I guess it goes without saying that I am a lover of all types of music; jazz, blues, pop, folk, old country, psychedelic, classic, what have you. However, I’m particularly fond of bluegrass. The reason why this particular genre doesn’t appear too often on these web pages is that it’s not necessarily apt for working out to. For sitting on your porch drinking beer, absolutely; lifting weights or running sprint intervals, not so much but, hey, never say never, right? This morning though, I did happen to stumble on what might be considered as the perfect blend of bluegrass-themed music and fast driving inspiration I look for while running with the double live ‘Aqua Leisure’ album by North Carolina natives, Barefoot Manner.
Barefoot Manner is a four-piece musical group whose sound is rooted in high energy newgrass, soul shaking funk, and musical experimentation. They also have a passion for making music and mixing in some positive reggae and Caribbean vibes and they have been labeled as everything from Americana Groove-grass to Cosmic Funk-grass, to bluegrass and beyond. So this isn’t your typical bluegrass, that’s for sure. Barefoot Manner spent the majority of 2001 playing extensively throughout the Carolina’s honing their unique sound, performing with such acts as the Sam Bush Band, Acoustic Syndicate, the Larry Keel Experience, Blueground Undergrass, and the John Cowan Band. For my part, I was first exposed to them at the Grass Roots Festival of Music & Dance in Shakori Hills, North Carolina back in…shit…well, a long time ago I guess (2006). Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised and impressed (I still am) so I bought this album as a reminder/souvenir.
On July 26th and 27th, 2003, the band (Walter Hensey, Dave Kleiss, Shawn Chase & Jeff Garland) presented their fans with a very special experience at The Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, NC. ‘Aqua Leisure‘ is the two-disc product of that live set which brings the best of those nights to your ear buds, just as it did on this morning. With a prime-time performance and unique atmosphere of aqua (which, I’m not sure what the exact connect to bluegrass is, apart from being blue that is), the band concocted what will surely go down as one of the best experiences in their career. And there’s lots to love here over a long fast-paced (4:55 min/km) holiday run of 21.1k (making me 48% complete towards my ‘Suunto Sisu Challenge‘ in just 3 days). However, I bucked normal listening convention by listening to the second set first and the first set second. Disc (set) two is an absolute rocker (particularly the barnstorming openers of ‘Cool Breeze, ‘Airplane‘ and the catchy ‘Bull’s Theme> Things’ segue) and perfect for establishing a steady pace early into the run and then maintain it throughout the remainder, which was the overriding training goal today. Disc (set) one is no slouch either though, but better suited to simply zoning out and keeping on keeping on, beginning with the opening ‘Adrift> The Newgrounds‘ segue and the following ‘Backhand‘ and later with the mid-set ‘Little Man> Pulse> Little Man‘ montage to bring ‘er home.
It was a very successful run today (see below) and it provided a much needed confidence booster in lieu of more bad news on the home front. That might explain the floor of tears towards the end while struggling to keep the pace up Gorham Rd. and down Rebstock to the end. Now I just need to apply this grit and determination (not to mention emotional focus) to competition this season.
Successes: 2nd best Strava effort for Half Marathon effort (1:43:45); 3rd best 20k effort (1:38:10); 3rd best 10 mile effort (1:18:44); 3rd best 15k effort (1:13:29)