Relic #2: The Third Eyebrow, by Robin Kessinger.
In 1995, I returned to the Winfield “Walnut Valley Festival” with my friend Mark Cosgrove, who proceeded to win the National Flatpicking Championship. We spent much of the festival hanging with his flatpicking friends, and the “Kessinger Camp” was the happening place. I met Robin, his brother Dan, his mom and dad, Bob and Doris, and the sisters, Linda, June, and Alice. They were a wild and crazy crew, and much of the banter was hilarious. The music was astounding, and I found myself trying to keep up with a crew of 5 or 6 national champs at any given jam. Within a year, I’d put fingerpicking on the back burner and dedicated myself to becoming a flatpicker. I learned a lot from hanging with all of those guys, and, while I never approached their level of high speed virtuosity, I got to where I could sometimes almost keep up, and was therefore more than competent to jam with mere mortals.
After that year, Winfield became my annual vacation spot, and has remained so for the past 20+ years. I heard Robin’s great tune, “The Third Eyebrow” very early on. I fell in love with it immediately. At the time, I couldn’t really flatpick, so I set out to arrange a solo fingerstyle version. When Robin and brother Dan heard the result, they said, “Eek! You turned it into a classical rag!!” That was not my intention, but I was fairly happy with the result.
I’ve used the video for this tune as an opportunity to highlight the wonderful Kessinger family, including Robin, Dan, and sisters Linda, Alice, and June, who make a cameo appearance in their matching “Wall Drug” teeshirts. Their family is traditional music royalty, and I’ve valued their friendship, music, and good humor for over 20 years.
Other cameos in the video include Wayne Henderson, Tom Schaefer, and, on the canine side, Keli and Django, our lovingly remembered Australian Kelpies.