Music is alive at the homestead! The homesteading kitchen doubles as a music room and Mitch has been giving the music component a run for its money this year. Last year Mitch founded and played with the band The Odd Wednesdays, now a band no longer, but a door opener for meeting Central Vermont musicians. One of those musicians, is bass player John Ryan. John and Mitch began playing together and getting a feel for each other's rhythms and style, which led to a couple of gigs covering John Prine with singer/songwriter, Wes Hamilton. Guitar virtuoso, Doug Perkins, was invited to play and the groovy Americana sound the foursome was starting to kick out of our basement got the musicians thinking about forming a band, and The Woodshed Rats was born. The Woodshed Rats are currently gigging in Central and Northern Vermont with plans for a demo and expanding their reach in 2017. They play originals and covers like this personal favorite by the Grateful Dead. Check out their Facebook page for upcoming gigs!
Vermont spring (May-June), summer (July-August), and fall (September-October) are magnificent times to visit and we invite friends and family to come stay with us. We schedule these visits in late winter/early spring since we plan months in advance so we can work with our budget, ensure all of our homesteading projects get done, and work around our summer vacation.
Visiting someone who lives on a homestead is not like visiting someone in a neighborhood with a garden. Read more about our lifestyle in Mountain Folk Part 1. Homesteading chores on the land, in the gardens, or in the kitchen must go on whether we have company or not. So, we thought we'd offer a checklist to help you prepare:
What To Expect
What Not To Expect
What To Bring
Greetings everyone! In preparation for our "Celebration of Life" party at the MitchaRachia Homestead, Rachel and I wanted to share a set list of songs that could be played by the rotating cast of musicians who will be rockin' the party. Get in touch with us if you are interested in playing in the band!
The idea is to play some more familiar songs earlier on in the day as there will be a variety of people coming who would really enjoy hearing some good old fashion rock/blues/pop music. As the night progresses, the musicians will have more of a chance to perform originals, other unique cover songs, and to freely explore with each other. Below is the proposed set list. Thanks and see everyone really soon...cheers!
Wolfmans Brother- Phish
First Tube- Phish
Wish You Were Here- Pink Floyd
Another Brick In The Wall- Pink Floyd
Breathe>On The Run- Pink Floyd
Comfortably Numb- Pink Floyd
Down on The Corner- CCR
Bad Moon Rising- CCR
Midnight Special- CCR
Deal- Grateful Dead
Good Lovin- Grateful Dead
Althea- Grateful Dead
Shakedown Street- Grateful Dead
Box of Rain- Grateful Dead
Friend of The Devil- Grateful Dead
Truckin- Grateful Dead
Scarlet Begonias- Grateful Dead
Psycho Killer- Talking Heads
Girlfriend is Better- Talking Heads
Roadhouse Blues- The Doors
Teach Your Children- Crosby, Stills, Nash
Me and Julio Down by The School Yard- Paul Simon
Slip Sliding Away- Paul Simon
Norwegian Wood- The Beatles
Call Me Maybe- Carly Rae Jepsen
Party in the USA- Miley Cyrus
Good Times/Rapper's Delight- Sugar Hill Gang
Car Wash- Rose Royce
Get Lucky- Daft Punk
And smile is exactly what I did the whole time Rachel and I were in Chicago for the final Grateful Dead shows at Soldier Field July 3rd-5th. Much has been written about these shows leading up to and afterwards. And much has been talked about in regards to overall band performance, song selection, individual musicianship, and the scene itself. I know that what I write about my experience will echo many others, and I feel inspired to express the magic that Rachel and I both felt - specifically to us as a couple - and as individuals.
Not knowing exactly what to expect, we both jumped in and began to navigate through Chicago. With help from family and technology, we manged to make our way to Soldier Field by walking and public transit. Friday, July 3rd was the first night, and we were more than ready to start this adventure. Soldier Field is one enormous complex with many parks and walking paths. We had no idea where to go at first, so with some fine Chicago brews in hand, we set out, jumped in, and joined the circus. The sights, smells, and sounds of such an immense gathering as this, was so welcoming. The long awaited time for us to be with this family was finally here. As show time approached, we followed the masses and upon entering the stadium, all of us were handed roses, giving us a wonderful feel and vibe right from the start. We are in! Seats fill up, anticipation mounts, and then you hear it....70,000 people screaming once the band takes the stage. There really is no way to describe the feeling that we had when they came out, other than that is was spine tingling. A guitar click here, a drum test there..........bam.....right into Box of Rain for the three night run opener, being that the last time they played this song was at Soldier Field in 1995, it was great indication of what was to come.
From there, it just kept getting better. Jack Straw was brilliant and then they went into Bertha and Trey unleashed with guns blazing. Towards the end of the song, he let it loose just enough to get the crowd into a frenzy, and just as the true professional he is, he melded right back into the band to deliver a good ol' fashioned Grateful Dead rock and roll ending. Other highlights from that night included Scarlet Begonias>Fire On The Mountain and the ever psychedelic Help On The Way>Slipknot> Franklin's Tower for a 2nd set closer. Wow! The band said goodbye to us that night with a Ripple encore. After that night, Rachel and I both agreed that we were seeing the BEST rock and roll of our lives.
After a good night's sleep, we were right back at it, this time though, we had a plan and knew where we were going to go. We settled in for a bit and just kicked back until show time. It was July 4th, night two, and the crowd was in great spirits. First set opener was a blistering Shakedown Street, and boy did that get everyone in the mood for a party! Trey again seemingly knowing exactly how to let it rip and then come right back flawlessly with the band. Third song in, we were treated to Standing on The Moon with Trey on vocals. This is a song that when you hear Jerry sing it, it can move you to tears. Trey did the same thing. "I want to be here with you" rang out from him as his guitar swelled along. That set ended with a screaming version of Deal which then transitioned into the set break during which I shared wonderful conversation with a couple from Columbus, Ohio. We were all in agreement that we were indeed blessed to be there in the moment. Second set opener was Bird Song, which gave the crowd an ever pleasing smile and universal vibe. Highlights for me were West LA Fadeaway.....so slinky and almost dirty, Drums>Space, and Stella Blue.....Bobby went for it and I must say he captured the pure emotion that the song demands and gives out. And, as it was the 4th of July, the encore was U.S. Blues followed by fire works. "My God" I thought as we walked out..."How are they going to top that show?" A wide eyed Rachel cried, "Did that just happen?" Feeling spry, we headed over to the House of Blues to spend a couple of hours with moe., and following our late night music journey, were not so spry anymore and needed much resting.
Sunday. We were two shows in and ready for the final night that the Grateful Dead will ever be playing as a whole band again. The vibe was remarkably happy, magical, wonderful, etc, etc, however, there was a sense of sadness and raw emotion that I know the crowd shared collectively with the band. They took the stage, hugged each other, bowed to all sides of the stadium, and went right into China Cat Sunflower>I know You Rider, followed by Estimated Prophet which was a first set highlight for sure. That set ended with a pounding version of Throwing Stones (no pun intended), which helped maintain the spirit of the event. And here it was, the final set of music, what a feeling. Highlights for me were again Drums>Space, this was beyond tribal, it went to the core of my guts and made me ponder what being a human being is.......and the set closer of Not Fade Away. This is where I truly felt the magic, of what not only what music can do, but what this band has done for so many years. As the band slowly stopped, 70,000 plus people kept the "No our love will not fade away" chant going for what seemed like ten minutes or so. We were all singing this back to the band and giving them the most heartfelt thank you for the three nights we had just witnessed and also for so many years of wonderful art. I also felt we were all singing to Jerry as well, thanking him. The last ever encore was Touch of Grey and then into Attics of My Life which was accompanied by a video montage. While Bobby was singing, we were shown pictures of the band through the years and then pictures of the current line up, one by one, and then a whole band shot. When Trey's picture came up, it seemed almost everyone in that place screamed their hearts out in appreciation for a job well done. Same thing for Bobby, he pulled it out...he really did. Then the whole band pic...that led to tears, I could not help it.
The crowd emptied into the streets still keeping the Not Fade Away chant going into the hot summer Chicago night air. Much love and peace again to Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzman, Mickey Hart, Jeff Chimenti, Bruce Hornsby, and Trey Anastasio and THANK YOU FOR A REAL GOOD TIME!!!
And thank you to The Burlington Free Press for including us in your Grateful Dead 50 Chicago article.
Mitch and Rachel are a groovy, retro-fit couple stewarding
7-acres of woodlands halfway up Spruce Mountain in Plainfield, Vermont.
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Farm to Plate
Vermont State Parks