Bart and Neti, Miles Away

This morning on the way out of the house, I grabbed CD I haven't listened to in a while: In Search of a Cheap Hotel, by Bart Ramsey and Neti Vaan.

This duo used to perform often at M's Fine and Mellow Cafe in Baton Rouge, once of my favorite places ever (unfortunately gone now, but not forgotten). Bart sang and played piano, guitar, and a handful of other instruments. Neti, a beautiful gypsy-looking woman from Rotterdam, played the fiddle and sang (mostly) back-up vocals. Their music was a mishmash of swing/blues, gypsy, jazz, bluegrass, and folk. And when Neti played the fiddle, the rest of me just melted. I loved hearing her play.

There were rarely more than 20 or 30 people at M's when they played. It baffled me that the whole town wasn't out to see them. They were that good.

So anyway, they haven't released a CD since In Search of a Cheap Motel in 2001. They still have a website, though, and gigs scheduled through September 5. All of their summer gigs are in Europe, and most of their U.S. gigs are in south Louisiana.

I miss them. I keep hoping that "Asheville" will show up on their schedule, but it never does.

Here are some samples of a couple of my favorite songs by them:

Miles Away, which is, without question, my favorite of all their songs. It really appeals to the wanderer in me who would rather roam through the woods than dwell in the safety and security Cubicle Land.

Jerusalem Ridge is a classic bluegrass tune by Bill Monroe.

I Thought It Was God, But It Was Only a UFO is a fun little song, and one of the first I ever heard them perform.

I hope their lack of new CDs in recent years doesn't mean they're not producing them anymore. And I hope they'll make it up to Asheville one of these days. (If not, I guess the Hubster and I will just have to force ourselves to take a vacation to my beloved New Orleans once they're back in the States!)


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