Oct 102011
 

Thanks to a last minute cancellation, I got called in to perform for the last day of the 2011 season for the Astoria Sunday Market. What a great day! The weather even co-operated, which is unusual for this time of year. It started off kind of misty, and then the sky cleared up and we actually had sun for the rest of the afternoon.

The music stage is right in the middle of the food court, and this market has really attracted some outstanding food vendors. Once again, I couldn’t pass up getting  a “good ol hamburger”! Definitely NOT even close to what you might get at McD’s, or any other fast food place. I’m talking about a real hamburger here, with a real meat patty cooked just right on the BBQ, served while it’s still hot, and requires at least 4 napkins if you want to avoid getting that special cheese sauce all over the front of your shirt. Mmmm…..I would have had another one just for the flavor, but I was stuffed and had to go play some more music!

I saw a lot of familiar faces, as well as many new ones in the audience, and had a great time all day. A real highlight came towards the end of the day, with a rather large group that came in and played “stump the band” Some of their song requests were really out there, ranging from “Deep Purple” and “Led Zeppelin” to “Amazing Grace” and “Classical Gas”. Jeeze, I hadn’t played Stairway to Heaven or Classical Gas for a looooong time, (maybe years?) but it was sure fun! They were great sports, even feeding me the lyrics to songs as I was trying to figure out guitar parts to songs I had never played before. We were having so much fun that I played almost a half hour after the market had officially closed!

The mood was almost party-like, with a bit of sadness thrown in. This market runs every Sunday, from Mothers Day in the spring, through the second Sunday of October in the fall, so the vendors get pretty close and used to seeing each other every week. The end of the season means they won’t be seeing each other until next spring, but it also means they now have Sundays off to relax for a while too! I have performed at this market for many years, and it’s always kind of sad to see it come to an end. But that’s ok, Spring will be here again before we know it!

 

Oct 032011
 

I cannot believe it is October already….Summer went so fast!

I got to do so many great gigs this summer that it would be hard to mention all the highlights, but there is one in particular I want to mention, because I woke up this morning thinking about it. This was my first year performing at the Arlington Art Festival, and while I was there I got to meet a Native American flute maker named Paul Ninehouse. His handmade wooden flutes were absolutely beautiful, and when you listened to him play,  you were instantly transformed to a different, very peaceful state of mind and body. It was almost magical watching the effect it had on the audience!

Being a woodworker myself, I was also blown away by the beauty and craftmanship of his flutes, not to mention Pauls modesty…..he claimed that the “tree does most of the work” by creating the wood; he just finds the flute within. He also doesn’t sell his flutes, but he does occasionally give them to people if he feels that the flute rightfully belongs to them. Quite an amazing guy!

Since I was performing right after Paul, it was suggested that maybe we play something together. I don’t normally go onstage with out rehearsing with someone first, but this time it was different.  My first thought was to perform “Son of a Seaman’s Daughter”  since I recorded it with some pan flute in a few parts. As soon as Paul started coming in with his flute, the song became almost mesmerizing! I looked out in the audience and saw people getting so emotionally involved that they had tears in their eyes. The whole thing got captured on video, so if it turned out I will get it posted on the video page soon.

The second day at the Arlington Art Festival was also the 10 year anniversary of  the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01. My song, “Faded Old Flag” was written in honor of our soldiers, and was largely inspired by events surrounding that day. It was bitter-sweet to be able to perform “Faded Old Flag” for the anniversary, especially while being able to see a huge American Flag gently blowing in the breeze a short distance away. I was filled with pride, and also with great sadness as I recalled memories of 10 years ago. 

 

Sep 152011
 

Oh yeah, these past few weeks have been busy, not to mention a lot of fun! It doesn’t really seem like it was all that long ago that I was in Westport, Washington for the Pirate Daze Festival, and then back again for a couple of days in the middle of August for the annual Westport Art Festival. Got to take it easy for a few days with some gigs close to home, and then it was off to the Mill Bay Casino on Lake Chelan, followed by Okanogan Casino 2 nights later, opening for Magician/Hypnotist Joe Black. It was nice to see that part of the country again after being away for several years, and I even got to do a little camping along the way! I got home just in time to do a load of laundry, catch a few hours of sleep, and take off for a few more “close to home” gigs, and then back on the road again, up to Arlington, Washington for their 2 day Art Festival. I have put well over 2 thousand miles on my truck, probably closer to 3 thousand these past few weeks. The summer season is winding down now though…..I have a week off, followed by some more local bookings. Maybe I’ll finaly be able to get back into the studio soon to finish my new CD!

Sep 152011
 

   Hey there, Hi! My name is Greg Parke, and I love hearing what   kind of sounds and songs I can coax out of where ever they may be hiding. I play both acoustic and electric guitars,  and a few years ago I started exploring the world of MIDI guitars, which I now use in almost all of my recording and live performances.

Sometimes I play music you can snuggle to while sipping a glass of good wine, and sometimes I rattle the dust off the rafters and make you want to dance until your shoes fall apart. Sometimes I sing about broken hearts, and sometimes I finish a song with a broken guitar string. Doesn’t matter……as long as I’m making music, life is good!