Facebook schmacebook

So I broke down and created a band identity on Facebook. I didn’t want to do it. Why would we need it, we’ve got our own domain. Well, sometimes you want to be able to communicate on FB as the band, not as an individual. And nobody reads this blog. So. There it is. www.facebook.com/pipipickers

All Shook Up

How many Waharau Winter Shake Ups does this make? I’m not sure. 5? 6? We were lucky to be added to the Waharau musical family early in our careers, we’ve grown up as a band at this little “un-festival.” Loved catching up with old friends, meeting and playing with new friends, spending a few minutes of melancholy for friends who couldn’t make it.

However, there was altogether too much cake.

Harrietville rises like a Phoenix from the flames

For 21 years, the Harrietville Bluegrass and Old Time Country Music Convention was the premier Bluegrass Festival of Victoria, Australia, if not of all Australia. OK, that is entirely my opinion. It sure was a whole lot of fun and full of the most wonderful fun people, and featured amazing music.

Couple years ago, the organizers decided to move it to Beechworth, which was heartbreaking. To keep bluegrass in Harrietville, the Mountain Pickers association was formed and they introduced the GAP in Harrietville.

That same year the organizers moved the convention back to Harrietville! But after two more years, they’ve decided to call it quits entirely. No Victoria bluegrass festival in November at all!

This year at the GAP a new group of organizers formed a committee and put together a plan for the new November bluegrass festival in Victoria.

The Pipi Pickers are very pleased to welcome the newly announced Harrietville Mountaingrass Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival. http://bluegrasstoday.com/mountaingrass-launches-in-australia/ We hope to see all our friends there in November!

Jenine

Recording, and the Great Alpine Pick

Whew, what a whirlwind couple of weeks. We need a holiday to get over the holiday.

First off, we have recorded 14 songs for a CD with Micheal Young. We’ll probably drop two, so it’ll be a nice 12 song album. With any luck it will be ready before Redlands Bluegrass Festival in August.

Micheal Young with some of his recording gear

Once again, we had an AMAZING time at the Great Alpine Pick in Harrietville, Victoria, Australia. It is such a wonderful thing to be immersed in that musical community. It’s all about the pickin’ there.

We had the whole whanau with us this time, which made it extra special. Nat and I brought our kids. Dee, Nat’s mum and Barry’s wife, came with, as did Garry’s wife Sue. And Barry’s brother Les came with his partner Lyn, Barry’s sister Kaye was there with her husband Chris, and Barry’s youngest brother Jeff came along as well. It was a real Torkington Invasion there in Harrietville.

I’ll put some photos up on … I don’t know, somewhere. Flickr, or the photos page on here. In the meantime, here’s one of us playing in the Saturday afternoon concert.

Pipi Pickers in the Harrietville Hotel at the Great Alpine Pick

There was a bit of worry at the beginning of the weekend. I’d lost my voice post recording, after singing pretty much for 6 hours straight a day for four days. Then I woke up on the Friday in Harrietville feeling mighty poorly. Some sort of inner ear disturbance made it difficult for me to stand up straight, let alone play a double bass. Felt like I was sea-sick. I spent most of the day in bed while we all had flashbacks to WellyFest 2009, and wondered if Angus Golding could learn our set in a hurry. But Saturday morning came and I was right as rain. Voice was strong, head was more or less non-spinny, and we enjoyed performing all weekend long. Phew!

We owe a big debt of gratitude to the Mountain Pickers Association and the Community of Yinnar, for organising post-festival shows for us. What great fun they both were! I’ll post some photos from those as well when I get a chance.

But for now, it’s time to get back to real life a little bit, at least until the next gig (which is tomorrow morning, aie!)

Jenine

Bluegrass Cruise and other news for 1Q 2013

A lot of people still ask how we enjoyed the Bluegrass Cruise! We thought we were pretty clear everywhere that we weren’t on the boat, we were just their “Port of Call” in Auckland. And to answer the question, that was great. The folks on the cruise were wonderful! We met the most wonderful lady in a stunning vintage powder blue dress who said she’d only signed up for the cruise because she’d heard us on Kim Hill and thought we’d be on the boat. Aw!

Summary: The Bluestone Room in Auckland is a totally awesome venue. John Howie and his Bluegrass cruisers are wonderful. Fun was had by ALL.

In other news, we thoroughly enjoyed playing the Ascension Harvest Festival. It was not the usual crowd we play to, so we got to meet heaps of new people. That was cool.

Upcoming: we are going into the studio this weekend, April 20-21, to attempt to record 9 songs for a CD. With any luck we’ll have it to bring with us to Redlands Bluegrass Festival in Queensland, Australia in August.

Picking in the new year

Pipi Pickers had a great holiday break, up at Pataua near Whangarei. We practiced for a couple hours every day, getting some new material ready for the Auckland Folk Festival, and played at 3 house parties at different baches, including a New Years Eve party. It was good fun and good preparation for the festival.

Here’s a shot of us at the last of the three parties.

Next stop, Auckland Folk Festival.

Saturday Morning with Kim Hill and the WBS

We were lucky enough to play some bluegrass on the Kim Hill show Saturday morning.  That was great fun.  You can hear the interview, including two of the songs we played, here:

That evening there was more fun to be had as we played for the second time at the Wellington Bluegrass Society in Petone. Nothing is more fun than playing to a full house packed with an enthusiastic crowd. Big thanks to Andrew Bicknell for insisting we come down. We had a great time.

More thanks are needed: to Ian and Moira for handling sound for the show. To Linda and Derek for housing us Friday night. Thank you for your kindness and support!

World Famous in Rodney District

So, the photo they took of us with our Pickin’ Parlour at the Auckland Folk Festival ran in the Rodney Times not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES.  It was starting to get a bit strange!  All the same, I was mightily disappointed when I opened my Thursday Times this week and we weren’t in there.

Here’s a link to two of the articles featuring our photo:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/rodney-times/6352949/Celebrating-our-national-day

http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/rodney-times/6389442/Folk-festival-fun

The third article wasn’t long enough to make it to the website, it was just a short announcement about the start of autumn and our upcoming appearance at the Kaipara Flats Harvest Festival.

Pipi Pickers at the Auckland Folk Festival having a good time. Photo Credit Jill Guillemin.

Only a bit more than a month before we head off to Australia for the GAP!  Yay!

Auckland Folk Festival

After a lot of hemming and hawing, Nat, Barry and I went to the Auckland Folk Festival.  We set up our “Pickin’ Parlour” and invited folks to come on and have a jam.  It was a really great time.  We met a bunch of new interesting musicians, and maybe made a couple of new fans.  I need to remember to start circulating mailing list sign-ups so I can keep in touch with these folks.

Anyway, we heard heaps of great music, and we jammed with new friends and old until well into the wee hours both nights we were there.

Look for a photo of the three of us in an upcoming Rodney Times! And we’ll post new photos here as well.  Unfortunately we didn’t get any video worth posting.  I thought I had a good one of Nat and Dave Alley jamming together, but it didn’t turn out so great.  Darn!

Doin’ it wrong

I’ve had the unenviable experience recently of having to explain to multiple people why they should NOT have us playing at their event.  It’s a shame, we always prefer to be playing over not playing, but the last 5 years have taught us many lessons.  There are just some times when the Pipi Picker brand of bluegrass entertainment is not what you’re looking for.  Current case in point: indoor Christmas Gift Fairs.  In fact, we tend to be very nervous of any indoor event.  We’re great outdoors.  If you’re having any sort of outdoor event and you need a band, CALL US.  We’re for you.  And we’re so non-festive.  I mean, how many people want to listen to rape-murder ballads about trains and whisky while they’re shopping for Christmas Gifts?

Here’s one promise we can make to you: if you look to hire us to play for you, we’re going to make darned sure we’re actually what you want before we sign on.  The last thing we want to do is make someone unhappy and ruin their fun.  If we don’t think we’re going to add the right touch to what you’ve got going on, we’ll tell you!

Sad thing is, now we’re looking at NO upcoming shows, which is very sad.  So e-mail me NOW and let’s see if we are right for you!