Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Molasses Creek Fall Mini-tour, Soundside Studio News, Fig Heaven

Tis the season for figs on Molasses Creek's Ocracoke Island!

Molasses Creek Plans October Mini-Tour

Molasses Creek is working on fall dates, especially for a tiny-tour around the DC area for October. Here are the current dates confirmed. We are always looking for other possible additions to the calendar, so don't hesitate to contact us with suggestions! Many times, it is a fan that makes the important connection with a local arts council, concert hall, or non-profit to make the concert possible!

August 14 ~ Sunday Concert in the Park, Town Park, Greenville NC 7 PM
September 25 ~ Carrboro Music Festival, Carrboro, NC. 6 PM, Century Center
October 12 ~ (Wed) Private performance for the Newmar RV group at the Camp Hatteras RV Resort, Waves, NC
October 13 ~ Avalon Theatre - Stoltz Listening Room, Easton, MD
October 14 ~ TBA
October 15 ~ Concert with the Carroll County Arts Council, Westminster, MD
October 16 ~ Looking for suggestions!
November 4 ~ Pittsboro General Store, Pittsboro, NC. 8-10:30
November 5 ~ NC Museum of History, Grand Opening of NC Coastal Exhibit, 11 AM, Raleigh, NC
November 5 ~ Green Grass Cloggers 40th Anniversary Concert, Wright Auditorium, UNC Greenville, NC

Check out the master calendar at the end of this blog to see when Molasses Creek is playing at home at Deepwater Theater.

Molasses Creek's Catharsis: "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" Song Detail


We always like to tease Molasses Creek band member Lou Castro about singing lead on songs. Many of you who have seen the band live have been wowed by Lou's musical talents on just about any instrument he picks up: guitar, bass, resonator guitar, dobro, lap steel. A graduate of the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Lou is a musician's musician, with extraordinary improvisational skills and a musical mind that can map the leads and chordal path of a song, all while eating a 3 AM cheese sandwich. Lou's love of playing music is matched by an enthusiasm for teaching, and an endless patience for working with students at any musical level. He works with many young students in and out of Ocracoke Island's K-12 school, and can be found playing about 10 times a week during the summer season on the island.

Although an amazing instrumentalist, Lou is rarely found singing lead at Molasses Creek shows, so it was a real treat to capture Lou on tape for the new Molasses Creek album, Catharsis. Lou sings lead on the old Billy Mayhew song "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie." This week we have unmasked the entire track on the Catharsis page so that you can listen to the whole thing!

It's a Sin to Tell a Lie
By Billy Mayhew

Be sure it's true when you say 'I Love You'
It's a sin to tell a lie
Billions of hearts have been broken
Just cause these words were spoke
I love you, yes I do, I really love you
But if you break my heart I'll die
So be sure that it's true when you say I love you
It's a sin to tell lie

News from Gary and Soundside Studio
by Gary Mitchell

Fiddler Dave and Gary at Soundside Studios

I have recently been working with John Golden on arranging and recording John's new song "The Fate of the Ariosto" about an interesting and tragic shipwreck that happened off the coast of Ocracoke in the last century. It's a terrific song with a twist that actually ties in to Fiddler Dave's family history (and it's true!). Look for it to be released on a Soundside Records CD later this year.

Many of you have enjoyed seeing the Green Grass Cloggers dance at the Ocrafolk Festival every year, but you may not realize that one of their members, Chad Smith, is a wonderful pianist. I've recently done some mastering for Chad on a new original composition of his entitled "The Last Day". It's quite beautiful, and I hope to hear more soon!

Joe Godbout came in to the studio last week with his cousin Michele from Montreal to record 4 new songs of his. Every summer Joe comes to Ocracoke with a giant contingent of family (40 or more!) and he usually has some new songs he has written about some of his clan. He likes to record those and give for Christmas gifts, etc., and I'm sure the family loves them (although he sometimes writes about someone embarrassing themselves, so watch out)!

If you are interested in finding more information out about Soundside Studios, find Gary's contact page at the Soundside Records website.

Molasses Creek's Marcy Brenner . . . A Sassy Lady!

A professional storyteller, Lou Ann’s delivery is funny and irreverent, she likes to share her
personal, all-true tales of travel and adventure. Lately, she's been working on stories with such universal themes as skinny-dipping, camping in yurts, and nude Bingo. But where to tell them? At a late night show, of course!

She asked Sundae and Marcy to join her and embellish the storytelling with some musical interludes. They jumped at the chance to perform songs they'd loved for a long time -- songs that were waiting in the wings for the right venue and the right audience. Drawing on a long tradition of sassy songs, Sundae and Marcy found a bawdy Irish ballad, a funny folk tune, a sultry song, a country classic, and a girly pop song with the catchiest chorus you don't want to be caught singing aloud.

“From the time I found a temporary tattoo on each chair for the members of the audience, I knew it was going to be fun...and it was!” Dallie Turner

Flourishing Figs!
by Fiddler Dave Tweedie

Baby fig trees for sale at the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum

Every part of the world has a natural bounty. When I'm working in my garden here on Ocracoke Island I often dream of a bountiful blueberry bush, corn, a closer proximity to a dairy farm so that I can make cheese, a larger than 20x20 raised bed, the list goes on. . . . But come late July and early August I'm happy to stay put because that is fig season. On Ocracoke, there are about a dozen different types of fig trees with exotic names such as blue, lemon, pound, sugar, celeste, brown turkey, & yellow. This year, the Ocrafolk Festival image featured the fig and the back of the T-shirt contained a fig cake recipe compiled by Ocracoke chef extraordinaire Debbie Wells.

Fig trees are found in every little niche and cranny of the 2 mile square Ocracoke village. Early in Ocracoke's settlement, island residents recognized that fig trees loved the moist coastal environment, endured the occasional saltwater flooding, and in the height of summer produced so prolifically that they were cause for celebration. Island legend says that a fig tree will only flourish next to a house that is lived in because it likes the company. This is true, although more so for the dishwater and clam shells that are tossed at its roots than for any social reason.

The fig is an odd looking little fruit and is about as far from a Newton (and much better tasting) as a fresh steak is from year old beef jerky. Figs are juicy, succulent, and sweetly refreshing. They are perfect to grab right off the tree for a snack as you swing by mowing the lawn. This week, my wife and mother-in-law have been frequenting a neighbor's tree (with permission of course), and have walked away every three days with about 8 pounds of figs each time.

One partnership that the fig tree does require to produce fruit is one with the fig wasp. Each species of fig has a one to one relationship with a type of small wasp. If you are squeemish about the idea of eating microscopic bugs and want to continue eating figs in peace . . . don't read the rest of this article.

The tiny female wasp pollinates the fruit by pushing herself inside the green figs. The fit is so tight that the entrance rips her wings off. As she pushes into this "flower" she pollinates it with pollen that she brought with her from her birth fig. She lays her eggs inside the "flower" and dies. When the tree detects the presence of the eggs it surrounds eggs with tissue which then becomes food for the newly hatching larva. Males hatch first and after mating with the females they enlarge holes in the fig so that the females can exit without losing their wings. And then the whole process starts again, and we get the figs (For more information visit

Start with Fig Preserves

Figs boiling away on the stove

First you need Fig Preserves. You can either purchase some (contact the Village Craftsmen through their website at or give them a call at 252-928-5541) or make your own. If starting from scratch, use 6 lbs of figs (stems cut off), 4 cups of sugar, two lemons cut into quartered slices and de-seeded. Boil them 4-6 hours on low, making sure that your stir often enough to prevent the sugary mix from adhering to the bottom of the pan and scorching. Once the mixture has cooked down, you can can them in a water bath as you would other fruit preserves. Some folks like the figs chopped up . . . in most cases the figs break down a bit during the boil.

After some time, the figs break down . . .now you need to boil off some liquid

Fig Cake Recipe

3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup of sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups of flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. buttermilk
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup walnuts coarsely chopped
2 cups of fig preserves chopped

Grease and flour one large tube or bundt pan
Preheat oven to 350

In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs until light and foamy. Add sugar and beat until pale, add oil slowly and beat another minute. Sift together flour, spices, salt and soda. Add to eggs alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Stir in figs, nuts and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan and place in preheated oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in pan for 20 minutes then invert onto a rack and cool completely. Transfer to a serving plate and enjoy.

Thanks to Debbie Wells and the Ocrafolk Festival for sharing this recipe!


Here are the Molasses Creek Catharsis drawing winners! Make sure you are signed up on our Molasses Creek e-News list and are a fan Molasses Creek Facebook to be elgible! Next Blog's drawing winner will receive some of Fiddler Dave's Fig Preserves!

Week 1

Jenny Osborne ~ Facebook Winner

Lynne Weber ~ Molasses Creek e-Newslist Winner

Week 2

Vernon Joyner ~ Facebook Winner

Elizabeth Evans ~ Molasses Creek e-Newslist Winner

Week 3

Adam Hamilton ~ Facebook Winner

TBA ~ Molasses Creek e-Newslist Winner

Week 4

Georgia Deardoff ~ Facebook Winner

TBA ~ Molasses Creek e-Newslist Winner

If you are a winner, please contact Fiddler Dave for address confirmation so we can send you your Catharsis CD!


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