Camp Preview: Summer of Dave Begins

You know sometimes when you listen to an album and it feels like the lyrics to each song are narrating your life story at that exact point in time.  Well right now, David Byrne must be the fly on the wall playing Best of the Talking Heads and reading my mind.  To help you understand what I mean, observe the course of events leading up to this once in a lifetime chance to get into the heaven that is Summer Camp.

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack

And you may find yourself in another part of the world

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile

And you may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife

And you may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”

That was me in a nutshell at the beginning of April.  I wasn’t in a shack, but I was certain my life vehicle wasn’t driving in the right direction in the land of cubicles.  My passion was hearing live music not climbing some synergistic hypothetical ladder.  So, I stepped off the merry go round.  I wanted a place where the music didn’t stop and my creativity could flourish.  I wanted it to be the Seinfeldian “Summer of Dave.”

My core group of friends in Chicago are part of two bands, FGC a seasoned SCamp veteran, and Old Shoe who are first timers to Chillicothe like myself.  The best way to start the summer I wanted was to be at Summer Camp to see them perform.  After entering the contest to be part of the camp counselor program I thought my perspective of the different festival experiences, both from the collective eyes of bands I know, and my own could provide a unique glimpse into Camp life.  What I hope to provide for all camper experience levels is a genuine voice and accurate account from the point of view of both performer and fan.

People who live near Chicago are truly blessed for one reason and its not the weather.   This city draws so much great musical talent to its wind swept shores.  Homegrown acts like Umphrey’s and Cornmeal to left coasters like Hot Buttered Rum regularly stop by to say what up while on tour.  I’ve been fortunate to scope a lot of the 2012 lineup this year before they hit the stage just because of this allure Chicago holds over musicians.

In my spare time I attend an average of about three to four shows a week.  Burning the candle at both ends responsibly is my modus operandi.  With venues such as Martyrs and the Vic in my backyard its actually tough to avoid all the good midweek music.  Luckily, as it happened I ran into the right set of circumstances that left me reviewing shows for a few music publications.  Coincidence or fate stepped in and corrected my course and set my path towards a dusty moonlit road in Chillicothe.

I’m ecstatic to experience the aura I’ve heard surrounds the festival.  For a festival going on its 12th year the SCamp team has managed to keep their core fans happy while adding national talent and handling expanded ticket sales.  That usually takes someone at the heart of it all making sure values are upheld and everyone is on the same page.  So the first thing i’m doing when I get to camp is finding Jay to shake his hand.

While its no secret that UMphreaks and moe.rons are the foundation of the festival the lineup keeps evolving each year.  The multi-genre acoustic funk artist that calls himself Keller Williams will surely be on my top must see acts.  As will be the case with legend infused Weir, Robinson, Greene Acoustic Trio.  Transcendental folk artist Elephant Revival is an act gaining attention and I’m relishing the chance to hear their fiddle laden harmonies.  Yonder Mountain String Band and the Infamous Stringdusters will not leave me strung out.  I’ll stay close to home and the lake and check out some homegrown bluegrass in Cornmeal. Then move on over to the funk-defying sounds of Family Groove Company in addition to a bevy of spectacular windy city acts sprinkled throughout the schedule.  Chicago Farmer is the type of story teller that relates to people from all walks of life and i’m gonna scope Cody’s Sunday set for sure.  Confirmed are rumors of a superjam collaboration called “Shoe Groove Z” taking the stage Thursday with Old Shoe, Zmick, and members of Family Groove Company as special guests.  I hear the red barn late night will be where is at for Brain Damaged Eggmen as members of Umphrey’s and The Disco Biscuits celebrate music of Pink Floyd and The Beatles.  Hopefully i’ll also get a chance to brush shoulders with the husband wife super couple that makes up the Tedeschi Trucks Band.  Been really looking forward to hearing new songs off their new release Everybody’s Talking due out before camp starts May 22nd.  Where else would a Talking Heads fan be, but front stage center for This Must Be the Band’s late night soulshine tent appearance?  DJnoDJ also performs Daft Punk which should be a great listening experience at those wee morning hours moments before the rooster crows.

Schedule wise there is so much greatness that i’m thinking you’ll be hard pressed to please everyone.  But that’s life and sometimes you run into difficult choices.  To me that is a good problem to have happen and too much good music should not dissuade from your overall satisfaction when its all said and done.  Breathe deep and let the great wealth of talented open air performers smack you across the face ever so gently.  There is nary an act on the bill who can’t handle a large crowd as opposed to a cramped recording booth.  Part of the allure of festivals such as Summer Camp is you are almost guaranteed to see some magical sit ins and collaborations.  I’m going to keep close to the musician workshops at the Soulshine Tent to capture those moments first hand for you throughout the weekend.

The David Byrne fly on the wall keeps whispering to me that he isn’t sure where we’ve been, but one things for certain i’m going to Summer Camp.  The world is blooming and we are floating above it with nothing but glass blown 1000 year old flowers to show life during festival time can leave you with memories that remind us this must be the place.  Such a wild, wild life sometimes.  Hope you’ll share in my Summer Camp of Dave.

See you at camp friend,

Dave