I am finally getting a little rest time in my hotel in West, Texas as I prepare for the last leg of a pretty big tour… some gigs in CA- including one of my favorite festivals– the Cotati Accordion Festival (where I was made an honorary citizen of Cotati this year!!) and a return visit to the Minnesota State Fair… (where I performed a few years ago with The Al Meixner Trio)
MN State Fair is a great event– amazing varieties of fried foods you can’t even imagine and almost everything is available on a stick. The crew is at the Bandshell is super easy to work with and the staff is really cool and helpful. I was performing with Polka Freak Out and had the honor of being in rotation with Five by Design and the great country singer Mel McDaniel. I wasn’t really familiar with Mr. McDaniel by name, but came in as he kicked into Louisiana Saturday Night and totally remembered that big voice.
Mel is getting over a case of pneumonia and has had a battery of health difficulties- but really affected me with his total commitment to his audience. He poured every ounce of his being into those sets– and sounded great. The audience was totally there for him… I watched people come up with Lps from the 70s for him to sign, and although he was really hurting physically, it was amazing to watch him do it… singing, interacting with the fans and his band family and lovely wife. I’m a fan now…. His band- Oklahoma Wind is comprised of great musicians, and a wonderful support structure in every way. It was a true honor to meet these gentlemen and hope to have the opportunity to see them again.
I wish them all the best in health and happiness…. thank you Mel for your great spirit and inspiration…