Bluegrass and a Cup of Joe on Main Street

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by KenH, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. KenH

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    May 18, 2002
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    Bluegrass and a Cup of Joe on Main Street

    By Myers Reece, 3-20-09

    Press play at the link below to see the audio slide show of the Thursday night jam session.

    Every Thursday night at Colter Coffee, you can hear a century-old conversation that rarely requires words. Except for the singing, of course.

    This conversation needs only guitars, banjos and fiddles – maybe a mandolin or two and an acoustic bass. Anybody who’s been part of a traditional picking circle – a term derived from the act of picking on an instrument’s strings – understands this dynamic. Much of the interaction is unspoken and it’s all unplugged.

    The players all take cues from each other with eye contact, head nods and ample understanding of both music structure and picking circle etiquette. When one takes the lead, the rest keep the rhythm. Backup vocals are always welcome.

    This is the system in which these half dozen or so self-proclaimed “pickers” tell their stories at Colter Coffee. Everybody chips in. And because much of the music is rooted in improvisation, with varying degrees of experience wielding the instruments, mistakes are made. But everybody’s fine with that, including the audience.

    “It’s a beautiful, old tradition,” Alex Hogle said of the picking circle. “Playing the good old stuff and rocking it.”

    Colter Coffee Roasting has quietly become a cozy bastion for acoustic music since opening its Main Street location in downtown Kalispell two years ago. The company also maintains a roasting and packaging plant near Snappy Sports Senter.

    - more at

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