Just got back from a day down on Lexington for the street fair. Slipped away for a few hours to host this Sunday's show with Jeff, intrepid in his engineer's cap, and Gary Lilley, who brought in a full band. And I mean full. We stuffed into the tiny WPFM on-air studio: drum set and drummer, bassist and amp, flute player, didg/sax man, Gary, myself & Jeff. We even had a small audience in the office. (Hey Janet!)
The whole event was spur-of-the-moment, much in the spirit of the street fair below. No time for sound check; not enough mics to go around; having to jot down key stats on post-its. A little soulful irony as we counted down the last 30 seconds--the Chambers Bros were on, busting out their 60s anthem "Time." Then 1,2,3..."I'm Sebastian Matthews, your host for this week's WordPlay. Our guest today is poet Gary Lilley..."
Gary started with his blues-rap "Asheville," conjuring Thomas Wolfe and O Henry and the unremembered Cherokee. Then the band opened with a new piece, "Alpha Zula." It was hard to tell as they were playing if what we were capturing on the mics was going to sound as good as it did in the studio. Jeff kept trying to keep Gary's mic from taking in too much bleed-through from the musicians. I couldn't tell if Gary's voice was getting drowned out by the band. At one point Jeff just raised up his hands and laughed.
After a couple more tunes and some light-hearted q-and-a, it was time to wrap it up. We'd burned through the 30 minute show so fast I felt dizzy. Maybe we just needed to open the studio door. Thank you Mr. Lilley and His Afterschool Special! Thank you Gary, Dan, Brian, Brian and Eric. And thank you, Jeff, for some serious engineering mojo. Because when we got in the back to archive the show for the podcast, we couldn't believe our ears. Despite the topped out mics and miscues and everything, it sounded good. It sounded great, in fact.
Then back out onto the street to wander through another kind of collaborative madness, with its bike jousts, mimes and face-painted children; then in my car as the first drops began to fall. And home. Now for a glass of wine, and a toast to poetry, music, collaboration, blind luck and good old Asheville!!