Whidbey Life Magazine contributor
March 6, 2013
What started as a favor to a neighbor has become a concert series.
Ed Fickbohm and Carol Flax were just helping out their neighbor, Randy Hudson, who had scheduled a house concert that had outgrown his home. Given a few hours notice, Fickbohm and Flax opened up the shop space on their barn/home for the evening’s entertainment — and the Chicken Barn Concert Series was born.
Of course it took a little while for Fickbohm and Flax to realize it. But, the success of that first evening wet their whistle for more music in the barn.
“We didn’t build the shop with music in mind, but the space has great acoustics,” Fickbohm said.
“We just push the tools out of the way and set up the band.”
Intimate and cozy, the barn holds about 50 audience members, who are invited to bring their own chairs, a potluck dish or dessert to share and liquid libations.
“One time there just wasn’t enough wine,” Flax said as she smiled, “so I just raided our cupboard.”
Now in its third season, the Chicken Barn Concerts have attracted a talented array of musicians to their “stage,” who rave about the venue and the great meal that Flax prepares for them as part of their compensation. Fickbohm and Flax are always on the lookout for the right musicians to invite to their very unique venue. Recently they hosted Alchymeia, a Celtic/European folk quartet from Seattle and Nathaniel Talbot, a local farmer/troubadour. Next weekend on Saturday, March 16 the Canote Brothers bring their fiddle, guitar and genetically-matched voices to the barn.
The Canote Brothers were the affable sidekicks on National Public Radio’s “Sandy Bradley Potluck” for 13 years, where they developed a unique repertoire of old, unusual and quirky tunes, many from the 1930’s. The duo’s American roots music is infused with the novel, wacky and humorous.
“The last time they were here, I couldn’t figure out why my face hurt at the end of their show, “Fickbohm said.
“Then I realized it was from smiling so hard.”
“Plus, they are identical twins, so their voices together are incredible,” Flax added.
Concerts thus far have been confined to the colder seasons, as summers are full for the couple, who are both artists. In addition to managing their own farm, Fickbohm dons his “Dr. Mow” persona for his summertime biz, cutting the grass fields of his neighbors, while Flax manages the Clinton Farmer’s Market and the Clinton Progressive Association. But the couple said there may be time to fit in a summer concert or two.
“We’ll just have to see what comes up,” Fickbohm said. Stay tuned.
The Canote Brothers will be at the Chicken Barn Concert Hall in Clinton at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 16. A suggested donation is $15-$20. Seating is limited, and reservations are highly recommended. Call (425) 791-1719 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations and directions.
For info about the Canote Brothers visit www.canote.com.
(Pictured at top are Ed Fickbohm and Carol Flax down on the Chicken Barn Concert Hall farm in Clinton./Photo by David Welton/www.davidweltonphoto.com)
Penny Webb is a writer, musician, landscape designer and mom. She is currently working on her memoir, planting a new rockery, and bribing her kids to do their homework.