Saturday, June 10, 2006

Why I Love Portland, Part 7: Steve and Kate

So I'm coming off Mt. Tabor just now, after another death-defying ascent to the mountain's peak, when who do I run into, but our folk heroes, Steve and Kate of Artichoke Music. This wasn't near the store - they were much closer to 50th and Hawthorne, out by a telephone pole in the magnificent weather, chatting with a woman. What followed was a short conversation about how proud I was of them and how much I liked the "Travis John" song. I told them I had been at his service and that I had attended three services at the beginning. They said this little town they went to down in Texas had three soldiers from our latest conflict, in its local cemetery, too. Suddenly the image of a couple of thousand Travis Johns across America, hung there in the air. Steve was carrying a cardboard box, and he said, "Do you want to see the trophy?" Out came a handsome glass piece - first prize for their haunting song of loss. We concluded with a short acknowledgment of the mind-blowing layers and interactions in the story. They're clearly knocked out by the many details, just as the rest of us are. Search for the Jonathan Nicholas column from a couple of weeks ago if you haven't heard about it. The word "banjo" is in the title. This also marked one of the few times I've ever talked to Steve where we weren't just kidding around. If you don't know him, Steve has what I'd call comedic chops. I once accidentally called Tabor, "Mt. St. Tabor" and we riffed away with the comedic theme for a while: The Sherpa guides, the base camp by the tennis courts, the final ascent up the mountain. That sort of thing. Always with the comedy - this guy - but that'll have to wait for another time.


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