John Waldron Arts Center, Bloomington USA, Thur. Oct. 23, 1997

8 04 2008

        Wow! What an experience. My thanks go out to anyone and everyone who had a hand in putting together the Bloomington concert.

        I arrived at the John Waldron Arts Center at about 5:30. There were some people making pottery in some rooms on the first floor, but not much activity otherwise. As soon as I entered the building, I heard a familiar guitar.
 I followed my ears up some stairs, turned a corner, stepped into a large room and there was Shawn in the middle of a sound check. The soundman was working on eliminating some RF in the system from the radio station next door.

        The promoter, Freddie Anderson, introduced himself and asked if I was an EMHer. We had exchanged e-mail several times so it was good to meet in person. Freddie invited us (there were some other folks there also) to make ourselves at home while the bugs were worked out of the sound system.

        Later, the warm up act arrived and after a trip next door to try to consult with the radio station engineer (he wasn’t there), I went to fetch gyros at the local Greek eatery. I hung around and met some other fans including Mike from Indy and EMHers Bob from Nashville and Linda, Steve and sons from Ohio.

        I had brought my camera in hopes of getting a photo-op and did take a couple of shots during the sound check. I was delighted to find out that it was OK for me to shoot during the show (Thanks Freddie!). Since I and other EMHers had arrived early, we snatched choice seats–front row seats–about 20 feet from Shawn. Great for exposing film.

         With about 80 people in the audience, the show started at 8:00 with Tom Roznowski and Mark Robinson, local Bloomington musicians. They did a fine set and played for just less than an hour. A quick break to move gear and Shawn came out about 9:20.

        I didn’t keep track of all the songs he played, but all our favorites were there including some new ones that I hadn’t heard but had heard about. Shawn played Beautiful People and The Peace Song. Very cool! The highlight for me was L’Ballad. Other tunes I specifically remember incluied For Her, Moonshine, Woman, Man Hole, Casey, and of course, Early Morning Hours.

        Shawn played for 90 minutes, took a break and came back for another 40 minutes or so. During the break two CDs were given away as door prizes. Such a deal.

         After the show those that wished to stay were invited backstage to Shawn’s dressing room. He was back in his firefighter’s uniform (he really takes this seriously, gang) and chatted, smile for my camera, and signed autographs.

        Again, thanks to everyone who had a part in the show and especially, “thanks” to Shawn for giving us all his wonderful music.

Jim Adams


Tip of my hat to a fellow Traveler:

        As I sat in the audience Thursday nite enjoying the gracious EMH seating arrangements, a thought occurred to me I wanted to pass on to you. You see, without the limiting influences of those “shoulder-dwelling monkeys” I’ve become so accustomed to (alcohol, etc., etc.), I experienced a personal revelation about Shawn that may or may not be self-evident to everyone else.

        Evidently, it seems that thruout history every generation has had at its disposal some enlightened fellow human being whose “soul” purpose is to disseminate their message (how about that misspelling, folks?). I couldn’t ignore the recurrent theme throughout the entire concert that there really isn’t a lot of difference between the plight of other struggling humans such as Dahli Lama, Muhammed, Buddha, Lao Tse Tung, Jesus Christ, Amadeus, Martin Luther King, Jr., … and that of Shawn Phillips.

        For 27 years, to my knowledge, he’s been singing the same old song about love and the light that accompanies it. He’s been picked up and put down so many times during those too few years for me to even remember. So, that thought brought to my mind the power of compassion Shawn has consistently possessed, and tried to share, by simply remaining steadfastly devoted to his message of caring for his fellowman. That’s a hell of a tough row to hoe!

        I left the concert hall this morning feeling a strong sense of honor to have heard that meadowlark, Shawn Phillips, sing once again. I’m also honored to have met the other people there that, obviously from their applause, respect the musician in the same light as myself.

Thanks, Shawn
Thanks, Freddie
Thanks, EMH
and thank you, dear God, for blessing this troubled world with such a wondrous voice of Hope — especially one that can hold a note that long ;-)

a “new” fan,

Ray Watson

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3 responses

17 03 2013
NERA JAKSIC

to everyone out there this is 2013. I am nera.jaksic@gmail.com living for shawn tobe known to the world. I heard him close to 40 years ago. 35 years later I had no sign of him until one day out of the blue sitting onmy computer one night his name came to me and I thought…I’ll google this name and..There was 2nd Contribution with that black cape and long hair…and the rest is hystory. I’ve been crying eversince about the lost years and where are U shawn fans..e-mail me anything U have about shawn to get him known to this world this gifted angel of music. Luv Nera

17 03 2013
Jean Boissonneault

Hi Nera,
You can interact with a bunch of fans on the mailing list. The link is in the right column of pages.

See you there…

13 05 2013
nera jaksic

Hello Jean Boissonneautl Re: messg. to me from 03/17/13. March 3,2013 has passed it now March 13,2013 and here I am. Thanks so much for your messg. on interact with fans on mailing list. Whew…I have a framed copy of shawn’s letter to fans called “Letter from Shawn” and boy do I have comments about it. I know exactly why he is not known to the world as he is a superstar. Look at Willie Nelson. Similar beginnings, similar age just different music jondra. Willie is Country and Shawn is Folk or anything as he can do anything. Why is Willie Nelson known Worldwide and Shawn is not after over 50 years in music now 2013. 50 years in music and he is not a superstar known worldwide. I get it and know why…those answers I want to write to Shawn to contribute to his Biography on-line which badly needs updating. I have been in music for 50 years myself just in a different way. Anyone interested in commenting drop a line at nera.jaksic@gmail.com At
the moment I am working on what happened to Peter Tosh not being known as Bob Marley was. Why? There are answers.

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