2011 CAAS Review - From the view of the Belmont/Picker's/Tuck Raisor Memorial Room
CAAS 2011 was another ultra successful convention paying tribute to Mr. Guitar - Chet Atkins. All the top finger style guitarists were there playing on the Main Stage: Tommy Emmanuel, Doyle Dykes, Richard Smith, Thom Bresh, and Eddie Pennington. Even Bucky Barrett slid in the last day and performed on the Saturday Night Tribute Concert. The creme de la creme of the guitar world - all at volumes that would rival sitting atop a tornado siren pole!!! And, at the closest, a distance of 30 - 40 feet - most generally a mile and a half if you don't just sit in your seat 12 hours a day. (click here to see an official Schedule of Events)
Hence, why your club organizer spends so much time coordinating the ad-hoc performances in this little slice of heaven at CAAS called the Picker's Club Room - Belmont Room, officially and appropriately re-named the Tuck Raisor Room after our original organizer when he passed away. We don't get all the top talent to come play for us, but we try. And, those that do we can fully enjoy "up close n' personal" as if they were playing for us in our own living rooms. Nor, do we have an advanced schedule of performances - rather the participating clubs run around lining up talent everyday on the fly. Soooo, the convention attendees simply "check in often" to see if they like who is playing at the time. Personally, I believe we have the best performances at CAAS.
I would like to thank the other clubs helping out with the activities in the Picker's Club Room: Randy Finney - Chet Atkins Fan Club of Toronto, Don Van Deuson - Guitar League of Central New York, and the tireless Scott Taylor - Kentucky Thumb Pickers Club. Without their energetic assistance - I'd be dead!
Soooo, Palmer, what "big names" did play in yer lil slice of heaven??? Well, how about Thom Bresh (incredible entertainer), Tim & Myles Thompson (they make you want to burn your instruments), Paul Moseley (smoooothest thumb in the "pickin" world), Roger Hardin (he got tired of winning all those pickin' contests), Bob Saxton (still in top form), Adam Rafferty (Mr. Hip-Hop Guitar), Adam Palma (he almost spells his name right (lol), Meagan Taylor and Ben Hall (awesome young duo), Rick Allred (clean as a whistle), Joe and Jan Edwards (of Grand Ol Opry fame), Muriel Anderson (pretty as ever - and, can she play), Pat Kirtley (on top of his form, as usual,) and Chip Young (life long friend of Jerry Reed.)
Another neat thing about the Picker's Club Room is that you get to hear some very fine playing that doesn't necessarily make it to the Main Stage. Such as: Craig Pratt (young 20 yo that is getting better and better every year,) Larry Harper (a man that plays Chet "note-for-note".) At other times the club that has responsibility for a particular time slot will simply hold a club jam. OFGC members JD Norman and Audie Wykle helped yours truly jam the night away. New faces come in and surprise us every year, and this year was no exception as this middle aged picker by the name of Kevin Wright popped in the Room as I was setting up and played for us. Smooth and polished for an amateur player - very enjoyable. And English teacher by the name of Keith Beard played us some very complex Lenny Breau and Tommy Emmanuel style arrangements. (click to see one)
A special treat was the formation of a "Gospel Hour" with Richard Kiser, Greg Butler, Marty Walters, and Ron Williams. One hymn after another for an hour and a half, actually. OFGC members Tom and Helen Mathys didn't leave their seats for this one.
As always, the biggest joy for me, personally, is discovering the young guitarists that don't get a lot of exposure - such as: Thomas Coleman (an amazing magician, as well,) Jason Swanson, and our own Shohei Toyoda from Columbus, OH. However, it was this young boy from Australia who was only 14 years old that won our hearts this year - Dan Boulton. Assuming that being as young as he is and being from Australia that he would be heavily influenced by Tommy Emmanuel. So, like the old idiot I am I asked of the lad, "Do you know any Tommy Emmanuel tunes?" "Not really," he replied, "I do know some Joe Robinson arrangements, though." (OMG - we are already into the NEXT generation of guitar super star influences. For those of you that don't know who young Joe Robinson is he won a national talent contest in Australia a few years ago with his Tommy Emmanuel style of guitar playing.)
Randy Finney and his Chet Atkins Fan Club of Canada pretty much had a "club jam" in each one of their segments which included the delightful playing of himself and many of his members and friends: Ron Bloor, Jo-Anne Park, Bob Evans, Roger Schmidt, Jim Miller plus many more. By the way, if you have never heard Randy play - you have missed some very smooth and precise jazz guitar - mellow yellow......
Review by Don Van Dueson of Guitar League of New York
First off was a young player of 13 yrs old. His enthusiasm was so contagious it made us all better players. His name was Zack , who with his mothers support attended the John Knowles workshop, CAAS, bought a TE Maton guitar and got to play with Bob Saxton in the Belmont rm. Boy was he hopping... A fine young player from Georgia named Eli Rousey was a joy to listen to, though not acknowledging any kinship, he really reminded me of the late Mr Buster B Jones. Murial Anderson was here typical self, I say pound for pound , the finest fingerstyle player in the land. Guy VanDuser was kind enough to wait 20 minuits before starting, to accommodate the hottest new act at the CAAS Loren Barrigar and Mark Mazengarb. This was all on the morning tenure under the Guitar League. The Next day we did our tour with mostly attendies of the John Knowles workshop from Mon and Tues before the CAAS. And Loren and Mark again after their Stage Two full house and hallway, performance. A bit of an opean mike was offered at times to accomodate a few of many, many fine individual players that walked and made up the friendly crowd attending the 2011 CAAS. All and all I guess things went OK. Be well and keep fingering, I know I will...thats it from big Don.
Wow, how can I leave out the mention of the Nashville String Quartet. the gave a wonderful performance while backing up a fellow J Knowles workshop attendee and old friend of Chet Atkins, as a youth, Kathy Boehm. and Mr. Bill Clamp a fine player for over 60 yrs.
Review of "Food at CAAS" submitted by Sherry Long
The buffet in the restaurant at the hotel was something we avoided in 2010 but when we finally went thru all the choices for lunch in the CAAS lobby we opted for the buffet and were pleasantly surprised that the food was outstanding and a welcome change from sandwiches. So we give thumbs up on a great tasting hot buffet for $15.
We also paid extra for our room option to
add the 2nd floor executive lounge to our choices for adequate breakfast
and heavy snacks in the evenings. So two of our meals were covered in
our room rate, sort of....it's really about the convenience. That lounge
has a computer and printer a well as TV and is staffed all day and
evening. water, sodas, Starbucks coffee, and a few other things are
available all the time and included in the room upgrade price of about
$20 per day per room, not per person. Check with hotel about details.
Access is with room key.
Can't wait until CAAS 2012 !!!!!
Palmer Moore - OhioFGC & Picker's Club Room Organizer