Following on the Seattle Folklife Festival, the 2011 Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia MO is history. And speaking of history - the only thing hotter than the music was the weather, the thermometer hitting the century mark, with humidity not far behind. As I wrote in Chapter 5 of THE RAGTIME KID, they say the devil once spent a week in Missouri in June, then went home and set up hell to specifications. At least we had air conditioning for the indoor concerts. They didn't have that in 1899, and considering all the clothing both men and women wore in those days, there must have been an epidemic of heat stroke and fainting in Sedalia around the time Scott Joplin and John Stark signed the contract to publish "Maple Leaf Rag."
At a concert at the beautiful restored Katy Depot, fiddler Mike Myer played a set with Rich Egan, a terrific pianist from St. Louis who specializes in midwestern folk rags, the kind composed by Brun Campbell, the self-proclaimed "Original Ragtime Kid of the 1890s." The duo played Brun's "Frankie And Johnny Rag," and Rich dedicated the tune to me for my portrayal of Brun in THE RAGTIME KID, and for my research into his history. Never thought anything like that would ever come my way. And just for good measure, my books were piled front and center in the Depot Store, one of those nice times when books get promoted with absolutely no effort on the author's part.
In fact, that was Number Two in recent musical honors for this musical illiterate. A couple of months ago, Randy Myers, a friend I've made through music boxes, read my first mystery novel, THE MUSIC BOX MURDERS, then wrote a tune for me, "The Death By Music Box Rag." How about that. Just writing my books has been ample reward in itself, but Randy and Rich have put a delicious icing on my cake. Thank you, both.
On to the antique phonograph/music box show in Union IL tomorrow, which will wrap up this year's spring extravaganza of music. I'm already looking forward to 2012.