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Boy On Rock
Author: Force, Futch, Stephens, Zimish, Batti, Ford, Piazza
Date/Studio: 2007 GOTG Park, Colorado Springs, CO
Engineer: Rick Laurenzzi
Producer: Robert Force & Manitou
Original Release: Manitou, In the Garden of the Gods (BSR309)
Current Release: Manitou, In the Garden of the Gods (BSR309)

This tune is off of In the Garden of the Gods. For a number of years I had been attending a small folk festival put on by the Ford family in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Every year Bud III would lend me a Vespa motor scooter from his collection and I would putt the few miles up to the Garden of the Gods Park to spend time in that wonderful, unique, spiritual place.

In one part of the park between two towering, blade-like red spires was a natural amphitheater. How fun, I thought, it would be to record here using the natural echoes. The talent that had been coming to the Manitou Mountain Music Festival was awesome. Every year I'd get up on stage and get to play five, full hour-long sets over the weekend-- a luxury in this latter day and age where performers only get a fifteen-minute cameo at folk festivals. I got to play all of my tunes and many of those folks gladly jumped in to back me up as we flowed on and of the stage during each other's sets.

One year my friend, Rick Laurenzi, was making a movie about weight loss (Dropping a Ton and making it Fun). He had acquired a bunch of camera and remote, in-the-field recording gear. The stars were right. I asked several of these people I had been playing with to record with me in that spectacular place. Yes! We got up (an unnatural act!) at seven in the morning to get to the Garden and set up equipment. By nine we were recording. By noon, with the hot sun now banishing the cool shadows of our alcove, we were done. Rick had left the Mac computer running the whole time.

What strikes me about the session is that we were all there to listen to each other-- not just to bounce off with riffs for others to follow. Everyone there had previously played with someone in the group but we had never played all together. As a result, the entire album came out magical. A camera crew was shooting the event. Maybe one day that footage will see the light. For now, there are a few YouTubes out there that capture some of it, including this cut.

Net-search under Manitou Music Garden of the Gods. Bing Futch preserved a lot of the footage on his Dulcimerica podcasts. In particular, Episode 30 In the Garden of the Gods: Manitou, is where the 10-minute video of this tune is archived. All pros, it's cool when at the end of the video you watch as the musician's raise their hands as their instrument fades, signaling that they are done. One by one the hands are raised as everyone else stays silent, not moving, until that last note is over, then we all break into laughter knowing that we had just accomplished something wonderful.

At the end of this piece, a young boy wanders through the frame and then quietly plops himself down on an overlooking rock to watch and listen. He is caught in the last few seconds of the video-- hence the name of this lively, uptempo folk-fusion piece. It features four dulcimer players-- Quintin Stephens, Bud Ford III, Bing Futch and myself. Dave Batti is on bass. Roger Zimish on guitar and Judy Piazza on hand drum and any other thing she could lay her hands or feet on during the session.

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