Fiery fretboards: The flying fingers of Frank and Vinny light up Jersey woods

 

Thank goodness there was no dry tinder at last month’s Folk Project Acoustic Getaway.

Sparks were flying from the fretboards of Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo, who gave a sizzling concert in a camping lodge near Hackettstown.

Just as impressive were a pair of guitar workshops they gave at the two-day festival.

Imagine spending a morning in the batting cage with Derek Jeter, or getting some acting tips from Meryl Streep.

Frank Vignola, right, and Vinny Raniolo, giving guitar workshop at 2014 Folk Project Acoustic Getaway. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Frank Vignola, right, and Vinny Raniolo, giving guitar workshop at 2014 Folk Project Acoustic Getaway. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

At first, it was intimidating to bring a guitar into the same room with Frank and Vinny, jazz giants who have performed with Tommy Emmanuel, Bucky Pizzarelli, the late Les Paul, and other guitar luminaries.

Turns out Frank is a patient teacher. He put a roomful of awed strummers at ease, sharing some practice exercises and basic improvisation concepts with a few jokes thrown in to keep things loose.

His casual attire–something his fans have never seen–helped.  (Vinny inspired some levity with his full concert uniform; Frank’s sidekick looked ready for a Downton Abbey picnic.)

Players at all levels attended Acoustic Getaway workshops in May 2014. This session introduced people to the ukulele. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Players of varying skill levels attended Acoustic Getaway workshops in May 2014. This session introduced people to the ukulele. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Workshops always are highlights of these affairs, whether you are a musician or just someone curious about how artists make their magic.

Singer-songwriters Julie Gold, David Massengill, James Keelaghan, Victoria Vox, Valerie Dupont and the duo MSG were among last month’s presenters.

Another Acoustic Getaway weekend is coming this fall from the Folk Project, the folks behind The Minstrel series on Fridays in Morris Township. You can catch John Gorka at The Minstrel on June 6, 2014, at 8 pm, with twin sisters Nalani and Sarina as openers.

Stay tuned here for more about the next Acoustic Getaway, and for more video highlights from the recent one.

And mark Aug. 29-31 on your calendar. Uke New Jersey Too  is the second annual celebration of all things ukulele.  Nothing banishes the blues like the sunny sound of 100 ukes, playing more or less in unison!

MORE FROM THE FOLK PROJECT ‘ACOUSTIC GETAWAY’

Outdoor jam session at the May 2014 Folk Project Acoustic Getaway. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Outdoor jam session at the May 2014 Folk Project Acoustic Getaway. Photo by Kevin Coughlin



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