7-12-09 Veneta, OR

© vcinbc

Photos: by Rich Nolen

The Gourds
40th Annual Oregon Country Fair
Highway 126
Veneta, OR

01. Do 4 U > Midnight Rider tease (Gregg Allman/Robert Payne) > Do 4 U
02. Lonesome On'ry and Mean (Steve Young)
03. Blue Eyes Cryin in the Rain (Fred Rose)
04. Right in the Head
05. All in the Pack > I Fought the Law (Sonny Curtis) > All in the Pack
06. Take Me Back to Tulsa (Bob Wills/Tommy Duncan)
07. Oh Sister (Bob Dylan)
08. Tearbox
09. Hellhounds
10. Lower 48
11. Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother (Ray Wylie Hubbard)
12. My Name is Jorge *
13. Motherless Children (trad.) > Will the Circle be Unbroken (Ada R. Habershon/Charles H. Gabriel)

*When the PA system went out during this song, the band played quietly as Jimmy stepped to the edge of the stage and sang as loud as he could to keep it going. The PA eventually came back on and the band finished the song together.

Note: The banjo, lap steel, and keyboard were not played during this performance. Additionally, Kevin did not play the mandolin, Claude did not play the guitar, and Max did not sing any songs.

Special thanks to Mark and vcinbc for the field reports. If anyone has audio/video/photos from this show, please email TheGourdsNews.


  1. Since leaving the Oregon Country Fair yesterday afternoon, I've had that general malaise that usually accompanies the end of a great vacation. I've (once again) managed to skip out on my responsibilities and see a bunch of Gourds shows-these days are equal part great music and great people.

    I had originally planned to work out in the woods most of last week and head up to Seattle to see the Gourds on Thursday after work. After hitting some obstacles, my plans changed and I was done on Wednesday. I sheepishly asked Earl and Shelby (who had already offered accommodations for Thursday night) if I could last-minute-post-Gourds-show crash Wednesday night too. They generously said "of course".

    So, I made the beautiful drive from Mount St. Helens to Seattle Wednesday afternoon and was greeted by wonderful Earl, Shelby, Maya, Ryan, Megan and Matt. Maya made up some great shirts, the Ballard bell was smoked beneath, mustard was in attendance, and we all had a great show. Baby Gramps was a treat, as always. Afterwards, he entertained the post-show by plucking a single string fiddle. Many references to him throughout the show. Arapaho and Web provided a great 1-2 punch to start. Kev's guitar in "Right in the Head" was especially strong. "Motherless Children" featured a cool "live fade out". "Lord, Got Tomatoes" was a pretty cool, off the cuff intro to "Honeysuckle". Other highlights were "Low is the Way" and "Gravity Talks". Also got a chance to catch up with Stano for a bit (thanks again for giving me space for the mic on Thursday!)- his recordings will sound great, as usual. The end of the night was only made better by the comfy bed in the guitar den at Shelby and Earl's.

    Thursday's show was marked by the right-on-time arrival of the lovely Val. It was also a pretty great Max show- "Omaha" was spot-on and Max introduced Dooley as "This is a little song about a guy who grew some big, bushy... uh, like, lots of weed. Nah, no it wasn't weed, no it was moonshine.. and it smelled like this!" Nice, Max. "TTT Gas" just keeps getting hotter. I thought it was "something else" during the few shows I saw in MT/ID in May, but this version was "shit-hot". They musta been thinking 'bout Meg. "Oh Sister" was a great closer, but the intro always fools me for "Tupelo Honey". Afterwards, Val, Earl and I tried to hook up with Seattle's apparently fine "Dick's Burgers" for some late night grub, but alas they were closed and we were forced to succumb to the Greasy Arches. I guess Dick's will have to wait till next time. We arrived back at Earl's only to realize we left Val's bags at the Tractor (thanks a lot for the mind-erase, Stano... it ensued the next day, too), we had locked ourselves out (I left the key on the counter), and we woke up Shelby (who had to get up at the butt-crack of dawn) due to our pissing and moaning about the bag situation. She was amazingly understanding. That's Shelby, for ya-what a sweetheart.


  2. [part II...]

    The next the day we met up with the band during load-out to get Val's bags and had lunch with Earl before hitting the road. Traffic sucked on the way back to Portland, but Val and I made it in time for me to pick up my girlfriend, Starr, and meet up with Buncombe and his lovely wife Jen for some BBQ dinner, beers and good conversation at Russell St. BBQ. Maya and Ryan showed up after the same traffic strife. I gotta say, I'm not too thrilled with the Wonder Ballroom. I'm glad The Gourds are loved enough to outgrow the beautiful Doug Fir confines, but the Wonder is a bit sterile, the beer sales shut down a good half-an-hour before the music ended and they promptly shooed us out as the last note was played. The Doug Fir and Tractor were much more friendly. With that said, the show was still good. Patterson and friends (DBT and Centromatic folks) likely brought in some people who hadn't heard the Gourds previously and were a damn good show unto themselves. His new album is pretty damn good, btw. Mark did a great job with the sound in a pretty big echoey room and the boys sounded great. I had a grin on my face as "Cracklins" was bestowed with a "Those Clackamas County troopers ran me down…" line. "Do 4 U" had a swagger as this version was back at its birthing place. Other highlights were "God's House" in that big room, "Luddite Juice" that got the floor bouncing and a beautiful "I Found You Among the Roses". Portland was happy!

    Saturday began with some screwing around and a late start. We got to the fair at 5:15 thinking we were getting there for a 7:30 start time. Nope-start time was 5:30 upon further review (damnit, Stano!) so we rushed as we could toward the stage. Got there at 5:45 and the boys were just starting. Got the mic set up and went to go dance. The air was filled with lots of smoke and everyone was dancing little holes into the ground. The stage was pretty cool and built out of weathered wood. The whole stage area was surrounded by forest-big ol' maples, cedars and DougFirs. It would have been a trip to be further out in the woods and hear the Gourds echoing through the trees. The crowd extended to very far end of the stage opening-probably a few thousand people. I was glad to hear
    "Declineometer". Sometime around this point in the show (maybe later), a 20 ft tall creature began making its way through the crowd, clapping, much to everyone's amusement. Of course, GnJ was a crowd pleaser, and rarely, it pleased me too! It was great to see Baby Gramps on stage with them and they seemed to get a kick out of playing GnJ with him. No didgeridoo-voice interlude, though. Afterwards, we met up with Donutz, Rich, Val, Naomi, Floyd and Jen, who we had watched dancing front and center. Unfortunately, Floyd and Jen had to boogie so we said our goodbyes and slowly meandered toward the exit, doing some of the best people watching of my life! Lots o freaks. Got outta the parking lot with minimal hassle and headed over to Rancho Mellow and set up our tent (Rancho Mellow is Rich and Beth Nolen's beautiful 2 acres just south of Veneta). There we were treated to wonderful conversation, food and drink. I also got to play Rich's beautiful acoustics (Gibson j-45 and an even nicer sunburst Martin). It was a joy to jam with him late into the night- we were both on the same page musically.


  3. [part III...]

    After a sound sleep in the tent, we awoke and headed to the fair with Val to catch Shinyrib's set. Just as we arrived, the pitter-patter of drizzle began, which quickly turned to a steady rain. The path quickly became muddy as did all the freaks walking around. Ate a delicious breakfast and gathered around the Shady Grove stage. The only protection for the performer were some hazelnut and maple trees over-hanging the grassy/muddy opening. Kev was a trooper and played for about 40 minutes, all the while he and Trigger getting soaked. The small crowd was most appreciative. The recording features the rumble of thunder and the background white noise of raindrops hitting the trees and ground. Unfortunately, we had to boogie back to Portland after the Shinyribs set and were sad to miss the later show-sounds like it was a good one.

    It was great to see everyone again and to meet some new folks. It was Starr's first Gourds experience and she had a blast. It put a smile on my face to watch her dancing up a storm. She now understands that this Gourds habit is about more than the just the music. Thank you everyone for showing her such a great time. And thanks to everyone for all the hospitality! Can't wait till next time…


  4. Great stuff Ray, and glad the rest of your PNW tour was a blast. It was great to see you in Seattle and you are welcome too stay with us any time (you too Val!). Looking forward to the next time our paths cross...



  5. Shout Out! to everyone who experienced one helluva weekend! I'm listening to the show from saturday as i type...I think the general thought from this weekend is that Gourds or no Gourds, we all want to come back for the fair next year with costumes. as Ray said Saturday was great, complete with a 30 foot tall puppet dancing near us and the banter from the band about the puppet in between songs was priceless as was the rotation of hippie silent language types at stage right with there exasperated grimaces and tribulations of interpertating the gourds words through sign language (I noticed that especially on "Yolli" and "Cranky Mullato"). Then there was the elderly dude bent over with bad osteoporosis right up front near us who took of his shirt, put on his swim goggles and beat a stick on the fence guarding the stage for the last few songs of the set. Saturday as ray said started with rain all over, and shiny ribs gave a great performance to a wet crowd. Ran into Twilly and Gruver from Zoo-town before the set, and never saw them again (Maybe they joined the "Mud People"?). Full band later at a smaller stage wich still packed about 350 people. mostly new fans that were made the day before from the mainstage show. The band played with the same energy despite the rain and mud, and I think "All in the Pack" was the only song played from Saturday, but a completely different set for all those gourd virgins. I think that Val, Ray, Floyd, Jen and I are at a loss for words describing what the fair is, and what we experienced. You just had to be there........

    Mickey Donutz