Gordon Titcomb

Wendell Minor and Gordon Titcomb

Wendell Minor and Gordon Titcomb

Washington, Connecticut. Wendell Minor (illustrator and author) and Gordon Titcomb (writer and musician) have put together a book based on the lyrics to one of Gordon’s songs: The Last Train.

Our local book store, The Hickory Stick Bookshop had a signing and I had them sign three copies: one for me, one for my friend Gary who like me collects signed first editions and a holiday gift for my friend Edward’s son Henri.

It’s not every day that you can hang out with book authors but I happen to know these guys because our paths cross often in our small part of the world.

Wendell is a world renowned children’s book author and illustrator and has dozens of best selling books out in the world. Gordon is a world class musician who has played both on tour for years with Arlo Guthrie and in studios for numerous musicians. They’re both great guys, totally accessible and the book is wonderful and would make a nice holiday gift for many a train lover.

Gordon played and sang between signings but there were so many he couldn’t keep up.

I should have taken this with my S90 but I had the iPhone out so I used it. Not great but good enough.

Bill Lauf and Gordon Titcomb Play Milton Hall, 2008

Bill Lauf and Gordon Titcomb

Bill Lauf and Gordon Titcomb

Milton Hall, Milton, Connecticut. Bill and Gordon warming up before the show. Bill is a part time song writer and folk musician and a neighbor of ours here in Warren. Gordon is a professional studio musician who plays sessions and on tour with the big boys who’s been a friend of Bill’s for years. He’s also local (when he’s not touring).

Anne and I have been going to hear Bill at Milton Hall for twenty years (Anne for another ten) and this was the second time Gordon joined him.

Milton Hall holds about 75 people comfortably and this show had close to 100 packed in. The audience energy was fantastic and many of us were long time attendees. It was quite an evening and the guys played their hearts out, mostly their own music as well as some covers: Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Randy Newman, Paul McCartney and more.

Both Bill and Gordon are solid musicians with depth and breadth and humor and energy and many in the audience thought it was one of the best concerts ever. That’s saying something.

The photography was tougher for me this time: more people, tough lighting, two musicians, more microphones, and I got pinned in a corner up front once the music started. I decided to take fewer shots and enjoy the music more. I’m glad I did.

Bill Lauf on four string tenor guitar

Bill Lauf

Bill Lauf, in his groove playing his own music. I consider Bill a good friend and I have to say, it’s wonderful to see someone you know perform well.

He told a story about this small four sting tenor guitar but I can’t remember it. I think the instrument came down to him from his father. It has a great, warm sound.

Gordon Titcomb on banjo

Gordon Titcomb

Gordon picking out Auld Lang Syne. You haven’t heard this song until you’ve heard it on a bluegrass banjo. Fantastic. He retuned the banjo multiple times on the fly. Incredible picking.

Gordon Titcomb on pedal steel guitar

Gordon Titcomb

Gordon really knows how to make the pedal steel guitar sing.

Chris Brown, sound engineer

Chris Brown

No good concert can happen without good engineering and Chris Brown, a jazz musician (trumpet) and sound engineer filled the space with great sound, not too hot, perfectly balanced, and just enough so we heard all the string and fret sounds. Note the Mac Mini and small board he takes to gigs with him.

I’ve known Chris for twenty years as well, as an engineer for Paul Winter and David Darling and a fellow Mac user.

We’re hoping that he got enough tracks between both evenings Bill and Gordon played to make a live CD. Maybe they’ll use one of my images on the cover.