A Night Under the Stars of Woodstock with Dickey Betts Band — Great Southern

Every once in a while the stars all align & cool things happen. As was the case on August 9th 2014 while I was up in New York state to visit Bethel Woods— the site of the '69 Woodstock Arts Festival. I also volunteered to help out with the Great Woodstock Guitar MASH up in Woodstock NY to benefit underprivileged NYC kids get a music education. I was staying at a little Bed & Breakfast called The Lazy Pond B&B out in the country in Liberty NY.

A Night Under the Stars of Woodstock with Dickey Betts Band - Great Southern

The Guitar MASH was scheduled at a private estate outside Woodstock. Upon arriving the place was gorgeous, situated on the side of a steep mountain overlooking NY state & the huge lake far below — I met and played with Paul Simon's guitarist Mark Stewart, outstanding fiddle player Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan etc) of the Levon Helm Organization & Folk legend Happy Traum. The event went well & was very nice but what happened next really kicked the weekend up a notch.

The day before I was asked to entertain the guests staying at the Lazy Pond Bonfire they do after events at Bethel Woods. That weekend Dickey Betts & his Band Great Southern were playing Bethel Woods the night I returned from Woodstock & as luck would have it they were staying at the Lazy Pond that night after their show.

That night was also a Super Full Moon, extra large — the weather was crisp, crystal clear & perfect for a fire in the mountains. Upon arriving out at the Fire Pit at almost 11PM — there was not a soul around... Nothing... — only the crickets chirping & the Full Moon staring down. No evidence of fire was in the pit so I figured things didn't work out & a bit disappointed I started walking back to our cottage down the road to polish off a bottle of wine.

As I reached the bottom of the hill — suddenly, the owner who told me about Dickey Betts Band comes flying up the road in a golf cart with his buddy & says Oh sorry Mike the show at Bethel ran late & everyone's on their way can you still play?... Well let me think about it a second... Yea — I'll still play...

A Night Under the Stars of Woodstock with Dickey Betts Band - Great Southern

We head back up the hill & this guy proceeds to build the biggest Bonfire I've ever seen... — thought he might want to burn down the mountain while at it... So I start playing & folks all start filing out to the fire. I was doin' my thing playing a bunch of old 60's Classics in keeping with the Woodstock tradition & folks really were enjoying it — An interesting side note — these people up there were quite knowledgeable on the music & even knew many of the lyrics to some of my more obscure hippy covers I do — I thought that was pretty cool... About a half hour goes by & then someone mentions here they come...& sure enough up the hill is walking a bunch of long hair dudes & some chicks...

Well now what? — What the hell am I supposed to play for these guys?!! Then the owner says play Sweet Melissa... MELISSA!! Are you out of your mind!! Well — he was the owner of the place so reluctantly I do it and thank God it actually got a nice response & some smiles... whew... ok — so next I do an old Flying Burritos song by Gram Parsons- Dark End of the Street & again these guys actually seem to be diggin the choices & gather in closer to the fire & start sitting down on the pre cut tree stumps. Next up I decided to do Box of Rain by The Dead & that broke to ice — one of the crew with a beard down to his belly comes up & shakes my hand & says "Great job brother — keep going!" — By this time Dwayne Betts — Dickey's son, is sitting & listening so I continue with another song or two — Then this guy I didn't recognize — tall, lanky, very southern dressed with turquoise & dreadlocks down to his knees comes up, shakes my hand & says "Hey man — you know any Buffalo Springfield?..." Well I couldn't believe it — that's one of my favorite old bands & usually when I do that stuff people don't even know who it is... So I smiled and said — how 'bout this one- & did Neil's — "Flying on the Ground is Wrong".

Well that was it... this guy gets the biggest smile on his face and said that was great I can't believe you know that stuff! He said he loves it cause he's living in LA right now & doesn't like the city but he bears it because of the history of bands like The Burritos & Springfield etc — From that point on the night was a blast — Turns out the guy was Dickey's Bass player Pedro Arevalo who also is one hell of a guitar player & we spent the next 4 hours trading songs back & forth till almost 4 in the morning... while indulging in a little mountain spirits together as well. We did both Covers & Originals — Pedro did some great traditional Southern songs and & sweet cover of Nobody Knows You When You're Down & Out... I came back with I Looked Away...

A Night Under the Stars of Woodstock with Dickey Betts Band - Great Southern

Dickey didn't stay out — he went back to his Tour bus parked literally right outside my cottage door but the rest of the band & crew & all the guests also stayed out all night...

What a night under the stars —I was told my Gibson Acoustic was the nicest they ever played — so I won't be selling that... ever. I got a big 'ol bear hug at the end of the night as we tried to stand after the whiskey... I must say those guys all were southern gentlemen & very cool — needless to say the next time they are in town I'll be goin' for a visit.