The world was ripe after weeks of waiting, so we ushered in the solstice with a trip to the U-Pick farm just up the hill. One hour and seventeen pounds of sweet, deep red berries later, we staggered home bearing summer's first bounty, our fingers stained, our knees dirty, our mouths sweet with the first fruit of summer.
Since then, we've eaten more than we could count, and given away a good quart or two more. My wife cut half a flat and set it in the deep freeze, sprinkled with sugar, ready for a midsummer jam session; the kids helped make a strawberry Bavarian cream pie with a shortcake crust. The rhubarb that grows wild in the front yard is looking more and more tempting by the minute. I ate a hundred strawberries, says the younger one, and though she cannot count, she's not far off.
Around here, summer means many things: birthdays, barbecue, summer wheat beers, hot afternoon car rides to out favorite local state park swimming holes. And music festivals, of course: last week's feature on Falcon Ridge Folk Fest (July 24-27) was the first of several; stay tuned this week for a preview of fave local bluegrass fest Grey Fox.
But the wheat beers are overeager, arriving in Spring to help us train our tastebuds for June. Music happens year-round, but like birthdays, the festivals come and go throughout. And we're the kind of folks who take out the grill the moment the last snow fades from the earth.
Fresh local strawberries, on the other hand, mean summer is finally here. Ripe, juicy, and delicious. Dripping down our chins, staining our shirts. Summer itself, plucked fresh from the vine.
- Lawrence Juber, Strawberry Fields Forever (orig. The Beatles)
(from LJ Plays The Beatles)
- Ben Harper, Strawberry Fields Forever (orig. The Beatles)
(from the I Am Sam soundtrack; more Ben Harper here)
- Holly Kirby, Strawberry Wine (orig. Deana Carter)
(via Youtube; more Holly Kirby here)
- Michelle Shocked w/ Doc Watson, Jerry Douglas, and Mark O'Connor, Strawberry Jam (trad.)
(from Arkansas Traveler)
- Mary McCaslin and Jim Ringer, Strawberry Roan (trad.)
(from The Bramble and the Rose)
And since the pickings are slim for strawberry covers, here's some bonus berry/tinyfruit coversongs from the folkworld, while we're at it:
- Bruce Cockburn, Blueberry Hill (orig. Fats Domino)
(from Breakfast In New Orleans, Dinner In Timbuktu)
- Michelle Shocked, Blackberry Blossom (trad.)
- Sarah Harmer, Home Soon (The Cherry Song) (orig. Oh Susannah)
(from the out-of-print Sweetheart Love Songs: 2004; more Sarah Harmer here)
- Colin Meloy, Cherry Tree Carol (trad.)
(from the tour-only EP Colin Meloy Sings Shirley Collins; more Meloy/The Decemberists here)
- Maria Sangiolo, The Cherry Tree Carol (ibid.)
(from Wonderland: A Winter Solstice Celebration; more Maria Sangiolo here)
- Bluehouse, I Heard It Through The Grapevine (orig. Marvin Gaye)
(from These Days)
First and foremost, the purpose of Cover Lay Down is to spread the word about amazing artists, that we might support the future of folk music. As always, if you like what you hear, follow the links above to artist and label preferred webstores for samples, bios, tour schedules, and online options for purchase. Remember, folks: buying music from local and artist-direct sources supports diversity in the garden.
PS: If anyone knows of a good folk cover of Raspberry Beret, I'd love to hear it. (No, Hindu Love Gods is emphatically NOT folk music.)