather a fairly complex mixture of Paul's jazz fusion with Stan's extremely interesting chordal harmonies.  The audience was duly impressed.

Kenny Poole then took center stage for an hour of solo jazz guitar surrounding good old standard tunes with chords and bass lines that only Kenny can do. The true brilliance of Kenny's talent can only be fully appreciated in complete silence (not some smoky lounge full of disrespectful patrons) - and, the Griswold Center provides exactly that.  There were 70 fortunate spectators in complete silent awe of his playing.... Except for the occasional outbursts of "oohs" and "aahs" from the professional guitarists in the room that were glued to his every note.  

Kenny's good friend and fellow musician, Tom Schofield, played a few tunes with Kenny on his clarinet.  Kenny and Tom are a favorite duo in the Cincinnati area and have a CD out called "".  Wonderful stuff. 

After a quick smoke break Kenny came back on stage and was kind enough to play with anybody brave enough to do so.  First, back to the stage was one of our lead off guys, Stan Smith - almost like they had been playing together for years.  Then, our good friend from Cleveland, Pete Cavano - talk about smooth.  Then, came our local Columbus wizard, Chaz Mechenbier, who played a new guitar built by long time OFGC member, Richard Everhardt.  Jazz enthusiast, Todd Collis, then showed that he has practiced over the years..  I guess maybe I got up there with Kenny to make a fool of myself - but, fortunately Pete Carey came in late with his brother, Andy Carey, and his daughter, (sorry I forgot her name - even after I asked her a second time.. ) - and, they formed a group with the daughter singing, Pete playing bass, Andy on guitar, Tom Schofield on clarinet, and of course Kenny Poole on guitar...  What a nice finish to a beautiful afternoon of music at the Griswold Center.

To tell you all the truth - I was a little nervous that maybe the "all jazz" venue might not draw enough folks to make a successful Party - but, you folks never cease to amaze me with your support.  The turnout was less than our typical "thumb pickers" Party, but it was more than we used to get at any Party - and, they dug deep in their pockets to show our Guests just how much they enjoyed their world  class guitar talents...  Thanks, folks.

Oh yea.... your humble club organizer, Palmer Moore, got the surprise of his life when two of the original members of OFGC, (Alan Yeoman and Dave Sullivan) his personal friends, and just so happens to be the OFGC Hall of Fame committee - caught me off guard and presented me with a Life Tiime Achievement Award for being a loud mouth, or something...  (lol)  Well, I guess it was for having the vision and courage to start the Ohio Fingerstyle Guitar Club.   Thanks to the club and all my old friends for this recognition - it means the world to me.

Palmer Moore - Organizer, OFGC

Pickin' Party #33 - Sat, February 26th, 2005 
"Who Can Stay with Scotty?  Bob Can...."
with Guest Pickers - Scotty Anderson & Bob Saxton

(video 1) (video 2) (video 3) (video 4) (video 5) (video 6) (video 7) (video 8)

Nobody seemed to be taking pictures of this fabulous Pickin' Party - however, the club has made a two DVD set of both Bob Saxton's opening set, and then Scotty Anderson with Bob Saxton.  If you would like one send a check made out to Palmer Moore for $11 and mail it to Palmer Moore, 6700 Hayhurst St, Worthington, OH 43085.  (Eleven bucks just covers copying costs and mailing..)

Pickin' Party #32 - Sat, December 11th, 2004
"Christmas in Columbus:
with Guests Pickers - Ray Cummins & Robert Anderson

(Robert video1)  (Robert video2)

(I didn't get any pictures sent to me of this party, but it was a good one...)

Pickin' Party #31 - Sat, August 21st, 2004  (pictures)
"Instrumental Bluegrass on Steroids" 
with Guest Pickers - Robert Shafer & Johnny Staats

Yep, they were flat pickers - but, they had us finger pickers right on the edges of our seats for an hour of some of the most amazing pickin' we've had at a Pickin' Party, yet.  (And, we've had some good ones.)  Robert Shafer and Johnny Staats were the perfectly matched and absolutely amazing as they ripped their rapid upbeat tempo tunes at us with the most precise points and counter-points imaginable.  Individually, they are both amazingly good musicians - but, together they become greater than two...  So, well matched musically, rhythmically, and personally.  

Robert showed us why he was a two-time Winfield flat picking champion with his clean crisp Django influenced bluegrass riffs, licks and most magnificent backup rhythm accompaniments.  Johnny became part of his mandolin.  From the downbeat of every tune his head almost lays down on his mando with his eyes partially shut as he breathes fire into the tiny instrument.  And, quite the "cut-up" with his "down home" accent and humor.  

There were several of Ohio's best bluegrass musicians in the crowd: Troy Herdman (rhythm guitar), Oscar Ball (mando) and Gaylord Johnson (who won a fiddle contest the day before the Pickin' Party) - and, they all sat there with theirs jaws at their feet as they listened to Robert and Johnny perform their magic.  Folks, we had two of the best instrumental bluegrass musicians in the world come to Columbus to play just our little room of 50 some attendees.  And, our club deserves a big round of applause as they dug VERY DEEP into their pockets to show our Guests how much they were appreciated. 

Palmer Moore - OFGC Organizer

Pickin' Party #30 -Sat, May 15th, 2004  (pictures)

"Georgia on Ours Minds" Weekend

with Guest Pickers - Julian Smith and Bob Saxton

Friday Night - We held a special Tuesday Night Club Jam at Scottie MacBeans Coffee House on Friday and lot's of people showed up - some having driven several hours to get there..  and, what a treat it was.  Club regulars JD Norman (electric), Frank LeFebre (nylon electric), Jerry Cummins (keyboard), and myself (C-clamp) started the evening off with our usual "stellar" performance of "passing the token" around the horn... which to be truthful is worth the price of admission in itself - these guys are very good.. I'm "comin' along."  

We were then joined by Bob Saxton for a couple good thumb pickin' tunes - and, then "our gang" took a break and let Bob let loose for an hour of pure magic at the coffee house..  They have entertainment of all sorts at the "house" all the time - but, they ain't never heard nothing like Bob..  or, seen anything quite like him - he's quite the ham.

"Our Gang" then came back on for a few more and we were quickly joined by Julian Smith who had driven 11 hours that day to get up to Columbus from Bowdon, Georgia.  JS was in the mood to "jam" and he refused to let us retire - we jammed some great thumb picking tunes (to our greatest pleasure) for another hour and a half - "until closin' time."  (The "house" management, being thoroughly impressed with the music, took me aside and asked, "Where in the world do you find these guys!")

Saturday's Pickin' Party - Bob Saxton got things going around noon by showing everybody why he is one of the most popular guitarists at the annual Chet Atkins Appreciation Society Convention in Nashville every year.  His patented arrangement of "Stardust" is always his greatest crowd pleaser.  He played for over an hour one wonderful tune after another - almost without break in between songs.  He was our first Guest Picker several years ago - and, will remain our favorite for years to come.

We then took a half hour break for a delicious Pulled BBQ Pork lunch from the  Pig Iron BBQ just down the street from the Griswold Center.  Followed by trays full of scrumptious cookies baked and donated by one of our handier members.  Providing some great "lunch music" was a traveling companion of the Smith's from Chattanooga, Tenn by the name of Waymon Vickery - who wasn't afraid of "stepping up to the plate" as he played ALL OF "Petite Waltz" - no small task.  (A big thanks to Waymon for coming up with Julian and Robin for the weekend..)

Then, Julian Smith took center stage and proved to everybody why I've been adamantly attempting to get him to come up and play for all of my members for years.  And, why I was just as adamant that my members show up to hear him play - the man is nothing less than brilliant.  Every tune he played was flawlessly executed on his two beautiful Taylor acoustics with the cleanest, clearest and most precisely played notes that we have heard from anybody we've had at our Pickin' Parties, yet.  And, we've had some of the best in the world kindly come play for us.  It is truly a shame that more folks don't know about this amazing talent.

Obviously Julian was raised on and played Chet Atkins style guitar for most of his life - which he can still lay down with the best of him.  In fact, that's pretty much what he played at the CAAS Convention when I first heard him 6 years ago - and, very well.  But, I believe that the influences he subsequently discovered through the CAAS organization (and, events) like Pat Kirtley, Tommy Emmanuel, Doyle Dykes, etc., opened his eyes to a wider variety of styles - that has allowed him to broaden his musical prowess to include acoustic guitar of many different sounds -- and, to write many wonderful songs of his own and to arrange some very beautiful arrangements to many classics - especially his favorite gospel numbers.

Mr. Smith held the packed room of spectators spell bound for close to two hours as he played pretty much every tune off his CD "Pickin' in Paradise" - almost every tune off Chet and Tommy's "The Day the Fingerpickers Took Over the World" - and, many, many more beautiful compositions of his (that deserve to be on ANOTHER CD.)  Then, as a favor to me (primarily) he grabbed his old Gibson electric (that he doesn't play much, anymore), and invited JD Norman and myself to come join him for a round of good ol' time Chet tunes that he knows I surely love to hear him play (Levee Walking, Copper Kettle, Freight Train, See Me in Yer Dreams, etc.....  WHAT A TREAT...  (for me... lol)

After the concert most of the crowd dispersed and we let our "stars" go out for a breather.  At which time a few of us remaining formed our little "circle of horror" to have a structured club jam..  (Which I have said many times can be just as much fun as listening to our world class stars.)  In the circle was two of our "first" PP attendees: Bruce Mock (3 1/2 hour drive from Indianapolis) and Dan Collins who is finally back pickin' with us after 40 weeks of brutal Hep3 shots.. which worked just fine and he's back picking better than ever.  Bruce showed us what 5 years of practice can do, too.  Also in the circle were regulars Jim Lafferty and Jerry Hyland (who had driven over from Springfield, OH two days in a row), Gail Haush who had stayed over the night before, Frank LeFebre, Ted Christy and Cuz Goldian. --- You probably wouldn't want to record the music that's produced in our "little circle" - but, if you could "can and sell" the joy that's felt by all - you'd be millionaires, fer sure... lol

IT STILL WASN'T OVER - After a quick dinner, Julian, Robin, and Waymon came over to my house where Julian put on a 2 1/2 hour concert in the Texas Fingerstyle Guitar Room of the internet PalTalk "live" for a great "on-line" crowd from around the world..  I had the very difficult task of sitting only 3 feet from right in front of him at the computer console...  Hey, somebody had to do it.... lol   WHAT A TREAT!!!  (Many of the "on-line" folks were thanking me for bringing Julian to them on the "net" - and, I said, "Oh, no - thank you!!"  Because of them - I got a personal VERY UP CLOSE concert... lol)

Folks, I have a tendency to shy away from calling folks the much over used phrase "gentleman" - because most of "us" fall short of really being such.  But, I've got to tell you that besides being the most prolific undiscovered talent in the guitar music business - that this Julian Smith is truly a gentleman in every sense of the word.  Gracious, considerate, modest, not a bad word spoken about anybody (even me) - and, I'm proud to have had the likes of him and his wife, Robin, visit Columbus, Ohio and to call him my friend.  Thanks again, JS, for coming all the way up here to share your talents with us.....

Palmer Moore - OFGC Organizer

Pickin' Party #29 -Sat, March 6th, 2004  (pictures)

(video 1) (video 2)

"Unbelievable" - Guest PIckers - Richard & Julie Smith, Pat Begeson & Bob Saxton

Let me start off by welcoming Happy Traum of Homespun Videos as a new club sponsor and thanking him for donating four instructional DVDs as doors prizes.  They made four lucky attendees very "happy."

Folks, all the talent that comes to our Pickin' Parties as Guest Pickers are top notched guitar players.  But, this time we had THREE OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD...  And, they played for a "very" full Room of zealous spectators just 15 to 20 feet away from our noses - for close to 5 and a half hours..  Quite a few of our membership jokingly (I hope) asked me, "Palmer, how are you going to beat this Party?"   The answer is, of course, "we can't."  All of our Parties are wonderful, but this one was a special one that dreams are built on.  

In my humble opinion, young Richard Smith is one of the top three thumb/finger style guitar players in the world - sharing that spot light with the fabulous Tommy Emmanuel and the very confident Doyle Dykes.  However, those other two charge an arm and a leg for an appearance, so we won't be seeing them anytime soon at an OFGC function.  Richard, on the other hand, in spite of a very successful touring career he and his talented wife Julie have, still finds time in his busy schedule to visit the grass roots clubs around the US at a very reasonable rate - the kindness of his heart and the generosity of our membership donation.  At this Party our membership in attendance dug very deeply into their pockets to show our visitors that we really appreciate their coming to Columbus .

Pat Beregson is one of the most sought after touring and recording “sidemen” in the country music business in Nashville .  Besides being a close friend and side man to Chet Atkins he has played with the likes of Bill Frisell, Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, Suzy Bogguss, Martina McBride, Kenny Rogers, and Peter Frampton to name a few.

Pat compliments Richard Smith’s playing like a nice looking tie makes or breaks the look of an expensive suit….  And, he did so for several hours this wonderful day.  He did take a request and played his own composition, All Through the Movies.  Very tasty piece that my good friend Russ Jenkins from England is tabbing up for us.

Bob Saxton still doesn’t take a back seat to any player.  The man has been playing guitar for more years than most of us have been alive.  And, I say this next statement with all the respect due a true master of guitar:

Like all of us that are starting to “get on” in age, our brains just don’t work as well as they did when we were much younger.  And, the same goes for Bob – as you can see him struggle sometimes to remember certain passages as he is playing some of his tunes.  However, this is where he reaches out and captivates all the other guitar players in the room.  This is where you see the true genius in this man – as he rearranges (sometimes, recomposes) new stuff for you right on the fly.  Like I mentioned before – a true master of guitar.

When Julie Smith came and played duet with her husband, Richard, for the first time several years ago we immediately noticed how obvious it was that her classical training in cello had taken Richard into a more subtle direction, musically.  She added more classical structure (and, tempo) to his playing – while not stifling his creative brilliance. The Richard and Julie show has only become better with time as she is now “jammin’ a little bit more – while still tactfully holding Richard’s presentation down… lol 

Bottom line, folks – it was the Pickin’ Party not to have missed.  And, I thank the one hundred and….a…..  well, the fire code limit for the Room is 125…. so, I’d like to thanks the 125 folks (wink wink) that came out to support this wonderful event. 

  Palmer Moore – Organizer, Ohio Fingerstyle Guitar Club

Pickin' Party #29 -Sat, January 17th, 2004  (pictures)

"The New Kid in Town" - Guest Picker - David Paul

I have got to kick off this review with a standing ovation for the room full of club members and guests that braved horrible weather conditions (some driving vast distances) to make this Pickin’ Party a gigantic success in spite of  Mother Nature.  (She obviously is not a big fan of thumb pickin’… In the five years that we have been having official Pickin’ Parties, she’s snowed and iced out two of them – and, that mean old lady gave it a great try again this past Saturday, Jan. 17th.  But, she fell short because in spite of the miserable driving conditions we had our second largest attendance.)  And, our Guest Picker, David Paul, made it, too, and was simply wonderful.

This thumbpickin’ guitar sport sometimes just ain’t for the meek and mild..  But then again, I have to remember that I’m originally from Upstate New York and up there if we waited for perfect weather to ever do anything or go anywhere – we’d have never done anything or gone anywhere. 

Yesterday started out as a disaster – I hadn’t got any sleep the night before because I was up all night watching that incoming ice/sleet/snow storm system on the “weather channel” - knowing full well that the 100 or more folks that were planning on coming to see the David Paul Pickin’ Party were doing the same thing – and, that 90% were going to decide not to come.  (Some have not come before because it was raining..)  Shoot, at that time I didn’t even know if Mr. Paul was going to make it.

Dog tired and questioning the “meaning of life” I dejectedly drove through freezing rain (but, salted roads) over to the Griswold Center at 10 am to set up for the Party and instructed the center staff that we would “see how many folks showed up” – with full expectations that we would just close down in an hour or so when nobody showed up.  I was somewhat relieved when a few minutes later Charlie Berwinkle (our opening act who lives 60 miles away in West Lafayette) and my trusty right hand men Arnie Alpert and Mark Bidlack (from Bluffton – 50 miles away over back roads) showed up to help set up.  Shortly thereafter our first members, James and Grace Brown (who had driven in that morning from up near KALAMAZOO ,  MICHIGAN ) showed up.  And, a few other stragglers arrived, but still we only had a handful of people in a room that is used to holding 100 attendees.  At this point I was wondering how it could get worse – and, then the David Paul entourage showed up…  “Oh, dear – have I got bad news for you folks - that just drove 6 ½ hours to be with us – expecting a room full of 100 new fans….”

We went ahead as if nothing were wrong and set up all the sound equipment and ran sound checks, etc. and at 11 o’clock we had set up only 20 chairs because we only had 15 people in the room.  By 11:30 5 or 6 more showed up and Mark Bidlack and I looked at each other with a quick smile of delight and said in unison,  “Hey, maybe (hopefully) we better set up some more chairs.”  By noon when Charlie Berwinkle (and, JD Norman) kicked off the Pickin’ Party with a wonderful set (that was worth the price of admission in itself) – the room had filled up to where we were wondering where we were going to put more chairs..  Folks from all over the state had driven through the worse weather this winter to enjoy their favorite sport – finger style guitar.   And, did we ever hear some great picking.

Mr. David Paul is an entertainer, folks… that just happens to be a very good and confident thumb picking guitar player.  As soon as he enters the building you know he didn’t come to show you how many notes he knows on the guitar – and, how quickly and loudly he can play them for you.  He came to entertain you – and, that he does very well.  His shows are productions where each tune has been perfectly composed, arranged, and played.  Though he only played one “Chet Atkins” tune (a tribute to Chet – "Snow Bird" (appropriate and ironic for the horrible weather we were having that day 8^)  - every tune he wrote and plays was influenced by the legacy Chet left behind.  Tone, effects, bends, licks, tricks, presentation and production – all as if Chet had done it himself.   

David’s playing was met with wild enthusiasm from the full room of spectators – playing mostly tunes from his CD “picking our way” and his DVD “New Kid in Town.” However, he did play us his latest composition that will be on his next CD – a very nice tune – that I forgot the name to… (sorry.)  He plays a ’98 Gibson CG, and wonderful sounding electric nylon that I didn’t catch the name of…  But, he is equally comfortable and accomplished on both.  The crowd favorite was (Just Another Cosmic Cascade Rag) that is a combination of three tunes: Cascade, Cosmic Square Dane and Just Another Rag that he does on his nylon electric.  Mr. Paul finished up the afternoon by playing and singing the parody he wrote especially for this trip to Ohio – “Ode to Palmer Moore .”  And, of course, invited yours truly up on stage to “act up” and to pick a couple rounds of Steel String Blues with him.  It was an honor for me that he asked me to play with him, and that he later presented me with a framed autographed picture of his 2004 promotional piece. 

What started out a disastrous day – ended in surprising bliss.  Our many thanks go out to David Paul, his assistant Joyce Lalla, and his dad for driving all the way out to Ohio from eastern Pennsylvania to entertain us.  And, I am so sorry for those club members that were unable to see this wonderful talent. 

My true unexpected joy for the day, however, was much later in the day after the big hoopla was over and our Guests had left as well as most of the attendees – and, we were sitting in our very small “circle of horror” – our “structured club jam.”  The first couple that showed up (that I mentioned above - James and Grace Brown) were still there and James joined us in the “circle.”  He was playing this very pretty electric nylon that looked and sounded a whole lot like a Kirk Sand – but, in fact, was one that he built.  (Yes, he once worked at the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo ..)  The first few times around the circle, when it was his turn he played a few rather simple gospel tunes – that he invited us all to play a verse of..  Very cleanly played, but not overly difficult.  Later on he asked, “Does anybody play Blue Angel?” 

“Yea, right!” was my idiotic remark… “I tried to learn the “chords” to it when Ray Cummins came here and needed somebody to play along.”  At which time Mr. Brown simply ripped through that tune like a chain saw through butter…  OUCH!!!!  WHAT A PLEASANT SURPRISE.  Then a couple of us got laughing that here was this absolutely beautiful guitar music being played – and, only 5 or 6 of us were left to hear it…  This “sport” is definitely – “sometimes just ain’t for the meek and mild.”

Palmer Moore - Organizer

Pickin' Party #28 -Sat, December 6th, 2003  (pictures)

"A Christmas Present From Chet" - Guest Pickers - Meagan Taylor & Robert Anderson

I’m not sure if it was the threat of snow or the oncoming holidays, but a bunch of OFGC members missed one of our better Pickin’ Parties.  Meagan Taylor and Robert Anderson were a real treat to see, and they kept a small showing of a little over 30 attendees glued to their seats for over four hours..  (Which included a half hour break for a delicious smoked BBQ buffet from The Pig Iron BBQ.)   

Meagan Taylor (Chet’s grand-niece) is growing up and coming into her own as a competent guitar picker, folks.  (Much to the relief of “this” aging writer who is finding it tougher and tougher to “dance” much, anymore..8^)  She’s always had a neat “folksie” vocal presentation and a great comedic stage presence (which she is honing, also), but I am so pleased to report that her guitar playing has improved to the point that she can soon emerge from out of Uncle Chester’s shadow.   In fact, during one tune she was doing with Robert (CRS disease keeps me from remembering the tune) JD Norman turned around to me and said, “Pay attention and learn her part!”    

But, seriously, she has really improved her guitar playing immensely.  She was a stitch on stage, too.  Constantly cutting up with Robert and the audience as they played and sang their tunes on and on for hours.  

Due to a last minute cancellation of our opening performer, Robert Anderson opened the Party with a solo set.  Man, can that guy play the guitar – he is obviously one of the emerging premier finger style guitar players, today.  He played a number of familiar Chet tunes as well as a few very nice compositions of his own.  As I watched him play I had a feeling that he had improved his playing, but initially couldn’t put a finger on what it was that he improved.  But, after quite awhile of primarily watching his note execution I realized that it wasn’t playing the notes that he had improved (he has always been able to play the notes) near as much as his stage presence and confidence.  He has become much more aware of his audience and that made his performance much better.   

We continue to pick up new members and fans at each Pickin’ Party who are so appreciative that they have found this venue of thumb pickin’ guitar.  And, what a Party these chose to come to first – it was a good one.   

Pickin' Party #27 -Sat, November 15th, 2003  ("picture")

"Summer Daze During Winter Days" - Guest Picker - Ray Cummins

Folks, it’s too bad that Ray Cummins doesn’t get hired into more secular venues.  It’s not that I don’t like his church/gospel format.  In fact, I love his church programs.  But, you just can’t get to hear the complete talent of Ray when he’s restricted to gospel tunes.  He has a very rare talent of being exceptionally clean, clear, precise – and, quick on the guitar – to the point of sounding “exactly like Chet.”  ----  Besides, in church one doesn’t get to see the part of his act where he tears his shirt off and throws it in the crowd… (Just jokin’ on that last part….  he’s quite reserved..  8^)  

Ray doesn’t try to hide the fact that he has spent his whole life “trying to sound just like Chet” - and, he has succeeded very well.  Whether the tune he plays is Take My Hand Precious Lord or Copper Kettle, Cascade, Jingle Bell Rock, or Levy Walkin’ – the man has captured the precision, sound and feeling that Chet used to put in his every tune.  And, he played every one of those tunes plus a bunch more to the amazement of a room full of OGFGC members.  He is no less than brilliant.   

A local semi-professional guitarist, Bob Murnahan, opened for Ray on his nylon stringed electric.  I had heard Bob one of Bill Dutcher’s monthly “all acoustic guitar” shows at 2 Co’s in downtown Columbus and he simply knocked my socks off with his flair to “use his thumb” and play melodies more than most of the modern acoustic set.  Obviously he had honed his teeth on Chet once upon a time… (Which it turned out he had.)  After his first tune his initial jitters subsided (it is very nerve wracking to sit up in front of 60 silent guitar players and aficionados and play) and Bob played some very nice mellow yet complex solo tunes very reminiscent of how Chet played in his later years when he favored nylon stringed guitars.  Thank you, Bob, for gracing our club meeting with your talent and fine guitar playing  You made a bunch of new friends and fans.  

Members from all over came in to hear Ray at this Party.  Michigan , New Jersey , Kentucky , Indiana and of course from all over Ohio .  Finger pickin’ is alive and well…   

Palmer Moore – Organzier, OFGC

(Sorry about not having more pictures of this Party - our club photographer had "technical" problems..  We'll just have to cut his salary right in half...  (lol)  "Nuthin' from nuthin' leaves nuthin"...."   (he he)  I'd love to have anyone that took some send them to me to post here.)

Pickin' Party #26 -Sat, October 25th, 2003  (pictures)

(video 1) (video 2) (video 3) (video 4) (video 5) (video 6) (video 7)

"That Muhlenberg Sound" - Guest Pickers - Eddie Pennington & Paul Moseley

My heartiest thanks to everybody that attended this Party - you made it a smashing success. You folks not only come and support these Parties (some driving up to 8 hours one way to be here), but you seem to understand the limited “economies of scale” with our rather obscure music genre and dig very deep into your pockets to show our Guest Pickers just how much you appreciate them taking time to visit us – for just tips.

A special thanks to Sanese Catering for giving us the facility and buffet for only $4 a head. An additional big thank you to Chaz Mechenbier who not only took time out of his busy schedule to come over and play bass for Eddie Pennington and Paul Moseley (just for “grins”) – he charted out every one of Eddie’s tunes ahead of time. (That's a true professional.... thanks, Chaz.)

Even though it wasn’t our largest attendance (65 to 70), it was by far the most enthusiastic and most appreciative gathering we have had. Eddie Pennington, in particular, represents the “roots” of our thumb pickin’ style of guitar playing developed in his native Western Kentucky and made popular by Merle Travis. A few in the audience were big “Travis” fans, but the majority I dare say had never been exposed to this “heavier thumb” approach to the rhythm line in thumb pickin’ guitar – however, they obviously were overjoyed in hearing it. Eddie is truly a national treasure, and showed everybody why. (Quite the comedian, too.)

Paul Moseley, also from Western Kentucky, plays more of a Chet Atkins style “alternating single note” bass rhythm and is an absolute master at that style. He simply amazed everybody in the room with his intricate and smooooooth pickin’. (Thanks to Dave Duncan for providing rhythm for Paul, too.)

Then, they both came out and played together…. To die for. Simply top notched talent entertainment that you just can’t get everyday. One tune after another – one request after another… Then, they opened it up for a club wide jam.. What a blast.


After dinner we got the Penningtons and Moseleys over to my house where I hooked Eddie and Paul up to the Texas Fingerstyle Guitar Club Room on PalTalk (internet) – where they gave the largest audience (from all over the world) that Room has ever had a blistering two hour “virtual” concert. 

(Oh, yea – after the Party and while we were waiting for our Guests to check into their hotel – Chris Vickers and I took to the hotel lobby to impress ourselves with our recent “finger” accomplishments… I gotta admit – that “boy” picks thangs up a tad bit quicker than this old guy does…8^)

Please help me extend our warmest thanks to the Eddie Penningtons (Penny) and Moseleys (Lanna) for coming all the way from Western Kentucky to provide us with some very fond memories..... You are all welcome back to Ohio anytime.. 


Palmer Moore – Organizer

Pickin' Party #25 -Sat, September 13th, 2003  (pictures)

"Simply One of the Best" - Guest Picker - Bob Saxton

Even though we had a disappointedly small attendance Bob Saxton played his heart and talent out all day - and, into the evening.

First, however, leading off for Mr. Saxton was a reunion of two of Columbus' finest guitarists - Terry Efaw and Craig Goodwin.  The pure joy of watching these two "soloists" play together is that Terry is a "thumb picker" finger stylist and Craig more of a flat picker - and, together they compliment each others playing like few can do.  Terry is very fortunate to have very large hands and long fingers - and, an extreme talent for playing overly complex "large" chords in his melodic arrangements.  However, he acknowledges that he has a tendency to "rush" the beat "a little."  Which is his obvious joy when he plays with the "rock" because Craig not only "holds him back" a little - he provides Terry with some brilliant musical breaks..  The man is one of Ohio's best single line guitar players.. It has been several years since they adorned Columbus eateries with their duo - and, they are very much missed.  What a treat it was to catch them in this very wonderful reunion - just for us at our Pickin' Party.

Terry and Craig, then, took a seat with the rest of us to witness a guitarist with probably the best knowledge of the fret board of any guest we have ever had - Mr. Bob Saxton.  Bob plays this Super 400 "looking" RC Allen big bodied guitar with the ease that most of us wipe our noses.  His fingers glide effortlessly over ALL of those frets as the audience is amazed as to how he can arrange every tune he plays "on the fly."  Like our good friend and jazz great, Kenny Poole, majors and minors are only fleeting passes from one more interesting chord shape to the next for Bob.  And, all with an uplifting sense of humor that permeates his presence - that can even laugh at himself when his "composes" a blooper on the fly.  (After the ONLY occurrence of that all day, he quipped as he continued to play,  "Well, I'll throw THAT ONE out next time..."  The crowd roared with approval..)

After the Pickin' Party several of us OFGC members took Bob out for dinner at the Pig Iron BBQ ("best smoked meats in the mid-west") - we headed back to my house where we hooked up to the Texas FGC Room on PalTalk for their Saturday Night Jamboree - and, Bob gave an exclusive concert for up to 44 lucky "netizens" from around the world who were fortunate to have logged on that night.  He was still a little unsure of "where" he had just played when he left here last night, but I gave him a print out of all the text conversations, and the applause and accolades he got from from his international audience so that he could read it later.  It was very nice that somebody had asked everybody to say where they were from - I'm sure Bob will be impressed with those locations... 

A great day for this organizer....

Palmer Moore

Pickin' Party #24 -Sat, August 2nd, 2003 (pictures)

"Walk Don't Run?" - Guest Picker - Nokie Edwards

What an unbelievable great time was had by at least 60 - 70 folks as we enjoyed our Guest Picker - Nokie Edwards.

I think I can best reflect on the intense enjoyment I had yesterday with Nokie Edward’s visit to Columbus, Ohio is by remembering the comments made by some very special people:  

“Boy, are we glad we didn’t hold back – Nokie is a killer guitar player - there's no way we could have hurt him!”  This comment was made by two of the finest jazz guitarists in Columbus that did the club a huge favor and opened for Nokie – Tom Carroll and Tim Cummiskey.  Tom is a professor of jazz guitar at Dennison University and a highly acclaimed and sought after heavy weight musician in Ohio .  Nokie was his childhood hero and Tom never gave it a second thought when I asked him to “volunteer” to open for Nokie.  However, prior to their performance I had a little huddle with him (and, his young sidekick with “killer chops,”) and pleaded with them to “take it easy” on the aging “rock” guitarist.  

Well, being the brilliant vibrant musicians they are, they got caught up in their music and the gratitude that was pouring in from the 60 or 70 attentive and very pleased spectators sitting within 20 feet - and, they pretty much “let loose.”  Just an incredibly wonderful exchange of melodies, chords, harmonies, and flat out great jazz guitar.  Then it was Nokie’s turn, and they were gladly relegated to the audience.  As much of a fan of Nokies that they were – they had NO IDEA of what they were about to hear…  

“We didn’t know that he could play like this!”  This was the consensus, (with mouths agape) of almost every Nokie Edwards Fan Club member in attendance.  (Oh, yea – and, his small band he put together that drove up from Kentucky for the day to help him out with some Ventures stuff.)  Those folks had only heard him on the big stages playing the Ventures venue - and, Nokie is MUCH MUCH MORE.  He’ll play Walk Don’t Run for you – but, watch out – it ain’t the version you heard on record so many years ago.  OUCH!!!!  He is a true master of “lift offs”…….  

“Did you know he could play this well, Palmer?” Responding with my usual considerate tact, "NO.... I invited him to drive all the way to Columbus to play us "Pipe Line!"  8^)  (No - I wasn't that crass.  I could see the utter joy on the questioners face, so I admitted that just a few years ago I didn't know Nokie could play like that, either.  And, that we all owe a big thanks to Doc Pritcher of CAAS who keeps inviting him back to the convention every year.…8^)  

“This is your best Pickin’ Party ever, Palmer!”  Many long time and new club members just got caught up in the great music and atmosphere that is generated when so many wonderful finger style guitar players and fans get together in a “small room” atmosphere and enjoy our “sport.”  (So much that they obviously forget the past visits by the likes of Bob Saxton, Ray Cummins, Scotty Anderson, Robert Anderson, Muriel Anderson, Meagan Taylor, Kenny Poole, Craig Wagner, Pete Cavano, Scott Taylor – oh, yea – and, Richard Smith….  It’s a great life with so many nice friends…)  

I think this is my favorite comment I remember from yesterday…… looking down at his watch, Nokie looked up at me and said,  “Hey, it’s almost midnight ….”  He was graciously saying “good night” as he and I sat in the back of the small breakfast nook of the motel they were staying at – softly playing our guitars with a small number of his fan club and my OFGC members “in tow.”  .  “Tha’d be a B minor (or, some other equally simple chord I’d missed,)” he’d coach every now and then… 8^)  What a beautiful, kind, considerate, and talented man he is.  And, what a joy and privilege it was for me (and, those that were lucky enough to have hung in there with me) to have spent the day with a true master of guitar – Mr, Nokie Edwards - "original" lead guitar player for the Ventures…..  

One happy organizer,

Pickin' Party #23 -Sat, May 17th, 2003 (pictures)

Our Guest Picker, Robert Anderson, is getting more and more notoriety every year - and, deserves every bit of it.  He has a deep wealth of knowledge of old Chet tunes - just about everyone he ever recorded.  And, plays them all extremely well.  He usually comes up as Meagan Taylor's (Chet's grandniece) sidekick, but this spring we were able to get him up here by himself so that we could enjoy all the Robert can do.  And, he did.  

The Party was kicked off by a great short set by our own Pete Cavano - Mr. Smooooth.  I can't believe that he is getting better and better.  Pete plays a mixture of thumb picking and jazz..  quite a nice combination.  And, everything he plays is smoooooth - never so fast that it gets away from him.  Blue Moon is his most requested tune to play, but he played many more for the crowd.  A big thanks to Pete and his family for driving down to play for us.

With a half hour to go before Robert Anderson was to go on - I surprised my check in guy, Frank LeFebre by asking him to come up and play a couple for us on Pete's beautiful Kirk Sand guitar.  Frank plays some great tunes from Chet and Jerry Reed's albums - and, play them very well.  The audience was very appreciative.

Then our Guest Picker, Robert Anderson, took to the stage and showed us what 25 years of practice and a great talent can sound like.  He brought some beautiful Wallace guitars to play for us - but, we pretty much kept him (by request) on his orange Country Gentleman..  Lot's of thumb pickin' tunes...  The man can pick... whew..  A couple members from Logan, Ohio that will only come to the Parties with "true thumbpickers" in them - were very satisfied.  

A few of us got up and played a couple with Robert in the "play one with the star" segment - that just naturally migrated into our "pickin' in the round" session for the rest of the evening.  

The highlight of any Pickin' Party for me is when a new "basement picker" shows up.  And, I'm happy to announce that WE'VE FOUND ANOTHER..  Mr. Gail Hausch, from Green, Ohio, said (like so many of us had,) "I never have played with or for any other pickers in my whole life."  Gail sat in the circle and (of course) was nervous as a Palmer in church, but he stepped right up to the plate and played very well.  We are pleased and proud to have found him.

Another newbie showed up to play in the "circle of horror: - Rod Brown.  Well, he came to the Scotty Anderson Pickin' Party back in November, but didn't hang around and play that time.  Well, folks, I gotta tell you that this young man pulled out his Les Paul Gibson and laid down some licks with his flat pick like we haven't heard much at our affairs - and, then could use that "illegal" pick to start "thumb pickin'...  Wow - what a treat to have him in the circle.  He's a professional player that enjoyed sharing his talents with us.

There weren't a whole bunch of folks in attendance at this Party (probably around 38), but all in all it was a whole lot of fun - and, we heard some great guitar playing.  

A special thanks to George Mayle and his wife for driving all the way from Morgantown, West Virginia to make this Party - and, for taking the attached pictures for us.


Pickin' Party #22 -Sat, Dec 7th, 2002 (pictures)

Richard Smith

I know I have mentioned before what a positive influence Julie Smith has had on her husband Richard's music, but it just seems to be getting better and better.  Not only is he adding a wider range of music to his repertoire (Hungarian wedding songs) - he is approaching his older tunes with more sophistication and relaxed speed.  He still plays brilliantly rapid runs, arpeggios, chime harmonics, super-licks, etc. - but, it now seems that he has found out how to "park the double-parked car."  And, it is obvious that he has revisited many old tunes and added sweet nuances of movement, if not in certain cases (such as Ain't Misbehavin') putting in complete jazz verses... The highlight solo of the day for me (and, several others I talked to) was Mayan Dance from Chet's Caribbean Guitar album..  Or, maybe it was Blue Angle he did with Julie...  Or, maybe Cascade he did with JD Norman.  Or, Stars 'n Stripes...  Or, maybe everything he did....

Many thanks to Jon Mosey who drove down from Arkon to open for Richard.  It was Jon's first time to a Pickin' Party and his laid back singer/songwriter persona was greatly appreciated by all.  AND, he picked some real good finger style guitar..  Custom made late '70s era Martin D-45 lookin' thing...  A real beauty..  And, he made it sing...

Julie Smith joined her husband Richard for the first part of his concert with her beautiful cello playing.  (A nice lady in attendance that belongs to the Griswold (Senior) Center where we hold our events had only been to one of our All Jazz Pickin' Parties before - and, she initially was quite annoyed that the "jazz guys" weren't going to be there this time.  I convinced her to stay and give Richard and Julie a listen.  After their first tune the lady was franticly waving trying to catch my attention to give me a big "thumbs up" to what she was hearing...)  And, she had every right to be impressed - they were simply wonderful together.  

Richard then played and hour and a half set of solos... One fabulous tune after another.  Chet, Jerry, Merle, classical, marches, jazz - and, all with a "bit of Django" interjected in at the nicest times...  A pure delight to hear when you least expect it.  The audience was laced with "professional" guitar players who had never heard him play before.  Nothing but heads shaking back and forth the whole time.. Heads shaking in disbelief.  (And, I'm in the back of the room lovin' every minute of it...  "I told you guys he was the best...."  8^)

Lonnie Coots, Chris Vickers, Dave Duncan then joined Richard to pick a couple and had the times of their lives.  Surprised by his boldness and in spite of his nervous performance, Bruce Mock "stepped to the plate" and played a Richard Smith original with the composer...  Richard was very pleased and honored that someone took time to learn the tune... (And, I have forgotten the name of it.... duh....)

When then formed the "circle-of-horror" and had a great club jam that included a new member that recently moved to Ohio from Pennsylvania, Frank Lefebre.  Pretty good player, too.   

Pickin' Party #21 -Sat, Nov 16th, 2002

Scotty Anderson is "Unbelievable"   (pictures)

Despite the recent loss of his mother Scotty Anderson came to Columbus and put on a superb show.  He tailored his normal performance back to include many more good ol' thumb pickin' tunes that our basic club membership enjoys so much.  He played with his normal band that includes rhythm guitar, bass, and drums - but, kindly they were all quite subdued knowing that we wanted to see Scotty play.  And, he did.  Boy, did he ever.  

Scotty took a moment in the middle of his concert to answer a question about his patented "double" and "triple" stops.  The double stop is where he grabs his thumb pick as if it were a flat pick, and picks it in "back and forth" motion catching a different note up and down a riff with each motion.  (This is what I used to think "double picking" was.)  However, he adds the finger nail of his 1st finger to catch an adjacent string which means he is playing those "back and forth" motion riffs up and down the neck with 3rd harmony.  If that don't blow yer mind - he then adds ANOTHER fingernail to grab a 5th harmony (I think), too - that's the TRIPLE STOP.  (Reach down on your guitar right now and try to play Guitar Boogie Shuffle - in three part harmony...  Remember to "double pick" all three fingers at the same time....  Yea, I know - it's impossible...  But, Scotty does it - all at 270 beats per minute.... 

It was wonderful to be able to sit within a few feet of bright lit room and watch his right and left hands blaze trails across the strings of his strat like Fender guitar.  And, of course - the highlight of the day was watching a few folks that were seeing him for the first time.  Jaws were dropped throughout the room.  We need to get him back every year at this time to lead off a great Pickin' Party - and, to go see him where ever he is playing between now and then... .

Pickin' Parties #19 & #20 - Fri & Sat, Oct 25th & 26th, 2002  (pictures)

Buster B Jones in Concert

What a show Buster B Jones put on Friday night - albeit, there is a difference in what you will hear if he has had a "couple beers" before the show.  (Which he had..)  He's a "tad" more brash, and a lot LOUDER.  (A couple of times he caught me heading to the sound board mid-tune, and he barked at me,  "Don't you be turnin' me down.... "   Which I didn't...)

The previous evening he had put a little workshop on at the small Music Royale guitar store here in Columbus.  It was a evenly mixed crowd with a number of children, and Buster appropriately put on his "school boy" routine.  However, Friday night he quickly assessed the presence of NO CHILDREN at our pickin' Party, and responded in kind.  The first thing he said as he sat down on stage and was attempting to pull the mic up to his face (that he purposely loosened so it would keep creeping down),  "Hey, Palmer - can I get a YOUNGER MIC?" ----  An audible "Ooooo" could be heard from the crowd, but no one took offense..  Which just added fuel to his fire....  He then asked for more "horse power" from the sound system - and, off he went.....  Whew.....

He played a few of his older tunes that "put him on the map" and "paid the bills" for a number of years - that forced a few fingers to be stuck into the ears, but they all quickly became numb to the volume and started bobbing up and down to the rapid tempos.  And, then he played a number of tunes off his new CD, "Just Us"...  Some very pretty stuff.   He has this very entertaining and interesting anthology of "thumb picking" guitar that he puts in his shows where he demonstrates how our style came from black blues players, up through Merle Travis adding thumb pick, Chet adding  some intricate licks, and finally Jerry Reed lighting Buster up as a teenager...  

You know, Buster is constantly putting on this "dumb ol' country boy" routine, but the last thing his is - is stupid.  I'm sure he kinda ruffles the feathers of promoters where ever he goes, so he says to me (an aging old rank amateur "thumb picker",)  "You gonna pick one with me, Palmer?"   I asked him which tune, and without so much as a hesitation and so matter-of-factly his shoots back,  "Well -- Let the Sun Shine In.  (Of course...)"

Folks, he had no way of knowing that that tune was my favorite from his new CD "Just Us" - but, yet it was.  (Of course, it was the only true "thumb pickin' tune on the CD - that I could have played...  "Buster B dumb as an old fox, folks...  8^)  Well, we picked it - I choked as I usually do in spots, but it was wonderful playing it with him.  

All in all it was a concert I wouldn't have missed for the world.  And, I would strongly suggest that if he "pops up" (which he does from time to time) - take advantage and go see his show.  (It might help, however, to have had a couple "pops" yerself before hand, so you can be as loose as he's gonna be....)

Kenny Poole & Craig Wagner - "All Jazz"

To a rather disappointingly small audience, two of the best finger style jazz guitarists in the world put on a demonstration of pure solo brilliance.  Young Craig Wagner, from Louisville, with his worked out arrangements of constant bass lines with intricate chord structures and melody lines - and, a seasoned and more subtle Kenny Poole who arranges every tune he plays "on-the-fly."  (With plenty of bass movement in them, as well.)  

Craig plays a seven stringed arched top guitar in an almost unbelievable fashion like two musicians at the same time.  His arrangements (which include standards as well as a little funk and be-bop) all include this constantly running base line (some walking, and some just a repeating line) and he then lays the melody down over the top - complete with some very intricate and complex chords.  He jokingly refers to himself as "two bad guitar players..."  (He picked Chet's back pocket for that "tag.")

To break things up a bit (and, to further blow the listener's mind) he will sometimes continue to play the bass lines on his guitar (hammer style), and hammer out these wonderful jazz jam lines on a "stick" guitar that he has laying out in front of him like a stand up steel guitar.  A strange looking multi stringed instrument...  (I have no idea how many strings, but it was in excess of 8...)

Kenny Poole has been considered one of the greatest finger style jazz guitarists in the world by many professional guitarists.  Because he arranges every tune as he plays it, any given composition can sound completely different each time he plays it depending on his mood, his health, the barometric reading, the moon... etc.  I've written all the accolades about Kenny I can think of, but maybe this gracious excerpt from an e-mail I received from Kraig Phillips after the concert might shed some more light on his genius:  ".... few mortals could ever begin to realize the obsession it takes to produce even a single passage that these guys pull off with ease, The guy (Kenny) is world class, if I were a rich man I would have written him a check that Sat for $100,000., a small payment for a lifetime of work and work and beauty, but I would hope that money wouldn't change the art, only make the mans everyday needs be more accessible."  

Both Kenny and Craig then came back up to play a few tunes together for us - what a treat.  Having quite diverse approaches to jazz guitar, they blended superbly - as the more astute connoisseur of jazz would have suspected.  Ma'sef - I waz jes' blown away.... 

Pickin' Party #18 - Saturday, Sept 28th, 2002  -  "Down Home"  (pictures)

Robert Anderson is one of the finest picker’s around. We witnessed that during his concert with Meagan Taylor (who’s coming right along with her guitar playing skills), and later on in the “circle of horror” when we all got to pick a couple… As good as Robert is, I think he was duly impressed with the level of “casual pickers” that filled the “circle”, too. JD Norman, Dave Duncan, Dave Sullivan, and Pete Peel can all play with the best of them… Oh, yea – I picked a little, too.. (I’m a legend in ma’ own mind….8^)

It’s so much fun to hear Meagan sing and play, too. Just to have her there with her lineage, family and upbeat personality was a treat. She and her family (mom, dad, and grand-mother Billy Rose – Chet’s sister) have lot’s of stories about Uncle Chester, and kindly share them with all of us.

However, is wasn’t till later on (after dinner) back at ma’ house that we (ME) got to hear the best of Robert. You get him on his CE nylon stringed guitar and you realize that he knows every note of every Chet tune he ever recorded – plus a bunch of very good tunes Robert wrote himself… (I’m sorry – I couldn’t invite the whole club back to ma’ house….. 8^) Next year we are going to have to figger a way to feature him at the Pickin’ Party with just his nylon guitar… 

The SUPER BEST part, however, was when he and I were jammin’ a little bit later that night in my basement. I wasn’t really keeping up very well (though I wazn’t doin’ bad), and all of a sudden I remembered that it was Sat night and Larry Kuhn, Ken Godderd, Pa Cobble, Paul Doty, and all those guys were havin’ that PalTalk thing on the internat… I said to Robert, ‘Hey, you wanna have some fun. Let’s go up in ma’ office and play a couple on PalTalk and tell them it’s ME… I’ll tell them “I’ve been a practicin’…….. 

Well, (thanks to Larry Kuhn who spent a half hour getting my computer “selections” correct) Robert did play quite a few for the 20 plus folks that were on it. And, it was the best he played all day. Unfortunately, there weren’t as many of the “usual” gang on there that could have really appreciated his talents.

Pickin' Party #17 - Saturday, May 25th, 2002  -  "Unbeliveable"  

No matter how many times you hear Richard Smith play, he's just as "Unbelievable" as the last time you heard him.   However, your organizer double booked himself with a wedding that same day, and missed most of the party.  I would  like to request a club member that was in attendance write up a short review for posting, here.  

Pickin' Party #16 - Saturday, April 6th, 2002  -  "Women Can Pick, Too"  (pictures)

Another great time was had by all at last Saturday’s Pickin’ Party. It turned out to be a wonderful display of modern acoustic and quasi-classical guitar music. John Morgan co-opened for Muriel Anderson with his powerful, yet precise, Celtic style of guitar music. John was obviously classically trained as his performance is very structured and accurate, however upbeat and full of his wonderful original music.

A special thanks to Bill Dutcher who (at the last minute) agreed to helped John welcome Muriel with a short set that set the room on fire. Using mostly de-tuned configurations on his Collins, Davis custom harp, and slide-lap guitars, Bill drew the audience into his modern original acoustic music with his brilliant playing style and wise use of effects. He’s a stand up guitarist that puts on quite a performance - full of humor and great playing. I especially enjoyed how he bridged the age gap in the room – the kids loved him as well as us old "thumb pickers" in attendance.

Then Muriel Anderson took center stage and our hearts. Her classically influenced music was played to a room full of dropped jaws – and, occasional winces with "how did she do that" looks… Each tune had an interesting little story about how she was inspired to write it – or, when she first "borrowed" it. A beautiful lady with a tremendous talent (and, obviously influenced by Chet) – kind enough to come all the way up to Columbus from Nashville just to share a little time with us.

Every attendee was given a free current copy of Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine - our newest club sponsor - and, they also gave away a door prize of a free annual subscription to the magazine - which was won by club member, Mike Farrington from Westerville, Ohio.  Congratulations, Mike.

We, of course, then formed the "circle-of-horror" and enjoyed a 3 hour structured jam – where there was some good ol' thumb pickin’ to be heard..

Pickin' Party #15 - Saturday, March 2nd, 2002  -  "All Jazz - Home Run"  

What a home run we hit at this party.  What could have been a very sad affair (due to our Guest Picker Kenny Poole's recent tragic loss of his dear Tina) in fact turned out to be one of our best spontaneous events.

Knowing that Kenny would probably be nervous about how he would handle his arrival, Tim Cummiskey (a killer young jazz guitarist from Columbus) and Chris Haney (upright bass) donated their time and talents to get things kicked off early.  When Kenny arrived he walked into a room full of love and incredibly good music thus averting any uncomfortable conversations.  (Please help me thank Tim for his efforts by visiting his web site  tc7string.com and considering the purchase of his new CD "alone together" - Tim Cummiskey Trio.)

A short while later Kenny joined Tim onstage for a couple wonderfully played tunes (much to the joy of Tim who had been wanting to play with Kenny for some time, now.)  As good as Tim is, you could see the look of amazement and adornment on his face every time Kenny would move his hands around the fret board.  Folks - this listening experience alone was worth the $10 donation.  But, things were just starting to happen.

A short while after that internationally acclaimed jazz master, Gene Bertoncelli, joined Kenny onstage for a reunion that left the 50+ spectators breathless.  As the two masters feathered their strings in solo, accompaniment, or counter point - they seemed to know each other's moves before they were played.  So much different in styles, but so much like one instrument as well.  What an experience.  ---  These guys made an album several years ago - "East Meets Mid-west" - JCurve Records.

Kenny then played a solo set the way only he can play.  Slow, smooth, groovy, special complex constantly moving chords with interspersed walking bass lines that immediately suggest to the reasonably accomplished player that we haven't even scratched the surface of this sport.  The thing this organizer enjoys the most about his playing is that his music transcends the gap between true jazz aficionados and traditionalists - each tune has a recognizable melody that he keeps in every movement - yet, groovin', movin' and keeping it miles ahead of pedantic "refrains."  The man is simple brilliant.  

He then submitted to our Pick One with the Star segment which included such brave souls as:  Charlie Berwinkle (superb), Pete Cavano (the best I've ever heard him play),  Bob Cox (surprised his self with how well he did), and (of course) yers truly (who showed the room why we call ourselves an "amateur" club.)

Kenny then finished up with a short solo set, and we called it a day - gave him a big hug, and sent him on his way back to Cinci.  

A huge thanks to Jim Staley for being Kenny's chauffeur, and Mike McGannon for being Gene's.

The Ohio Fingerstyle Guitar Club would like to express it's condolences to Kenny Poole for his recent loss of his life partner - Tina.  Our heart, thoughts and prayers go out to him and his friends through these next few months of dealing with their grief.

Pickin' Party #14 - Saturday, Jan 26th, 2002  -  "Bob-in-a-Box"  (pictures)

Our Guest Picker, Bob Saxton, and several other travelers stayed at the MicroTel Inn in Columbus, and they were nice enough to let us stage a little jam session in their breakfast nook on Friday night until about mid-night.  Folks were checking in and coming right in to hear Bob (primarily) play.  All un-plugged acoustic - and, we had a ball.

At the Pickin' Party Bob played excerpts from his new Gospel and Christmas CDs that he recorded using his McPherson acoustic to a crowd of a little over 50.  And, tons of standard thumb pickin' tunes and requests on his beautiful RC Allen.  He surprised us by playing a number of tunes on his newly acquired orange Grestch 6120 that Chester Atkins himself owned a few years back.  He amazed us for an hour and a half, and then invited anybody that had the courage to come up on stage a pick a couple with him.

Nobody seemed to move on that offer right away, so, yers truly, strapped on his old 335 and did a couple with the wizard.  (It was actually a lot easier than I though it was going to be...  A little faster than I usually play - but, I had a great time.)  That must have greased the skids because then we got Dave Duncan, 
Chret Vickers, Billy Tustin, Charlie Berwinkle, and Chas Mechenbier to all play a couple with him.  Great music.

After we gave a big applause for his efforts, Mr. Kenny Poole stepped us and gave us a sample of what we will be hearing at our next Pickin' Party on March 2nd - "All Jazz."  What a smooth guitarist.  Simple incredible he has been called by this organizer many times.

We then tore down the stage and moved the party upstairs for a club jam.  One after another (in turn) got to play or lead a tune.  Some nerves, some great moments - but, all great fellowship of "pickers."

Pickin' Party #13 - Saturday, Dec 1st, 2001  -  "Triple Stop"  (pictures)

"Surprise - Surprise"

A whole bunch of our regulars couldn't show up this time, but we still had over a 100 folks that attended - primarily to hear speedster Scotty Anderson.  (Lot's of new faces.)  But, what they found out while they were waiting for Scotty to show up was that Chet's grandniece, Megan Taylor, was quite a treat to see perform.  She was accompanied by the very capable Robert Anderson on guitar and vocals.  

We kicked the party off with a trio that consisted of a couple local icons of the guitar - Billy Tustin and Al Meyers.  They were joined by a fine picker by the name of JD Norman.  They did a fine job with some old classics and blues.  

Megan Taylor and Robert Anderson had driven up from southern Tennessee to be with us and were we ever lucky.  They were wonderful.  Megan especially appealed to the youngsters in the audience.  She has a very earthy quality to her voice that makes you sit towards the front of your seat, and Robert adds guitar leads and licks that makes any picker envious.  They said that they hadn't practiced together for quite a spell, but you couldn't prove that by watching their performance - they were very together.  (My personal favorite was "After Yer Gone."  They played for an hour, and then Robert played a solo set.

Then Scotty Anderson and band took over and showed us why he is considered to be one of the fastest guitar players in the world.  The man is unbelievable.  His fingers seem to be a blur as he continuously hammers out licks, appegios, scales, and some of the wildest chords known to the guitar.  His old and new fans alike were spellbound.

We then gathered up the wagons and formed a circle that Robert Anderson stayed awhile to play in, and Billy Tustin joined him.  Shortly thereafter, Megan's family had to go, but just before they did her great-aunt (Chet's sister Billy Rose) did yer host one big favor - she sang Confusin' with me just like she did with her brother back in 1948.  Talk about being happy campers - Billy and I were glowing like fireflies...  Thanks, Billy Rose.  (I think she enjoyed herself, as well.) 

Pickin' Party #12 - Saturday, Sept 29th, 2001  -  "A Tribute to Chet"  (pictures)

Main Event

Musically, it was the Pickin’ Party to end all parties. The phenomenal Richard Smith was our Guest Picker. We were very fortunate to have had Julie Smith attend and she played a set with her husband Richard on her cello. What a treat. And, what beautiful music. She is a concert class player in her own right and It is so obvious what positive influence she has had on Richard’s playing. He has always possessed brilliant talent and work ethics, however with her guidance he seems to be maturing his attack and timing of the instrument right I front of our eyes. Even his solo playing seems to have taken a "sweeter" edge. --- Thanks, Julie.

The theme of the party was "A Tribute to Chet." We attempted to dwell on music that either Chet recorded or was influenced by. Knowing that one of Chet’s early hero’s was Django Reinhardt and that Richard played the snot out of that gypsy jazz – I thought it would be nice if the club could "hear" what the Django "sound" was. However, I also knew that it was single line stuff and he would probably need some accompaniment to pull it off. In my search a guitar instructor (and performer), Paul Hartley, informed that there was a world class violin player (Arcadiy Gibs) living in Columbus that played Grappelli (the other half of the Hot Club of France) as well as Grappelli, and that they would play well together. And, Arcadiy graciously agreed to come and play with Richard – for free.

What happened next folks was a musical experience beyond my furthest expectations. Having never met before, I introduced them to the audience at the same time I introduced them to each other – on stage. They went into a short huddle where "Lady Be Good" was agreed on – and, Richard commenced to rip off a melodic intro sequence of gypsy arpeggios that only he and a few others in the business could do. But, just as he was going to play the first note of the melody – he heard in his right ear Arcadiy begin to rip off an equally elegant intro to compliment what he had just heard. I could see a small smile (or, maybe a smirk) form on Richard’s face as he looked up in admiration of his new found playing companion – and, when they came in together on the down beat of the melody the listeners knew they were about to witness a musical experience that happens only a few times in our lives. Individually, they were terrific – together they put on a world class performance. Richard became Django, and Arcadiy became Stephene.

I would love to continue to pour accolades on their performance, however a couple comments from the audience sums it up pretty good. A "pack" (they love to hang in packs) of my pros were standing in the back, and one asked me with a serious look on his face, "Palmer, now how many years have these guys been playing together?" (They musta missed my introduction.) --- Another comment was from a very excited Paul Hartley himself who has played professionally with Arcadiy many years, "In all the years I’ve known and played with him – I have never heard him play like this."  What a tribute to Richard….  And, what music…

A special thanks to Mike McGannon that agreed to play rhythm for Richard and Arcadiy. At times he had a big smile on his face as he chunked along on his ol' 175 archtop (he even "took a couple") – and, other times he looked like a deer caught in the headlights ( the boys were moving right along.)  However, he was the only one of us that would and could have attempted to stay with them… A big thanks, Mike.

Warm Up – (Who’s On First?)

We did a little anthology of Chet’s life before Richard played which included Mark Rader playing a little Merle, Chris Vickers and yers truly playing a Humoresque and Georgia Camp Meeting, and Billy Tustin and JD Norman playing a couple including a great run at an old Chet classic - Dizzy Strings. We were all a little nervous and it would be safe to say that we didn’t make Richard the least bit nervous… However, the audience of 60 some folks enjoyed our enthusiasm.

Several stayed and enjoyed themselves in the "circle of horror." Where everybody, in turn, picks one alone or encourages folks to jam along with them. Lot’s o’ Chet tunes were played one after another from 3:30 till 7:00. Participants included Charlie Berwinkle, Pete Cavano, Bob Mowry, Dave Duncan, Willis Crocket, Chret Vickers, JR Smith, Bill Esch, (a nice young man who’s name I forgot), Phil Lowder, Bruce Mock, Terry Efaw (a couple), and Stan Jacques. (Yea, me and ol’ Bob-in-a-Box (Band-in-a-Box) were in the circle… we even tried a melted down version of Cascade….)

Memorabilia Table

We set up a table for folks to display any Chet memorabilia they want to share, however we didn’t get too many takers. Actually, only Arnie Alpert put out an autographed picture of him and Chet taken at CAAS several years ago when Chet had been in better health to say hello to folks. I threw several anthology/discography books out on the table that came with the Gallopin’ Guitar 4 CD set from Bear, the Django 6 CD set from Mosaic, and the RCA Years 2 CD set. The Gallopin’ Guitar book was the most popular for folks to pore over all day, however it was the Me and My Guitars book from the Cochran brothers that garnered all the attention. That book was open in somebody’s hands all day. Several folks asked where I got it and how they could get one (if there were any left.) I’ve since checked with the Mike Cochran and they have about 50 left – call toll free (866) 787-7262. (Of course, I forgot who asked…. I hope they are on the internat….)

Long Distance Travelers

Several folks drove from the extremities of Ohio to be with us. Bruce Mock and Phil Lowder drove in from Indianapolis. Very long distance travelers were Donna Dye and Stan Jacques who drove 8 ½ hours from Charlotte, NC to attend the party. But, a CD donated by Funky Junk went to 80 year old (he don’t act it) George Castle who drove 9 ½ hours ALONE from Traverse City, Michigan – and, said it was worth every minute he had to spend behind the wheel. Thanks, George.

Pickin' Party #11 - Saturday, May 12th, 2001  -  "All Thumbs"  (pictures) 

I just love the fact that each Pickin' Party takes on a personality all of it's own.  Our Guest Picker was Bob Saxton (a superb thumb picker) who drew the likes of Charlie Berwinkle, his mentor and new member Bob Mowry (smooth thumbpicker), and those two drew Terry Efaw who also used to chase Bob down to learn licks when he was a teenager. All brilliant thumb pickers.   In addition, we had some new members show up, and a few old members who attended for their first time.  Several staying overnight in Columbus.  We had about 45 attendees.  Regulars Chris (Chret) Vickers, Dave (& Aileen) Duncan, Willis Crocket, Don Pierson (had to leave early), Jim Lafferty & Jerry Hyland from Springfield were in attendance.  Sully came but was beeped to return to some problems at work - our loss.

Bob actually kicked off the Pickin' Party on Friday night by sitting in with Mike Haggerty for awhile at Scotty MacBean's Coffee House (the place were our club meets every Tues evening.)  Though they have differing styles they complimented each other very well.  However, whenever Bob suggested any thumb picking tune, Mike would take a short break and allow him to play solo.   It was a treat to see the faces of the younger crowd enjoying the country flavor tempo for the first times in their lives.  Several came over and complimented Bob on his playing.

On Saturday Bob kicked off the official Pickin' Party with an 1 1/2 hour solo set that mesmerized the audience.  Each tune was blessed with "moving" chords and turn-arounds that boggled the imagination.  The last thing Mr. Saxton does is grab a given chord position and "find" the melody in it.  Each note, if not every other note, requires a new position on the neck from him - even if it is the same note.  (I, on the other hand, have been known to play an entire score from one position.....)

After that several attendees were brave enough to come up on our small stage to pick one with the master.  Charlie Berwinkle (no slouch his self), "Chret" Vickers, Dave Duncan and yer organizer fought off the nerves long enough to each pick a couple with ol' "Band-In-A-Box" Saxton.  He has a tendency to play everything kinda up tempo, so it kept us on our toes.

After a short break we formed our usual Circle of Nerves and commenced Pickin'-in-the-Round - including Bob Saxton.  Some of the best thumb pickin' Ohio has ever heard.  Everybody seemed to be at the top of their playing game.  Of course some played a few traditional tunes, but on the whole it was an "All Thumbs" afternoon and evening enjoyed by everyone.


Pickin' Party #10 - Saturday, March 24th, 2001  -  There IS a place for jazz in this club...  (pictures)

One of the joys of being your club organizer is what I go through try to bring Ohio the best guitar talent in the world.  Not always the best known - but, the best talent.  Awhile back I sent our good friend and mentor Mr. Paul Yandell an e-mail with probably waaay too much information about our club and a plea to help me convince some well known Nashville talent to join us for one of our Pickin' Parties.  He kindly returned this bit of wisdom (paraphrased),  "Palmer, if you have all that talent and attendance up there - what more do you need?"  Well, I'm here to tell you folks that Number Two was perfectly correct.  After hearing Kenny Poole from Cincinnati play for us yesterday and the local talent that he attracted to the event - we should be more than happy with what we have.  (But, I won't stop trying..)

Our Guest Picker, Kenny Poole, didn't play that convoluted style of  jazz where the melody gets lost in the 4th measure.  Like one of his childhood hero's, Chet Atkins, he was always kind enough to lay down an initial melody line that is familiar, light, and believable.  The second, third and forth passes at each selection were an ever increasingly less believable recreation of the same melody (not always in the same key - no, I changed my mind - never in the same key) with moving bass lines and chordal progressions that boggled the minds of ALL that were in ear shot..  I am not musically astute enough to describe what Mr. Poole was doing, but I can say that nobody in that room had ever seen anything like it.  --  Half way through the 1 1/2 hour long concert I saw a guy shifting in his seat, so I whispered and asked him if everything was ok.  "I've got to go to the bathroom, Palmer - but, I don't want to miss a note!"

Kenny plays with very little volume and no effects - little treble and plenty of bass.  As I stated above, he loves to entice you with lazy soft passes at tunes, and add more bass lines and finger/mind stretching chords with each verse.  A favorite of mine was when he would plant his first finger at a particular bass note - and then work the remaining free fingers like most great guitarists use their first three fingers - from 3 or 4 frets up back down to where that planted finger was.  Hammer on's and off's, trills, riffs, licks and amazing arpeggios - all while that one finger remained glued to that note.  Unbelievable.

I wish I had the presence of mind to write down what tunes our guests play to give you readers an idea of the extent of their music.  Kenny played a great many traditional smooth jazz, basa-nova and standard tunes that everybody could relate to.  -- Stompin' at the Savoy was my fav.

Then our own great Pete Cavano from Cleveland, and Chaz Mechenbier stepped up and played a couple with the master. ----  I don't know who was more pleased - the audience - or Pete and Chaz...

Speaking of Chaz (an extremely multi-talented musician).  These Pickin' Parties are developing a sense of magic where they bring pickers together that normally would not have had the opportunity to meet.  And, meaningful bonds are being developed.  As an example, Chaz was so inspired by Mr. Poole's playing that he is already talking to him about putting together a tabbed workbook of Kenny's tunes.  Chaz (once a traveling guitarist in the Jerry Reed band) most recently had been traveling a lot with Phil Dirt and the Dozers, and has just taken a break to stay at home for awhile.  What a tribute to the success of this past party if a work book of Kenny's playing becomes a reality for all aspiring young guitarists to learn from...  

Thank you Kenny for sharing your amazing talents with us - and, thank you Chaz for enjoying it with us.

Pete Cavano donated one of his CDs as a door prize and Ed "Cuz" Goldian from Columbus, Ohio won it.  Congratulations, Cuz.

We then got into our Pickin'-in-the-Round segment where we form a circle of amps and 


Pickin' Party #09 - Saturday, January 27th, 2001  -  Largest Turn Out - More Than Great Entertainment  (pictures)

How does a normal "got-a-use-a-tuner" Joe even attempt to describe a Pickin' Party that transcended everybody's wildest expectations (including the Guest Picker) - considering that the surprise elevation was due to the mutual admiration between those that were fortunate enough to choose this party to "come see whazzz up." ---- I'll try.

Unbelievable Talent

Richard Smith was our Guest Picker and he was as spectacular as we have become accustomed to hearing him play in a semi-formal stage setting. No spot lights, no sophisticated sound system pounding out mega watts of (annoying) bass, no accompaniment band - no pretence. Just Richard up on a couple small risers under a basketball net at the end of a gym - playing one impeccable finger style tune after another to the awe felt amazement of all. And, (with some pre-prompting from yers truly) every so often he would call on delighted "fairly decent" guitarists in the audience (Charlie Berwinkle and Craig Goodwin) to help him with rhythm on tunes. --- It just doesn't get any better than that, folks. --- But, it did... Richard was brilliant, but he was only the catalyst that nurtured a much higher order human experience. 


What happened yesterday was proof positive that we ARE, and we totally ENJOY being the product of those who have gone before us. The only thing better than either witnessing a brilliantly talented guitarist like Richard, or nervously playing a tune that we have worked a thousand hours on in front of our peers ourselves - is to be in the company of those that have taught us, or those that we simply hold as our idols and mentors. Like Mose must have felt when he was in the company of Arnold. Like Merle felt when he was in the company of Mose. Like Chet, Odel, Tommy F with Merle. Like we have with Chet and our teachers. That feeling was rampant yesterday as many students, amateurs, and professionals were drawn together to hear one talent only to find themselves in the midst of their heroes (old and new) and mentors.

First Time Experience

In that part of our club charter is to introduce this art style to those that haven't heard it before, we had sent flyers out to guitar studio's and high schools in the local Columbus area inviting students to come for free. And, fortunately several students did attend. ---- The first order of transcendence beyond simply enjoying Richard's virtuosity was having the opportunity to see the faces of those students witnessing this level of brilliance for the first time - knowing full well that they were finding one of their first "heroes." ----- Sheer pleasure.

OFGC Gaining Exposure

The party was raised to the next order simply by having some of our local guitarist celebrities (the boyz) show up to check out what OFGC was all about: Craig Goodwin, Terry Efaw, Mike McGannon, and the very accomplished wild Chaz Mechenbier of Phil Dirt and the Dozers and ex member of Jerry Reed's Band. They all acknowledged the talents of Mr. Smith, and several got up and had a ball playing one or two with Richard during our "Pick One With Richard" segment (that I think Richard kind of likes, too...)

Everybody Has Their Heroes

The Pickin' Party brought out the likes of Bob Mowry - the Mose Rager of Parkersburg, West Virginia. Both Charlie Berwinkle and Terry Efaw used to travel miles every week from their homes in southern Ohio to Parkersburg when they were young teens to learn what they could from this guy that squeezed magic out of his guitar - and still can. We truly enjoyed meeting and hearing a legend - Charlie and Terry reveled in reliving their youth.

Bill Tustin paid us his first visit and it didn't take long while he was playing for several attendees to "recall" that this ex-member of Martha Carson's band used to be one of Columbus' hottest thumb pickers... Welcome back, Bill...

The Icing On The Cake - A True Icon

As with most "non-profit" (non- paying) social events, most celebrities usually drop in fashionably late (as was the case here as well), mingle around awhile, show a "sampling" of their talents - and, then leave fashionably early (which did NOT (most enjoyably) happen in this case.) Much to the surprise, amazement and enjoyment of our attending local professionals the Pickin' Party was blessed to have a legend of the finger style jazz community just happen to "stop by" to see what was up with this Ohio Fingerstyle Guitar Club thing - Mr. Kenny Poole of Cincinnatti. Let me try to recall what the typical reaction was when I informed them that he was there, "KENNY POOLE IS HERE!!!!!" Yes he was - and what a gentleman and guitarist he was. 

Kenny came early took a seat right in front of Richard and watched (with appreciation) every note the young Englishman played. Out of professional courtesy, he declined an invitation to "pick one" with Richard. However, when I asked him if we could possibly feature him on a little mini concert demonstration of his guitar playing, he graciously replied, "You are going to have the "circle", right? (nod) --- I'll just wait my turn...." (Pure joy ran through my veins.)

Folks, none of the boyz ever hang around to hear us whackers play during the "pickin'-in-the-round" (Ted "Palmer" Mack's Amateur Hour), but Kenny not only stayed - he played (oh, my good Lord, did he play) - and then he waited for his turn, again - and, again. He stayed for the whole day and early evening. AND, GUESS WHO ELSE STAYED???? Yep - the pro boyz...... Sneekin' around like us mortals acting like kids trying to catch a glimpse of or playing one with their jazz hero laying down chord transitions they have only imagined before.

Let me try to describe the my first experience in hearing Kenny Poole play: He places his well worn sunburst archtop gently on the lap of his tall seasoned frame, and starts playing a soft regression of chords down the cold neck with his long fingers in an attempt to quickly reacquaint them with the strings they know so well. He then makes a second pass at the same sequence - this time adding slightly more movement and expression. With the third pass he closes his eyes and adds a rhythm and bass line that informs the listener that they are about to hear a true artist at work. The room went deftly silent with the exception of the smooth music that emerged from Mr. Poole's guitar - and, there wasn't one person in the room that didn't have the feeling, "Oh my goodness - this isn't a pickin' party - this is heaven....." ----- Thank you, Kenny for joining us and making this a memory to hold on to for the rest of our lives.

Chronicling the Event

Arnold Alpert took a few pictures of the beginning of the party with his digital camera that I have put out on the web site, and Dan Stacy took a ton of video of Richard's show that we will be making copies of for the membership later. However, I know that several other folks we taking pictures and videos of the rest of the day. And, I would like to ask them to forward any good ones they took to me so that we can get them into the master distribution video and out on the web site. Thanks.