The Nelson Monday night dance is a place where lots of musicians and callers have gotten started, aided in part by a slow jam that happens for an hour before the dance starts at 8:00. Then later in the evening there is an opportunity to play a set or two of tunes.
About the time that Perin was showing up there, so were Richard Backes, Lizza Backes, and Matt Garland. Keep in mind that Perin was sixteen, Richard was about 22, and Lizza and Matt were both still in high school. But when they played with Gordon for the dances it was clear that there was not just a high energy, but an amazing quality of musicianship that didn’t need to be qualified by the youthfulness of the band.
Playing at a music and dance festival in Maine, it turned out that the sound was being run by Bob Mills, who had done sound many years before at dances in New Jersey, for Fresh Fish. Bob commented to Gordon that Perin seemed like he had whatever Kerry Elkin had about the fiddle. That was a sealing moment for Gordon.
Trip to Nelson played for a few dances, and had a fabulous full house in the Nelson Town Hall for a CD release concert. But it was always destined to be a short term band, with the various members graduating and going out into the world. It sure was fun!
The band was very fortunate to have the use of Bass Hall at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture (which included a 1928 Steinway Model L) , and the services of Eric Blackmer as a recording engineer. Additionally, the support of many friends through a Kickstarter campaign which reached goal incredibly quickly.
This is a wonderful collection of lively contra dance tunes.
The Origin of the Name
The band took its name from a tune of the same name written by Pete Sutherland, and there’s a nice story behind it. In 1984 Pete was playing with the band Metamora, which also consisted of Malcolm Dalglish and Grey Larson. They were based in Bloomington, Indiana, and there was great excitement because they were coming to do a concert in the Nelson Town Hall. At the time they were one of the most prestigious bands to perform for a Monadnock Folklore Society concert. The concert was fabulous. The next day Gordon was driving them to their next gig, at Sanders Theater in Cambridge. Pete was riding shotgun, and he was scribbling away at something and appeared to be quite focused on whatever it was. After helping the band in with their gear, Gordon returned to his car to find this tune, which Pete had just written out of his head, on the seat of the car. It’s a jig, but with some unusual rhythmic emphasis, so it doesn’t always work for a dance. Fresh Fish had incorporated this into their repertoire and work with Steve Zakon had a particular dance that it worked for. Since the members of this new band had literally made trips to Nelson every Monday, this seemed like a great band name, and with Pete’s blessing, it was adopted.
click on the image of the tune below to access a printable PDF