Pennsic is now over and I'm safely home. While I did little cooking, a bit of partying, a good amount of shopping, and an awful lot of schmoozing, what really seemed to capture my attention this year was music.
The Whiskey Bards
While their songs are from a wide range of styles (barbershop, folk, etc.) and the lyrics can get very bawdy, the quality of their performance is stunning. In spite of bad acoustics, interruptions, the pervasive smoke of campfires and torches, and being handed the occasional drink, they still managed to keep the close harmonies clean and clear.
Vince is a fantastic musician who plays the hammered dulcimer with amazing skill. I've known him for years and have always been impressed with not only his musical talents, but his knowledge of the history of music as well. If you ever have a chance to watch him perform (he's usually playing at renaissance festivals and the like), go ahead and ask him a geeky question. Odds are that he'll have an answer - and that he'll keep playing while he talks (a difficult trick).
These guys are an absolute trip. Most of their songs (at least the ones I've heard) are upbeat numbers driven by a powerful drum line. They look like they stepped out of the Codex Manesse and have a sound that instantly takes you to some rollicking medieval tavern. In short, they really kick medieval butt!