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Hold a Travis Fest!

The prayers and Good Thoughts directed to Travis have helped him confound the doctors.  But why not take the good wishes another step further, and hold your own Travis Fest - bringing friends over to sing and listen to his music.  Leann King did just that, and Frank Ross tells all about it.

A gathering was held  on January 29, 2009, and even though it was not originally billed as a Travis Love Fest, that is what I have decided to call it. It was held in the home of Leann King, a tennis friend of mine who loves Latin music and even has Susie Rondstadt( Linda's sister) as a childhood buddy of hers.

Bud & Travis songs performed
Setting for the Travis Fest on January 29, 2009

Leann's home is in the north side of Tucson, surrounded by our beautiful southwest desert. I was the first to arrive, and was followed by a few neighbors and friends of Leann who came for an evening of fun. Don and Victoria Armstrong came as well as Humberto Escobar, a longtime guitarist friend of mine.

then Ellen Murphy (Travis' daughter) showed up, and we all enjoyed Leann's lovely spread of food, including deviled eggs, little teriyaki pork and pineapple chunks on toothpicks, jalapeño peppers with cheese and bacon, linguini with vegetables and chicken, plus guacamole and salsa with chips.

Before long we started singing La Vaquilla Colorada, and i realized soon that, that many guitars playing some of these rhythms sounded a bit garbled, so i tried to steer it around to one or two people singing different songs.

Don & Victoria Armstrong
Don & Victoria Armstrong tune up

Don and Victoria did their incomparable version of El Pastor, with those beautiful, plaintive falsettos. Ellen then did Rayito de Luna , and Bert followed that with Contigo en la Distancia. Little by little I would introduce to the new neighbors and friends the man that was not present in body, but certainly in spirit, Travis Edmondson.

I shared about how his music touched many of us in the room, and how thankful we are for his significant contribution to American and Mexican folklore. Don and Victoria then knocked us out with Travis' signature song  Malagueña Salerosa. Oh, how they held those long falsettos with such heart and passion. Despite Victoria's touch of laryngitis , we managed to squeeze at least three beautiful numbers from her talented instrument- that being her voice.

Frank Ross, Don & Victoria Armstrong, Humberto Escobar and Ellen Murphy
Frank Ross, Don & Victoria Armstrong, Humberto Escobar and Ellen Murphy

Bert kept wanting to sing (as a joke) "To all the Girls I've loved Before "... but we shot him down on his effort ... Then Maria Isabel, a fun upbeat tune. I thought Freight Train would be a nice one to play as American folk music, so Don and I did that Elizabeth Cotton favorite. That was followed by Tomorrow is a Long Time - my favorite Bud and Travis song.

Other songs shared were Mar y Cielo, Scotch and Soda, La Llorona, Cielito Lindo Son Huasteco and La Guacamaya.

Travis loves Brazilian music, and so I was able to share the tune I'd shared with Travis at his latest birthday party in Mesa last September. It's called Corcovado, and after my performance, he said he always thought Malagueña Salerosa was his all-time favorite song, but that Corcovado has to be right up with it. I was blown away when I heard that, and glad I was able to - in some small way - cheer him up with that beautiful Jobim number.

Victoria Armstrong, Humberto Escobar and Ellen Murphy
Victoria Armstrong, Humberto Escobar and Ellen Murphy

We , of course , shared That Travis is going through a very difficult time physically in the hospital. I then shouted to the heavens, "this one's for you Travis," as we proceeded to sing in a heartfelt way, Cancion Mixteca - another one of Travis' favorites.

The evening ended with our thanking our gracious host, Leann, and thanking the musicians that had come to just share their (our) love and passion - which is the music itself.

We love you Travis, get well very very soon. We pray for you.

Frank Ross
February 1, 2009



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