©Bert Gildart: Well, there we were, a bunch of geriatric Airstreamers laughing, hollering and waving our arms with all the energy of teenagers. But the response to Antsy McClain’s music, his jokes and stories – all of his antics – were genuine.
McClains’s performance had been scheduled for the last night of our week-long Alumafiesta and though some of us were starting to “socialize out,” McClains’ creations were just the tonic we needed to revive ourselves. As his bio states, he writes about what he knows, and that writing is a distillation of his experiences growing up in little Kentucky trailer park called Pine View Heights.
He was reared by a truck-driving father and an Avon selling mother and some of his music is basic. A summary of songs played throughtout the night include: I Was Just Flipped Off By A Silver Haired Old Lady; Joan of Arkansas; KOA Refugee; and Prozac Made Me Stay. As his bio states, he (Antsy) “has infused his albums with the rootsy, muscular blend of rock and roll that has become his trademark.”
His work may derive in part from friendships and collaboration with some of the most talented musicians in the world. Mentors include Waylon Jennings, Tommy Smothers, guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel and cowboy poet Baxter Black. In short, his work unites those from all walks of life.
McClain played for well over two hours and about midway through Antsy called Johnny Be Good to the stage for some musical accompaniment. Johnny, though one of the Airstream group, is a talent harmonica player and brought us Airstreamers to our feet.
By coincidence, Antsy sat next to me at the dinner table and I had a chance to learn more about the man’s humor and long road to success. I swapped one of my books for one of his albums, and though I am not going to diminish my work by saying that I got the better deal I will say that since leaving Alumafiesta we’ve been playing his music over and over — allowing our sound system to fill our Airstream with songs like “I Married Up,” and “Prosaic Made Me Stay.” Sometime Janie and I even wave our arms back and forth.
L to R: Antsy McClain, perhaps the new poet of the common person; McClain and Johnny Be Good; Antsy and his infectious antics includes some laughs and some pathos.
Antsy’s music provided a wonderful conclusion to a great week in Tucson at Alumafiesta.
And now we’re back to work on projects of our own. We’re covering the desert and once again we’ve concluded that the Desert Museum here in Tucson provides one of the Sonora’s best jumping off plays. We’ve moved to the Gilbert Ray Campground, and last night the surrounding mountains were covered with snow.
THIS TIME THREE YEARS AGO:
4th ed. Autographed by the Authors
Hiking Shenandoah National Park
Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.
Big Sky Country is beautiful
Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State
Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.
$16.95 + Autographed Copy
What makes Glacier, Glacier?
Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent
Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons
$16.95 + Autographed Copy