This was the summer of Jewish farm weddings. Farms all over New England and the tri-state area. Farms with animals, farms with agriculture. Working farms, farms that function just as event venues. Every farm was beautiful, from the mountains of Vermont to the woods of Maine, to the sprawling vista of the Hudson. The drives were intense and heels got ruined in the grass. Nonetheless, the chuppah against those stunning backgrounds in the fresh air caught our New Yorker breath again and again.
We love city weddings, but farm weddings are something special. No one leaves early to beat the traffic home. People dance the night away, knowing that tomorrow and perhaps the next day, they’ll still be there. Somehow the parties feel wilder and the sound of the 7 blessings against the huge blue sky just spectacular.
There were several inches of mud around the tent to sink into at one farm. At another there was no rain alternative for a ceremony in a wide open field. We all just stood under umbrellas until, magically, the sun came out only half an hour off schedule. We had extra cred with the farm owner near Burlington, Vermont, since local god Mike Gordon guested on our album, Fresh Off Boat. In Massachusetts, they served bourbon and donuts during the cocktail hour, with shot glasses lined up on skis. In the Hudson valley, an orthodox rabbi lay tefillin on guests’ arms on the farmhouse porch in the pre-ceremony sunset.
Our sound team travelled to all these venues, making us sound great and lighting us dramatically in the night. It felt good to play our music, from the traditional procession to the chuppah to the Golem gypsy tune Ushti Baba, to Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House” as a bonfire blazed before us.
After all, rocking the farmland is what klezmer musicians have always done.