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Date this web site was last edited:  12/06/2015





2008 CAAS Review - From the view of the Belmont/Picker's/Tuck Raisor Memorial Room


The Belmont/Picker’s Club/Tuck Raisor Memorial Room Was a Blast in 2008  

It is designated at the Picker’s Club Room, or Kentucky Room, or Tuck Raisor Memorial Room.  And, it’s a little stage area “loosely” organized by the various finger style guitar clubs from around the world that are associated with CAAS.  It’s impossible to publish a schedule of performers ahead of time because as “loosely” implies – we haven’t a clue who we can find to play until after we all get there.  The best advertisement of what schedule we can come up with is word-of-mouth or our little bulletin board we scratch on just outside our door.  However, those that are lucky enough to find us have suggested that it’s a fun place to hangout and hear some of the best musical performances of their lives.  The performers aren’t just the “stars” – in fact, some of our most enjoyable experiences are hearing the guys and gals that weren’t even on the official roster.     

First, I’d like to thank the organizers of the participating clubs this year:  

Bob Stamper Tampa Bay Fingerstyle Players
Randy Finney - fingerstyleguitar.ca ( Toronto and broadening into many more areas of Canada – aye…(lol)
Dick WardGuitar League of Central New York (Upstate New York )
Scott Taylor Kentucky Thumb Pickers Club
JD NormanOhio Fingerstyle Guitar Club (when he wasn’t nappin’ or making sure all the ladies were enjoying their visit 8>)  

Special Thanks to James Brown (MI) for letting us use his new Bose Tower sound system that was wonderful not only to the ear, but it made hooking up and unhooking each performer – especially when their were several of them.   

Over the years, I have tried to keep the Room’s venue slanted towards Chet’s old time thumb pickin’ to ensure that folks can always get a good dose of that style, and that it remains alive.  However, with all the newer styles and the younger talent that CAAS has been fortunate enough to attract lately, I felt that we have just got to take advantage of their presence and give them a place to be heard.  So, in lieu of a full week of thumb pickin’ – we start the week off with it – intersperse it in during the week – and, make sure we end up with it.  

Like Roger Pratt said we get things rolling in there on Wed morning even before the convention officially opens - just to set the tone for the week in our “little slice of heaven” with a thumb pickin’ set from me and my good buddy, JD Norman.  I always ask who’s attending for the first time and explain that I’m “the worst” they are going to hear in there all week – so, get ready for some great guitar music.  “It’s only going to get better folks – a lot better.  So, if I were you(z) – I’d check in here just about every hour!”  Then, I pick out the new folks that I can tell are being as blown away as I was my first year and I advise them,  “And, YOU – I would just stay here!”  (lol)  

Highlights – folks that shared their talents with us: (sorry if I didn’t get them all)  

Bob Saxton, Bobby Gibson, Scott Taylor, Robert Anderson, Jesse Rhodes, Rick Allred, Richard Smith, Muriel Anderson, Richard Kiser, Richard Hudson, Sheridan Bowman, Jim Miller (half of Jim and Diane from the Front Desk), Leonid Nassyrov (19 year old Tommy fan from Montreal), Roger Schmidt (Canadian Rep for Stonebridge Guitars), Randy Finney (organizer for fingerstyleguitar.ca), Pat Kirtley, Bob Evans, Bruce Mathiske, Loren Barrigar, Mark Mazengarb, Dick Ward, Bill Clamp, Muriel Anderson – and Lynn Clapp for his many trips to the Room to help provide rhythm strummin’ to MANY performers.   

Palmer’s Special Moments – (these were from just my Ohio club's segments)  

Paul Yandell Tribute  

All we had to do is mention that it might be a nice idea to Play Tribute to Chet’s right hand man of 25 years, Paul Yandell, and I got emails and phone calls from a BUNCH of people that wanted to play.  So many, in fact, that I had to cut the play list back to fit in the allotted time.  I would like to thank Craig Dobbins & Darrell Toney (In the Garden), Richard Smith (I’ve Been Lucky), Mark Hill (Goin’ Home), Rick Allred (Munich Memories), Bill Monk (student of Craig Dobbins playing Within My Heart),  John McClellan (Steeple Chase Lane), Richard Kiser (I’ll Say She Does) and Robert Anderson (Forever Chet) for coming in and “playing tribute” to Paul.  And, a special thanks to Micah Yandell for helping me pull it off.  It was a tribute far over due.  

After the Tribute, Paul talked to the packed Room for a while about his life with Chet and spent quite awhile showing, discussing and taking questions about the new Gretsch guitar he helped design to Chet’s specs.  Beautiful instrument.  Thanks so much for coming in Paul.  

New Comer of the Year – Adam Rafferty   

This year there was this young (well, 39 is young to me) man from near NYC that played stand up acoustic that simply knocked me (and several others) off my feet.  “Thumb pickin’, Parmer?”  Shoot, this dude didn’t even use a thumb pick – or, any pick at all.  (Sorry - I thought Adam didn't use a thumb pick - in fact, he changes back and forth between thumb pick and straight pick depending on what he needs from his guitar.  Sorry, Adam...)  Played stand up thumb style out of standard tuning and amazed us all (including Ed Benson of Just Jazz Guitar Magazine) with his incredible use of walking bass lines and, physical/vocal rhythm accompaniments in just about all his arrangements of popular standards and originals.  Adam Rafferty was a tall thin drink of water that had the energy of ah….ah…. well, it was like I waz lookin’ in a mirror, folks.. (LOL)  I know I drive most of you folks nuts with my energy – but, Adam’s energy all goes into his performance and guitar playing.  Check him out on his YouTube site:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYDDxDzERIE&feature=email  

Amazing Fourteen Year Old – Bryan Browne  

Tommy E brought this kid to CAAS last year and played with him on the Main Stage and he amazed everybody.  This year Gary Lambert brought him into our Room to play for us.  His dad, Adrian, brought a backing tracks CD along that we played in Richard Hudson’s PA system that he let us use (thanks, Richard) to help Bryan play all his Joe Maphis tunes.  Shortly after he started a lady (I forget her name, relationship with Joe, or how she got all this stuff) stood up and announced (can’t do that in the Main Stage area (lol) that she not only was wearing Joe’s stage jacket – she had his double necked guitar (sorry, forgot the mfg.)  I encouraged her to “go get it” – and, Byran played a ton of Joe’s tunes – including Fire on the Mountain (Strings) on that guitar – all at about 110% of the speed Joe played at.  The kid is absolutely amazing!!!  And, has the nicest personality, too.  Here’s Bryan on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxFsR-LjPPI&feature=related  Oh, yea – that’s Joe Robinson with him who played Main Stage this year!!  

Ray Espinoza Returns 

Due to an illness, the somber yet scary good Ray Espinoza has been unable to attend CAAS the last few years – and, as soon as he started to play we all realized just how much we missed his immense talents and beautiful personality.  Ray has all his fingers, but he plays guitar with his mind and soul.   Start ANY tune and Ray will fill it with the smoooooothest unrehearsed jazz slanted lead lines.  A pleasure to play with – and, always around to listen and/or lend a hand.  Ask him to play solo – and, he rips off an incredible jazz oriented arrangement of Cannonball Rag – that impressed even Ed Benson and Adam Rafferty. 

Billy and Gary Denham  

Billy and Gary Denham drove up from Chattanooga Saturday to perform at 1 pm.  They had been sorely missed all during the week as they used to be a mainstay in the Picker’s Club Room for years playing and organizing the performances.  They and Bob Saxton were on stage in there when I walked in the first time, I guess 11 years ago.  Their thumb pickin’ style of After Yer Gone, Snow Bird, See You in My Dreams, on and on – simply captured my heart like no other venue at CAAS could or did.  They inspired me to come home and start the Ohio Fingerstyle Guitar Club that has over 550 informal members today, and stay involved with the Room.   

Wesley Crider and Craig Pratt Tore It Up  

I’ve seen Wesley Crider (2004 winner International Thumbpicking Championship @ Paradise Park in Muhlenberg KY ) perform solo on his acoustic guitar many times – and, he is amazing.  We’ve been watching his young nephew (I believe) Craig Pratt for a few years every since he first signed into the Texas Internet Chat Room to pick for us – and, he has come along very well.  But, THIS YEAR Wes brought that new thin bodied Wallace electric guitar in and played with Craig and (to me) it was like another Wes showed up – he was outta his mind brilliant!  The sound that he got with that new Wallace piped through the Bose Tower system was full bodied and clear as a bell – and, he simply went “to another level.”  Some of the best guitar playing I heard at CAAS this year.  

However, what blew me right back into the lobby was how much Craig Pratt has progressed in the past year!  Chet pickin’, Reed claws, rapid arpeggios, and lighting fast SUPER LICKS – one right after the other.  It is just wonderful to see how this kid has progressed so far in just the last couple years.   

Nokie Edwards & Bobby Gibson  

It’s always a pleasure to have Nokie Edwards come in our Room and play his own brand, Hitchhiker, guitar.  However, this year somehow he ended up with a nylon stringed electric – and, I’ve got to tell you folks – he’s got another gear.  Bobby Gibson provided backup flawlessly as Nokie seemed to follow the different sound he was getting from the nylon - laying down some super mellow lines and chords that drew the audience breathless.  Congratulations on your induction into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame this past year, Nokie – and, thanks for coming in our “little slice of heaven.”  

Mark Hill with Brian Baker  

Mark came directly to our Room upon his arrival – where we immediately put him and his very fine playing protégé, Brian Baker, up to play for us.  Mark is one of the finest all around genre guitarists that has found our CAAS organization the last few years:  old time Chet, new Chet, Jerry claws, Lenny out takes, classical, whatever – he nails it all.  He was tired from all the airline delays they experienced getting to the convention and I could tell that he was ready to stop playing – when I “forced” him to play one more with ME.  My favorite off his new CD “a mark in time” – Three Little Words.  WHAT A TREAT!!!  Thanks, Mark.  

Paul Moseley Closes the Belmont Room with some Thumbpickin’  

We started the week off with some old time thumb pickin’ and we ended it with the best at CAAS – Mr. Paul Moseley from Western Kentucky where this style all began.  Paul has the smooooothest thumb in the business and he (along with his son Michael on bass) played one after another until we “ran outta tunes.”  Well, we had missed one little ditty – and, we ended CAAS in the Room with See You in My Dreams…   

(Super special treat for me was having Billy Denham, who taught me how to play Three Little Words 10 years ago, watch me take the C verse from Paul – and, somehow I managed to get just about all of it.  Thanks for the inspiration, Billy – and, yea – I have been practicin’. (lol)  

Julian Smith Brought Us to Tears  

I don’t come out of ma’ hole very often, but when I do it’s for some good reason.  And, watching Julian Smith play with the Endless Roads Strings on Stage II and Main Stage Sat night playing two selections from one of my fav Chet albums, From Nashville with Love, was pretty much worth the whole trip to Nashville .  Julian’s perfect execution of Ai Di La and English Leather pretty much brought every true Chet fan in the audience to tears.  (He also helped out in the Belmont Room whenever asked – which was several times.)  

OFGC Meets The Guitar League

The new fingerstyle guitar club from Upstate New York (around Syracuse) has a killer player as a member by the name of Loren Barrigar - he's incredible!  As soon as I heard him play his up tempo Reed ramblings last year I've been dreaming of getting him and our killer claw style player, Audie Wykle, from our Ohio Club to play together.  At the end of their segment I believe on Thursday that dream came true - and, BOY - WAS I EVER RIGHT.  THEY WERE AWESOME TOGETHER!  Thanks, guys...

Palmer’s Most Special Moment  

Every year I look for newcomers to make sure they are enjoying themselves.  Like the guy several years ago that came in the Room early on Wed morning.  I advised him to pretty much stay put and he’d probably have a great time.  Well, he never left.  Every time he start to get up and leave – somebody else would come up on stage that knocked his socks off and he would sit back down.  About 10:30 in the evening he bravely shouted out during listening to Julian Smith play his amazing stuff,  “Hey, Palmer – I still don’t want to leave – but, I’ve GOT TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!”   

Well, this year when I kicked things off and asked “who’s new” – there was this 80 something man (looked to be in his early 70s to me) sitting up front that raised his hand.  Said his name was “Joe” and that he was from Kentucky    His very pretty daughter, Janie, and her husband, Mark, had brought him to his first convention and were sitting right next to him.  It didn’t take Joe very long to start barking out requests for all of our standard tunes – including some we couldn’t do.  But, I could tell he really liked old time thumb pickin’ – especially Merle’s stuff.   

Joe’s family came and left several times during that first day – but, he primarily just spent the day in our Room with a look of pure enjoyment on his face.  Most of you know that we run “performances” right up till midnight – and, then have jams until we drop over.  At midnight Joe was still there and I kept wondering under my breath when the nurse maids were gonna come and take him “back to the home” – but, it was obvious that Joe wasn’t leavin’ until we were through.  We only lasted until 1:30 am that Weds night.  Joe looked as fresh at that hour as he did when they brought him in that morning.  His daughter and son-in-law were weathering the late hour, as well.  

Well, the same thing happened on Thurs evening – except we stayed up until 2:30  am .  Joe was there the whole time – however, his family looked like they might be draggin’ a little bit.  The next night (Fri) while Joe Jackson and Audie Wykle were playing the last set between 11 – midnight – Joe and I sat outside the Room at Tommy Flints empty table while he played a bit on Scott Taylor’s guitar.  Just about the time Jackson and Audie got through playing “Around Midnight” (not really – but, it fit) Joe’s daughter leaned over to me and whispered,  “That’s all he’s been talking about – is playing some with you.”  Well, THAT was some compliment, so I asked her if he brought his guitar and if so – ‘GO GIT IT!”  We, then, took Joe into our “little slice of heaven”, plugged him into the sound system, and surrounded him with Robert Anderson, Russ Jenkins, Ray Espinoza and myself.  Joe would start a tune and we would surround him with various takes on it.  He looked very happy.   

Again, I kept looking for the nurses to come carry this old dude away – but, at THREE THIRTY his daughter came in the Room looking rather ragged around the edges to claim her VERY ALERT dad.  We decided to run See You in My Dreams around to say goodnight….  

(It ain’t over, folks – please keep reading.)  

As we all know Saturday at CAAS is a very busy day – with a super closing concert to pay tribute to our hero Chet – and, usually some jams til the wee hours after that.  I, personally, was hammered from the lack of sleep the previous 3 nights and running around like crazy for the Room all day, but ya know – “the show’s gotta go on.”  I saw Joe and family a few times during that hectic day, but lost track of him during and shortly after the evening concert.  In fact, I had a little “pickin’ party” up in my room for a few friends until about 1:30 am – and, we decided that we’d take “one more lap” around the lobby area to see what jams were going on.   

The lounge had some – the lobby had some – and, way in the back there was a great jam going on between our own Ohio picker, Audie Wykle, Bruce Mathiske, and, the third guy was that dark haired young man from Finland (I think) that combed it like Buddy Holly – didn’t get his name at all – sorry.  

Standing around were the likes of Guy VanDuser, Randy Finney and a host of other folks that were enjoying the music and didn’t really want CAAS to be over – EITHER – and, low and behold who was sitting there watching these guys play?   Yep – old JOE!!!  UNTIL 4:30 IN THE MORNING!!!!!!  JOE PAYNE you are my new! hero - PLEASE COME BACK!!!


Like most of you that attended CAAS, I had a blast!  think we'll just do all this again next year.  Whadda youz folks think?

Palmer Moore - Belmont Room & Ohio Fingerstyle Guitar Club Organizer