Randy Granger

Randy Granger
In the Chihuahuan Desert near the Organ Mountains, New Mexico

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

See them tumbling along

Randy Granger NM Cowboy Days 2012

This weekend I played again at the New Mexico Cowboy Days festival here in Las Cruces, NM where I live in the heart of the Mesilla Valley. Typically spring in southern NM is our windy season. Not just breeze but gusts of 45-65mph pure dust that feels like half of Arizona, our neighbor to the west, ends up in your house and teeth. I marshaled through my set on Saturday by playing as hard as I could trying to find the direction of the wind so I could put my back to it. Was a struggle as vendor tents flapped and leaned and straw from the bales pelted the audience. The Pavilion is set outside and there is no real way to avoid it.

Though I’ve tried many a wind break device on my flutes I’m of the school of tough it out and play your loudest, hard-wood flutes preferably of a higher key. One fan noted on Facebook that it was like they were listening to me in a canyon as the winds swirled by. Nice spin on things and I’m glad it didn’t come off like a struggle. I told more stories about the flute and music than normally trying to wait for a break in the gusts and did a song with backing tracks, Hallelujah, so stretch things out in a pleasing way.

My friend Donn Shands had sent me an innovative wind screen he calls his “Dead Kitten.” It works, but like I said I’m of the tough it out school. Though next time you can bet I will practice more with the Kitten before a windy outdoor gig. Thing about our winds is they swirl from no direction in particular. Humbling. The sound guy said it only got worse after I left with vendors leaving early and a thin crowd. Glad I had some people.

Sunday was the absolute windiest with a cold, low front moving in from southern Arizona. When I got to the gig even the vendor tents had been moved into the courtyard. That should have been a sign. I found myself circling the mic to find the direction of the wind with not much success. The mic stands and flutes were constantly falling over. Was almost comical. I felt bad and did several vocal songs but even the sound of the wind in the mics was a distraction and we all knew it. You do your best every single time. The temperature dropped and we all began to freeze. The rest of the day the skies here turned an unsettling orange as winds howled. Facebook was alight with people saying how restless and uncertain they felt from the weather. I hope the festival broke even and the vendors too. When you are relying on a crowd can be hard to make due. My CD sales were paltry. Thank goodness I got paid.

Point it you show up for your gig, contracted or not. Do your best, try to make people smile or feel something with your music. I didn’t bring my Hang drums because I was respecting the theme of the event. This weekend a documentary on the Bataan Death March, “Bataan: The Making of a Memory” by director Stephanie Dove, will premiere in Las Cruces at the NM Farm and Ranch Museum. It uses some of my music in it and I am honored.

I am also honored to announce I will be performing with Michael Graham Allen at this year’s International Native American and World Flute Association’s convention in Eu Claire, WI. I will also be offering private lessons to attendees and conducting a workshop titled, “The FUNdamentals of Playing the Native American Flute” on Sunday morning. Sign up for both as early as they are posted. I plan to have a vendor table as well. Visit the website for convention information. Worldflutes.org. April finds me at the NMSU American Indian Week doing an indoor concert April 11th @5PM and The Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque April 27 & 28, as well a shorter concert 11am, Sunday April 29th at Unitarian Universalist Westside Congregation   Check my website calendar for times please randygranger.net/calendar.html for information. Please come out and support and say hello.  

Thank you and happy Spring Equinox