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Profile by Jonathan Karesh

Judge Jonathan Karesh, who was in Phoenix to attend a George Straight performance on February 3, 2007, was able to include a visit to the home of Rose Marie and Travis Edmonson on the following day, and offers here a diary of the occasion which featured their attending a Kingston Trio performance together as well.

“Rose Marie opened the door of the house where she and Travis have lived in Mesa for the last 20 years, and greeted me with a big hug.  We then went to the living room, where Travis was. He was in great spirits, and for about a half an hour, the three of us sat down in the living room and caught up on everything that is happening in our lives.

Travis and Rose  Marie wanted to be sure that I came to the exhibition which the San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum is staging about the hungry I from March 28- August 25, and I said that I would.  Travis is one of the honored guests at the gala opening, and will be joined by such legendary artists as Mort Saul and Tom Lehrer for the occasion.

Next it was time for some singing of Bud and Travis songs. (I had previously downloaded some of the lyrics from the Bud and Travis Website.) I took Bud's parts, and Travis took his. We started with "Cloudy Summer Afternoon," and then sang a number of other songs together, including "Gimme Some," "Everybody Loves Saturday Night," and perhaps my favorite Bud &Travis song, "Myra."

Rose Marie and Travis Edmonson
Rose Marie with Travis signing CDs for Jon Karesh

However, the song that I enjoyed singing most with Travis was "Better Than Anything." This is a song written by David "Buck" Wheat, the bass player for Bud and Travis, and earlier, for the Kingston Trio. Travis and I traded singing  the verses, and made some really nice harmonies. I wish our version of this song could have been recorded!
We would have continued to sing, but it was then time to go to the Kingston Trio concert.  The Trio was playing that night in Chandler, Arizona, and Travis, Rose Marie and I were invited to the show, and given backstage passes.

Before the performance, we stopped at a Chinese buffet restaurant for dinner. This gave us more chances to chat. One of the things we talked about at dinner was how Travis met Bud. I had forgotten  that Travis met Bud because he was in the army with Travis' brother.  Travis remarked that when he first met Bud, Bud spoke French but not Spanish. However, he soon learned Spanish to sing the many Bud & Travis Latin  songs that the two did together.

Jon Karesh with Travis Edmonson
Jon Karesh with Travis Edmonson February 2007

After dinner, we drove to the Chandler Performing Arts Center, for the sold-out Kingston Trio concert. We went to our seats and were pleasantly surprised that they were front row center.  I sat between Travis and Rose Marie. At one point early in the show, the Kingston Trio introduced Travis in the audience, and sang a song that they said he taught the group long ago.  They shone the spotlight on Travis, and he got a great  round of applause.

The Trio sounded great. Travis was enjoying the concert tremendously, and made many remarks to me about how well they sounded -  not just their singing and musicianship, but also their timing. This is the 5th configuration of the Kingston Trio that I have seen (Bill Zorn, Rick Dougherty and George Grove), and  I really enjoyed the show.

At one point, as the Trio was singing "Raspberries, Strawberries" Travis leaned over and whispered to me that he also taught the Trio this song many years ago.

 Mr. & Mrs. Bob Shane with Travis Edmonson
Jon Karesh photographs Bob and Bobbi Shane with Travis

At intermission, Travis, Rose Marie and I went backstage. We were  immediately welcomed by Bob and Bobbie Shane. I introduced myself to Bill and George, and had an opportunity  to chat with Rick for a while. I also had the chance to spend some time with Bob and Bobbie.

This was the first time I had been in the green room, and the performing arts center had beverages and food (including a nice vegetable spread) available for those of us backstage.

It wasn't too long before the Trio got the call to return to the stage for the second part of the show. Rose Marie decided to remain backstage with Bob and Bobbie, but Travis and I wanted to see the second half of the performance, so  we returned to our front row center seats.

I was happy to see that Travis was enjoying himself so much. We made comments to each other throughout the show about the music, and it was fun to hear his insights.
Bob Shane sings with present-day Kingston Trio
Present-day Kingston Trio with founder Bob Shane
Towards the end of the second set, the Trio introduced Bob Shane, and he told a couple of his hilarious Bob Shane jokes, and then launched into a spectacular  rendition of “Scotch and Soda.” His voice sounded better than ever.  Bob then sang “Tom Dooley” to a huge ovation. He then left the stage so the Trio could finish the concert. They concluded the second set with the song "A Worried Man." The Trio  then returned for a two-song encore--"Where have all  the Flowers Gone" and "Road to Freedom'" which they noted was written by John Stewart.

Travis and I returned backstage to meet Rose Marie and spend some more time with Bob and Bobbie Shane.  After another great session back stage, Travis, Rose Marie and I left. As they got into their car, we said our goodbyes, happy in the knowledge that we will see each other again shortly in San Francisco for the hungry i exhibit.
It was truly a wonderful experience to spend the day with two of my favorite people. It has been a privilege to become close friends with them over the past year and a half. And then when you add the Kingston Trio  show to the mix, and the warm hospitality of Bob and Bobbie Shane, it made an outstanding day even better."

Jon Karesh
February 2007



Jonathan Karesh sings for John Stewart of The Kingston Trio
Judge Karesh with another folk legend, the late John Stewart

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