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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Blue Skies

It is deeply meaningful to me that I was approached to play the Blue Skies Festival immediately after releasing AT HOME. If the CD is a small expression of life close to home, family, community, and the earth, Blue Skies is the big expression of it.

I don't really experience Blue Skies as a festival but as a celebration of community. Every summer the natives of the Great Plains would come together in a "gathering of the tribes," that is wonderfully described by Black Elk in the profound book, "Black Elk Speaks." Blue Skies is a modern gathering of the tribes.

For years people had told me how wonderful Blue Skies was, but having been part of the grand gatherings of the back-to-land movement of the 60s, I took it with a grain of salt. But Julia Philips, now the Artistic Director of the festival, kept telling me, "Sam, you gotta go—you belong there." I thought it was a sweet sentiment until the first time I walked over the hill and witnessed the vista of the great meadow and the most organic wood-and-canvas stage I had ever seen in my life. Children were running everywhere, people in multi-coloured clothing were laughing and hugging each other, music was wafting through the trees. I felt the rising of that ancient feeling we all have—coming home—and tears welled up in my eyes.

Home. Right here. I'm welcome. I'm okay as I am. I belong.

That's what I was expressing in the AT HOME recordings when I invited friends and family together to play music—and record it. I can't wait to stand on that magical wooden stage at Blue Skies, lift my eyes to the community sitting on that great meadow bowl and start singing together. I'm also looking forward to leaping into Magoo's arms!

Many thanks to Julia Philips for having open ears to my music so many years ago. We're gonna bring it home!

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