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