2010 USA Tour : March 13th, Saluda SC
From Kingsland GA
A wonderful campsite to wake up into. Quite rugged woodland RV site here in Kingsland GA. All campers are spaced well apart so decant privacy. Of course we wish for more time here in the still warm sun and lots of singing birds we are not familiar with, but its pack up up and off to Saluda we go. About 340 miles drive, about the same as from Naples to Jacksonville, and we will pop into our campsite to check in on the way to Saluda
Toward Savannah GA, the sun soon turned to cloud and fierce wind. Add to that, many, many miles of extensive freeway repair and maintenance work turned the journey into some quite adventurous driving.
North of Savannagh, we were onto the country highways of South Carolina and a very different world. Small cotton picking towns with sadly a lot of poverty, wooden homes, often wooden shacks, that seem to be about to fall down around those who live in them. As we passed by in strong wind and showers a lot of people were setting up their outside grills to have some fun time with neighbours so these folks knew how to have some joy and were confident the weather would somehow let them.
We learned this is called the “Low Country” and I think it was summed up by a local small chain of gas stations franchised under the names of “El Cheapo”. I partially regret I did not take a photo of the humour of that name. However, perhaps its not that funny. I have been very light on photography during this tour so far.
It was a joy to arrive at our campsite, a beautiful wooded retreat beside Lake Greenwood. We have been here before and love its beauty and calm. It is run by a delightful young woman ranger who seems to care for this whole park almost single handed and truly loves and is proud of her work. She lives for this park. It was sunny, warm and still as we arrived.
It was delightful to return to Saluda. There’s sometimes comfort in familiar things. Greeted warmly by Tommie and soon by his beautiful wife Cindy. Sadly both were just surfacing from nasty flu viruses but even through this has beautifully prepared the local theatre for the show and promoted it. I could write a lot about Tommie and his incredible passionate devotion to preserving the Saluda theatre and the town’s local heritage. Cindy’s work as a hospice nurse, and angel of the passing, is an amazing story too.
Saluda Theatre is real old world and beautiful, complete with lighted marque of what’s on.
About 65 people turned up, less than half of last year, but for us 65 people is still an incredible audience. We were quietly grateful for this as this was our first public show. Claire and I had a lot of kinks in this, like all first shows, but the audience never knows. Its “their” unique show.
I did not list Claire’s set list but it did heavily lean on the Irish songs from her new “Songs From The Harp Room”. I also got a feel for performing my bit, but will keep that quiet until the end of the tour.
Claire’s sound was terrific. I did record a couple of songs but, alas, did not record the best ever “Parting Glass” that I have seen Claire perform. Its was a very passionate finish after a standing ovation!
After Concert Gathering
Tommie and Cindy offered the attendees to join us after for some buffet snacks and drinks, and most of the audience did. CD sales were brisk, with Claire’s older CD, “Journey Of Claire Roche” selling best as they seemed to love Claire’s original songs best.
We learned that audience numbers were low due to a lot of flu in the town, lots of people just staying in bed, and competition from other events. Though a lot of hosts want to book us for Fridays and Saturdays I usually do not find these attract the best attendances. Mondays and Wednesday shows seem to book out far better.
Several folks also begged us to return next year and promised they would fill the theatre again if we did.
The evening finished with Tommie, Cindy and ourselves heading off to “Huddles” a local fast food chain that had the usual burger and chicken range along with omlettes and 24 hour breakfasts. I had omlette which was incredibly fluffy and tasty.
After, what is always awkward goodbyes to good friends we see all too briefly, we gently drove back to the wooded lakeside campsite reflecting and a beautiful evening just had.