They called themselves the Calamity Janes. They were an Americana group that showed up here. Jack hadn’t booked them, indeed hadn’t even heard of them, but they decided to visit us one fine summer day as they’d heard they could get room and board for playing here, which was (sort of) true. Jack consulted with Ingrid, the Estate Stewart who makes that decisions, and she said yes if they were willing to also help around the Estate as we always could more bodies during the growing season, which they were enthusiastic about doing anyway.
They were a three-woman group (fiddle, dobro, and mountain dulcimer) all in their thirties. Visually they were a striking group: all red-haired with green eyes and abundant freckles and ready smiles for all they encountered. In concert, they had a sweet sound, blending old-time, bluegrass (both of which are relatively new forms) and Celtic into something unique that worked nicely.
Of course they played acoustic as does everyone here and we got permission as we always do to record them for inclusion in our Infinite Jukebox, our MP3 archives. Their performances were attended by almost everyone on the Estate. One concert alone ran over three hours and a number of the musos here ended up sitting in with them for their jams after the concerts.
Ingrid arranged for them to play and give a hands-on workshop for the children at the Lewis Carroll School of The Imagination in the village nearest us. The teacher there said the students were in rapture from the entire time they were there. Several of the female students vowed that they would be musicians.
He also handed them, to their delight and surprise, a rather nice cheque even though they hadn’t expected to be paid. He also handed them three Eurorail passes so they could get around easily while they were still travelling. And Jack arranged for them to come back the next time that they came over this way.