Thursday, February 26, 2015

Vaughn Deel

We do not have a music program at Mill Swamp Indian Horses in the sense that no program funds go into our music. Nor do we have a breathing program. I could no more imagine having kids learn to ride and train wild horses without access music than I could imagine teaching them to do so without breathing.

We do not charge riders or community members who want to come and learn to play and sing ancient songs. We simply get together once a week and work up some songs. Being able to get up on stage and perform does wonderful things for young people.

And that is where Vaughn Deel comes in.

Vaughn has been an integral part of local music for decades. Vaughn,Sueanne Doyer,and Ray Bruce worked together as the group Susie-Ray-Vaughn. He is still out front performing regularly. He, with Sueanne's assistance, runs the best open mic sessions that I have ever attended. Monday night is at Cozzy's Comedy Club--Wednesday night Goody's in Old Hampton, and Thursday is the session at Victorian Station Tea Room in Phoebus. I love all three but I do not see how Victorian Station can be improved on. It recently won the Veer Magazine award for best area open mic. The first Thursday of each month at Victorian Station is singer songwriter night with only original music on stage.

Several years ago I started bringing some of my little riders who were fairly new to their instruments and their songs over to do a set or two. I was a bit apprehensive at first. I was not sure how the kids would be received, both by the audience and the other performers, many of whom are working to make a career of performing.

The wrong look, the wrong word, the wrong gesture can be all it takes to discourage some kids from playing, causing them to just decide that music is not for them.

I did not need to worry. Vaughn always makes the little ones feel welcome, and the older ones, like KC and Ashley, feel respected.

And he respects the music. Performers any given night might bring a range of genres to the stage. Regardless of the genre Vaughn accords the music the respect that the performers give it. It has been a hard thing for me to do that. For about the first 45 years of my life music was only Old Time, Carter Family, some blues, and ancient ballads. Emmylou Harris said that there was a time before she began to play with Gram Parsons that she thought "drums were the Devil." I was a bit more conservative than that.

At that time I could not forgive Earle Scruggs for leaving Lester Flatt and performing with his son's, one of whom played drums. Now I have learned to play what I want to but to respect what others play.

Last summer was perhaps the most important summer of KC and Ashley's lives. They learned to perform together on stage and to do it well. They worked hard to get better and they looked forward to the next chance to be on stage at one of Vaughn's sessions. They wore me out. I never stayed out so late, so often in my entire life (including college).

But I loved it.

Likely the best summer that I have ever had.

And I know that whatever collection of rider/musicians that I bring over to any of the open mic sessions will be welcomed by Vaughn and Sueanne.

 That means an awful lot to these kids.

Means a lot to me too.

1 comment:

Sueanne Doyer said...

Very nice article, Steve! It's always a pleasure to have you, as well as your kids, come and share your love of music with the awesome music community that has grown around us here in the Hampton Roads area. Music, whether it be precise or heart-felt, is an integral part of life that every human being should hold dear. I thank you for sharing yours with Vaughn, me and the wonderful performers and listeners that come to these open mics. Keep picking and singing!! I know I will. Thank you again!
Sueanne Doyer