How long could you live without something you desperately need?
For me it was one year, two months and ten days exactly between my walking into the cold night after the 2020 Sammy Awards and walking into Saturday afternoon’s warm sunshine at Crazy Daisies Flower Farm to see my friends in Harmonic Dirt play a late afternoon show on the porch outside.
Live music is back and what better way to celebrate a community coming back together then to spend a couple hours with a band that I have always said is as warm and comforting as the warm May evening, we had yesterday. A band that for me evokes warm thoughts of summer evenings by the fire and someone passed the guitar to a miracle.
There truly is nothing like it and we’ve been without it for so long.
This isn’t something I do because it’s something to do.
This is something I need like I need air to breathe and finally…I can breathe again.
The shared experience of music is medicinal, be it crammed in front of a stage or on a farm while eating artisanal pizza and sipping pretty drinks with flowers in them. It hightens your sense and elevates your soul. Where there’s music playing and people gathered, it’s where I am supposed to be. Maybe you are too?
As I think of it, maybe it was supposed to be this way, meant to be reborn and come back to life in the spring all along, when the annual flowers dormant in their winter sleep come back to life and fill the world with color. Springtime, when the sunshine starts to hang around a little later and people yearn to gather to celebrate that rebirth after months of being unable to do so. Maybe the payoff for over a year of missing so much was for it to come back to life in the fertile soil of a flower farm, on the best night of the year so far, in the beautiful western hills of Central New York, hearing one of my favorite bands do what they do and last night what they did was absolutely joyous.
Mike Gridley has one of the warmest voices around and a damn fine picker up there, his composition along with the words of his writing partner and wife Susan Coleman create songs that take you on journeys, road songs, songs of tribute.
Banjo player and possessor of the sweetest harmony in town is Taylor Bucci, when his voice hits just the right note with Gridley’s it’s a sound that makes you marvel at the beauty of it all.
Drummer James DaRin does more with a snare and a set of brushes than most drummers do with their entire kit. Nowhere is that more satisfyingly evident in that bit of Canadian history that is their great song “Halifax Hurricane” featuring DaRin pushing the song forward with freight train like brush rhythm.
What other band can you go see, get a great performance from while also getting a Canadian history lesson?
The band ran through a catalog of their originals, all of which can be found on their three CDs which are essential listening for fans of locally sourced music or truly any fan of what they call “Americana” these days. (I was never much for labels.)
By the carefully chosen covers that appeared in the set, Harmonic Dirt also tipped their hand when it came to influences. Most notably was a mind blowing cover of the “The Maker” by the bard of Ontario himself Daniel Lanois.
Joining the band toward the end was Mike Lounsbery to provide vocals and harp on a foot stomping version of The Grateful Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie” that got the porch rocking properly.
Harmonic Dirt is the kind of band that just makes you happy to be there when they’re playing, and to a person, they are as individuals as warm and welcoming as a sunny spring afternoon.
Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve been to see live music and I think just maybe going to see Harmonic Dirt play their special blend of earthy roots music against the stunning vista of the hills of Camillus was just what my soul needed. It’s not hyperbole to say I feel alive again.
If spring is the time for rebirth, I guess a flower farm is a pretty good place to have one.
One year, two months and 10 days is way too long to miss something you love, and there isn’t a day to waste.
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