Post Mardi Gras Update from Chas Justus…

The Revelers have returned to Lafayette after a couple weeks in the great white north.  The tour started the day after Mardi Gras, and I was a bit banged up myself, not to mention exhausted.  We drove straight up on Ash Wednesday to Saratoga Springs New York for the Dance Flurry festival.  They’ve got every kind of dancing you could think of Swing, Honky Tonk, Baltic, Cajun and especially Contra Dancing.

We played our little cajun/zydeco dance sets, which were low pressure and perfect for breaking in our newest member, saxophonist Chris Miller.  Chris has been around the scene for years, and he’s sat in with The Red Stick Ramblers and The Revelers countless times.  The Revelers have flirted with the idea of getting Chris full time since the band’s inception, and now we’ve taken the plunge and made it official.  That means another mouth to feed, another person to pay, another bed, and another person’s personal baggage.  With that being said the positives far outweigh the negatives.  Having a considerate, intelligent, young and full of enthusiasm guy, who plays the shit out of his horn adds so much to our sound and our state of mind.  We gladly take Chris into the family, and don’t mind setting another place at the table.  I just wonder what’s gonna happen when he finds what dysfunctional, selfish assholes we are and rues the day he ever climbed in the van and ground the best years of his life into it’s gears.

Now that we had Chris with us we went on to Rochester, New York where we recovered at Joel Boyer’s halfway house.  We rehearsed went shopping for thrift store suits and records and did Scott Regan’s radio show on WXXI and got a little bit of rest.

Next part of the journey was to cross the border into Canada and attend the Folk Alliance conference in Toronto. The Folk Alliance conference, like all music conferences, is decidedly weird. Festival Promoters come to check out musicians and possibly hire them for their festival.  The musicians resemble prostitutes in Amsterdam’s red light district standing in windows hoping to lure a customer crossed with  livestock at an auction where the animals teeth are examined along with their pedigree in order to be bid upon.

We had rooms at the hotel where the conference was held, which was convenient and expensive. After our showcases we got down to some serious “networking” which meant getting good and sauced at the hotel bar.  We continued through the night wandering around as folkies held guerilla showcases in hotel rooms. Each room hosted a lineup of artists and many had free beer and wine.  We imbibed freely while we acted like we actually cared about the yummy strummy music in the rooms.  The good thing was most of the booze was close to the door, so we didn’t actually have to go into the room thus committing ourselves to the delicate, precious musings of singer songwriters.  A friend of mine once said “I hate singer songwriters accept for the ones I really love” which in this situation never rang more true.  Of course after hearing a few in the course of a couple hours I  become desensitized (the alcohol might have something to do with that as well). I found myself in the role of the southern, redneck, cracker wandering through the theatre of the absurd at two in the morning, looking to party, ready to engage in a fist fight if one more folky told me to hush up because somebody was whining with a guitar near by.

I ended up the last of my band mates still awake, playing fiddle with Mark Rubin in the hall at three thirty in the morning. I finally got to bed a bit later than I should have considering we had a flight that morning which would bring us to our next location, Winnipeg………….