*Pelting* down rain, zero visibility, I wondered what the hell I was doing driving in that mess. And glad I'd left 2 hours for a 1 hour drive. Thank god the drive back was better.

Oh the Fox and Goose. Been there just once before, 1996, such happy memories. David got food poisoning or something, puked in my car on the way home... an olfactory experience that kept giving for a long time. Needless to say, I gave dinner a miss on this particular night.

A huge session, 20 or more people. I was lucky to get there early enough to get a seat, though I was in a high traffic area and got my flute knocked around until I changed orientation and recklessly pointed the damn thing into the center of the circle.

Who was there? Well, Dawn's sister Linda was the epicenter. She played well (in my un-Irish appraisal), but distanced herself from the whole event. Other fiddles, mandolins, mucho guitars, a good whistle player who switch-hit with other instruments, a bowran player, and the whole Auburn crew, including Lisa Stine on harp.

The listeners in the pub added good energy to the evening, so nice when that happens.

The friendly guitar player from the Auburn and Chico sessions was on my right, a friendly stranger bowran from Livermore on my left. I was sorry to be playing in the guitar player's ear, I know how it can put you off. But at the end of the night, he was kind about how I picked up tunes.

Oh, in the first 20 minutes, I thought I had it made... I knew the tunes! (Thank you Dave!) But then, well, they had obviously started easy. At some point, some non-player (a bluegrass player) sitting behind me asked me how much people were faking it... well, I was totally faking it and told him so but - please! - not to judge a session by what I was doing.

So, 2 hours of faking it. I put into practice Dave's Technique, which I also heard Vinnie Cronin doing at the Plough&Star (or was it the S&P?). Many D notes ending phrases. Often correct ;). By the 3rd time through, some standard moves. But damn, a lot of the tunes sounded familiar, but not quite to my fingers. (Understand that I'm talking about getting basic notes, not about playing Irish.)

I got good vibes from having a recording device (Dave was right, I knew it, so I had gone to the local Staples that afternoon and bought what might or might not be an optimal recorder, definitely not at an optimal price.... but it works well). Also recorded myself... I *really* need to spend time with a metronome (Metro Gnome, gnome du metre).

This is the last tune from the Sac session at the Goose and Fox (or was it the Fox and Goose?) on Dec 27. When the tune was announced, after two hours of faking it, I was so excited - I said - Oh I know this one! Hence the laughter at the beginning. The person cackling was probably just as relieved as I was that I knew the tune. Even the implacable Linda cracked a grin.

Last tune (MP3 - 734KB)

Do admire the artful fade-out on this clip. Gotta love software!