Once upon a time, there was a little girl who used to go to the Quaker coffee shop with her parents to hear the wierd banjo player. She used to beg him to play the ‘word song,’ a geeky-dirty filk about big words copulating and little baby words punctuating all over the floor. She was so impressed that he could play all those things with strings — and frets. He even added frets to a fiddle, which freaked her out completely. In the desert where musical opportunities were few and far between, he made a big splash.
Years later, that little girl went to college, shaved her head, quit the symphonies and started playing Celtic music. Eventually that wierd banjo player even joined the band. Every Monday night we’d gather at his house, in the dank room smelling of cigarettes, wonderfully packed to the brim with strange instruments, ideas, and one plastic yak. Whenever the conversation turned to drama he’d point at us and say “not my yak.” Then he’d point at the toy and say “That’s my yak.”
But I never expected that wierd banjo player to leave us. I honestly thought he was immortal.
Today we all learned he wasn’t. R.I.P. Joe Bethancourt. You deserve a better tribute, but words were never my strength. I’m just grateful for the good times we had: https://soundcloud.com/vashonbodhran/the-bringers-celtic-circle
And I do hope there’s country music in outer space.