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A Quick Night for a Sure Shot @ Elk Creek Cafe

"This is Elk Creek Copper Ale. It's real good."

Stone Man and The Philipsburg LaunchPad were out on the prowl looking for gigs in the last couple days and we wound up at a lovely little original music venue, The Elk Creek Cafe, in Millheim, Pa. We were desirous of seeing what a Thursday night pub hang was all about. The act we didn't even have to pay to see was Quickdraw Cutshall & the Sure Shots. In a steal for the ages, we really got our money's worth! It turns out such a pub hang consists of a single long set starting sometime around 7 and getting you out the door with time to catch the late news. On this night, however, we got much more than we bargained for.

Not only was there outstanding farm to table food and a pleasant atmosphere, there were authoritative craft beers on hand. Some special guests climbed up on the stage as well. To begin with, Cutshall is, as the young kids say, dope on harmonica and he strums a sort of backwoods folk of really quite lovely songs. He's backed by a drummer of fine quality, John Macko, on a stripped down trap set and by the easy Justin Dorsey on upright bass.

On this night, we were lucky to see Cutshall play along-side his mentor, Richard Sleigh, in what turned out to be a wicked harmonica duet. No. No. I get it. You guys are not accustomed to the words "wicked" and "harmonica duet" in the same sentence. That would be something like a "banjo symphony" or something, but, honestly, it was a true high point and a lot of fun. I had never seen Richard play before, though I've known about him for a long time. I will digress into my Richard Sleigh Story. I was a Pennsylvania State Trooper for 20 years around Philipsburg, when I pulled over a piece of crap station wagon at the old Philipsburg Sheetz that was where Casteel Chiropractic is now. As I recall, there was nothing right about this vehicle. I walk up to the driver's side door and ask for license and registration and a probably 30 year younger version of the guy on the left above hands me his cards. I look at the cards and proclaim to the driver: "You're Richard Sleigh," capturing the obvious perfectly. He must have thought he was in big trouble, but instead, I go off telling him how I had a cassette tape of his and my heavy metal band stole his version of "My Baby's Tough" off that record and boy was it a pleasure to meet him!

Here ends my Richard Sleigh Story.

Richard, who was on scene with his wife, Jane (Who, I cannot believe, remembered me, but this is another story, a Jane Sleigh Story, for another day.), said that he was hoping to have this group back him at some point. And well, I immediately began thinking, when he spoke of the need of some Irish fiddle in the mix, of some happy circumstance where I could introduce him to Megan McGarry and maybe feature a Richard Sleigh Night @ The Philipsburg LaunchPad!

Understand now, I had set out looking to get MY band, Stone Man, to be invited to Elk Creek to play a Thursday pub hang and instead my mind was a million miles away from my goal.

It got better.

Cutshall called up "his sister" from the audience and she provided a lovely, high backing vocal. His sister was none other than Araelia Lopatic who was accompanied by her lead guitar player, Tiger Cabus, from the punk country band, Ma'aM.

Honestly, people, there was more craft and care up on that little stage than anyone could have bargained for. It appears that the folks at The Elk Creek Cafe are doing things just the right way.

We are now desirous to go and see one of their ticketed weekend events. Maybe you should too!

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